It's officially holiday gift guide season! While gift guides are extremely popular during the holidays, gift guides can be useful at various points throughout the year. Today I am going to share five essential elements of a great gift guide so your gift guides can make a better impact for your blogs and for your readers.
Related Reading: 40 Holiday Blog Post Ideas
1. Great Gift Guides Solve A Problem
First, your gift guides need to solve a problem for your readers. Your gift guides shouldn't be just a place for you to link up a bunch of products. What problems are you actually solving for the people who come to your blog? If you aren't solving their gift giving problems, your gift guide is irrelevant.
The Problem: Your readers have a lot of people to shop for but they have no idea what a great gift would be for them.
Your Solution: Provide your readers with a slew of specific gift guides filled with tons of actually useful items.
Do not stuff your gift guide with gifts that aren't actually useful. Take your time to select gifts that you think people would actually like to gift and receive.
Great Gift Guides Are Specific
Let's go back to that one one that I just used: specific. Why are great gift guides specific? Well, there are a couple of reasons:
- When you create specific gift guides for various sets of people, you can create more gift guides.
- When you create specific gift guides, your readers can find the exact guides they need, instead of wading through one long gift guide for a section that may or may not even be there.
So, don't make ultimate gift guides, make a few mini ones. These mini-guides save your readers time and patience.
Here are a few examples:
- X Amazing __ (Amazon, Walmart, Target, etc) Gifts For Millennials (or any age group) Under $X: This is a great guide because you are identifying a specific set of people, a specific price point, and a specific store that most people have access to.
- X Great Gifts For The Tech-y People In Your Life: This is specific in that you know it will be all about tech items. I wouldn't come to this list looking for clothing items (unless they were tech related clothing items) and I may be willing to spend more since I am checking out a tech related guide.
- X Gift Ideas That Will Make You The Cool Aunt:
Well, this is just a personal gift guide I would want.This guide is specific because it focuses on one group of gifters: aunts. You could include gifts for kids of all ages and genders, but this would be geared for people who want to be seen as the cool aunt for Christmas or other holidays like birthdays.
As you can see by these examples, specifity will make your gift guides resonate with a specific set of people. This is so helpful becuase that connection makes your readers more likely to purchase from your gift guide. Connect with your audience and provide gift guides that match them.
2. Great Gift guides Consider your Reader Demographics
Further, gift guides consider your readers and their demographics. You shouldn't publish just any gift guide. This blog is very focused on bloggers and solopreneurs. If I wanted to create a gift guide on this blog, I wouldn't create a just any gift guide, I would focus specifically on my reader demographics. So I might publish a gift guide for freelancers, a tech-y gift guide for starting bloggers, or something of that nature.
For example, if your readers are made up of 18-25 year olds, it wouldn't be smart to include $300 gifts on your gift guides. Sure, some of your readers could probably afford to drop $300 on one gift, but chances are your readers will look at that gift idea, scoff, and think that you aren't very in touch with their needs as a young adult.
As another example, if your demographic is women, but you have a million male oriented gift guides, that wouldn't make sense. Yes, one or two male centered gift guides would be smart, but your entire gift guide selection shouldn't be centered on what to get guys. Also, when you create those gift guides, you want to create a connection between your reader and the gift guide for guys. So, gifts for your boyfriend, husband, or father.
3. Great Gift Guides Include Affiliate Links
Your gift guides should earn you money. You put a lot of time and effort into them, and they need to return something for you. So, your gift guides should always include affiliate links where you can.
I know that affiliate links are rather annoying to add. They take forever and it can take a long time to add every. single. one. I love VigLink for creating affiliate links with ease. So, what does VigLink do?
As you can tell, there are three major categories on VigLink:
- VigLink Convert: VigLink Convert converts your links to affiliate links. So, when you share a random link to any of their merchants, it's converted automatically to an affiliate link when your readers click the link.
- VigLink Insert: VigLink Inserts notices when you mention certain words that are related to a shop or product and creates an affiliate link for that inserted link.
- VigLink Shopping: VigLink Shopping is helpful because it sees when the links you are sharing are going to a place that doesn't have a budget or is down for any reason. Then it redirects those links to a shopping page for your readers to see similar products from merchants who actually have a budget for affiliate links.
- Alex and Ani
- Blue Apron
- and more!
Once you make that link, VigLink takes notice when your reader clicks and converts that normal link to an affiliate link.
VigLink is a 3rd party service. This means that you are not making a direct connection with the company like you might if you are working with each individual company on a place like ShareASale. This also means that VigLink takes a cut of your money. But, the great thing is that you get to save time when creating affiliate links, and make money on links that you wouldn't have necessarily monetized already.
VigLink is not a perfect solution, but it is a quick solution if you want to avoid linking every single product in a gift guide or in your day to day blogging life.
4. Great Gift Guides Include Pictures
Your readers shouldn't have to go above and beyond to see what your gift suggestions look like. I suggest that you download at least some of the items in your gift guide to create a collage to share with your gift guide.
This can easily be done on Canva, but if you have more advanced skills you could also do this on Photoshop. Here is a tutorial from A Beautiful Mess on how to use Photoshop to create product collages.
If you can, I encourage you to share pictures with all of the products you recommend, but if that is not possible I definitely understand. Select a few of your absolute favorites to share in your gift guide collage.
5. Great Gift Guides Create A Connection Between You And The Product
Why should I believe you when you say this is the absolute best gift for my friend? I love my friend and I don't want them to be disappointed with the gift I give them. Above all else, I want to make sure this gift actually works like it's supposed to.
When you create a connection between you and the product, you tell your readers that this is the best thing and I know because I have personally used it. Whether you got this item for free as a blogger or spent your cash on the product, having products you have actually tested can create a better gift guide. Obviously you may not have tried every single item, but the more you have tried, the better.
Also reach out to your friends and family. They may know of something they purchased from a store that they really adore. Even if you haven't personally tested the product, a vote of confidence from a family member or friend you gush about may be just as useful. People want to know why you are recommending the products in your gift guide and if they see that you actually know and love the products that helps.
Gift guides can be a great way to make money during the holiday season. With these five elements you can create a gift guide that wows your readers, makes you money, and helps your audience solve the problems they have with gift giving. I hope that this post shed some light on gift guides and how to make great ones!