In theory, blogging is something that just about anyone can do – it’s not that difficult to create some sort of content. However, producing ecommerce blogs that have the winning combination of effective structure and fantastic content is a little more challenging. Blogging for ecommerce is a slightly different animal to other sectors, simply because the purpose of the blogs is not the same as for the more knowledge-based industries. For example, ecommerce blogs don’t need to promote services or achieve any kind of profile for thought leadership, they are almost purely about driving customers to purchasing products or engaging with a brand.
Despite the fact that blogging is now common digital marketing currency across every sector – including ecommerce – it’s surprising how many businesses, including some very prominent names, are still getting it wrong. From the way that the blog pages are structured, to the content itself, even those who could use the blog tool for such productivity are wasting opportunities as a result of making some very simple mistakes. Below, we take a look at four of the most common errors we have seen on ecommerce blogs – and how you can avoid them for your own.
#1 A lack of focus
A big issue for many ecommerce blogs is that they are just too wide in scope when it comes to blog topics. Many seem to take a similar approach to a lifestyle website, choosing broad topics that are not that specific to their own products or even industry. The problem here is that many ecommerce sites only publish one blog a day, whereas a site such as a lifestyle website will publish significantly more. Where there is only one piece of blog content being put out into the public domain in a 24 hour time period it needs to be relevant to make it count.
A good example of this is where a fashion website, for example, uses a blog to talk about a non-fashion trend, such as food, music or fitness. This might be vaguely interesting to some of the store’s readers but is not as focused as a post that directly tackles a more relevant topic like what should the reader be wearing right now?
#2 A hard-to-find blog
Blogs often seem to have been an afterthought when it comes to ecommerce websites – and this shows. For example, if you want to get to some ecommerce blogs you will have to Google them separately from the website. With most major ecommerce sites it’s almost impossible to find the blog when you’re browsing the main site and, as many blogs are simply WordPress bolt ons, and some have completely different navigation to the rest of the site, the blog feels like a different site altogether.
The key here is to make the blog accessible from the main site and to use it to link back to the products on the site. Create blog content that is promoting products – and offers a direct link to those products – and use it to explain why customers should be looking at (and buying) those products.
#3 Poor design
There’s nothing that makes a blog feel like an afterthought more than poor design. Whilst many ecommerce sites have clearly invested heavily in the main pages, when you navigate to the blog you are presented with typography and design that is completely inconsistent with the rest of the website. Blogs often seem to have been put together in a hurry, even where they are part of the website of a huge ecommerce name, and often use fonts that are difficult to read and layouts that are confusing.
#4 Forgetting the rules of SEO
The purpose of a blog is to promote the rest of the site and to draw customers in to the products. This means that the blog needs to be discoverable by search engines and so the normal rules of SEO must be applied. Many ecommerce sites seem to have forgotten this essential element, getting caught up in producing a good looking blog that has a cool feel to it – this is all great but if the blog will never be seen by anyone then it’s also rather a waste of effort.
For example, many ecommerce blogs waste the opportunity that is offered by the headline – this should be obvious, detailed and enough to tell the user exactly what is in the content so they don’t have to guess. A good number of blogs fall into the trap of designing blog content like a fast moving news or magazine page, making it vague and ultimately uninteresting to readers. Being specific is key here – including as much information as possible. So, for example, the headline “Women’s fashion: Ten Wedge Sandals For Summer 2014” is much more effective than “Treating Your Feet This Summer.” Unfortunately, when it comes to SEO, it doesn’t matter how compelling the blog content is, if it hasn’t been structured properly then it’s going to be fairly ineffective and unseen.
These are some of the most common mistakes that many ecommerce sites make when putting energy and resources into creating a blog. There’s very little distinction between the large and the small retailers – even the biggest names have fallen into many of the above traps. The great advantage of social media is that you don’t need a huge budget or an international profile to successfully blog for ecommerce. All you need to do is follow the tips above and you can achieve success, no matter what your industry or where you’re positioned in it.
If you’re looking for help with your ecommerce blogging or site, get in touch today on 020 7100 0726 or take a look at ‘How to Achieve Blog Visibility’