It's that time of year again – Christmas is just around the corner and most everyone is working on their holiday spending budget. For Christian bloggers, it is a time for creating a few gift guides to hopefully boost the holiday income a bit so you'll have some extra money to do some shopping of your own!
If you jump on Pinterest and type in “gift guide” you'll get flooded with all kinds of pins leading to various holiday shopping guides. But how do you create them in a way that actually generates income for your site? Your gift guide layout matters!
The key to being successful with this endeavor is to know how to create a gift guide for your blog that will actually convert to sales.
This post may contain affiliate links. Read our full disclosure here.
What is a Gift Guide
A gift guide is basically a blog post that rounds up a selection of products that you are recommending to your audience.
Gift guides are usually curated to a particular audience or demographic such as
- Gift Guide for Moms
- Gifts for Dads
- Gifts for Christian Friends
Contrary to popular belief, gift guides are not just relevant during the Christmas holiday season. People buy gifts for others all year long for a variety of occasions and holidays. When creating a gift guide for your blog, you want to consider your target audience and all the things they might be searching for (as it relates to your blog's mission).
How to Create a Gift Guide for Your Blog
Ok, so you are ready to start creating some holiday gift guides. Chances are, you use “gift guide” as the Yoast/RankMath keyword, have a paragraph to open the page, then simply list all of the products you recommend, right?
This is NOT the best approach to creating content that you expect to generate sales from! Knowing how to create a gift guide means that you do your keyword research to see exactly how consumers are searching for the products in your guide.
Think about it – every blogger out there is creating gift guides for just about any item you can think of. You have to create yours in a way that will beat all of theirs out in a Google search or (Pinterest feed).
Don't think of it as a “gift GUIDE” but, instead, approach it as a regular blog post that is targeting a certain “gift” keyword query.
Focus Gift Guides to Your Target Audience
The first step in creating holiday gift guides that convert to sales is to make sure you are creating them specifically for YOUR target audience. Think of all the types of things your target audience would be shopping for this holiday season (as it relates to your blog).
If it doesn't make sense for your target audience and/or it doesn't really fall in line with the content you usually write about, then don't make a gift guide for it!
For example, if your target audience is Christian moms of toddlers, it would make sense to have gift guides for products either for the mom or for kids of toddler age. It would not make sense to have gift guides for teenagers.
Although some of your moms may indeed have teenagers, the majority of your audience most likely does not. Also, the SEO for your site has zero to do with teenage topics so it would be much harder to rank that post.
Choose the Right Keyword for the Content (not the Title)
As with any content that you publish on your Christian blog, choosing the right keyword is equally important for creating holiday gift guides. Why? Because you need the content to rank in search results based on keywords that shoppers are actually using (in the Google search box).
More importantly, you need to be targeting the right “money-making” keywords because that will generate traffic from people who are actually looking to buy something.
Most bloggers will simply put something like “gift guide” or “gifts for women” or something like that as their Yoast keyword. So that means that hundreds (if not thousands) of other bloggers are all trying to get that post to rank for the same keyword.
You want to do solid SEO keyword research to find long-tail keyword options for things people are searching for in the way of gifts.
“Gifts For” keywords
You can narrow down your gift guide layout by doing searches for keywords that start with “gifts for” to find a long-tail keyword that most reflects what types of products are in the guide (or who they are mostly meant for). Examples include:
- gifts for women who love gardening
- gifts for pastors
- gifts for kids who love to read
- gifts for dinosaur-loving kids
These can be further narrowed down with some of the related searches that come up with Keywords Everywhere over on the right sidebar. The more specific, the better!
In addition to finding keywords that include the word “gift,” find keywords that are related to specific things that might be great gift ideas. These will do well during the holiday season because most people don't actually search “gifts for” because they often are looking for the “best of” something. Also, these posts, when properly written for SEO, will generate traffic all year from people wanting to buy these things.
If you are a Mom-blogger, think beyond “gifts for kids” to the types of toys or products moms would most likely be buying for kids (whether it is Christmas or not). For example, “non-toxic toys for babies” or something along those lines.
Even better – “best farm toys.” Just because the main keyword for the post doesn't have the word “gift guide” in it doesn't mean you can't use the Gift Guide approach in writing the content (and for the title).
If you publish a good handful of these that are SEO'd for a particular type of product, you could easily publish a roundup post linking to all of them.
At the end of the day, the keyword phrase you choose needs to be something people are actually searching for because they want to shop!
Holiday Gift Guide Layout
Just like choosing the right keyword, formatting the content on your gift guide post is equally important! In order for your gift guides to be found in organic searches – year after year – you need to have the content laid out in a way for search engines to easily crawl and index it.
Simply listing all your favorite products in a single-file list won't accomplish this goal! You need to approach these as you would when writing a regular blog post.
Remember, you are trying to compete with thousands of other bloggers writing similar content!
You need to have more content for the crawlers to read and pick up on those keywords (and additional keywords) so it can index and rank yours on Page One.
It is important that you use your H2 and H3 headings to break up the content (or segment some of the things on your gift guide).
In other words, start with your H2 header, followed by a couple of paragraphs to talk about this particular gift guide and why these types of products/gifts are so great.
If you have some items that can be segmented into smaller groupings, use H3 headings (and an intro paragraph) before listing them).
For example, you can see in my Gifts for Bible-Lovers guide, I am talking about 3 specific categories of things for Bible lovers (a new Bible, a cover/case for their Bible, and accessories to use in their Bible).
So each of these categories are listed in their own H3 section with a paragraph to introduce it – before listing the actual products I recommend.
Related: How to Format Blog Content for SEO
How to Create a Gift Guide in Canva
The main focus in creating your gift guides should always be organic traffic (from SEO), however, there are some additional ways to increase the visibility of your gift guide content.
As the holiday season approaches, a great way to showcase all of your gift guide content is to create a digital version using Canva that you can easily share with your email subscribers or on social media.
You can easily create a single page or a collection of pages that link to each of your gift guideposts. If you are making it specifically for the Christmas season, you can “dress” it up with holiday graphics.
Be sure you save the gift guide as a pdf so the links will be clickable.
Create Gift Guides ALL Year – Not Just Before Christmas!
The key to seeing consistent affiliate conversions from your content (including gift guides) is to get them ranking on Page One before the particular shopping season rolls around.
Waiting until late November or December to publish them won't yield the results you are hoping for because it takes approximately 4-6 weeks before Google will index it.
And that depends on how well the SEO foundation for your site has been established beforehand.
Your gift guide layout – from choosing the right keyword to formatting the content – will make all the difference in seeing actual income generated from them.
The truth is that you should include gift guides and product posts into your regular monthly content plan (all year long) so you have plenty of them ranking on Page One before the holiday shopping season even comes.
Also, people do shop for gifts throughout the year for various other holidays and special events so publishing them when it isn't Christmas shopping season will produce results all year long.
If you are struggling with how to research money-making keywords for creating gift guides specific to your target audience, I recommend enrolling in Affiliate Marketing for Christian Bloggers.
This course shows you exactly how to target money-making keywords for your regular blog content, as well as an entire lesson on how to create gift guides for your blog that generate consistent monthly income all year long.
I created this course specifically for bloggers in the faith niche who often struggle with monetizing with affiliate links.
In this course, I lay out the exact strategies that I use to create consistent (and growing) monthly income from Amazon and other affiliate programs.
Get those gift guides optimized and published now so you'll be generating income before the holiday shopping season comes back around!