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Write a ‘Review’ Post [Day 28: 31DBBB]

Today’s task in the 31 Days to Build a Better blog is another writing challenge – I’d like you to write a ‘review post’.

I know that many bloggers already write ‘reviews’ on their blogs but you can never have enough practice on this type of post.

The web is increasingly being used by people to research purchases and help them make decisions.

I’ve not got any stats on this but looking at the types of words and phrases that people type into Google to find my blogs there’s some strong anecdotal evidence that people are actively using the web to seek advice – reviews on your blog position yourself well to meet this need that people have.

The other great thing about review posts is that they show you have opinions on your topic – this makes an impression upon readers and increases the likelihood that they’ll see you as an authority or resource on the topic that you’re writing about.

Reviews Not Relevant for Your Blog?

You might be thinking to yourself right now that your blog isn’t suited to ‘review’ posts. You don’t write about products and can’t think of any books that might relate to your topic?

Fear not – all you need to do is think a little creatively to still be able to do today’s challenge. Here are a few ideas:

  • Review a book
  • Review a movie or TV show relevant to your audience
  • Review another website in your niche
  • Review a restaurant if you’re a food blogger
  • Review an article from a magazine or website
  • Review a hotel, tourist destination or airline if you’re a travel blogger
  • Review an outfit that a celebrity is wearing if you’re a fashion blogger
  • Review a speech given by a politician if you’re a political blogger
  • Review a gadget if you’re a tech blogger
  • Review a tool or piece of equipment relevant to your niche
  • Review an exhibition or gallery if you’re an Art Blogger
  • Review a toy if you’re a Mom or Dad Blogger
  • Review an instrument if you’re a music blogger

Really the list could go on an on – there’s so much scope with this type of post.

Tips on Writing Effective Reviews on your Blog

  1. Give an opinion – people read reviews to help them make a decision. As a result they want opinions – so don’t be afraid to give them. If something that you review is not very good – don’t be afraid to say so. This builds credibility with your audience and shows that you’re willing to give real advice.
  2. Give a Rating – Tied to the ‘opinion’ point above – I find that when you give some kind of concrete rating in a review that readers generally respond well.
  3. Be balanced – giving an opinion doesn’t mean you can’t be balanced. Reviews that give both positives and negatives are more rounded and helpful to readers.
  4. Think about keywords – as you’re writing your review think about the words and phrases that people will be searching for in search engines to find this information. It’ll vary from topic to topic but I find words like ‘price’, ‘problems’, ‘review’ etc are often search for. Also make sure you use the name of the thing you’re reviewing at least a few times (especially in the title). Don’t let your review become dominated by keywords (write for people as your primary audience rather than search engines) but do use your common sense to also optimize your post well for SEO.
  5. Make Comparisons – one thing I find readers respond to well is when you compare a product with another in its class. If you’ve already written a review on the thing you’re comparing to make sure you link between them.
  6. Don’t be Afraid to use an Affiliate Link – if there’s an affiliate program associated with what you’re reviewing don’t be afraid to use it. Different bloggers will have different stances on this one but in terms of pure conversion rates on affiliate links – a well written and balanced review can be very good at driving sales.
  7. Say who it’s good for – ‘is this right for me?’ is a question that many of your readers will be asking. As a result – share who you think a product, service etc is right for. Tied to this – if appropriate talk about how you’d use a product – what reasons would someone need or use it. Also any tips to help those who do buy the product to use it can really lift a review. The more you can tie your review to the real life of your readers the better.
  8. Be Personal – I find that it is often the more personal reviews that tell the story of using something that seem to connect with readers the best when we publish reviews on my photography site. Making a connection with your readers by sharing your story and even showing real life pictures/video (as opposed to or in addition to official product pictures) can really make a difference.
  9. Visuals Count – on that note, anything that can help your readers visualize the product you’re reviewing will help. Use pictures, videos, screen captures, diagrams etc wherever you can to add depth to your review post.
  10. Give Details on How to Get the Item – if your review is about something that people can buy or get for themselves give as much relevant information on how they can get it and how much it’ll cost.

If you have any further tips on writing reviews I’d love to hear them below.

Once you’ve written your review post for today please share a link to it below and tell us how you found the exercise. You can also feel free to share in the forum post dedicated to this task.

Want More?

This task is a sample of one of the tasks in the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Workbook – a downloadable resource designed to reinvigorate and revitalize blogs.

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About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Lance Winslow says:

    Good stuff, yes, reviews are great. As an online article writer, I am always completely amazed at how many people read my book and product (personal tech) reviews and how many website, ezines and blogs pick them up in viral fashion. So, I could not agree more with your advice here today. Excellent points.

  2. Read your post this morning. Then happened to discover The Cutest Blog on the Block site. It features free blog design resources for Blogger and blog design tips, and offers professional design services.

    It’s a good example of a commercial site that attracts traffic with great content. I wrote a review that can be read at http://alabuzz.org/?p=192/.

    Thanks for all your guidance.

  3. Finally!! Something on the 31DBBB that I am already doing! It is certainly a relief!

    At my website (http://www.lettersonpages.com) I review non-fiction books. Feel free to stop by, check out a few reviews, and sign up for the RSS feed.

    Also…It would be awesome to get some blogging tips from all these great bloggers!!

  4. H ave written review post in the past. Of restaurant and shows . For this task I wrote a review of Frost/Nixon on my concierge blog; http://lifestyleconciergeservice.net/blog/2009/04/the-great-debate-frostnixon-at-the-majestic-theater/

    On my movie blog I wrote a review of the new X-men movie.http://justchickflicks.com/2009/05/01/just-chick-flicks-reviews-x-men-origins-wolverine/ I am planning a series of reviews of the summer action movies. That will take me back over several of the tasks-Sneeze page, interlinking posts, reviews, opinions and more

  5. H ave written review post in the past. Of restaurant and shows . For this task I wrote a review of Frost/Nixon on my concierge blog; http://lifestyleconciergeservice.net/blog/2009/04/the-great-debate-frostnixon-at-the-majestic-theater/

    On my movie blog I wrote a review of the new X-men movie. I am planning a series of reviews of the summer action movies. That will take me back over several of the tasks-Sneeze page, interlinking posts, reviews, opinions and more

    http://justchickflicks.com/2009/05/01/just-chick-flicks-reviews-x-men-origins-wolverine/

  6. Hi Darren
    Haven’t wirrten too many review posts as yet on my blog. But I have put it on my list of ideas for posts.
    I tend to write more ‘How To’ posts and also ‘How Not To’.
    Thanks for the tip
    Steve

  7. Albert says:

    This is a great exercise to get webmasters out and share their own blogs to the blogging world.

    Here is a plain and simple review of our blog.

    It is a blog dedicated to money making online. Anything associated goes with the blog’s theme. We are more into innovating money making online rather than self doing.

    Here is a link to our blog, http://www.mooladays.com
    Hope to hear from other webmasters around the world as well!

  8. Coop says:

    Sweet! I write reviews all day, every day. This assignment will be a breeze.

  9. Raju says:

    Few days back I had written a review post on “Top 10 Product Review Websites” – http://techpp.com/2009/03/02/top-10-product-review-websites/

    I feel it was an unique post and would love to get opinions about the review.

  10. Two birds with one stone for me. I’d asked one of my readers to write a guest post, which happens to be a review – http://getpaidtowriteonline.com/textbroker/

  11. How To Blog says:

    I’ve written a review of a product that helps solve a problem many of my subscribers have: how to get traffic to their blog.

    http://wordpress2go.com/getting-traffic-to-your-blog/

    I hope you like it!

    Sarah

  12. I wrote a review of the new (and official) release of Thesis 1.5:

    http://www.wealthydragon.com/blog/2009/05/04/review-of-thesis-15/

    I quite enjoy writing reviews, but I think they need to be based on knowing the product from using it in anger to be really effective.

    Cheers,

    Martin.

  13. Mandy says:

    I had on my editorial calendar for this week to write a book review on Your Money or Your Life. Am planning on posting it tomorrow. It’s a self-help money book one of my interviewees credited with guiding her out of bankruptcy. BTW, I got a review copy from the publisher – I contacted them, told them about my interviewee, told then about my blog and target audience.

  14. Gayle says:

    Really enjoyed doing the products review. I did one on a crock-pot as a time and money saver here:
    http://kitandcaboodleblog.blogspot.com/2008/12/time-money-and-dinner-saver.html

  15. Michael says:

    Writing reviews on diet/exercise products is one of the main objectives of my site.

    http://www.thefatlossauthority.com/reviews.php

    I’m thinking of re-doing them with more videos and pics (thanks Darren for the suggestion). What do you guys/gals think? I need to work on #2 and #4 as well.

    P.S. Sarah, I’m going to check your link out. Thanks!

  16. Jackie says:

    Thanks for those pointers. Will keep your guideline and follow them to create my own reviews after this.

  17. Just had to come back and see all the comments, as email said 23 new mails from problogger:) I think I’ll read some of all the reviews all you commentars are posting on your websites. Might spot some more good pointers in review-writing.

  18. I’m finally done with my review post! It’s about the amazing software Comment Sniper!

    http://www.nicolasprudhon.com/internet-marketing/comment-sniper-review

  19. Well I do lots of tech reviews on my blog so I guess this step is probably the easiest one for me yet :)

    I do all suggestions that Darren proposed, except I guess for the SEO part. Most of the time I write posts without thinking of proper keywords to be repeated, etc.

  20. Hi,
    I’m interested in personal growth and change.
    In how to get from where you are to where you want to be!

    And for this days challenge, I have writen a review of Joe Vitale’s book, The Attractor Factor:

    You can read it at:
    http://www.clausdjensen.com/the-attractor-factor.html/

    Greetings,
    Claus D Jensen :-)

  21. I think the reviews are good but we need to do it differently. It needs to be like a post more than a review. Secondly, I don’t find people being creative about their reviews. I think it is very important. The review could also be funny – I don’t know why people are not engaging their readers with humour.

    Destination Infinity

  22. I’ve written several review posts before but one of my most popular review posts featured a review that wasn’t written by me! Air Asia, Asia’s largest low cost airline, had just launched a direct service from Kuala Lumpur to London and I’d been following that development closely. When the first flight was launched, several reviews of that flight surfaced on internet. I looked through all of them and chose one written by Jaunted.com and provided a link to that article from my post. It was one of my shortest posts ever but still gets lots of hits today, almost 2 months later.

  23. elizof says:

    I have written a number of reviews on my blog … The Ashton Kutcher/CNN Challenge was one.
    I have just finished work on a review of an event I attended over the weekend and will post it to my blog later and add it here… or stop by my blog later this afternoon to read it. I did not rate it because it is not that type of topic…
    Anyway, I like this exercise very much. Thanks for all you’ve done for us Darren!

  24. BizMind says:

    I’ve written a review on the reason why franchising business is a great solution to financial crisis we are experiencing today.

    You can read the post here:
    http://entrebankph.com/why-franchising-the-better-solution-to-financial-crisis/

  25. I wrote a review today of a great book entitled, “What Was I Thinking? 58 Bad Boyfriend Stories.” Lots of fun!

  26. Amy says:

    I’ve written some review posts already (early in my blogs life) – which was a book review. http://operamouth.wordpress.com/2008/12/02/book-recommend…it-on-broadway/. I plan to try and work my book review into a series of some sort and will probably also do a sneeze page on this when I have more entries.

  27. I’ve found that review posts are fantastic for SEO – even though I don’t sell fly fishing gear (I sell fly fishing trips), I get a lot of good traffic from people searching for specific gear.

    I’ve been combining several tips from 31DBBB lately – here’s an example of a review post that’s also a list post and also has a ‘related links’ section.

    http://blog.deneki.com/2009/04/sage-690-4-z-axis-5-things-to-like.html

    Thanks Darren, as always.

  28. I recently started doing a regular blog feature “Things I’m Lovin’” It features items that I really want or things that I already have and am in love with. One of the first ones that I did was a parental edition, showcasing things for parents that I own and absolutely love.
    http://threebysea.typepad.com/three_by_sea/2009/03/things-im-loving-the-parental-edition.html

    My blog usually has a simple living/coastal vibe to it, so this week I’ll be doing a post featuring items for the beach that I own and love.

  29. Condo Blues says:

    I often write reviews on my blogs about products but I find that unless I”m doing a giveaway that is associated with the review, I don’t very many comments on my review posts even though my stats show that those posts generate traffic.

  30. Sam sall says:

    Hi i wanted to review a business magazine article then i decided to write a review about a one of my reader blog
    this is my post
    http://www.speechstarter.com/are-you-hoping-for-successful-freelance-career-for-life-/

  31. Patrick says:

    i think people are generally surprised at how much people are genuinely interested in other people’s opinions (reviews in other words)

  32. thats what i love to do everyday. At least 1 review for any website for my review training. Hoho!