Blogging is a cheap and effective way to pull more buyers to your online store. If you sell on a marketplace, blogging can also be hugely valuable. Blogging helps to keep your existing customers interested in your business, and it also helps to attract new ones.
A successful blog requires planning and consistent updates. Here are a few crucial tips to help you get a blog up and running and working for you.
Great for: Everyone.
Blogger is one of the most popular platforms and also one of the easiest to use, so I highly recommend it. It's by Google and to get started, you just need a Gmail or Google account (also free!). With Blogger, you can either publish for free using a Blogspot domain (e.g. yourstore.blogpsot.com) or you can use your own domain if you have purchased one (e.g. www.yourblogname.com).
Great for: Products targeted towards females aged 15–39, or anything that is highly visual like fashion, makeup or fitness equipment.
Tumblr is kind of the "cool kid" among the blogging platforms. If you sell products that appeal to a younger crowd, this is certainly the platform for you. Tumblr is extremely visual and the majority of users post more photos than text, which is great if you have beautiful, photogenic products. Tumblr has about a gazillion themes you can choose from which makes it easy to find a style that suits you.
Like Blogger, Tumblr allows you to publish your blog free with a Tumblr URL, or you can purchase your own domain.
Great for: Tech-savvy people who want maximum flexibility.
WordPress offers the most flexibility to bloggers, especially in terms of design. It also has a number of plugins you can use to increase functionality. However, WordPress is also the most difficult to master. Unless you're savvy with learning how to use new software applications, WordPress might be tricky for you.
Host your WordPress blog on your own domain, or use the default address given to you when you sign up (i.e. yourname.wordpress.com).
When you've taken care of the technical side of things and decided where to blog, you get down to the real work: Writing! I'm a writer by trade and I'm at peace when I write. I love it! However, I know that most people find writing a little overwhelming. Don't worry—I'm here to make it simpler for you!
Before you sit down and start writing anything, take a little time to define exactly who your audience is. Who will buy your products? Where do they live, and how old are they? Is either of the genders more likely to buy from you? What are your customers' pains/problems that your products will fix? Keep your audience in mind when you are writing your blog posts—it will help to keep you on track and will also help you to write in a conversational tone, which is key to blogging.
"But what will I write?" is what I hear most when I tell people to use blogging to help increase sales. The good news is that blogging is informal and often, the best blog posts are short (less than 500 words, which doesn't take a lot of time to write). I find the best way to come up with ideas for blog content is to batch ideas rather than sitting down to write a post and spending 30 minutes coming up with just one idea!
To create an ideas bank, open a Word or Google doc and spend an hour or so gathering ideas for blog posts. Some of the best and easiest blog posts to write use the "how-to" and "list" structures. How-to posts (like the one you're reading!) give a quick overview of how to do something. You might link off to other resources for any points that need further clarification. They are often step-by-step guides, which people love.
List-structured posts are quick and easy for you and really loved by readers. For example, if you sell men's fashion, you could write a blog post on the top 5 fashion trends for the upcoming season (and link to your products within the post!). Another example: If you are selling DVDs, you could write a post on your 10 top-selling titles and link to them in the post.
Not all list-style posts need to be "top X"–style lists though. You can also write list posts like "The 3 best ways to X" or "3 Xmas gifts that will make the holidays easy for you." So start banking some ideas now!
One of the benefits of blogging is giving yourself an opportunity to be found by new customers. The best way to do this is to get a high ranking in Google searches. Without getting too technical, the best way to rank in search engines is to use relevant keywords (phrases that people are entering into search engines) in your title and blog post content. For example, if you sell electric razors, you could write a blog post comparing a few different models you stock and target the keywords "electric razor review." Those keywords should appear in the title and in the body of your content.
Keyword research is easy, but if you haven't done it before, it's well worth taking a little time to learn the basics. Here's a quick video on how to do keyword research.
It's not uncommon to get stumped for ideas on what to write about, and one of the best ways to overcome writer's block is by following others in your industry who are writing about similar things. I'm not saying you should copy what others are writing about, but you can draw some inspiration. View their blogs and social channels such as Facebook and check out the content they are sharing with their audience. What gets the most comments/Likes etc. from their readers and fans? What cool blog post titles are they coming up with? Check in with them every day or every few days and keep an eye on what they are doing.
You should also make an effort to support these blogs by commenting on them. They might return the favor and support your blog (make sure you include a URL linking to your blog at the end of your helpful comment).
If there is anything I can do to help make blogging easier for you, just leave me a comment below. I love hearing from you and I'm always happy to help, so fire away with any questions you have!