Thankfully, a blog is the perfect marketing tool that can drive countless new customers to your online business. If you’re reluctant to jump on board the blogging bandwagon, check out the following benefits it offers for e-commerce sites.
Blogs are Easy to Set Up
Regardless of your experience with web development, you should have little to no problems setting up a blog. The free blogging platform WordPress, for instance, requires just a few minutes to install. Depending on your web host, you may have access to a one-click install feature, which can streamline this process even further.
Blogs Attract a Following
Over time, your blog will generate a following of loyal users who regularly visit your blog. When publishing new content, they’ll check your blog to access it. This means new posts will almost always receive some initial traffic, either immediately or shorter after publishing it.
Some of these users may also subscribe your blog’s RSS feed so they can view your blog’s content on different devices and applications. Assuming you link to your e-commerce site from your blog’s RSS content, you can funnel this returning traffic to your store.
Blogs Encourage Social Sharing
An interesting blog post is more likely to be shared on social media than a product page. If a visitor likes your post, he or she may share it with their friends on Facebook — and that person may also share it with their friends. This can create a viral effect that drives tons of traffic to both your blog and e-commerce site.
Encourage users to share your blog posts by including “share this” buttons for the leading social networks at the top or bottom of your posts. While users can share your posts on social media without clicking these buttons, adding them to your blog simplifies the process, thus boosting your blog’s social shares.
Blogs Promote Higher Search Rankings
Your e-commerce site also needs a blog is for search engine optimization (SEO) purposes. Even if few people read your blog posts, search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo will access the content. When search engines crawl your blog, they’ll analyze the content, taking this into account when choosing where and how to rank it. If you blog about cloud computing, for instance, you’ll have an easier time ranking your blog for terms related to cloud computing.
Furthermore, blogging can promote higher search rankings for your e-commerce site. You can integrate links into your blog’s content, directing visitors to your e-commerce store. Again, some visitors may follow these links and buy your product or service. Even if they don’t, however, search engines will crawl these links, giving your e-commerce store a boost in the search results.
You Can Interact with Your Audience
E-commerce sites typically don’t support visitor comments. Instead, most allow verified customers to leave reviews of purchased products. With a blog, however, you can interact directly with your target audience through comments.
All of the leading blog platforms — WordPress, Blogger, Drupal, Tumblr, etc. — have a built-in visitor commenting feature. If a visitor has a question or simply wants to share his or her thoughts on thoughts on the subject, they can leave a comment. Responding to these comments shows your visitors that you listen and care about what they say, boosting the trustworthiness and credibility of your e-commerce site.
Of course, visitor comments are also beneficial for SEO. Each comment is essentially fresh new content, which search engines love. The only downside is that you’ll have to invest time to moderate visitor comments, but most webmasters will agree that it’s well worth it.
You Can Use it to Share Stories
Using your blog, you can publish stories to create a stronger connection with your target audience. Whether it’s a story about your company’s history, a new product, or how a customer benefited from your product, you should include stories in your blog.
In “The Secrets of Storytelling: Why We Love a Good Yarn,” author Jeremy Hsu explains that roughly 65% of our daily communication involves stories. We hear them on TV, at work, and even on the radio during our daily commutes. And when we hear a story, our brain responds by relating to the storyteller. Basically, this means you’ll generate more sales by publishing interesting and engaging stories about your blog.
Optimizing Your Blog Posts
A blog is only beneficial for your e-commerce site if it’s properly optimized. Here are some tips to optimize your blog posts:
- Give each post a unique and relevant title tag, keeping them under 60 characters (including spaces) for maximum visibility.
- Add unique and relevant meta descriptions for each post, making them slightly longer at 160 max characters.
- Understand your target demographic (who reads your blog), producing content geared towards their interests.
- Use SEO-friendly permalinks instead of generic, nondescript links.
- Interlink your blog posts and e-commerce pages together when relevant and helpful to visitors.
- Diversify your blog content with more than just text. Other ideas include videos, photo galleries, infographics, charts, interviews and lists.
- Avoid “keyword stuffing” where you include keywords in your posts for the sake of SEO. Instead, include relevant keywords when it’s natural and beneficial to the end user.
- Create posts highlighting new products added to your e-commerce site
- Conclude your blog posts with a call to action (CTA), such as “Check out this product” or “Let us know what you think,” along with a link to the respective page.
As you can see, blogging is a useful tool for e-commerce businesses. It attracts a following of loyal users, encourages sharing on social media, supports visitor comments, promotes higher search rankings, and more.