Nowadays, having a blog seems like the cool thing to do. Nine out of every 10 content marketers produce blogs as part of their marketing strategy, and companies with blogs generate an average of 67% more leads monthly than companies without one.
If done well, blogs can be a driving force for your eCommerce brand. But you’re likely wondering, “Is a blog worth my time?” Here’s some food for thought as you consider whether or not to launch your own blog.
5 benefits of an eCommerce blog
1. Expand your reach
Without getting too technical, a blog lets you index more pages on Google (in fact, it’s reported that websites with blogs generate 434% more indexed pages on average). In other words, blogs offer the opportunity to increase your real estate on Google by providing more pages for your customers to discover.
Not only this—a blog lets you show up for a greater variety of queries that relate to your brand. Rather than appearing for purely transactional (and hyper-competitive) keywords like “running shoes,” you can target queries like “how to avoid injuries when running” that interest people within the same target audience.
Using this strategy, you can reach people who aren’t actively researching for a new product but have a clear need for a brand like yours. Moreover, you can get your site ranking on long-tail keywords that are less saturated with competition.
2. Grow your subscriber list
As you attract new eyeballs to your site, a blog can help you to capture more email subscribers. eCommerce sites usually rely on purchase pages and promotions to capture customer information. By contrast, a blog can help you to attract subscribers through content that speaks to their interests.
By offering value in the form of how-tos, thought leadership, and other helpful content, you can convince visitors to subscribe to your list even if they aren’t customers yet.
Moreover, as you send emails, you can tap into your blogs for more dynamic content. You don’t have to limit your emails to purchase-oriented messages; rather, you can share blogs that address customer questions and piques their curiosity in a variety of ways.
3. Amplify your brand
Product pages don’t always do your brand justice. They offer limited space for you to showcase your company’s personality and to get people invested in your brand as a whole.
Blogging, on the other hand, offers far greater flexibility. You can choose to write news pieces, opinions pieces, how-to articles, product comparisons, or customer spotlights that better demonstrate your core values and expertise in your field.
At a time when 71% of consumers prefer to buy from brands that align with their values, and consumers are open to purchasing from brands they’ve never heard of before, this type of platform is invaluable.
4. Get backlinks
Aside from attracting more customers to your site, a blog can help you to attract more attention from online publications. As it stands, you’re not likely to get backlinks to your product pages unless you pay for promotions or offer an affiliate program.
However, a blog can earn you more organic backlinks. For instance, a publication looking for expert tips or perspectives may stumble across your blog and decide to quote your content. This translates to free marketing.
Google will also factor in backlinks when determining your ranking status. With enough backlinks from high-quality sites, you could find your website ranking higher on search terms that matter to your brand.
5. Convert more sales
A blog is ultimately meant to help you to close more sales. Whether consumers are casually researching solutions for a problem or actively searching for a product like yours, a blog can help to legitimize your brand and guide your consumers towards a purchase.
For instance, It’s a 10 Haircare leverages its blog to educate audiences on proper hair treatment. Some of their more recent blogs touch on how to defrizz hair, how to pick the best shampoo for oily hair, and the purpose of keratin in shampoos.
The company succeeds at establishing its topical authority and weaving in mentions of their products, while keeping the focus of their blogs on customer FAQs. Over the years, the brand has amassed a loyal following of celebrity, professional, and everyday users who trust the quality of the products—due, in part, to the work they’ve done to consistently showcase their proficiency in hair care.
Key considerations when starting a blog
Before you jump into starting a blog, you should also take into consideration the type of investment it requires. A blog isn’t built overnight, and frankly, it’s easy to lose your momentum if you’re not prepared for everything that it entails.
Ask yourself the following questions before pulling the trigger:
- A blog is a long-term commitment—is your team willing to invest in it?
- Do you need to hire anyone for content creation?
- Do you need to hire anyone to help design and develop your blog?
- How often will you/can you publish new content?
- What is the main goal for your blog? (Is it to engage new audiences, serve existing customers, or both? The more specific you can be, the better.)
5 essential steps for launching an eCommerce blog
If you’ve determined that a blog is something that you can maintain and gain value from, here are several steps to help you get started.
1. Establish your audience
It’s never a good idea to start writing a blog blindly. You should know who you’re creating content for and why.
A good place to start is by looking at your current customer base and observing what types of characteristics, interests, and lifestyles they share. Be as descriptive as possible, establishing clear buyer personas to target with your content.
Your personas will serve as the basis for all of your keyword research, blog topics, and writing later on—so it’s important to get them right from the start. Have a good grasp on the types of content that will interest your personas, based on the products they buy or the content they already consume (as examples). You could also look on social media for additional clues and/or survey your customers directly about their interests.
2. Identify your main topics
Once you’ve developed a good understanding of your audience, you can start to identify particular categories and topics to post about. For example, HomeGoods regularly blogs about Entertaining and Recipes and Outdoor Living.
Similarly, you could define core topics in one of several ways:
- By roles and responsibilities (e.g., interior design, event planning, landscaping)
- By industry (e.g., sports, healthcare, fashion)
- By expertise (e.g., beginners, professionals)
- By interests and hobbies (e.g., crafts, gaming, celebrity gossip)
This exercise will help you to define topic clusters that keep your team organized and, over time, prove to Google that you’re an authority in your space.
After defining your umbrella topics, you can then start to brainstorm corresponding subtopics. Subtopics can be questions that your consumers have, or problems that they face in regards to the overarching topic. You can start to incorporate keyword research here too, using tools like ContentEdge to discover phrases that people regularly search related to a specific topic.
3. Create a publishing calendar
A successful blog requires a consistent content schedule. The key here is to avoid biting off more than you can chew. You don’t have to start off by publishing two times a day; once a week—or even every other week is fine—if this means getting into the habit of writing high-quality blogs.
You’ll eventually want to increase your frequency over time, but for now, only commit to what you can. If it’s looking like you’ll only be able to publish a few times a week or month, prioritize evergreen content. This is content that has a long shelf life because the topics aren’t time-sensitive (think: “How to Properly Groom Your Pet” vs. “10 Dog Shows to Attend in 2021”).
4. Set publishing standards
It’s a good idea to have a checklist of items to complete with every blog you publish, especially if you have multiple team members contributing to your site. This could include steps like:
- Use title case for every header
- Include at least 1-2 unique images
- Link to at least 3 outside sources with high domain authority
- Link to any relevant internal pages
- Properly attribute every quote or data point
- Create meta descriptions and meta titles that include your keyword
- Customize alt text for every image
- Include your primary keyword at least once in a header
- And more…
The purpose of this checklist should be to maintain consistency in your formatting, plus ensure that every blog is optimized. There are many on-page SEO factors to consider with any webpage, and it’s easiest to incorporate them at the time of publishing, as opposed to adding them in after the fact.
Beyond this, you may want to consider establishing brand voice guidelines that keep your writers aligned. You don’t necessarily need to have a brand guideline to get started, but it’s a good idea to develop one as your team and initiatives grow.
5. Get to work
By this point, you’ve done the legwork in putting together a strategic plan. Now, comes the fun part. Start drafting your first blogs and getting the hang of writing for your brand. Remember to have at least one other person review and provide feedback on your blogs before you post them.
You’re going to learn a lot as you practice writing and start putting theories to the test. Keep your eyes peeled for new ideas, inspiration, and constructive feedback—and evolve your strategy over time.
Want to create a blog but don’t have the bandwidth?
We’ve got your back. RankScience specializes in SEO-driven content marketing. Our content experts can help to bring your vision to life by planning, writing, and optimizing high-quality blogs for you. Reach out to our team today for a free strategy session.
Get data-driven tips for growing your traffic with RankScience.