By Vivian Wagner
Blogging might seem a difficult task to many e-commerce retailers, but the effort you put into it likely will pay off. With some forethought and commitment, blogging can become part of your overall strategy for e-commerce success.
If you’re still on the fence, here are three reasons to consider getting started with a blog.
1. Improve Your SEO
It’s a fact that having high-quality, frequently-refreshed content improves search engine rankings, and there’s no better way to achieve that goal than through blogging. Blogging is all about regularly generating and posting new content, and it’s far more effective at getting your business to show up in searches than a static sales site.
“Blogs are an essential piece of a thriving SEO strategy,” said Allison Lobelson, president of Fearless Ideas.
“Search engines prioritize valuable content, and the more authentic and relevant the content is, the better,” she to the E-Commerce Times. “Search engines also prioritize websites with fresh content, so the more you post, the bigger the trigger to search engines like Google that your site is active, and your organic search ranking will improve.”
Because of its direct effects on search engine rankings, blogging can be seen both as part of your content strategy and part of your marketing plan.
“Google has long said that publishing original, high-quality content on a consistent basis is one of the most powerful factors when determining search engine rankings,” said digital marketing mentor Shaun Nestor.
“In the cutthroat e-commerce environment, any retailer needs to look at their marketing strategy to ensure content creation — blogging — is a priority,” he told the E-Commerce Times.
Effective blogging is not a matter of throwing up just any content, however. To truly improve SEO, experts emphasize that it needs to be content that is both valuable and unique.
“Publishing quality content is a good way to improve your presence in online searches,” observed Elaine Pofeldt, a content marketing consultant and author of The Million-Dollar, One-Person Business.
“The key word here is quality, she told the E-Commerce Times. “Simply touting your merchandise doesn’t cut it. Focus on publishing entertaining, timely and useful information.”
In addition to boosting initial search engine rankings, blogs can have the secondary effect — as people share your content — of pushing your site into the broader digital ecosystem.
“Blogs, if they are actually interesting, can drive links and social media mentions back to your site, which also helps with your search rankings,” said Krista Neher, CEO of Boot Camp Digital.
2. Connect With Your Customers
People might be visiting your site to shop, but before they spend anything, they’re likely to look around and engage with some of the content first — and that includes reading your blog. It’s at that point that you have the opportunity to earn their trust and respect, and perhaps transform them from one-time shoppers into long-term customers.
“When it comes to shopping, many people like to buy from a real person, as opposed to a giant company,” said Pofeldt. “A blog is a great place to share who you are with your customers and start a dialogue with them. And it can give you something to share on social media beyond your latest discounts.”
Blogs help to make a human connection that will appeal to existing and potential customers alike. Blog content also is readily shareable on social media, thus furthering your reach even more.
“You can only talk about your products so often — or, you can talk about them a lot, but people might get bored,” Neher told the E-Commerce Times. “A blog allows you to use social media to drive traffic to your site beyond your product pages.”
3. Highlight Your Expertise
You’re in the business you’re in because you know a lot about it, so you might as well feature some of that knowledge in the form of a blog. Having a well-researched, well-written blog can establish your company as a source of expert information, and in the process, you’ll attract people who might not yet realize they need your products or services.
“Blogs are the platform for thought leadership,” said Lobelson. “Your blog is the ultimate place where you can share expert tips and best practices, and provide your company’s thoughts and perspectives on growing or dying trends in your industry.”
Sharing knowledge and information ultimately can be something that sets your site apart from larger, better-known brands, since you’re providing valuable content that people might not be able to find elsewhere.
“It is next to impossible for small and midsize e-commerce businesses to compete with big players such as Amazon on price, so to keep customers coming back, they need to differentiate themselves,” said Pofeldt. “One way to do that is to highlight your expertise in a blog. If you are carefully curating your products based on specialized knowledge about them and share your knowledge in an interesting way in your blog, many customers will appreciate that.”
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