Dare I say that most online store owners don’t blog? And they are missing out on one of the best ways to grow their online business.
We’ve all heard that content marketing is king and blogs matter. If you aren’t already blogging you might think that this looks like hours of unnecessary work and effort that won’t markedly impact on your bottom line. But if you want to rank on Google, there simply is no better way than to create consistent blog posts. It keeps your website content fresh, which the Google algorithm loves. And, it gives your website 434% more indexed pages and 97% more indexed links than online shops without a blog.
Research shows that businesses that blog generate 67% more leads per month.And if your content is compelling, those leads turn into customers.
An e-commerce blog can start a conversation with potential and current customers. This makes it a great relationship building tool.
People prefer long-form content to advertising. Eight out of ten people report that they ignore Google ads when they appear on the screen. In contrast, they pay attention to articles and blogs. Often, they spread links to your articles by sharing it on social media and email, generating interest organically.
Blogging lets you tell your story the way you want it to be told. Rather than worrying about negative reviews and people telling others about your business, a blog lets you show the world that you are an expert in your niche and that you really do take your business seriously.
Like all content marketing strategies blogging isn’t about instant gratification. It takes time and patience, and a surprising number of blogs. Most businesses should aim for at least one a week. You should then repurpose your blogs by sending them out to your email list and posting the content on your social media channels. Eventually, it will pay off, especially if you have a good SEO blogging plan. Let’s look at some ecommerce sites that do have blogs.
Yes, the leader in ecommerce has a blog. You can view it at https://www.aboutamazon.com/news. When you read these articles, you will notice that they are not ads – they are stories. such as this article about how two sisters use Alexa to make life easier after being diagnosed with Sjogren’s syndrome. This is how you should write blog articles for your online store – talk about how your products and services are making a positive impact on people’s lives.
Jessica Alba’s online store for new parents, honest.com, has a blog that you should also look to for inspiration. View it at https://www.honest.com/blog. At the bottom of each article is a section called “Stop this story,” which provides links to the products mentioned in the article. The articles are clearly informative and are not a sales pitch, but this allows you to buy her products if the story interested you. Brilliant!
Yes, Home Depot also maintains a blog. They don’t specifically call their collection of articles a blog, but rather named it “DIY Projects and Ideas.” Naming your blog is a good idea. for example, I named my blog years ago, “Energize Your Website.” Home depot also has come to realize the importance of video in content marketing, as many of their blog posts are incorporating video.
Obviously, all these companies are big and have a staff of writers to create a consistent flow of new blog articles. So what about a solopreneur or small company. Does a blog still make sense?
Unlike the previous example, this is a small online store that has learned how important blogging can be. Check out their blog at https://www.gourmetfoodstore.com/gourmet-food-blog/. This should inspire every small business owner to follow their lead.
The Bruce Company
A local garden center, The Bruce Company maintains both a blog and an online store. Be sure to check this out – it shows you how a blog really helps to establish this company as the export in what they do.
Considering the real, specific benefits blogging offers, you have to ask yourself if it’s something you can afford to ignore. But I get it – blogging takes time. I write a new blog post every week, and between research, creating or finding images, editing, and now, adding a video to each blog post, it often takes half a day or longer. You can outsource this, but at $100 per hour, that means than a blog post could cost you $500 per post! This is a real cost of $2,000 per month. Blogging is a significant investment in both time and money, even if you outsource this to someone else.
But, and this is a big but, if you are not blogging, you’re making a mistake by ignoring the opportunity in front of you. Here are the two most important ways that blogging can improve your business:
Increase organic traffic
The content pieces most likely to rank on Google’s first page—and bring in customers who haven’t been exposed to your brand—are blog posts. Your blog posts will help drive traffic to your site because every time you write a post it is an additional indexed page that search engines associate with your business. If your content is valuable, this can help you climb the SEO Google ranks.
Establish yourself as an expert
Establishing yourself as an expert in your niche is a great way to gain the trust of potential customers. A blog can make your website look like a helpful platform, not just another store where people shop based on price. As an export, you are providing added value that other stores are not and improving the lives of your customers by telling them stories about how your products are being used.
Should my blog be on the same domain as my online store?
The short answer is yes. Despite the fact that Amazon has chosen to host theirs on a different domain, for most companies you will get maximum benefit, both from and SEO standpoint and the standpoint of establishing yourself as an export by keeping your blog and your store as a single domain.
How often should I post?
You want to be consistent with your posting. Personally, I post every Wednesday morning (I write the blogs in batches and schedule them to go out at 7am each Wednesday). I recommend that you start with once a month, then as you get more comfortable, go to twice a month and eventually work towards once a week.
How long does it take to write a blog post?
Research indicates that a well thought out long form blog post takes about 6 hours. My personal experience would verify this. These are some things to consider:
- Keyword research
- Topic research
- Image creation
- Outline, including section headings
- Rough draft
- Video creation
- Final Draft
- Title Creation
Obviously, all these things are going to take some time to put together. I recommend breaking this up over several days, so you don’t spend more than 2 hours per day yon any one post. This gives you an opportunity to add more information later as you think about it. When I create a post, this is what I do, and it makes writing long form posts much easier. Try to write enough posts that you have a month’s worth of upcoming articles at any one time so you aren’t scrambling each week to create new content.
Should I write about specific products in my store?
The short answer is no – write about lifestyle, events, and topics of interest to your readers. Then, link to your products when you are making a point. For example, if you are a ski shop, talk about ski trips, specific runs are different resorts, techniques, and fun on the slopes. But of course the reason for an ecommerce blog is to help you sell more, so you will definitely want to link to your store products as you describe your adventures! If you sell clothes, write about fashion. If you sell food, share recipes. You get the idea – look at the examples above for inspiration.
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