Good news! The number of online shoppers continues to increase daily and with that increase comes the need for quality, useful, and personally-reviewed product information. How exciting that Squidoo provides the means for us to create lenses offering just that!
The goal of a gift guide lens should be to create a vibrant, helpful page that adds value to the shopping experience. There’s nothing like a personal recommendation to keep a shopper’s attention. Do you have to own every product that you review? Of course not. What you do have to do is conduct enough research so that your recommendations become personal recommendations based on the knowledge that you gain through that research. Of course when you have hands-on time with a product and use that experience as the basis of your recommendation, and especially if you document that hands-on time with your own photos, then so much the better.
Building trust with your readers is a responsibility that should not be taken lightly. Everything that you include on a lens should be hand-picked by you to add value to the lens and to enhance the shopping experience for the reader/customer. Put yourself in the shoes of the shopper when you create a gift guide lens and include answers to every question that person might have about the product. A phrase I like to keep in mind is Be the FAQ. If your lens is missing pertinent information, then you haven’t done your job and likely the shopper will go elsewhere.
So before you publish a gift guide or product review, read it again with fresh eyes (it’s good to put it away for an hour or a day then come back to it) to see if any unanswered questions remain. If so, make those additions before you hit the “publish” button.
Your original content that includes interesting, helpful information based on good research, plus a few nice photos are all you need to turn a simple gift guide lens into a complete, amazing shopping guide. That should be your goal.