You started your ecommerce business blog with the best of intentions. You knew it was good for SEO and brand credibility, and— if you’re being honest— you just felt like you were supposed to have a blog.
Now it’s fallen on the back burner. You think it could be better, but you’re not sure how. Or how to make it happen.
As a marketing strategist, I’ve heard versions of this story many times. I get it: You have a business to run, and you’re not a full-time blogger. It’s true that a good blog is valuable, but I promise it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Here are five straightforward steps you can take to improve your blog content and make it pay off for your business.
Establish authority and blog post topics
The first step is a two-parter. In order to determine what you should write about, you need to consider why readers should trust you. Where does your brand’s expertise lie?
Once you've picked a few subjects you can speak to with some authority, don't be shy! Spell out why your brand has chosen these topics. It's a subtle way of saying, "You can trust us on this."
Take Primary, a children's clothing brand started by two moms. The post 15 Tips for Taking Your Own Great Family Photos covers a struggle parents understand all too well: it’s clearly relevant to Primary’s audience. The first sentence establishes why Primary is covering this subject. The post goes on to list some seriously helpful tips, and it ends with a link to buy pajamas for the whole fam for your holiday photoshoot.
When brainstorming ideas for your blog, ask yourself:
- Do we have expertise on this?
- Does this highlight one of our products?
- Does this highlight our mission?
Think through these questions and create a list of topics that you can cover.
Make a blog content plan
Now someone has to actually write this stuff.
If you're doing it yourself, establish a realistic cadence. Maybe that's one post a month. That’s okay! Crafting original content takes time. Aim for consistency and quality over quantity.
It's a good idea to build out a content calendar so you can stay ahead of what's coming, particularly if you have big product drops or seasonal content in mind. Thinking ahead is especially important if you’re planning on collaborating with other creatives, like artists or designers.
Indie bookstore City Lights keeps their content calendar simple yet effective by following the same format for every post: five questions with a featured author.
Feature products on your blog
This sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how often ecommerce blogs seem to miss the commerce part. If you took my earlier advice, every blog topic ties in to your mission or your products (or both). Put this into action by showing people products that will meet their needs, with links to buy every item you mention.
Jeccica Alba’s Honest Company does this well. They know most of their readers are moms, so naturally their blog covers topics related to pregnancy, babies, and parenting. In 5 Babymoon Ideas for Expecting Parents, Honest offers five creative ideas that revolve around different products, like having an at-home spa night with their Mama’s Spa Kit. Convenient!
Use keyword tools to improve your blog SEO
I won't get too deep into keyword research (that's a post for another day) other than to say: do some keyword research! I like SEMrush, Answer the Public, and good ol’ Google to find relevant keywords and questions shoppers are searching right now. Think about how your blog post can answer those questions. Boom! There's your headline.
Headlines are important, but you can also optimize each post’s content for search. Once you get the hang of this, it’ll become second nature when you sit down to write. Here’s what to do:
- Interlinking: Add links to other pages on your site, including product pages and other blog posts.
- Add heading elements: Use headers and subheaders (H1, H2, H3) to create a visual hierarchy of information.
- Include inline images: These help break up long chunks of text.
- Include image alt text: This is for SEO and accessibility. Here’s a comprehensive guide to writing good alt text (tl;dr: keep it specific and succinct).
The folks at Into the Gloss— the blog that gave birth to Glossier— are SEO pros. Their posts have snappy headlines, clear heading elements, visual appeal, and lots of interlinking.
Streamline your approach to KPIs
You don’t need a data scientist to monitor your blog (but if you want to go there, Part and Sum can give you all the data analytics). Instead, I look at three key KPIs to measure blog performance: pageviews, average time on page, and bounce rate. These metrics let you know generally what content is performing best, how much it’s engaging readers, and what isn’t working so well.
It’s also worth paying attention to conversion rate, adds to cart, and per session value—but keep in mind, a blog is much more likely to warm up shoppers at the top of the funnel than it is to drive direct purchases.
You can view these numbers in your Google Analytics dashboard under Behavior and Site Content.
Now that you’ve read this, you may want to go back and give some of your old posts a makeover. Great! But before you do, take a look at how those posts are ranking right now. Then, check back a few months after the makeover to see if the ranking has improved. Google Search Console is a great way to find your top keywords and ranking.
Finally, align your expectations. Although you may post something that really pops, for the most part, search is a long-range play. We’ve seen this firsthand on this very blog! Back in 2018, we published a post about how marketers can celebrate Hanukkah. It did fine at the time, but over the years it’s racked up an impressive number of pageviews from search, simply because it’s a topic that people go looking for year after year. So be patient: It can take a while for blog content to move up the search ranks. Keep posting, and you’ll get there.
Checklist: What every blog post should contain
- A compelling headline that answers a question
- A featured image that makes people want to click
- An intro that establishes authority
- Headers and subheaders to break up text
- A clear tie-in to your mission and/or products
- Relevant inline images with alt text
- A strong call to action