There is an oft held belief in setting up an eCommerce business that your product’s quality or uniqueness will be enough to ensure success. With most eCommerce stores ultimately failing, it is important to understand a simple truth: Website traffic means sales. One of the easiest ways to generate that excitement-generating, revenue-creating traffic is an eCommerce blog. These following 5 tips will show you the handy secrets of not only creating and maintaining a stellar blog, but also a stronger connection to your customers.
1. Identify Your Important Topics
When beginning a blog for your eCommerce site, it is important to recognize what you should be writing about. This can be anything pertaining to your business or the message you are trying to share, but these topics need to be optimized and refined for your reader and your online presence.
On today’s internet, if your potential customers can’t find you in a search, they will have a harder time finding your product. So, before you write your blog posts, be sure to consider:
What is this post trying to achieve?
How will this post generate traffic for my online store?
How is this post – and all of my content – unique from my competitors?
How is this post being used to sell my business?
Once you have answers to those questions, it is time to identify the important topics from your responses, and use those topics as focal points for your posts. This is the first step in optimizing your blog for search engine traffic – Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
In short, this means writing about the topics and key words and phrases that your potential (and existing) customers are most likely to search for when trying to find your products. For example, if you run an online store that sells camping equipment, you would want to include specific words and phrases such as “camping equipment”, “outdoor camping supplies”, and “best equipment to go camping with”.
Put yourself in the shoes of a potential customer, and focus on what you would search for if you were looking for your product.
2. A Blog Post is a Story With A Hidden Sales Pitch
After you have determined a topic to write about, as well as some key words and phrases to use throughout the post, it is time to create the post itself. The next question to ask is, what kind of post do you want to offer?
One way to do this is to visit your favorite eCommerce blog (or even personal blogs) and study how they deliver their posts. Are you fond of posts that highlight a new piece of equipment? Perhaps you enjoy reading personal anecdotes of the author? Or maybe you are a fan of more creative posts, which showcase many ways how to use popular (and even unpopular) items?
There is no best way to create a blog post, as long as you are somehow selling a product or informing your reader about your business in some way.
For example, let’s say you recently went camping in the Rockies using a new all-in-one Swiss Army Shovel, and you want to tell your customers about how awesome it is. You could outright describe the shovel, how and why it worked so well, and link back to your store. Or, in understanding that creating a blog for your eCommerce site is to create a greater outreach to your potential and existing customers, incorporate the shovel into a recap of your camping adventure. Or, make a list of all the tasks the shovel can do and create a descriptive Listicle post.
The point is, offer your post with a connection to your reader in order to describe and sell the product in question (without it sounding like you have written a product description), as well as your brand. Customers love connection to their favorite brands, and outright sales attempts do not have a high chance of converting into certified sales. Be creative and personal with your posts, and develop that connection with your customers.
3. Do Not Neglect Layout
When was the last time you visited a blog and immediately clicked away as you were met with a wall of text and several hyperlinks? A poorly-designed blog will fail to live up to its full sales potential, regardless of the quality of its content. But, how do you achieve a welcoming and engaging blog?
Images and layout.
Blogs with images – whether photos, charts, or even videos – will result in more traffic and retention than just text. Not only do images and other visuals offer an immediate, easy-to-comprehend description of your topics, but they also break up the layout of your blog post by interrupting walls of text, creating workable boundaries on the page, and establishing an overall identity of your blog.
Go back to your favorite blogs, and you will see that they all have a specific layout(s) they use for their posts. How do they utilize images and visual aspects to represent their content best? If you are the owner of the camping store, it might be a good idea to start each post with a high-quality action shot of your topic – the Swiss Army shovel stuck into the side of a tree that it just fell, or a campfire cook pot, with stew bubbling away inside as the flames lick up from beneath.
Next, notice how they place their text around the images. Do the images stay large with small paragraphs of text? Or, are there in-depth paragraphs that wrap around smaller images in a way that creates a flow to the reading and gives it an ease of comprehension? Any layout can work, but you must keep in mind that it needs to be clean, on the point of your brand and identity, and overall easy for the customer to read, and more importantly, lead to a sale. Don’t create more work for a potential customer by forcing to read through a dense story just to see the merit of the shovel. Tantalize them with words, pictures, experiences, and enough description to direct them to your sales page, while you craft a story around the product that will better connect you to your customers on a personal level.
4. Study the Ins and Outs of Your Site
Not understanding how your potential customers can find your products on the internet is no longer an excuse in today’s internet age. Above, we touched on creating key words and phrases for proper Search Engine Optimization. But, that is far from the only foray into the “inner workings” of Ecommerce that you should conduct.
Metadata is an important aspect of business and eCommerce sites that is often overlooked. This data – descriptive phrases and words that search engines utilize to find relevant search results from the vast sea that is the internet – is vital to identify your site to the computer, not just the customer. Unless a customer searches for your business specifically, most of your traffic will be generated from potential customers searching for an answer to a problem they have. Continuing our example, your potential customers all have the same problem – they need durable, affordable camping equipment. How do you ensure they find your store over your competitors?
Create a meta description for your blog. This is a short, two-sentence phrase of description about the blog itself. This is the short description beneath each search result you see in Google. This will often be the first description potential customers see on your business, so be sure to use the keywords you decided on at the beginning of the writing process to hook your readers.
Additionally, make sure all of your URLs are connected to their relevant locations. Broken links, and complicated or irrelevant links, are unprofessional and will drain away customers faster than your content can keep up.
Finally, Don’t be afraid to spend money on analytic resources that can track the key words and phrases that your customers are searching for. This will help you better tailor your posts to create the most engagement, which will translate into increased sales.
5. Be Consistent
Consistency is an often overlooked necessity when it comes to blogging of any kind. Personal blogs may be more forgiving, but as a business blog – designed to help sell your brand and product – you must consistently engage with your customers, both existing and potential.
It need not require a post every day, but you should adopt a posting schedule and adhere to it at all times. Posting at least 3-4 times a week is generally a great frequency to generate an appropriate amount of traffic to help create and spread your brand, but it should fit the brand and feel of you and your business.
Additionally, consistency between posts is also another area to focus on. You should be offering varied content to ensure your blog isn’t stale (a blend of product features, personal stories that tie back into a product, questionnaires about products and your customers, and so on). But, your customers should always have feelings of familiarity upon opening any post.
For example, every product feature post should follow a similar layout.
And, every post featuring a questionnaire should offer a similar amount of descriptive guidance before asking your audience’s opinion. No matter what you are selling, your writing style, or which industry you are in, following a consistent post schedule and adhering to a consistent site layout will help lift your blog and business over the sea of stale eCommerce sites and struggling business owners. Remember, the goal is to be a savvy, well-connected source of information and products to your audience. Consistency is a necessity to achieve this goal.