Writing Reviews

How Writing Reviews Can Boost Traffic and How to Write Them

Last Updated on by Michael Brockbank

One of the best ways to get traffic to your blog is by writing reviews. By providing your personal insights into a product or service, you’re helping others determine if those goods are right for them. And it could potentially help you land some interesting collaborations with brands.

In fact, of all the content across multiple websites that I manage, both personally and professionally, reviews are one of the most effective types of content. If you haven’t thought about writing them before, you definitely should.

Why is Writing Reviews Great for a Blog?

I recently created a list of the best types of content for a blog based on my websites and those of my clients. Across the board, reviews rated exceptionally well. Of course, this was also dependent on the type of website.

Tutorial sites such as my clients did better with “how-tos” than anything. Still, any reviews often appeared in the top 10 for driving visitors.

Why should all blogs include reviews in their content strategies?

Helps Boost Reputation and Expertise

When you review a product, you’re providing information to visitors to help them decide if something is worth buying. If it’s a well-written and thorough review, it puts you in the limelight as an expert.

What tends to happen is that the visitor trusts your opinion and decides to follow or subscribe to your blog for future updates. Not to mention how it affects your reputation with search engines like Google.

Writing Reviews Often Generates a Lot of Income

Because of the nature of reviews, they tend to be among the most effective for generating income. In my experience, the only other type of content that surpasses it is that of listicles or comparison posts, such as “the best products” or “this vs that vs the other.”

Even if you don’t have an affiliate link for the product, you’ll find the RPM in AdSense (income per 1000 visits) to be much higher in review posts.

For example, two of the top five articles on this website for the highest RPM are reviews. And four of the top five are reviews when it comes to ad clicks.

Increases Traffic and Visibility to the Site

OK, let’s set the money aspect aside for a moment. Writing reviews often increases the traffic to your blog because people are looking for them. This impacts your site as a whole in terms of SEO as Google begins to understand what your site is about and who wants that content.

Now that they are reading the post, you can then share other content the visitors may be interested in to further engage them.

Writing Reviews Can Lead to Collaborations

Reviews can open the doors to a variety of collaborations, especially if you go out looking for them. In some cases, the brand may even provide you with freebies as either a “thank you” gift or as a trial so you can write up the review.

Over the years, I’ve been given thousands of dollars worth of services from brands simply because they liked the review and the exposure. And not once did I ever approach them first for the collaboration.

It was simply a nice gesture from a company because they liked my post.

How to Write a Great Review in 2023

Writing reviews isn’t overly difficult. Though, some might require a bit of time depending on what you’re reviewing.

For instance, I won’t review a video game unless I spend at least 20 hours playing. That’s because a lot can happen in that time to shape how I feel about the game.

In any case, let’s get started setting up a review.

Step 1: Find a Product or Service in Your Niche

The first step is to find a product or service you wish to add to your blog. This can be of anything that is directly related to your site’s niche.

For example, I would review writing apps for authors as those are directly relevant to WriterSanctuary. I wouldn’t write a review about keto-friendly snacks on this website.

Ways I decide what reviews to write include:

  • Things I use at home that are relevant to the blog.
  • Going shopping and looking for something to try.
  • Getting ideas from my audience for something they like.
  • Researching new products online that are relevant.
  • Browse social media for things people talk about.

These are the exact methods I use when deciding what to review. For the most part, I’m constantly looking for things that will help me reach certain goals for each blog.

For example, I have a weight loss blog, and I’ll stroll through the health food section at the store looking for “content.” This means I’m looking for food to try to help me lose weight.

For WriterSanctuary, I am currently writing books and stories online. As such, I want to find the best writing apps I can to help me reach that goal. The result is reviewing the ones I’ve tried and which ones I prefer for specific reasons.

Step 2: Research the Keyphrase

Once you have an idea of what you want to review, you’ll have to do a bit of keyword research. How are people looking for the product and what search terms are being used? What is the intent of the visitor, and how can you deliver?

There are plenty of keyword tools you can use for free to get you started. Lately, I’ve been using Google Adwords Keyword Planner or Rank Tracker.

The idea is to find terms for the products that are the most popular that will drive a large audience. Personally, I’ll write a review for just about anything. But if the intention is to help boost traffic numbers, then I’ll find a product or service that has more than 100 searches per month.

Search volume isn’t always the best indicator, though. Take that “palmini mashed” review I wrote for Crossing Colorado. According to Google, it gets fewer than 10 searches per month. However, that article has drawn an average of 200 visits per month because I meet other search terms that are viable.

This is why it’s important to understand search intent and how people are looking for any given product.

Step 3: Try the Goods Yourself While Taking Notes

After deciding on a product and researching its keyphrases, it’s time to try it for yourself. This is perhaps the most vital element of writing reviews that resonate with visitors and Google.

It all centers around the personal experiences you have with the goods, what things people can expect, how it helps or hinders, and whether you’re inclined to use it again.

I’ve seen too many people try to write reviews of something they read off the Internet without trying for themselves. And if you’re just regurgitating the same facts, you appear disingenuous and Google might not show your article as often.

I’ll go into the SEO ramifications in a moment.

Also, keep in mind that using the product yourself gives you the chance to use unique screenshots and photos, which is always a great benefit to any blog. Stock photos can help once in a while, but unique images are what really sell the content.

Step 4: Write the Review

When it comes to writing the review, I’ll grab my notebook and structure the entire post with header points I want to share. This includes everything I experienced, benefits and drawbacks, and whether the product is worth the cost.

While you’re setting up your own review, a few things to keep in mind include:

How Many Words Does it Need to Be?

I usually aim for anywhere between 1500 to 2000 words depending on the review. In some instances, I’ve gone far beyond this average simply because there was a lot to share about my experiences.

But my number one performing review on this website is only 2000 words, and it sat at the number one position of Google for three years.

Don’t Simply Rehash the Same Info

Now, you don’t want to just use the same information everyone else is sharing. However, you might have a similar experience, which is fine. The best way to separate yourself from the competition is by sharing your specific point of view.

Don’t just scroll through the review section of Amazon and highlight what other people thought about the product. Visitors, fans, and subscribers want to read YOUR experiences.

Write for People, not Google

In 2022, Google launched an algorithm change that focuses more on “people writing for people.” This means your intentions are geared more toward informing your readers as opposed to making the algorithm happy.

I also have a theory it is Google’s way of combatting AI-written content, which I am completely against, by the way.

Anyway, these changes to search also included improving the quality of your unique content. Google doesn’t want to show the same lists, information, bullet points, and other tidbits that everyone else keeps using.

It’s not high-quality, unique content if you’re just using the same lists and info as the next guy.

Be Detailed with the Good and Bad

One of the best ways to promote yourself as an expert and a trustworthy source is by sharing the good with the bad. In reality, it’s exceptionally rare to come across a product or service that is absolutely “perfect” from your point of view.

Well, that is if you plan on being honest with yourself and your readers.

The more detailed and thorough you are, the more you’re trusted. The more trusted you are, the more people will follow and subscribe to the blog. This leads to greater daily traffic and making more money overall.

Use Your Own Screenshots and Photos

As I said earlier, stock photos can be helpful in certain situations. But using your own images takes writing reviews to a whole new level. Remember, being unique is a vital element in search, which includes your imagery.

Luckily, there are all kinds of free graphics tools you can use if you don’t have the money for something like Photoshop. Personally, I like using Canva for creating images of all kinds for both blogs and YouTube channels.

Step 5: Apply Affiliate Links (If Any)

Now, a lot of people will look for affiliate links first and then write the review. I like to write the review first because I am more focused on the audience and not necessarily on making a sale. This is why a lot of my reviews don’t have affiliate links to them.

Either way is fine, and it really comes down to your personal preference and what you’re trying to accomplish.

In any case, adding affiliate links can help you generate all kinds of income if there is one available, especially if you’re reviewing a popular product or brand.

You can also contact the brand directly for any affiliate opportunities they may have and negotiate a higher commission rate. Though, this is a lot easier to manage if you have a large audience either on your blog or on your YouTube channel.

Step 6: Publish and Share on Social Media

Once everything is set up and you’re done writing the review, publish and share to social media. Every freebie I was offered from brands over the past few years came directly from sharing my post on Twitter.

Sometimes, I’ll even mention the brand in the post or use its hashtags.

The best part is that you don’t have to share on social media directly if you’re not into sites like Twitter or Facebook. In fact, every post that is published from this website is automatically shared through Jetpack’s Publicize module.

All you need to do is set up your Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or other social accounts through Jetpack and hit the publish button.

Step 7: Monitor the Results

Never underestimate the value of good data when writing reviews. Keep an eye on your Pageviews in Google Analytics or another traffic-tracking platform. If the post isn’t showing growth in the numbers after six months, you may want to tweak the article a bit.

Perhaps you’re not answering certain questions thoroughly. Maybe there are a few additional points that may make a difference in how people find the review.

I like to use Search Console for this purpose. It will show you what search terms are being used to find your content and what position it appears in search. It can be incredibly useful when it comes to updating posts and making changes to the article.

Why Are Reviews So Effective When Writing Content?

Reviews are an impactful element when making the decision to pay for a product or service. In fact, about 77% of consumers read reviews frequently before making a purchase.

Most consumers will actually trust online reviews more than any other form of advertising from the brand. This is partially why brands are eager to throw money at someone with a large following.

This is also why content centering around reviews is such an effective type. So many people are constantly looking for in-depth information about what they can expect when it comes to a product.

Whether you’re writing blog posts or uploading reviews to YouTube, they are among the most sought pieces of information. The best part is that many of them are evergreen content, meaning they’ll keep bringing an audience years after being published.

I’ve had a review sit at the number one spot in a Google search for the past four years, which generated nearly one-third of all traffic to the site for the longest time.

Out of more than 700 articles on this blog, three of the top five that generate the most income and traffic are reviews.

What About Writing Negative Reviews of a Product?

Writing reviews is great for affiliate marketing, but what about something you’ve had a negative experience using? It’s unlikely you’ll make an affiliate sale if it’s a poor product.

The fact of the matter is that even bad experiences can result in awesome traffic numbers. And this can lead to people following or subscribing to your blog for future content.

This is because you’re being honest and delivering your personal experiences, which is the foundation of being trustworthy.

Case in point, we had a terrible experience with the Palmini Mashed product as an alternative to potatoes for the keto diet. Even though I abundantly made it clear that the product was horrid, it still generates a lot of traffic and is among the top 10 for the site in terms of making money from AdSense.

Yes, I still put the Amazon affiliate link on the page just in case someone was brave enough to try it themselves. But so far, I guess I did a pretty good job at dissuading anyone from eating that garbage. I haven’t made a single sale for the Palmini product.

Anyway, my point is that even a negative experience with a brand or product can be a boon to your website or YouTube channel.

Are You Writing Reviews for Your Website?

There is no doubt that reviews are an awesome component for any website. Whether you’re blogging about travel or weight loss, there are plenty of things you can write about. All it takes is a bit of interest from your target audience.

Given how effective they are over time, it’s probably one of the better ways to make money from your blog.

What would you like to review for your website?

Michael Brockbank
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