What makes a quality review?

You want your reviews to be well received, and ultimately found to be helpful.  Most of the time that means a fairly long review, but not all reviews can be 500 words.   Sometimes you are reviewing charging cables.   Or toilet paper.   Or nail clippers.   No one wants to read a really long review on those kinds of items of course.   Figuring out how long your review should be really depends most on the type of product.

Consumers like a long review when it comes to things like electronics, appliances, or furniture items that require assembly.  They are reading to find out ease of set up and use (the more detail information the better), they want to find out the quality, they want to compare and contrast other similar items, and they want to know the value of what they are getting in relation to the price.   Your review should try to touch on all these things.   Really long reviews seem to get the best response when they are bullet pointed or laid out in a logical manner (i.e. first impressions, set up, how to use, overall impressions after use, and a final summary or comparison between this product and others).

Some reviews though, are necessarily short.   You should not attempt to write a 500 word review for something as mundane as a charging cable.  No one wants to read through that, and I’m not even sure it’s possible to write 500 words on a charging cable.   So keep it informational and to the point.   How long is the cord, is it as advertised?  Will it work with Android or Apple?  Does it charge as fast as other cords?  Is the cord thick or thin?  What material is the cord, rubber or braided?

Every few months go through your review history and update your reviews. My method is to tack on edits at the beginning or end of my review.   You may want to edit the entire review, but I think this takes more time and I like to leave my original review so people can clearly see my edits over time.  Sometimes I go in several times over a period of years and make edits to say “still working” or “this product has minor wear, but is as functional as ever.”  I always put the dates on my edits “EDITED 7/6/16” and make them very visible and distinct.  This is very useful information for people as most reviews are written within a few weeks of getting a product, and the vast majority of people don’t go back to update their reviews.  People like to know how things hold up over time.   This adds a lot of value to your reviews, and people will be grateful you took the time to provide the information.

Quality reviews will always have correct spelling and punctuation.   I cannot stress enough to go back and proofread your work.   There are people who will judge your discernment ability and intellect based on the grammar you use and the spelling errors you make.  Fair or not, that is how the world works.   Brush up on the rules surrounding the proper use of your, you’re, their, there, they’re, to, two and too.

Amazon highlights what they think are the “most helpful reviews” for each product.   These are an excellent resource to pattern your own reviews after.   Most of the time these reviews are thorough, well written in a logical flow, and they usually are longer than other reviews for the same product.  Study these and pattern your reviews like they write theirs.

Another tool you can use if you really want to get hard core with your reviews is finding out the Fleishman Readability Score on your reviews.  This blog entry is a high 7th grade reading level, which is about where you want to keep things for a review as well.   Newspapers like USA Today and the New York Times are written to a 7th grade reading level to make them readable for the widest number of people.  Any score higher than that and you risk alienating some readers, unless you are reviewing a very specialized type of item where you need to use a lot of technical jargon, for instance if you are reviewing things like professional grade drill presses, or medical equipment – you can be excused for having a difficult readability score.   If your scores fall well below a 7th grade reading level consider using longer sentences and more adjectives to bump it up a notch.  A score that is too low, although very simple to read, may make you seem less intelligent than you really are.  You want people to trust you and your reviews, so don’t give them any reason to think less of you.

prudent reviewer


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