Feature Spotlight – Blogging
With the introduction of the SocialCommerce tools in 3dcart version 3.2, we unveiled the store Blogging tool.  This feature allows you to instantly create a blog on your store that is housed all within the confines of your main site – thereby sharing, not only the same SEO and RSS functions of your site, but also your site’s overall look and feel.

For today’s Feature Spotlight, we’ll be covering the 3dcart Blog feature.

What exactly is a Blog?

The term “blog” has been around for several years, and it’s basically a shortening of the phrase, “web log.”   Originally blogs were used as a type of online journal where writers posted their thoughts, feelings and observations.
With the arrival of Social Media sites like MySpace, Facebook and Twitter, the practice of blogging about one’s life was eventually replaced with “Status Updates” and “Tweets.”  These days, blogging is more commonly used to provide commentary and news on a specific topic or subject matter.  As such, a blog can be a great way to showcase your online store.

How?  Well, think of a blog as a way to keep your customers informed of news as it pertains to your store.  For example, take our own blog (which you’re reading right now) as a way to illustrate our point.

Our aim in this posting is to introduce and educate you about one of our features and, hopefully, entice you into using it.  We feel it’s a pretty good feature to have on your site, so we’re basically making you aware of its existence by posting an article about it.  A passive advertisement, if you will.

Unlike other forms of advertising that indirectly address your audience; a blog can help you connect with your customers on a more personal and informal level by allowing you to speak directly to them; just as I am speaking to you right now.  A blog can also be used as an open venue where your shoppers are allowed to discuss topics and build an online community where their feedback can be shared.

How can I enable the blog?

First, you’ll want to read this KB article that describes the process in detail.

Don’t worry.  It’s really easy.  The fact of the matter is that your blog is already present and ready to use.  You just need to supply a link to it.  The KB article mentioned above will show you how to do this and you’ll be blogging in no time.

What on earth would I blog about?

Anything you want!  If you feel it’s newsworthy to your store, blog about it!  Think of your store’s blog almost like the pull-out section of your Sunday paper where you may find an advertisement to your favorite store.  A blog can be used as your business’ own advertising pull out section.  Here are just a few blog article examples you may consider.  Blog about:

  • Upcoming Sales
  • Special Promotions
  • Featured Products
  • Special events

You can also blog about anything you feel like sharing with your customer base.  For example, perhaps there’s a special group or charity that your business is affiliated with and you’d like to draw more attention to their cause.  A simple blog post can help spread the word.

A blog can also be used to promote the human side of your business.  Consider that part of the charm of shopping at a so-called “ma and pop” store is the fact that the proprietors are usually accessible and – in many cases – on a first-name basis with their customers.  With a blog, you can help bring some of those quaint, personal touches to your website and build a friendly customer base.

A blog can help you reach out to your customer base and help keep them informed about your business in a way that standard advertising never could.

So what’s so special about 3dcart’s blog?

While there are very powerful, 3rd party blogging tools available such as Joomla, & WordPress, these cannot be fully integrated with your 3dcart store.  Instead, these must be attached to your store through the use of either links or DNS changes.  From an SEO point of view, this isn’t usually the most desirable method.

Only 3dcart’s blogging tool can provide you with a truly seamless blog experience, by integrating itself directly to your store and store manager interface.

Here are some of the features available to you with 3dcart’s Blog Tool

  • It’s built into your store
    No need to host it elsewhere, or manage from another portal.  One interface, one login.
  • Share your site’s look and feel
    Again, it’s hosted on your main store.  You site’s template is already applied to it. Also, since it’s contained within your 3dcart account, we are also able to offer design packages specifically for your blog!
  • SEO Friendly
    Your site’s SEO capabilities are also carried over to your blog and blog posts.  You can also manually configure SEO for your blog posts as you’re creating them.
  • RSS Feed
    Your site’s built-in RSS feed will automatically reflect your latest posts as well!
  • WYSIWYG
    Use the same 3dcart WYSIWYG editor you’re already familiar with to create your blog posts.
  • Schedule Posts
    Set the post date on your blog to a future date and the store will automatically post the article at that time.  Schedule some blog articles ahead of time and automatically apply them to your store.
  • Allow Comments
    Let your customers offer comments and insights to your articles.  Help develop an online community by letting customers openly share their feedback.
  • Blog about your products instantly!
    While viewing a specific product, click on the SocialCommerce icon and blog about that product instantly!

We feel our blog feature is a useful tool and can help you develop a closer relationship with your customer base.  To further illustrate what’s possible, here are a few 3dcart blog users:

http://www.timeandgems.com/blog.asp
http://www.greenfunstore.com/blog.asp
http://www.bumps-bruises.com/blog.asp
http://www.pinkyblue.ca/blog.asp
http://www.allprojectorlamps.com/blog.asp

About the Autor:
Henry Suarez is 3dcart’s Product Manager and has extensive experience in the area of technical support and training, as well as a background in quality assurance and testing. Tune in weekly to hear Henry as he conducts the Build, Promote and Grow You Online Business with 3dcart webinar at http://www.3dcart.com/ecommerce-webinars.asp