How to Create a Review App Like Yelp

How to Create a Review App Like Yelp

23 September 2022 • 18 min read

Did you know that over 90% of consumers tend to avoid companies with negative reviews? Today’s customers are indeed more demanding of businesses than ever. Review apps like Yelp or TripAdvisor greatly influence their decisions to interact with this or that organization.

According to Globe Newswire, 95% of consumers read Internet reviews before buying a product. Other stats suggest that 79% of customers trust online reviews as much as recommendations from their friends or relatives.

In such circumstances, building a review application is a particularly relevant idea. This article will comprehensively look at creating such apps with all the necessary features, tech stack, design tips, and cost breakdown.

Softermii has an extensive portfolio of developing review apps, and the company will share practical advice from its own experience. Moreover, we create such software for various industries, and our products DogVacay and MedRealtime are proof of this.

Now, let’s get straight to the point and answer the question of how to create an app like Yelp.

Review App vs. Review Website: What to Create First?

Perhaps you are a startup that plans to build a review app. Or a review website? Let’s find out where it’s best to allocate your company’s time and resources.

First, modern users increasingly choose a smartphone over a desktop or laptop. And now, more than 83% of the world’s population has smartphones. It is not surprising since such a device helps to perform many tasks on the go.

Second, people have spent about 90% of their mobile time using various apps in 2021. Even if you opt for creating a review website, more than half of its traffic will still come from mobile devices. More precisely, it is almost 59%, according to the latest Statista data.

As for review apps or websites, 80% of consumers use mobile phones to read reviews about this or that business.

If you still have doubts about what to start from, a mobile app or a website, here are some more arguments to support application development:

  • Mobile apps can offer a more personalized experience for users, which is especially critical for review applications.
  • Apps can run faster than websites.
  • You have more freedom in your mobile application’s design.

Choose among 120 software specialists

But if you still decide to create a review website, you can also seek advice from Softermii.

Find out more

Choose among 120 software specialists
Choose among 120 software specialists

Features for Your Review App like Yelp

To create a review app, we advise you to be inspired by successful examples available on the market. There you can get ideas for the functionality of your product.

So let’s see what fundamental features are needed to create an app like Yelp.

1. Reviews and Ratings

Of course, a review app cannot exist without a corresponding feature of reviews and ratings. You can implement such functionality by allowing users to leave text messages, photos, and video reviews and rate the products or services.

How to create an app like Yelp

2. Sign-In, Sign-Up, and Social Login

It’s also a good idea to allow your users to join your review platform. For this, you need to integrate sign-in and sign-up features and take care of social login. The latter functionality allows users to log into your app via social media accounts.

How to create a review app

3. User Accounts

Since you have added the possibility of registration and authorization in your application, you cannot do without user accounts. Let users be able to make bookmarks, view their reviews, and have access to the newsfeed, friends, etc., in their profile.

Building a review application

4. Business Pages

Business pages are similar to user accounts but with a professional direction. These are profiles of companies on which users will read and leave reviews and provide ratings. Also, give businesses the option to add a short description of their company, photos, and videos, indicate business hours, and other relevant information.

Developing review apps

5. Analytics and Activity Tracking

This feature applies to professional accounts of your review app. Thanks to this functionality, businesses can check the activity on their page and conduct analytics. As a result, companies will be able to improve interaction with customers.

Build a review app

6. Location-Based Search and Filters

It would be nice to allow users to find reviews of places nearby. The filter function, in turn, will enable them to choose locations according to the desired category, such as restaurants, hair salons, shopping spots, auto repair services, etc.

Create a review app

7. Check-Ins

The check-in function is an opportunity for users to confirm that they have visited a particular place. This feature will also display the places a person has visited other users.

8. Notifications

The notification feature is integral to almost any mobile app. Thanks to it, you can inform users about any updates on the platform.

Create an app like Yelp

9. Photo and Video Uploading

This feature is helpful in a business review app development. It’s necessary to post detailed reviews illustrated with photos or videos. It is also required for setting a personal profile avatar or adding content to a business page.

Additional Features for a Review Application

Now you roughly understand how to make an app like Yelp if we talk about basic features. However, this is just the beginning of your journey. You can improve your app with extra functions and engage your audience.

1. Newsfeed

The newsfeed is an additional feature with which you can enrich your platform. It will make your application closer to social networks, where users can view a chronological list of updates and previous actions.

Review app development

2. Reputation System

The reputation system is a feature that will show businesses’ overall success and credibility. Thanks to this functionality, users can more easily choose to favor one or another company.

3. Admin Panel

The admin panel is a feature you must integrate with the content management system or CMS. This function allows you to edit content and manage users and services.

Features for a Review App Depending on the Niche

In addition to the basic and additional features you need, consider your niche when making a web app like Yelp. Depending on the industry in which your platform will operate, you may require to integrate other specific functionality.

Therefore, before starting review app development, determine your niche and conduct thorough research. Here are some industry-specific features:

1. Booking Management

Such a feature is integral for review apps in the travel industry. It can be from booking tickets for various transport types to reserving tables in a restaurant or securing a hotel room. For example, such functionality is available on TripAdvisor and Expedia.

2. Property Management

The property management feature is also available in travel apps or hospitality software. It can also be part of real estate application development. For example, the platform has this function on board.

3. Appointment Scheduling

This feature is especially relevant in the healthcare field. For example, it can be an application to search for doctors by reviews and ratings with the ability to schedule an appointment with a specialist. We implemented such functionality in our MedRealtime product.

It is worth noting that these features will come in handy if you decide to create a Yelp like website or mobile application.

How to Create an Effective Moderation System in a Review App

The moderation system is, without exaggeration, the most critical feature for the success of your review app. This functionality uses AI and keyword filters to validate user-generated content against your platform’s requirements. Of course, such a system works most effectively with live moderators.

Automated content moderation will help you fight fake reviews, spam, unacceptable content, or simply content that does not comply with the rules of your application. Such a system can review text, photos, and videos.

There are three types of content moderation that you can leverage during review app development:

  • Pre-moderation. It’s a review of content before publication.
  • Post-moderation. It’s a review of content after publication.
  • Reactive moderation. It’s when users themselves act as content moderators, sending complaints, etc.

The moderation system is a great way to let users post real-time reviews and increase trust in your service.

You have two ways to build your moderation system: by creating keyword filters or by applying machine learning tools.

As for keyword filters, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Build filters for regularized expressions, i.e., common inappropriate phrases or words.
  2. Create a moderation interface.

Machine learning technology is a bit more complicated, but you can use it as follows:

  1. Determine what content you need to moderate.
  2. Create test sets with correct labels.
  3. Train ML models.
  4. Deploy ML models.
  5. Create a moderation interface.

Tech Stack: Architecture for an App like Yelp

To create an app like Yelp, you need a so-called LAMP stack. This acronym stands for Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP. Together, these are tools that allow you to create high-performance web apps.

In addition to the LAMP stack, the Yelp app uses ElasticSearch for search, HAProxy for platform load balancing, and Facebook Scribe for logging. This software uses MySQL as a database.

Here’s each element of Yelp’s tech stack:

  • Programming language: Python
  • Hosting: Amazon EC2
  • Operating system: Ubuntu
  • Load balancing: HAProxy
  • Search: Elastic Search
  • Version control: Git
  • Logging: Scribe
  • API framework: Swagger
  • Web framework: Pyramid

These are just the suggested technologies, thanks to which you will be able to create an app for customer reviews like Yelp. Yet, you can also apply alternatives. For example, in addition to Python, we can use Node JS. That is, the tech stack will differ according to the requirements of each product.

Read Also: Emerging Digital Technologies Transforming SMEs

Some UI/UX Design Tips for a Review App

You are already a few steps closer to review app development with the selected features and tech stack. Another thing you should pay close attention to is UI/UX design. Designing an app like Yelp requires minding the following tips:

App Navigation

Remember that the navigation of your application should be intuitive. To do this, you must clearly label all buttons and menu categories. It is also crucial to consider that app navigation should be easily accessible and never hidden.

Simplistic UI

Remove all the clutter from your user interface. Make sure your app’s UI is minimalistic and simple. An application with reviews already involves a lot of information; if it is loaded with other not-so-relevant elements, your users will be perplexed.

OS Design Guidelines

It is essential to consider an operating system for which you are creating an application design: iOS or Android. Depending on the platform, you will need to follow the design guidelines for each system.


Chances are that you’re building an app that users with different demographics and abilities will review. That is why taking care of your product’s accessibility is critical. It should be suitable for older people, people with impairments or disabilities, etc.

How Much Does It Cost to Create an App Like Yelp

What does the cost of review app development depend on? First is the time spent on development and design, the average salaries of specialists, and the number and complexity of features.

Here is cost breakdown of developing an app like Yelp based on the average hourly rates of specialists involved in the product creation process:

Discovery, evaluation, and UI/UX design phase

Time: 280 hours

Cost: $11 200

If you’re wondering how to start a Yelp-like app – this should be your very first step. Our business analysts conduct market research, analyze customer expectations, and assess industry trends in the first phase. All this information serves as a basis for project budget calculation.

When creating the app’s UI and UX prototypes, our team assesses to what extent the technology stack, functions, and overall aesthetics meet the client's expectations.

Development phase

Time: 640 hours

Cost: $25 600

Our experts create an early version of the entire product based on the selected technology stack.

Testing and launching

Time: 240 hours

Cost: $9 600

The testing and launching stage is crucial when building a review app. It is essential to collect user feedback about the product to improve the application's functionality, make it more user-friendly, and exclude bugs.

After all testing and bugs are fixed, your review app is ready to go. Remember that any service needs support even after release to compete on the market successfully.

Writing technical documentation

Time: 40 hours

Cost: $1 600

It is the last step when you make a review app like Yelp. It includes creating all the documentation for the application, particularly the product manual.

Let's summarize all of these in the table below.

Development Stages




Estimation, Research & UI/UX design

280 hours

$11 200



640 hours

$25 600



240 hours

$9 600


Creating technical documentation

40 hours

$1 600


1 200 hours (5 month)

$48 800

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In Western Europe, for the iOS version you will need more than $163,000 to make an app with business reviews , and about $164,000 for the Android app. But you can develop such a product in Ukraine at significantly lower rates: about $50,000 for iOS and Android MVP.

However, that’s just the cost of the simplest review app development. The price may change greatly if you decide to add more features and to make the design, highlighting the uniqueness of your brand. If you want more precise calculations, drop us a line and our specialists will come back to you with detailed plans and figures.

How Softermii Can Help with Review App Development

Softermii is a company with extensive expertise in software development. We are equally skilled in web and mobile development and offer quality assurance, UI/UX design, and DevOps services.

Among our more than 120 developers are experts who know how to make a review app. Our specialists are ready to help you with this task as well.

The industries in which we are most knowledgeable are healthcare, real estate, eCommerce, and FinTech. So for you, we will easily create a rental app with a rating system or a doctor appointment scheduling system with user reviews integration.

Make sure of our expertise by learning more about some of our cases:


Cost breakdown of developing an app like Yelp

DogVacay is a mobile app that connects dog owners with pet sitters.

We have implemented search, booking, rating, and online communication features to create an effective system for finding a reliable pet sitter. In this way, dog owners could familiarize themselves with the dog sitter before giving them their pet.

Our product has experienced substantial success. We have over 50,000 downloads and have been rated almost 1,000 times.


Make an app with business reviews

MedRealtime is a mobile and web platform for telemedicine.

This product connects patients with doctors thanks to rating and feedback about physicians, appointment scheduling, payment integration, and audio and video communication.

MedRealtime is popular among patients and doctors because it offers a smooth interaction and convenient search for the necessary specialists.

Final Thoughts

In today’s world, where consumers are not ready to go to a store, restaurant, or hotel without first reading reviews, review app development is especially relevant.

We hope that today’s article explains how to create a review app. We tried to elaborate on all the peculiarities of such software development.

If you need such an app, you are in the right place. Softermii has profound experience in creating similar products. We are ready to make an MVP or a full-fledged application from scratch for you. So don’t hesitate and get in touch with our expert team.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to create an app like Yelp?

To create a review application like Yelp, you will need about 3800 hours. It’s at least half a year if you adapt it to a standard working schedule.

How to choose the right review app developers?

To choose the best dev team, consider the following tips:

  • Pay attention to previous expertise in your niche
  • Study developers portfolio
  • Ask for feedback from previous employers
  • Check the match of skills and experience with your product specifications

Could Softermii help to build an app like Yelp for me?

Yes, of course. Our company has been developing software for over seven years. Softermii’s products also include review applications. So you can turn to us to handle the job.

What are the challenges when building a review app?

There are risks of encountering fake reviews, due to which the credibility of your application may fall. It requires a system to remove false ratings. There also may be regulatory requirements depending on your country.

How to make money with a review app?

Adopt one or several monetization strategies. These can be selling advertisements, in-app ads, subscriptions, etc.

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