How to Make Your Online Review Blog Stand Apart From the Rest
When you want to create a new website, an online review site can be a very appealing choice. There are a number of reasons why review sites can work well for their owners. Firstly, review sites are, by their very nature, something that is useful to the reader, and a blog that is inherently useful doesn’t have to work as hard to win over readers as blogs that aim simply to entertain. Secondly, you won’t struggle to think of ideas for new content – whatever your niche, there will always be new things you can evaluate and review. Thirdly, owning a popular review site is pretty much a guaranteed route to getting freebies, as companies will want you to test out their wares and feature them on your site.
Of course, like anything else that is fairly easy to do and offers great benefits, starting and building up a good review blog means you’ll have to enter a competitive world. Whatever you choose to review, from mobile apps to makeup, diet products to smartphones, you’ll find there are lots of other people trying to appeal to the same audience. This doesn’t have to be a problem – after all, people do tend to read more than one review before making a choice, so there can be room for all of you – but it does mean you need to work to make sure your content is good enough to stand out.
Your aim should be to become a trusted resource for consumers in your niche. When you achieve this, you’ll have no problem reaching any other goals you may have in terms of monetizing your site, or enticing brands who may want to feature on your blog.
Here are some tips for making your review blog credible, interesting, and above the rest:
Think About What You Look for In a Review
Almost all of us consult online reviews before making a big purchase (or sometimes even before a minor one like trying a new snack!). There are some great review sites out there in all kinds of niches, for instance TopRateTen, and then there are, of course, also all the reviews on sites where people have made purchases such as Amazon, or the iTunes store. You’ll probably know from experience, then, that some reviews are more useful than others.
Think about what you look for in a review when you are writing your own reviews. It probably isn’t enough for you to read a reviewer blandly extolling the virtues of a product with no particular specifics. Do you prefer it when they have devised some tests for the product and written their results? Do you prefer a straight review, or comparisons between similar products with a verdict about which is best? Not everyone will have the same ideas about what makes one review especially useful or interesting, but if you take the elements you yourself find best then work with them, you should be creating content that people like you will want to read!
Have Some Policies
An important thing is to have integrity when you are reviewing things, especially if some of your reviews are paid for by the manufacturers of the products, or you are making money from putting affiliate marketing links on your site. There is nothing wrong with doing this, as long as you are honest with your readers and also are still giving genuine reviews, rather than being purely promotional.
A good way to show your readers that you write sincere reviews they should be able to trust is to have some policies on your site and actually stick to them. These could be simple statements like ‘I always give my real opinion of the things I review, and I tell my readers if I was given the product for free’. You could also have more detailed policies if you want to, or unique policies about how you will test and evaluate things.
Provide Lots of Evidence
Another way to instill a sense in your readers that they can trust and believe you is to put in lots of pictures and videos that support your reviews. This can be important, because they show that you actually have used the product (rather than writing a pseudo review based on marketing materials from the brand), and that you have tested it in the ways that you said you did. Making full video reviews is also an option, though it is up to you whether this really fits with the niche you are reviewing products in, and whether you prefer making content in this format to writing. Video reviews are generally more trusted, but some people would rather read something than watch something, and so both mediums can gain a good audience – you just need to support written content with more visual evidence.
When you publish your reviews, encourage your readers to comment and let you know what experiences – good or bad – they have had with the product and also if they have any recommendations for alternatives they like better. This not only encourages people to interact with your site and provide more information that will add value to other readers, but also shows that you are not biased about the product and are open to hearing people’s views on it – even if they don’t agree with your review or believe another product is a better buy.
Running a review site can be easy and fun, and you can also do well from it in terms of affiliate opportunities, and traffic. However, you really need to work on making sure your content is as informative and reliable as possible, so that readers will immediately be able to tell that you are a genuine reviewer and not simply writing promotional ‘fluff’ on behalf of a company. As your site grows in popularity, you should also look to engage with your reader community as much as possible, to help further establish your site as impartial and interested in its visitors.