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eCommerce Marketing

5 steps to help you build a blog to grow your online store

5 steps to help you build a blog to grow your online store

by John Larkin

John runs the blog here at eCommerceLift and is a verified Shopify Expert. Interested in an initial growth consultation? Click here

8 years ago

5 steps to help you build a blog to grow your online store

The question whether your eCommerce site should have a blog nowadays is pretty much rhetorical. I will answer it anyway: yes, your eCommerce site needs a blog because it is the content that makes the (online) world go round. In 2006 there were 36 million blogs worldwide, by the end of 2013 there were 152 million. This increase was not caused by sudden surge of love for the written word. It was caused by the realisation that blogging can be a powerful form of marketing. Blogs with quality content help to drive traffic and revenue by providing information & entertainment to visitors. Now you know that it is never to late to jump on the blogging bandwagon. But how do I go about building a blog? How do I make it attractive, relevant and useful for visitors? We've prepared a simple, 5-steps guide to answers those questions.

1. Define your audience.

When opening an eCommerce store one of the must-dos is to research and establish your target audience. Same thing applies to blogging: you must know who you are writing for. The style, tone and look of your blog has to be compatible with your audience. 

Look at the screenshot below from ThinkGeek's blog. ThinkGeek is an online store selling (as their name indicates) geeky gadgets. Its audience is presumably young, tech-savvy and spends a lot of time online. ThinkGeek's  blog is written in a light and funny style, studded here and there with memes and references to pop-culture. That works perfectly for their customers - it keeps them interested and engaged. This style however wouldn't necessarily work for a store selling luxury Swiss watches. If you do your homework and understand who your ideal customers are, it will help to make your blog (and business) successful.

2. Use different types of posts

To keep your audience interested it's good to differentiate your content. If your blog consists only of 1000-word posts it will be very hard to keep people reading it on a regular basis. Using variety of post types and different kinds of media, such as images, podcasts and videos can help to increase readability (and shareability) of your blog. Below I list couple of types of blog posts but really, the possibilities are as endless as your creativity:
  • product reviews
  • how-to guides
  • news from your company and industry
  • tips & tricks
  • contests & giveaways
  • lists 
  • surveys

3. Blog on schedule

Whether you publish your posts once a day, once a week or once a month it is a good idea to do it regularly. For example, if you blog once a week, you might want to hit the publish button (or schedule your posts) on every Tuesday morning. This way you will get your audience used to the fact that new content appears on your blog on a regular basis. Your customers are more likely to come back to your blog than when you are just posting now and then. Most modern blogging platforms have a feature that allows for scheduling blog posts. You can create your content in advance and then set the system to make them go live on a regular basis. 

To blog regularly you need to plan ahead. Unfortunately, in every blogger's life there are those scary moments when you just don't know what to write about. There is an easy way to prevent them: creating a content calendar. It will help you to plan for the coming months and to make sure you always know what to write about. You don't need super hi-tech software or equipment to create one – piece of paper or spreadsheet will do. Gather your team once every couple of weeks, brainstorm for ideas, pencil them in the publishing slots in your calendar and start creating content. Make sure your post are ready ahead of schedule and that you have a couple of spare ones in store in case of some unexpected events. 

4. Must-have blog elements

Blogging for eCommerce is really about driving traffic to your store. Fortunately, there are ways to do it without stuffing the content of your blog with densely packed keywords (you write for people, not for search engines, remember?).
  1. Links to your store – if mention a product but don't include a link - it is a wasted opportunity
  2. Social sharing buttons – make it easy for visitors to share your content
  3. Newsletter subscription box – this is a great opportunity to extend your mailing list
  4. Comments section and invitation to discussion – sparkle the conversation and get people talking!

All of these elements can help to engage your audience. Oh, and a keyword here and there won't hurt. 

5. Quality content

Quality content is the most powerful and important of all of the blog features. At the end of the day this is what attracts readers and turn them into your customers. It can seem daunting at first when you launch into the world of blogging, and it is a challenge. But definitely a challenge worth pursuing. Did you know that companies that blog have 97% more inbound links and 46% of people read blogs more than once a day? Stats like that shouldn't be ignored - people love blogs & stores love people!
Companies that blog have 97% more inbound links and 46% of people read blogs more than once a day
What does quality content really mean? Be honest with your visitors, respect them and don't try to trick them. Give them value – let your blog be a place where they turn looking for advice and answers to their questions. Tell stories you have heard, share information about your past, highlight interesting use cases for your products & most of all be yourself. Try to be unique, find your own style and always remember – you write for people. 

Any questions or want to share your own experiences? Let us know in the comments below!


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