This may turn into a bit of a rant... but I'm going to try and keep it as concise as possible. I am not trying to offend anyone reading this and I refuse to list names, but these are things that I've identified over my time of reading beauty blogs as being a real annoyance.
I'm not saying I have perfect reviews, perfect FOTDs or anywhere close. I am simply going to pass along tips that I use to try and ensure that all of my posts meet a certain level of concise and accurate writing.
If you have anything to add, please feel free to comment! This could be an interesting discussion.
1) Please post clear and accurate photos: This seems like a no brainer, but you'd be surprised at how many blogs I come across that have either blurry or overexposed (or both) photos of color swatches. It is really important when someone is looking for a swatch of something for said swatch to be clear and accurate in color. I understand that not everyone has the macro function on their camera, but if you don't... at least hold the camera steady or use a tripod to keep the photos from blurring. I don't mind so much if an eyeshadow swatch is blurred a little, sometimes it actually helps to show glitter or shimmer. As for color accuracy, I also understand that some photos are difficult to catch in the correct lighting (reds and purples are notorious for being tricky buggers), but at least SAY that the swatch is slightly off. No one is going to fault you if you took 100 pictures of a purple eyeshadow and it appears slightly blue... so long as you say it's off in color a little, and explain how so. If I'm looking at a swatch of Mac Russian Red, it should not appear orange... because it's NOT ORANGE.
2) Learn your camera and how to use it properly: You know those manuals that come with your camera? Try sitting down and reading it. Take some test photos. You'd be surprised what your "dinky" little $150 Sony Cybershot can do. Most cameras now, even cheap ones, have color, flash and ISO adjustments. Set the ISO to the lowest possible number when using flash, it will help to prevent overexposure. If you don't have the paper manual anymore, try looking online. There are camera specialist forums that have tips listed for most popular models of cameras on the market.
3) Make sure your information is accurate: If you are making a simple observation that is not confirmed by the company (such as me saying the WetnWild 6 pan palettes were discontinued), simply state that it was YOUR observation and it is not confirmed. Please stop spouting untrue verbal diarrhea onto the internet. It's really a pain when someone is trying to find information and 6,000 people have a different story to tell. Also, ensure your pricing information and product availability is accurate. My best tip on this is that if you're unsure of something, and you can't find the answer anywhere, don't say "I don't know"... for example, I cannot tell you how many times I've come across a Mac review that says "this is a repromote, but I don't know from what collection." Either don't mention the repromote part, or use Google as your buddy. Seriously. It's irritating. It will also make a reader Google it themselves, and when they find that other blog that has said information, plus more, they will inevitably leave yours to read that one instead.
4) Make appropriate post titles and tags/labels: The next blog that I click on where a post is titled "X Foundation Review and Swatches" where there is not a single fricking picture of the product packaging or a swatch of the product, I will comment on that person's blog telling them to edit their post title. A review is just that -- a review of the product's positives, negatives, uses, price, availability... to be quite honest, I don't give a flying eff if you write that the foundation is "really nice on the skin, lasts a long time and covers up all of your pimples". I want to see the packaging (is it useful, bulky, etc?), a swatch including how well it matches your skin, and a picture of you wearing it. I want to see the coverage as that is the most important thing in a foundation. HOW long does it last? HOW well does it match your skin? You've got to be more detailed. If it's a creaseless cream eyeshadow, is it indeed creaseless? Take one for the team and wear it without primer... it'll be okay. You will NOT die. Try it on the weekend when you don't need to be anywhere. Your review on an anti-crease product is USELESS if you don't talk about wear time or whether it does indeed crease.
5) Quit posting new products just to get blog hits: If you are going to post promotional images, say IN THE TITLE that they are promo images and it is NOT a review. I see so many websites getting Google hits from appearing like they have swatches or a review, and all it is, is a slew of promo images we've seen 1,000 times this week.
6) It's not bad if you get sent a product for free, but at least respect the company who sent it to you: This is a touchy subject for me. For those of you who follow me on Twitter, you know I was complaining the other day about bloggers, small and big, getting products or entire collections for free and then writing up a 5 minute review and calling it a day. If I get a product for free, ever, to review, I am going to do a detailed review just as if I paid for it myself. BUT, it is completely and insanely disrespectful to say, get a BRAND NEW collection of anti-crease products from a company and then literally type up 4 sentences and post it on the internet.
I'm going to take the new Urban Decay Shadow Pencils as an example. One very big blogger did a pretty excellent review on them... it was detailed, she tested the wear time, she also had very detailed color representations and even went so far as to compare them to the original Urban Decay eyeliners. On the release date, I noticed a literal slew of bloggers posting reviews on the very same product and literally slapping up a packaging picture and a swatch picture, saying they were pretty colors, the retail price, and that was it. COME ON... are you forgetting that this product is meant to be used on it's own? You need to test that! Your review is useless to me if I want to know whether or not they last without a primer. But hey, the blogger was successful... they got Google hits, and that's what matters, right? (Wrong.)
The same thing happened with NYX's new HD line, by the way, which is what sparked the ENTIRE above rant. Even if an item is too dark for you, at least still test it (if you got it for free) as it will be helpful to those reading your blog. I don't care if it feels nice on the back of your hand.
7) Stop photoshopping swatch pictures: Believe it or not, I see this quite frequently. I obviously can't spot it on products I haven't used myself, but I've seen too many review posts where there is no way the person got the colors of x item to show up in such a way. It's quite blatantly photoshopped, and I can tell because most of the time, the person isn't good with photoshop. I don't really need to say more on this... this sort of goes with the "post accurate and concise pictures", doesn't it? Why would you photoshop something that a person is relying on to make a buying decision?
8) Use spellcheck: Added on request by Jade. Nothing more needs to be said.
9) Don't be afraid to post a long review: If it takes me 10 minutes to read a darn good review, I don't mind. If I read a terrible review that blathers on for 10 minutes, then yes I will be a bit miffed. Longer isn't always better but the more information you pack into a review, the more beneficial it's going to be... and most importantly, the more your readers are going to keep coming back to you knowing you have a talent for posting good reviews. If you go through all the trouble of doing comparisons to other posts, and pictures of it on other people just because... post it! Any extra information is always useful. I appreciate the work that goes into a review.
Hopefully this helps you guys... and maybe it will allow you to vent some of your frustration as well!