I think, therefore I blog.
This is the mantra of most bloggers out there when they write about their latest shenanigans in Boracay, Philippines, post about the awesome film they watched yesterday, or just rave about the moist muffins they had at Starbucks.
Is blogging about freedom? Definitely. Is it about thoughts? Absolutely.
But don’t mistake freedom for absolute lack of rules. Just because you want to blog about a gadget or a film, doesn’t mean that you should write about every single feeling and reaction you had with it. Sure, you can post about your latest trip to Phuket, but should you go raving about all the things that happened to you there? Of course not.
Blogging is freedom with rules. And as a citizen of the blogosphere, we should all focus on following them for the sake of our reputation and our blogs’ visibility.
Tactics Review Bloggers Should Avoid:
Let us start with the crimes that you should NEVER do…
This is the BIGGEST no-no for all bloggers. Never claim that something is true when it actually isn’t. Otherwise, it will come back and haunt you. Scared yet? Don’t be!
It’s really easy to steer clear of this blogging crime. All you have to do is write about your experience. If you’ve seen a movie, talk about your observations, reactions, and assessments of the film. If you’ve dined at a particular restaurant, talk about what you liked (or disliked!) about the food, the service, the facility.
Basically, don’t say that you’ve done something when you haven’t, just for the sake of giving a “review”. Your readers will see right through it and your reputation will suffer for it.
2. Ignore your readers
As a blogger myself, I know that it can be quite difficult to keep tabs with your readers, especially reply to their comments. But you should find the time to do so.
Constant interaction with your audience keeps them close to your blog (and your heart, perhaps?). Plus, when you reply to their comments, you are also receiving honest feedback for your write-ups and observations. You may even get tons of great ideas which will be useful for your other articles.
As a reminder, do not be so arrogant in thinking that you are the only one with an opinion. Your readers have them too; listen to their feedback and learn from it.
3. Do not update
It’s okay to let your blog go stagnant for a few days (3, at the most), but weeks? Come on!
The main point of a review blog is to give people an idea whether they should experience something or not, be it a film, a gadget, a store brand, a restaurant, a tourist destination; the list is endless.
So how can you give them a preview of those things if your posts are outdated?
I know, I know, most of us are busy from work, family, and other daily concerns, but find the time to come up with an honest post every week, at the very least. If you can’t manage reviews, especially if yours is a travel blog review, then post other “travel-related” articles like news, “top ten” lists, etc. Keep the content of your blog fresh to boost its traffic and maintain its ranking in search engine results pages.
4. Forget social media promotion
Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr (also a blogging platform), Pinterest, YouTube, LinkedIn—these social media giants can make or break the visibility of your blog online. So never ever forget that social media optimisation is key.
If you’re using WordPress, use the publicise setting. This allows you to easily publish your posts on your social media accounts. Plus, WordPress notifies search engines of new updates on your blog as well, which virtually increases the chance of having your posts ranked on the 1st page of SERPs.
5. Write poorly
Not everybody is born with English as their first language. But whether you have it as 2nd, 3rd, or even 4th language, that is no excuse for you not to try and hone your skills in writing and speaking.
First, read, read, read. You will be surprised how reading can contribute to your prowess in the English language. Not only does it boost your vocabulary, but it also orients you to different writing styles.
Second, review your own review. Then do it again. It always pays to double check your work because, although at first glance your grammar may seem fine, at second and third glances, you may notice a missing “S” here, a misplaced punctuation there, or a weirdly-constructed sentence in your conclusion. So take the time to reread and reread (did I say reread?) your work. It will definitely pay off.
6. Steal someone else’s idea
This is what is we call plagiarism.
Sure, the Internet offers free information, but that doesn’t mean you can go around announcing to everybody that you wrote this and that, when you actually didn’t. You’re lying AND stealing, two grave crimes that are almost unforgivable.
With review blogs, it can be quite tempting to copy another reviewer’s opinion. But there is a way for you to give in without committing a crime—credit the author. Mention their names or even link to their blogs or websites. Not only are you enhancing your content, but you are also creating useful outbound links for your readers. Talk about hitting two birds with one stone, right?
Must Read: 10 Commandments of blogging
At some point or another, we bloggers commit some of these crimes. After all, blogging doesn’t come with a neat little manual about the dos and don’ts. We are still learning the art. The best we can do is move on from our mistakes, and do the best we can for our readers!