Benefits of adding a blog to your online shop (Part 1)
Written by: Monica McCoy
Maintaining an online shop requires a lot of time and consistent effort to obtain positive results. It's not much different than the effort involved in taking care of a physical shop. You'll spend hours every day keeping the site up to date and making it more user friendly, SEO friendly, etc. That is, unless you've contracted a professional or agency that can take on the responsibility of creating and following a communication strategy. Even so, your online shop will always need your attention. Before going into the risks (Part 2), today we're focusing on the benefits of adding a blog to your online shop.
Lately we've been receiving an avalanche of requests to take on e-commerce projects and each one has its own unique set of needs and special treatment. A big chunk of our consulting time as e-commerce and digital marketing developers is spent finding the best strategy once the shop is published online. Our goal is that the shop starts selling as soon as possible and that it makes a profit in as short a time as possible.
As part of our visibility strategy, we almost always include a blog as part of the online shop. It's the perfect fuel for a content strategy.
Because you want to sell more!
There is no doubt that a well-managed blog with a solid content strategy and regularly published posts is an efficient way to boost the sales of your e-commerce. Good design and optimisation aren't the only things that matter when talking about the effectiveness of an online shop. Valuable, relevant content is what makes all the difference and it can differentiate you from your competitors. As Bill Gates said in '96, content is king.
Nonetheless, you'll remember I said that we "almost always include a blog as part of the online shop". Having a blog is not the best solution for every online shop. A blog needs a great deal of attention, time and dedication to do it right and keep a steady flow of quality blog posts. If you can't commit to that, maybe a blog isn't the best option for your online shop. In short, implementing a blog in your online shop is counterproductive if you aren't going to use it.
To help you evaluate your options and make the right decision for your blog, I'm going to explain the benefits and the risks of adding a blog to your online shop.
Benefits of adding a blog to your online shop
1. Boost visibility in Google
Having a blog allows you to publish hundreds of additional pages to your product listings. Think of each blog post as a door to your online shop. The more pages Google indexes from you the more visibility you'll receive in their search results. The more visibility in Google, the more traffic to your online shop you'll get and when done right, it can create very positive results.
2. Boost quality traffic
Your product listings are positioned individually with one keyword, for example, a type of Asics runner shoes. That is probably the direct keyword of the product, but with a blog you can multiply the number of keywords related to that one product. For example, all content related to those running shoes. This allows you to boost your visits in a niche market interested in your shop's sector. And that's called quality traffic.
With a good link and banner strategy you can redirect them to your product listing. This means that visitors of your blog are actually your potential clients and since they are already interested in the topic, they are more likely to buy your products.
3. Be a point of reference in the sector
If the content you're publishing in your blog provides value to your users, highlights the best features of your products, how to use them or care for them, interesting tricks, benefits, etc you'll be positioning yourself as an expert on the subject. Your visits in the short and medium term will gain trust in you.
Just remember that you shouldn't use your blog as a marketing channel. It should be where you advise, recommend, guide, explain, review and reflect on the sector and the products you sell. Your followers will eventually feel the need to buy something related to your sector and will think of you because they trust that you know what you're talking about. This trust will encourage them to purchase from you.
4. Get to know your clients
Comments left by your followers and clients in your blog posts are a valuable source of feedback and a great way to understand the needs of your niche market. Follow the conversations that unfold among your followers. You'll get a better idea of how they think, what they need, their doubts, their interests and what they don't want. This will help you drive your strategy in the right direction or change the direction altogether in order to have the most effective sales strategy and business model.
Another important thing to remember is that you should take time to respond to comments make on your blog posts. Don't let time go by, respond to them quickly and give well-informed, polite answers. Doing this will give you the opportunity to answer their doubts and gain their trust. The blog is your customer service channel.
5. Incentivise users to buy accessories
You can use your blog to talk about the benefits of your products an all the interesting accessories that will boost their value and make using them a great experience. Imagine you just purchased a GoPro from our online shop. Right from our blog could tell you about all the wonderful ways you can hang the GoPro from your helmet when snowboarding or about all the awesome video you could take if you had a bracket for your bike's handlebar. And do you like to snorkel? Imagine what you could do with a diving case for your Gopro.
Make sure that you take advantage of your blog posts to include a strategically positioned CTA (Call to action) that will take them to the listings for accessories in your online shop.
6. Add personality and life to the shop
Writing a blog certainly makes it easier to add personality to any e-commerce. What ends up happening is you blog about your experiences and stories from your personal life, share your opinions and point of view. What happens is that the visitor perceives your passion and sensitivity towards your shop's theme. This makes them identify with the content and feel empathy. You provoke an emotional response, which is more likely to provoke a sale too. Write with passion and your visitors will notice.
7. Increase return visitors
You want return visitors, which is why it's important to write blog posts frequently. It's a bad sign if they return a month later only to find that nothing has changed and you haven't written anything. They probably won't return to your blog nor to your shop. If your visitor has already read everything you've written, what's the point of returning?
A page that doesn't update its content or doesn't publish frequent blog posts gives the impression of being abandoned.
The last point I think says it all, but if you'd like to learn more about the risks of having a blog in your online shop, you can read this last post I wrote.