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The essentials of creating a buying guide

Posted 9 years ago by Skimlinks

These days, it’s safe to say that online shopping has become the preferred method of shopping for most consumers. With the simple click of a mouse you can have everything you ever wanted, and then some! But as our online shopping habits grow, so do our choices and knowing exactly what to buy has become more difficult. Enter the buying guide.

Here at Skimlinks, we tout the buying guide for its powers and with good reason. They help consumers in a time of need. Need a gift for Mom on Mother’s Day? Or maybe you’re searching for that perfect gift for your best friend? Curated buying guides from your favorite publishers are the answer. People love to read them, use them for inspiration and make informed decisions about buying the products featured.

So what does it take to create a top-notch buying guide? Here are our tips:

  • Plan buying guides around relevant holidays/events.
    From the Winter Holidays to Valentine’s Day, Mother’s and Father’s Day, there is no shortage of calendar holidays to inspire your buying guide content. The NRF has a list of these holidays by spend in US dollars, which you can use to keep in the know about when to create this helpful content on your site. Maybe there’s a lesser known holiday you’d like to write about? Buying guides are the perfect opportunity to incorporate unique content that you otherwise might not have covered on your site. So go ahead, celebrate all the traditional and even a bit wacky holidays with fun, themed buying guides.
  • Inspire and inform.
    This suggestion comes from Ben Bowers, managing editor of Gear Patrol. Bowers is definitely on to something, emphasizing that the key ingredient of every buying guide should be inspiration, which then entices consumers and generates intent. Above all else, you want your content to be a source of inspiration for your audience. Having that as the main driver will naturally result in high-quality guides that resonate with readers. Check out Gear Patrol’s buying guides for ideas, or see how other publishers create commerce content here.
  • Include quality imagery.
    The power of quality imagery is undeniable. Hey, there’s a reason the saying goes “a picture’s worth a thousand words.” Images can convey things words sometimes can’t so don’t skimp out on imagery for your buying guides. Whether you shoot original photography or create a well-designed collage for your buying guide, aim to create the kind of beautiful and inspirational content your readers will enjoy.
      • Keep your links updated.

    A well-maintained buying guide has the ability to be helpful and relevant long after its original publish date. Since the content is often product-focused, make sure your content is deep linked directly to the products you’re writing about (and that there are no broken links.) That way when readers come across some of your older content they’ll still be able to utilize your suggestions and make purchases.

Include image mapping to make it easy for your readers to find out more about the products you feature in your buying guide. The tags, labels and prices need to be properly identified so readers can easily match them to the visuals (and make decisions about potential purchases.)

      • Create a connection to your content.

    Focusing on the type of experience you want to portray through your buying guide is one way to create that connection. Don’t just write about products, create an atmosphere that inspires readers and maybe even entices them to want to click and make a purchase.

Write about the things that make sense for your site. Your readers trust the recommendations you make so make sure the content you present to them is both authentic and appealing. Weave in stories and imagery to emphasize your point and that convey the experience you want your buying guide to evoke.

Each and every publisher is different, so you’ll have to decide for yourself exactly how to apply these tips when creating buying guides for your site. However, the key is to remember to inspire, inform and entice. Include deep links straight to products and paint a picture for your readers. Happy creating!

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