(or how we write reviews)
I read a lot of reviews from many different sites, and I’ll bet you do too. I’ve come to realize what I want in a review and sadly, I don’t see this happening other places, so I’m going to make sure it happens here.
With that, here’s the general format you’ll see in our reviews (and what I fail to see in so many other reviews). If we’re missing something, let me know.
1. PRODUCT NAME
Give me the product name in the title please. I don’t want to see some clickbait title. If it’s a review of a Screwdriver, the title should positively identify it right off the bat. With a title like “Vessel Megadora 980 Impacta P2x100 #2 Cross Point Impact Screwdriver” you already know what it’s about without clicking. In the meta-description (often what Google shows in a results page) you can wax poetically all you like and entice me to click to read more but the important part is if I’m not looking for that particular thing I can easily decide by just looking at the title.
For the record, that’s a great tool and I’ll have to write that one up! All of our review titles will have the product name in the title. Each review will also have a flowery meta-description that help readers click through from Google or Social Media.
2. INTRODUCTION / NARRATIVE
This is a short paragraph or two introducing the item. It might talk about who it’s geared towards and then go on about the what, where, why and how. I like a little story on how this came to be reviewed. The last thing I want to read is the same inhuman drivel found on the manufacturer’s website. Be a human and let me hear your voice in what you write.
Depending on the author, you might get a little more of a narrative here than elsewhere. I happen to be rather verbose at times. If that’s not your thing, just scroll down to the meat – I promise it’ll be there too!
3. PRODUCT DESCRIPTION
Next I like to have a brief description of the item. If there’s choices or options I’d like to know what those might be too. Go ahead and get technical on me and opposed to the introduction section above, it’s ok to cut and paste the details.
When it comes to the details, I want to be able to quickly scan for what is important to me. White space is good vs. burying the details in a paragraph format. I like things in bullet points rather than tables. As a web developer, things in tables don’t always look like they are supposed to on small screens (mobile).
Plenty of images! Don’t give me the baked images the manufacturer has – I want to see what it looks like in the real world. Take your own beautiful images, crop them, adjust them, and label them as best you can and then give them to me in full size. I want to be able to pinch and zoom if I need to.
Many of our ‘outdoor product’ pictures might have a bit of dirt. That’s because we actually use the item! How can you review an item if you just took it out of the box?
If there’s dirt in our ‘technology product’ pics – we’re in trouble! 😉
5. WAS THERE AN INSTALL?
Often times I see a review of an item and they’ll talk about different options available, then show it installed (if that applies) and yet the installed one wasn’t the same one they talked about with options and “Oh hey you can’t install that one with that option like that – can you?”
While the site isn’t a DYI install type of site, if we talk about a particular option, we’ll do our best to show how we installed that version (if needed). If there’s super hints and tips to make something work – you bet we’ll show that too!
6. WHAT DID YOU LIKE?
Give me a description in your own words on the features, options and so on. I want to hear about the things you liked, but more importantly why you liked them. Remember I don’t want you to just regurgitate what the manufacturer said. I want to hear what you honestly think about the item.
I have an opinion and I’m not afraid to share it. Heck, this is the point of the whole website. If we don’t have a strong opinion on a particular item – we’re not going to write about it.
7. WHAT DIDN’T YOU LIKE?
This might be the most important part. What about the item did you not like and please, please be honest. This is where paid reviews fail – if someone is paying to review their product just how many negative words are you going have, right? I love it when I see a review that is obviously NOT paid for and the reviewer not only has a valid opinion but they point out ways that the item could be improved.
I want to be crystal clear and honest. That should come through in our words loud and clear. We don’t get paid for writing ‘nice‘ reviews, we don’t get paid for writing fluff. Technically, we don’t get paid. Since that’s the case – the opinions you see here are real.
8. WHAT WOULD YOU COMPARE THIS TO?
I can pretty much guarantee there’s a competitor to everything. In any field there’s a high end and a low end range of products. Our reviews are probably going to fall somewhere in the middle. Knowing that, what might be some comparable items above and below this item? You don’t need to have reviewed them yourself but give me some of my options. It’s extra work to research this so I hope this is helpful to you.
For some things it pays to buy the very best, for other things you can be happy with just the cheapest. Most of the time, the right item is going to be priced somewhere in the middle, right Goldilocks? Maybe the item we reviewed here is close to the right item but not quite. Your perfect bowl of porridge might be one of the comparables we list.
9. PROS AND CONS
So many sites are afraid to take a stand or have an opinion and that’s exactly what’s needed to create a Pro or Con. When I decide to make an important purchase I need to (even if it’s mentally) weigh both sides out.
We’ll always come up with what we see as Pros and Cons but it’s a starting point. You might have things to add or maybe what’s important to us isn’t important to you. We might also come back later and add a point or two. Nothing is set in stone.
10. OK, WHERE CAN I GET IT?
While it might seem silly, let me know where I can get this item. Is it Amazon? Somewhere else? It drives me crazy when I’m researching an item to buy, like a review and then have to go find out where to buy it.
While a product might be available from many different places, we’re not here to comparison shop for you. Amazon might be the easiest links for us to give you and most people buy things through Amazon as well. Most of our links are going to be directly to the item in Amazon.
Sometimes we might have a coupon code or special discount link that we can pass on. If at all possible we’ll do that instead.
Wrap the review up with a comprehensive paragraph or two about the item. How you’re using it, what plans you might have for it and so on. That’s not so hard to do yet most reviews fail to do that.
In our conclusion here, the blue sections are how we plan to do things better and yes… differently. If you like quality reviews, we’re happy to provide. If you think like we think and would like to write reviews in our style – let’s talk!
What do you think? Are we one the right track?
Your opinion matters – let’s hear it!
* stands for Too Long, Didn’t Read – and it’s a great way to get just the meat and potatoes of a post. In the case of what we think would be the best format of a great review it would look like this:
- Install Notes
- Didn’t Like
- Pros / Cons
Thanks for reading!