Everyone has an opinion, but some opinions are more worthwhile than others. It’s not just about the number of stars you give. The real question is: Are you offering something helpful to others?

You have to consider your audience.

“If you want to write reviews that truly help businesses in your community,” writes Chris Young, managing editor of Neighborhood Notes, “then consider what makes a quality review from the perspectives of the business owner, the search engine and the customer. Because really, no matter if you’re an independent proprietor, an Internet robot, or a living, breathing consumer, you all want the same thing: relevant, accurate, usable information.”

There’s no secret to writing a good review. Anyone can do it. You just need to remember these three truths.

1. If you write a good description, the reader can form his or her own opinion.

Readers want a simple, straightforward, and factual preview of whatever it is. Give them a taste. And even if you don’t like it, your reader might. For instance, you may not care for a movie about giant robots fighting giant monsters. But I know a few people who would absolutely love that. The best reviews give people a meaningful glimpse and allow others to make their own decisions.

2. If you explain your criteria, the reader can respect your opinion.

Whether you’re leaving a positive or negative review, you should explain what criteria you’re using to make that judgment. What makes a new smartphone a worthwhile purchase? Cost, usability, physical design, upgrades over previous models, durability – all these aspects may factor in. If the phone falls apart, who cares that it’s only $50?

It’s also good to keep things in perspective. A McDonald’s hamburger is not trying to be a fine steak. Compare fast food hamburgers to other fast food hamburgers.

3. If you are helpful, the reader will care about your opinion.

For winemaker Laurie Lewis, being specific is the key to being helpful. “Writing a review saying, ‘I didn’t like this wine,’ is not helpful to the business owner or consumers looking for information,” Lewis explains. “Things like, ‘this packaging was hard to open’ or ‘the food was cold.’ Those things are helpful because a business can improve on them.”

Anything that can help the next person with his or her purchase will be appreciated. Even if it’s something as simple as the best place to park when going to the grocery store (hint: the spots on the side of the building are always neglected), your reader will be glad he or she took the time to read your review.

Finally, keep in mind that a lot of bad reviews include unnecessary elements. The reader doesn’t need you to tell them how you would’ve done it better. The reader doesn’t need you to tell them why the failure of this business is somehow a moral failure of the owners – that they are stupid, smelly, objectively unattractive and need to take a long walk off a short pier. The reader doesn’t need a strategic call to action on how you are going to bring this business down. Help the reader make a good choice by offering your own experience, and that will do just fine.