If you already have an online store, and are looking for ways to improve it, here's a checklist of 8 quick, actionable items you can do today to grow your business.
Is a blog really that important for your ecommerce store?
When you start an ecommerce business, you might think that you just want to sell your products and not worry about things like writing good blog posts and attracting a following. It's tempting to throw up a blog because everyone's doing it, and then fail to update it regularly with quality content. After all, you're a store owner, not a writer, right? Plus, you have more important things that demand your attention.
A blog is vital to the growth of your ecommerce business for several reasons. I'd like to discuss both why a blog is important, and how you can blog most effectively to grow your business.
First of all, here are 4 reasons that a blog is an important factor in your ecommerce business's success:
1. Blogs are good for SEO.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the process of optimizing your website to show up higher in search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo when people search for certain keywords. One of the ways that search engines determine in what order to rank search results is by the frequency that you post content on your website, and the density of relevant keywords in your content.
For example, if I sell Radio Flyer wagons, and I publish blog posts several times a week containing the keyword "Radio Flyer wagons," Google is going to figure that my website has something to do with Radio Flyer wagons, and my site is going to showing up higher in search results when people search for those wagons. Note: No single SEO strategy is enough to get you to the front page of Google your chosen keywords. Improving your SEO is a complicated and ongoing process, but blogging regularly about your products will definitely help in the long run.
2. A blog creates a personality behind your ecommerce store
A blog on your ecommerce site is a great way to build relationships with your audience. When you write regular blog posts that show some personality, visitors to your site will start getting to know you, rather than just seeing a website. You've probably heard the saying that "people do business with people they like and trust," and I think this is true with ecommerce just as much as with any other business. When your audience can put a face with the brand--when they see that you are a real person with products that you genuinely think will better their lives--they are more likely to buy from you and to be loyal to you. This is an effective way to compete with big stores like Amazon that may have better prices--you may not be able to beat Amazon's prices, but you can add a personal touch that they can't.
3. Blog posts can help you go viral
By encouraging your readers to share your posts on social networks like Pinterest and Facebook, awareness of your blog (and your business) can spread organically very fast. This is only effective if you are posting content worth sharing, so be creative and helpful in your posts. Remember, people post things on their social media accounts that make them look good to their followers and friends, so put things on your blog that you would want to share with your friends and followers. A good question to ask yourself when writing on your blog is this: If I found this blog post on someone else's site, would I want to share it on my social media profiles?
4. A blog can educate your audience
Use your blog to provide useful, practical information to your audience. This will help to establish your brand as an expert in your field, and by providing helpful information you can build trust and loyalty with your audience. If your viewers begin to view you as a true authority in your field, they will be more likely to try the products you sell.
This is also a great way to encourage repeat visits to your ecommerce site. Someone might find your blog helpful and educational, and even if they don't buy something during that first visit, they may return later for more quality blog content and then decide to make a purchase.
Practical example: Imagine that you have an ecommerce business selling replacement car parts for aspiring DIY mechanics. You then regularly post tutorials on how to install the parts that you sell or do other car maintenance, including written tutorials and video walkthroughs. You also include a link in each post to buy the product that's being featured in that tutorial. By doing this, you build a reputation as an educational resource and trustworthy authority. You don't just sell the parts--you also teach people what to do with them.
5 quick tips for ecommerce blogging
Now that we've talked about why a blog is helpful, I'd like to share 5 quick, practical tips on how to blog for ecommerce success:
1. Post lots of images and videos
These will probably mostly feature your products, or perhaps other items related to your niche. Post beautiful images and then share them on Pinterest!
2. Provide easy ways for your readers to contact you
Encourage your readers to ask questions about products, contact you for customer service, and leave comments on your blog to encourage interaction.
3. Post regularly and often
Posting every few weeks or months is probably not enough. It's best to have a regular schedule of at least one post a week, and even better if it's on the same day every week so people grow to expect it. Maybe even have various regular posts. For example, feature a different product every Wednesday, showcase a how-to video every Friday, etc. People like regularity, so provide it for them!
4. Post customer testimonials and reviews
Show off your customer satisfaction! This fosters trust with other potential customers through social validation.
5. Use your blog to give out surprises and goodies
Host a giveaway, perhaps by encouraging readers to leave a comment on a blog post and saying that you'll choose a random commenter to receive a special prize. Try giving out inside information on special deals so that your blog readers are the first to know.
Have you found a blog to be an important part of your ecommerce success? Do you have any questions or suggestions of things that have worked for you? Leave a comment below!