The general answer for anyone who wants to run a successful online business is “yes.” Although it’s not a requirement for having a successful eCommerce website, a blog can do wonders to improve traffic and, therefore, sales and profits.
Before I even go any further, here are some interesting statistics to consider:
- More than 50% of blog readers are online shoppers.
- 61% of U.S. online shoppers gain more confidence about making a purchase based on recommendations they read in blogs.
- 60% of customers feel more connected to businesses after reading unique blog posts on their websites.
- 47% of online shoppers read three to five articles before engaging with an eCommerce business.
These stats are certainly food for thought but alone aren’t necessarily enough to convince you to get blogging.
Why You Need a Blog for Your eCommerce Business
Of course, you can choose not to have a blog—but the chances are that your competitors are already blogging, leaving you at a disadvantage.
So why should you actually blog? What are the mechanics of blogging that can drive your eCommerce business forward?
Better Search Engine Ranking
All internet content is indexed by search engines, and only content that is relevant to a user’s search query is displayed. So, by ensuring that your blog’s content is relevant to the below, you are setting yourself up to generate more customers to your eCommerce store:
Content relevant to the products in your eCommerce store
Content relevant to your niche
Content relevant to what users are searching for (keyword research)
Also, search engines love new, fresh, constant, and relevant content. Blogging is an excellent way to tell search engines that your site has been updated, that you’re there in the market, and to give the search engines what they want; in return, they rank your website higher.
Blogging helps you to insert relevant, search engine optimized keywords on your blog so that your website can be easily indexed by the search engines. This ‘blogging’, when kept relevant to the products you are selling, will lead to more traffic to your eCommerce business and likely more customers as well.
Become an Industry Leader
Publishing informative, relevant, and well-thought-out content sets you up as an authority in your industry. This keeps people talking about and/or visiting your website even when they are not looking to buy anything.
In a digital world with an increasing number of smartphone users, people are happy to share content they deem to be interesting or important. Businesses see this as a marketing opportunity—and so should you!
As humans, we’re perfectly happy to tell our peers about our awesome new phone, our new pair of sneakers, or a new restaurant that’s opened up in town; the same extends to anything related to online content.
Expand Your Product Descriptions
Running an online store sometimes means that you usually write short product descriptions for the items that you are selling so as not to sidetrack or overwhelm the visitor, but this does not give you much of an opportunity to use targeted keywords.
Many customers prefer to compare brands or items before settling on a final product. Blogging gives you the opportunity to write tips, user guides, comparison articles, etc. This brings more customers to your business and allows you to point out the strengths of your own products when compared to those of competitors. This is done by creating a link from your blog posts to the products in your store; something known as creating internal links.
Develop Your Brand
Your business should have its own voice and brand. Blogging gives you the opportunity to connect with your audience and give them a sense of who you are, what you stand for, where you are going, and how you intend to get there.
Your customers are emotional people—and they want to know you. The more they know about and understand you and your brand, the more likely they are to do business with you. Your other marketing skills and techniques do not allow you to connect with your audience in the same way that blogging does.
You also develop a community organically through your blogging, especially if you combine your blog with your social media profiles, creating further opportunities for your brand to grow and evolve, and potentially going viral through mobile marketing.
There is So Much to Blog About
Some people are afraid to blog because they think that they will run out of content to post and it’s really hard to get started. This is not true; products and services are constantly changing and there are so many free blogging resources out there. Furthermore, governments are constantly changing rules and regulations that affect the ways in which businesses and customers conduct their day-to-day activities.
You can become the source of this information to increase your market base and establish yourself as a market leader. Do not be afraid to try out new things to see where they get you.
You don’t need to blog specifically about your products. By setting up a blog, you can start creating content about anything to do with your industry, you’re expanding your market and creating more and more opportunities for other sites to link to you, driving even more traffic to your site and, ultimately, your eCommerce store.
Take Advantage of Influencers
Almost every industry has its own influencers and these people can play a crucial role in bringing about the success of your business. Influencers are people who are respected in their industries and have an established following who listens to them and their opinions.
A survey conducted by Nielsen suggests that 92 percent of consumers in the world said they trust recommendations from family and friends over other advertising methods.
Asking an influencer to guest blog on your website and having them endorse your products can work wonders for you—why do you think traditional companies pay huge sums to celebrities to endorse their products?
Best Blogging Practices for Your eCommerce Business Website
Running a blog is one thing, but running a successful blog is another. Here are a few of the best practices to ensure the success of your blog.
1. Quality, Quality, and More Quality
Many people think that publishing as many blog posts as possible is the best way to go. This is partially true; however, quality is always king.
Your focus should be towards publishing the best content — or at least better content than your competitors. Then, even if it is just one article per week, it will be well-received by your audience.
Such content can often also be timeless. It might even be read in many years to come. This counts as a long-term investment in your business.
2. Be Organized
Try to publish a set number of blog posts per week, at a set time. Keeping a consistent schedule earns you the respect of your customers and makes it easy for your audience to anticipate new content from you.
It is also advisable to write the occasional post about trending topics or current events so your blog is in sync with the industry. You can then become a bridge between the real and online worlds.
3. Maintain a Fine Line Between Expertise and Promotion
You may be tempted to write promotional content in flowery language, with the hope of convincing people to buy your products or services. Well, times have changed. The majority of online readers want expertise. Do not tell them that your product is superior — show them. Write clearly, and with authority — your audience will appreciate it.
Also, outright promotional business content may hurt your business in the long run. Try to strike a balance between promotional and authority-driven content.
4. Hire a Professional
Blog posts showcase the thoughts of one person, sometimes accompanied by statistics and facts; and this may sound simple enough. However, writing does not come easily to everyone. If this applies to you, then it is always better to delegate that task to qualified writers.
At the very least, it would not hurt to have a professional copyeditor take a look at your content. They can correct any mistakes and improve the structure and flow of your article.
There is no excuse for publishing mediocre content. Your audience will know if the quality is not up-to-standard, and respond (or not respond) accordingly.
You might now be able to see that blogging is an important centerpiece of your online business. This is also extremely important for new businesses, but be prepared to wait (possibly six months or more) while search engines start ranking your articles among the higher positions.
Blogging is an ongoing process, and you should always keep your target audience in mind, as well as write industry-specific blog posts. Results may not show immediately, but maintaining a regular schedule will make your readers appreciate your effort.
As a general rule, write content that you would love to read. Remember that your readers have given you their time—something that they cannot get back—so do them a favor and make it worthwhile for them.