Are blogs good for eCommerce? It’s a question I get all the time. And I know the thought of having to make ANOTHER piece of content is UGH. But, I’ll tell you – it just might be worth your time. Listen in for the deets.
Here’s what you’ll learn:
- Are blogs good for eCommerce businesses?
- Are blogs good for YOUR eCommerce business?
- What eComm companies are doing blogs right
- How to write blog posts that search engines love
- EP. 12. Funnel Series #1: How to Get More Awareness & Visibility
- EP. 13. Get Customers Closer to Making a Purchase & Grow Your Email List
- EP. 43. List Building for eCommerce Businesses
- EP. 44 Plan Your Email Marketing Calendar
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Read the Full Episode Transcript
Today I’m excited to not only answer the age old question of “should I have a blog for my e-commerce website” but also to give you some guidance on how to do the blog thing for your business if you decide it’s right for you.
Okay, so… should you have a blog for your eCommerce website?
Drum roll please… the answer is — it depends.
I know you’re probably annoyed with me right now, but please hear me out!
Here’s the deal — in and of themselves blogs are a good thing. Google loves written content. Users love to get answers to their questions, and your customers want more than just a sales pitch from you.
But blogs aren’t for everyone.
Why are blogs good for eCommerce businesses?
First let me run through why blogs are a good thing for eCommerce businesses, and then we’ll hash through why it MAY OR MAY NOT not be for you.
Blogs help you rank in Google and get organic traffic
Sure, Google is getting smarter with things like video and podcast rankings, but the written word is still a very powerful thing. There’s a reason I turn everyone one of my podcast episodes into a full-on blog post.
Remember: Google’s #1 goal is always to get the searcher to the most relevant answer to their query in the shortest amount of time and fewest clicks.
That’s why metrics like bounce rate and time on page are important to Google. It lets them know how much time someone is engaging on your website. Ultimately good engagement pushes you up the rankings.
In case you don’t know what bounce rate on your website means, it’s the percentage of people who leave your website after only visiting one page.
So, for example, if I go to your website, land on your home page but don’t click anything else or navigate to any other pages before I leave, that’s considered a bounce.
A high bounce rate (above 45% for eCommerce) sends a signal to Google that the page the user was on may not have been of value to them.
If you think about an informational website, or a blog-only website, the bounce rate is typically much higher, which is not always a bad thing.
It’s very possible a user came to the site, got the answer they needed and left. That’s why time on page is also important.
If you hit a site that has a super in-depth long form article answering a question you had. Even if that’s the only page you visited, the fact that you spent 7 minutes on the page actually reading the article holds some weight as well.
Blogs position you as an expert and authority in your space
Blogs are good for SEO overall, especially for those queries that relate to your product.
Let’s use Beardbrand as an example. They were content creators before they sold physical products and content marketing is still a huge driver of their business.
Let’s say you’ve got the solution to a particular problem, like how to tame a frizzy beard.
If you write a really great article about how to tame a frizzy beard and include your product as one of the solutions, you’ve got a way for your ideal customer to find you organically and potentially turn into a paying customer.
This is also a great opportunity to position yourself as an expert in your space, establish your authority and grow the Know, Like and Trust factor, which is essential to generating sales!
For more on the Know, Like and Trust Factor, check out Episode 12 where I talk more about this. It’s the first part of the sales funnel series.
What’s great about creating content like this, is that sometimes the customer doesn’t even know they have a problem yet or they don’t know that there is a solution. Having a blog is a great opportunity for you to bring light to both the problem and the solution.
Another really great example of using a blog for eCommerce is The Man Registry. I mentioned them in the Episode 12 podcast too, but they do such a great job holding the top rankings for a lot of their target queries.
They sell mostly groomsmen gifts, so they create a shit ton of content around weddings and bachelor things.
If you search for the best groomsmen gifts, they hold the #1 organic spot with a blog post. It’s some really powerful shit!
Use blog posts to grow your email list
Blog posts are also a great way to grow your email list, either through content upgrades, which I talk more about in Episode 43, or by having a newsletter form in your sidebar.
Okay, so let’s recap really quick… Why are blogs good for e-commerce?
- They help you rank in Google and get organic traffic
- You position yourself as an expert and authority in your space
- It’s value-added content for your customers that goes beyond just getting the sale.
Is a blog right for YOUR eCommerce business?
You’d be hard pressed to find a business that wouldn’t benefit from a blog, or a business that a blog doesn’t make sense for. But there are some other things to consider like, do you have the bandwidth?
Like any solid marketing strategy we have to make time and prioritize things, but there are going to be some businesses that just don’t have that time. And that’s okay.
Blogs have a long term pay off, they’re not a quick solution
The thing about blogs is that they’re a long-term play. Anything SEO is. The longer you’ve been in business generally the faster you’ll see results. If you’re new to eCommerce you’d probably be better off spending more time on social media because you can make a much faster connection that way.
If writing is something that comes easy to you, or you’ve got some cash to hire it out, it might still be worth it even in the beginning of your biz. It can set you up for future success and give you something to regularly email your list, even if you don’t have a ton of new products coming out.
Don’t hide behind writing blog posts instead of showing up and giving value on social, though. If you can’t do both, do social first.
Create a few super in depth posts, rather than lots of regular posts
For my established businesses out there, content marketing might just be your next big play. But if you’re going to do it, it’s important you do it right. Don’t expect to just throw up a 200 word post and have the traffic rolling in.
That may have worked back in the day, but Google prefers in-depth long form content over thin pages with little to no value.
What if you don’t have the bandwidth or you feel like you won’t have enough things to talk about related to your product, but you still want to take advantage of written content for SEO?
You totally can! You’re just going to approach it a little differently.
Instead of creating a ton of blog posts regularly, you’re going to create a few super in depth EPIC pieces of content. Think ultimate guides that answer the most asked questions related to your product or industry.
For instance, if you sell mattresses you can write the most in-depth guide on the internet about how to get a good night’s rest.
Instead of having this live in the blog section of your site, which is going to look bare with only a few pieces of content, you’re going to put this on a page instead. Then you can link to it from your footer navigation bar and/or put a section on your homepage calling it out.
The other reason I like to do this is because there is no publish date associated with the post. If you’ve got this great epic blog post you created, but 3 years have gone by and there are no other posts on your blog, the reader is going to think the content itself is outdated, even if it’s not. It’s just human nature.
If you ever start blogging later down the road, you can totally move the content. But if you think you’ll only have a few initial posts and then nothing after that, stick to the pages option.
So you’ve decided that blogging is right for you and your business, now what?
Ahhhmazing — here’s how you can get started.
Decide how often you’re going to post
Consistency in blogging for e-commerce isn’t quite as important as it is for, say, just a blog website. If you have a solid plan for how many articles you want to publish per month or per week, it will make it much easier to stay organized on the back end and actually get it done.
If you’re just getting started and don’t have someone dedicated to this, start out with 2 posts a month and work your way up.
Another way you can approach this is to make it a quarterly focus for someone. Maybe they batch create a ton of posts up front, creating lots of amazing evergreen (non-time sensitive posts) that you either publish all at once or you drip out over time.
If you go the batch route, I would publish at least 5 or 6 posts up front so people can binge when you first start promoting it.
Ultimately, you’ll have to figure out what works best for you.
However you go about it, prioritize those big epic guides for the main questions around your product or industry first as they will have the greatest SEO impact.
And the good news is, whatever blog content you create can be repurposed in your emails and on social media. Sure, it’s a lot of work, but it’s got a really long shelf-life and will serve you in other parts of your business.
Find ideas for blog posts
You probably already have some in mind, and you should definitely ask your team but my first stop is always the website Answer The Public.
You only get a couple free searches per day, but once you put in your main keyword it will give you all the questions people are asking on the internet.
For example, if you type in “beard”s as the keyword, you’ll see queries like:
- Can beards cause acne?
- How to make beard grow faster
- How to trim beards
- Are beards unhygienic?
Now you can create posts specifically to answer these questions and recommend your products.
When someone asks if beards cause acne, you can talk about proper beard and skincare with your products to prevent that. You might also talk about proper beard washing to answer the hygiene question.
Once you’ve nailed down the topics, get them added to whatever project management tool you use and get it assigned.
How to actually write a blog post
In terms of actually writing the post, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Write for the reader, not for Google.
While you want to make sure your blog post includes your target keywords, you still want it to sound natural. And make sure you’re using variations on the keywords. Google can tell when you’re just repeating the same word over and over, that’s called keyword stuffing. And it understands the relationship between different versions of the same keyword.
For instance, Google understands the relationship between the words “beard washing” and “keeping your beard clean.”
Don’t get too caught up in this. Yes, keywords matter, but writing for the user is more important.
Use proper headings throughout the post to separate ideas and make the post easy to read.
When you’re actually formatting your content, you want to make sure your text is broken up into smaller sections, each with its own headline.
How to format your blog post for readability
The reader should understand the post if they only read the headlines.
Most people skim the page so it helps the end user, and it also helps Google understand what your page is about.
Headings come in multiple levels. H1 through H6
H1 is going to be the title of your blog post or page. 99% of themes will assign the H1 tag to this.
In the body of your post, you will assign the H2-H6 tags, though for blog posts you usually won’t go any deeper than H3.
Essentially, the heading tags are a hierarchy. The most important item, the title will be your H1 and the supporting details will be H2.
Depending on the content you create, you might have a H3 under the H2s.
So let me give you an example of this.
Title of the post – How to Get a Great Night’s Rest
H2 – Create a comfortable place to sleep
H3 – Get black-out curtains
H3 – Remove electronics from the bedroom
H3 – Get a humidifier
The next H2 would be – Create a nighttime routine
H3 – Change into your pajamas before your nighttime skincare routine
H3 – Create your to do list for the next day so your mind isn’t distracted when it’s time to go to bed
The way you assign these if you didn’t already know is right in your text editor, the WYSIWYG — aka what you see is what you get. Just highlight the text and find your format drop down. Choose the correct heading.
Promote your blog post
As with your website, just because you wrote a blog post doesn’t mean anyone is going to read it. Make sure that you have a plan for promoting this blog post too.
Like we talked about in the last episode of building out your email marketing calendar, work these posts into your regular rotation. So maybe every Tuesday you know you’re going to have a new post that you’re going to email.
You can also repurpose this on social media. Take those high-level ideas, your H2s and create a list post. You can do this as a feed post, as a carousel with each idea on its own slide, or even as a reel, IGTV, or a story.
Then you can even break each of those H2s down into their own post, with the supporting ideas, your H3 as the content.
So for example:
You can create a post called “How to Get A Good Night’s Sleep” and your main ideas would be Creating a Great Sleeping Environment and Creating a Nighttime Routine.
Then you can create 2 more posts, “How to Create a Nighttime Routine” and the second one would be “How to Create a Good Sleeping Environment”. You follow?
This works on all the channels, including Pinterest. While you’re obviously always sending them to the same place, you’re breaking it down to create different hooks.
For Pinterest, for example, you can create multiple images for the same post with those different hooks. This way you’re getting that one blog post pinned multiple times, without it looking like the same pin.
Don’t be afraid to repeat yourself!
Not everyone is going to see your stuff all the time, and you’re going to have new people coming into your orbit at all different stages of your biz.
I mean, this podcast episode is an example of that. I have covered this topic before in Episode 43, which I mentioned earlier as well as briefly in Episode 13, but the angle is different. The content is different too because I’m going more in-depth here with the actual how to format the blog posts etc, but I didn’t reinvent the wheel.
Don’t forget friend, if you’re reading this in real time, I’ll be live in the eCommerce Badassery FB group this Thursday if you want some more support for creating content for your own business. If you’re not sure if this is right for you, or if you have some content ideas you want to run by me, I’d love to have you there.