It could be just what you need to increase traffic, strengthen your brand identity, and drive sales. Setting up an online store is just the start. The next step is growing traffic and generating sales. Regular blogging is one of the best ways to get the ball rolling.
Just so we’re on the same page, here are just some of the fantastic benefits of blogging:
Traffic: First of all, a blog is like a magnet to your website. Every time you post a new blog, customers are drawn back to your site to read it. From there, it’s just a short hop and a step to your product pages. Regularly posting blogs keeps the traffic pouring in, which is key to converting sales.
Brand affinity: Second, every time a customer reads your blog, they feel a little more connected to your brand. They learn more about you and grow to trust you. Statistics show that more than 95% of customers aren’t ready to buy from you immediately. So nurture them with good content until they’re ready to buy.
Generating leads: Every time someone shares your blog, your website reaches new customers. It generates new leads that you can slowly convert to paying customers. It’s free and simple marketing.
Search engine optimization: Google loves websites that are regularly updated. They also love in-depth, useful blogs. Online stores that post regular blogs are routinely ranked higher than those without. A blog also allows you to use lots of keywords that helps Google understand and categorize your business. With blogging, you’re also more likely to generate links back to your website, which Google uses to measure your authority. When your online store is ranked higher, you’ll get more traffic, and more sales.
So, we’re all agreed, blogging is great for your e-commerce business. The only tricky part is figuring out what to blog about. Advanced planning can help you out, and I really believe in the power of planning your content. I’ve put together a few ideas to get started.
A blog is a great platform to tell your story. Letting customers into your world builds trust. It strengthens brand affinity, and helps create a relationship between you and your customers.
Use your blog to explain why you started the company, and why the products mean so much to you. Be transparent, honest, and open, and your customers will trust you more.
You can also use the blog to let customers know what’s going on behind the scenes. Show them what you’re up to, and tease them with upcoming announcements. In the image below, look how Helm (a leather boots company) keeps readers up to date on their blog.
Use your blog to show customers more information about your products. There’s only so much you tell people on your product pages. Using a blog, however, you can get more detailed. You can show customers how to use it, how it’s made, and any other cool features.
It helps them understand more about the product, making them more likely to purchase it.
Slow Watches, for example, is a company that produces watches with a twist (it has just one hand). They use their blog to explain how and why they make them so different. It allows customers to better understand the ethos of your business, making them more likely to buy your products.
A blog is a great place to show off your expertise. If you can impart wisdom or teach a customer how to do something, you’ve immediately forged a relationship. You prove that you are an expert in your field, which encourages customers to trust you.
Maybelline, for example, sells makeup products. Their blog is full of useful tips and how-tos. Notice how they also use these tutorial blogs to showcase their products. Double whammy!
Your blog is a simple and easy way to announce a new product or celebrate a milestone. This simple example below shows sneaker company ‘Filling Pieces’ announcing a new stockist. It’s an easy way to show customers you are growing, and keep them updated.
5. Latest Industry News
You can use your blog to engage with your industry. Announcing big news pieces about your industry shows that you are up-to-date and clued into the world around you. It’s an easy way to show your expertise, and capitalize on hot news topics.
News pieces like this often drive a lot of traffic, especially from your most active target audience – those that follow the industry carefully.
Surfdome, for example, sells surfing equipment. They inevitably drive a ton of traffic by reporting on surf competition and industry news:
We’re starting to see more and more long form blogs and articles. Why? Partly because Google has shown preference for longer, in-depth reads, and ranks them higher. But it’s also because it keeps people on your site for longer and provides more information. One way to do that is with longer ‘think-pieces’ or comments on the industry.
Let’s say you own a boutique fashion store, for example. You can use your blog to comment on recent trends. You could critique the fashion industry or take a stand on some of the issues (anything from models to use of fur). These think pieces are often much more viral and engaging than your average blog.
7. Get Creative!
The best thing about blogging is there are no rules! Get creative and think outside the box. You can blog about anything that has some connection to your products and your industry. If you sell artisan food, blog about recipes you love. Don’t feel like you are constrained to a certain formula or guidelines. Use your blog to express yourself.
Whole Foods uses their website to sell organic food products. However, they also use it to share creative recipes. Find a creative topic for your products, and run with it.
Every industry has their unique calendar of events. The tech industry has TechCrunch. The comic book industry has Comic-Con. The music industry has Coachella and SXSW. The extreme sports industry has X-Games. If you sell products in these industries, try to attend these events. Write behind the scenes content that engages your customers. It shows them you’re at the heart of your industry. Plus, it makes for fantastic content!
Check out how one fashion boutique used Paris Fashion Week to add new content to the blog.
As you can see, there are plenty of creative ideas out there for you to start blogging. Use these tricks, and you’ll never suffer from writer’s block again! Meanwhile, you’ll see your traffic and sales begin to creep upwards.
Daren Low is the founder of Bitcatcha.com and co-developer of the free Server Speed Test tool. With a decade of experience in website development and internet marketing to his name, Daren is considered a premier authority on all things related to building and managing an online presence.