Ecommerce Blogging – Success or Failure?

By Melanie Prough on Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Filed Under: Zen Cart SEO












Ecommerce Blogging

Ecommerce Blogging

Ecommerce blogging is a very hot topic in the world of online stores. There has been a very constant buzz on the subject for quite a while now, and as a result many shop owners ask us about this topic. There is no cut and dry answer, as there are many factors related to blogging with your store, your specific niche and needs and most importantly your level of dedication.

There are many different ecommerce blogging styles and opportunities, we will cover the basics today, so you can decide if blogging is for you and what tools you need to be successful using this great tool. There are basically 2 types of ecommerce blogs and 2 types of basic sales techniques to accompany them.

Topical Ecommerce Blogging

This is going to be your informational blog, product information, news and other niche related data. This type of blog is wholly the most successful, but can be very difficult to manage for many niches who haven’t anything topical to blog about. Successful topical bloggers will report innovative changes and information related to their products and services in a very helpful manner. Stores selling anything electronic, technical or newsworthy can easily take advantage of this style of ecommerce blogging. Stores selling products with little to report will struggle to keep the content flowing… and even harder to convert any of the traffic in to sales.

Topical blogging will bring information searches to your website. These long tail searches, usually prefixed with a “how” or “why” are less likely to convert than store traffic, but far more likely to link to you and/or return to shop around for their next related niche purchase. The whole idea of topical blogging is generally to establish your site’s authority in your niche. By this very metric, topical bloggers need to make use of proper permalinks, link code in their posts and have at hand the means for interaction. Interaction on your blog is the core tool to create that “buzz” about your website. Solicit comments from your readers and answer every single one, without fail. Make very sure your RSS is working correctly, promote a newsletter and make sharing your content through email and social media very easy and inviting for your visitors.

The hardest part of any blogging venture for your online store is holding back the sales pitch a bit. Rule of thumb for ecommerce blogging of an informational nature is that you will need about 10 posts under your belt before you attempt to promote your store or hit the readers for a sale. After 10 posts, if you have a related product or service for a post…. Then sell it. Note that a very soft sell is going to convert better and upset less readers.

Highly recommend that topical bloggers seek a full blogging platform, such as WordPress to syndicate your related content. A proper blogging platform will have all of the tools necessary to do the job right without hacking up your store or spending a ton of development money to blog. This is also a great opportunity to install your blog in to a folder /blog/ and add some depth to your site’s structure.

Promotional Ecommerce Blogging

The ecommerce promotional blogger is going to be overall less successful, but also will work less in order to blog. Promotional bloggers will blog site improvements, new products with a fairly hard sell, sales and store promotions. The biggest issue here is that the content is pretty poor generally and you will have a VERY challenging time ranking at all. This type of blogging is 100% a marketing tool, and as such must be tracked and developed in such a way. The readership will be less loyal, interaction will be low if any and the content rarely builds authority.

However, you can get newsletter and RSS subscribers if you pitch “newsletter subscriber sales” and such… Again, this is going to be a much more direct and harder sales technique. This is often the only choice for stores whose products are just not “bloggable” (yes, I just made that word up). My suggestion for blogging in a promotional manner is that you skip the blogging software and use your Easy Pages in Zen Cart. Set your pages up in the chapter format and install the Meta Tag for EZ Pages module, so that you can better optimize the pages.

The cost to get going is going to be much less and IF you manage to grow your blogging to a high level of readership you can always move the content to a proper blog later on.

Dedication

All this said, you are probably itching to get a blog going for your store… STOP RIGHT THERE! There is something even more important that you MUST know before you blog with your online store. The key to success is dedication, yep… You being committed to creating quality content on a very regular basis. There is little or no value to creating 50 posts and then waiting 3 months for the 51st. You will be far more successful if you decide to blog every week on a certain day, and stick to it. Fact is, Google wants to know the lights are on AND someone is home.

Good Luck and Happy Blogging!

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