WooCommerce store owners know that eCommerce is one of the most competitive marketplaces. Over 84% of eCommerce executives surveyed in 2020 said that competition was “tough” to “very tough” in their market.
Even if your product is very unique, it can be hard to make it stand out. If you sell similar items to those in a crowded marketplace, it’s even more challenging to differentiate. This is where marketing comes in – specifically, content marketing.
Content marketing is when you plan, create, and share valuable or interesting information with your target customer. The most popular format for content marketing is a blog.
Blogs have a proven track record across industries, from personal products, electronics, health and beauty, fashion, and more. 60% of consumers say blogs are valuable in the buying process. 92% of content marketers use blogs (source). According to Hubspot, websites with blogs attract 55% more traffic than those without a blog.
Even though hosting a blog on a site may be free, they are still a lot of work. Let’s look at some pros and cons of blogs for your WooCommerce store.
The Downside of a Blog for your WooCommerce Store
The major drawback of a blog is it requires a lot of time to maintain. The average time to write a 1000 – 1500 word post is about 4 hours, and blogs tend to show stronger results when the writer spends 6 hours or more per post.
The other factor is how often to post. In simple terms, the more you post, the better your results are. Businesses that post 16 or more times per month receive 3.5 times the traffic of those with fewer than four posts. If you do the math, 16 blog posts per month at 4 to 6 hours each is 64 to 96 hours per month just on content creation! In reality, most bloggers do not post 16 times a month. The sweet spot for beginners is a weekly blog post. If you can get started with two posts a month, that’s OK too – the most crucial factor is to be consistent over time. Blogging is a long-term strategy, not a short-term campaign like contests or ads.
If posting to a blog once a week sounds daunting, let’s look at the pros to see if you think it’s worth a try.
Advantages of Blogging
Blogging has several advantages; some are tied to short term benefits, others to long term brand-building efforts.
- Increased traffic: All eCommerce companies are interested in more traffic to their website. Blogs can help attract traffic to your website by helping you show up in searches online.
- Trusted expert and brand loyalty: When you write relevant information about or associated with your products, it takes your brand out of “salesy” mode and positions you as a trusted advisor to your customer. UMZU, a supplement company, writes detailed educational posts about topics related to their products and customer health. Zappo’s blog posts are not about shoes but about workplace and customer service topics, reinforcing their status as an industry leader in those areas.
- Search Engine Optimization – SEO is the practice of making your content easy for Google and other search engines to find and index. A website with more content with keywords that match those words and phrases of people searching for your product category will appear higher in the search results. This is why sites with many relevant blog posts tend to rank higher in search results.
- Engagement – search engines reward sites people like to engage with and spend time on. Quality blog content that is engaging helps search rankings. A popular journal brand, Moleskine, calls its blog “stories” and features posts about writing and artist collaborations.
- Increase Sales and Conversions – content that shows customers new or different ways to use products, or demonstrates other benefits, can lead to increased sales. Customers also look for information and read blog posts before they buy.
- Differentiate – a blog can help you establish a unique brand “voice” and personality. You can communicate your brand mission and values, too. This is especially helpful if your product is a commodity or very similar to the competition.
- Build Community – building an online community helps attract and retain customers. A blog is a great place to make announcements or feature visits from influencers. The Honest Company, famous for its huge devoted customer base, maintains an extensive blog. One post features founder Jessica Alba in a cooking post with two chef influencers.
- Simplify Social Media – a blog can be the home base for your content strategy. Once you know what blog posts to produce, you can create social media snippets from that content. Almost 60% of marketers repurpose blog content.
- Free to create – Unlike social media ads, blogs are free other than the time it takes to create and maintain them and the cost of hosting.
- Create Shareable Content – all the online platforms, from search engines to social media, reward content that people share. This is how content goes viral – the more people that share it in a set amount of time, the more people the platform will show it to. Blog posts are shareable and have the potential to go viral, too.
How to Start a Blog for Your eCommerce site
Depending upon the size of your company, the best way to start a blog is to keep it simple. Many people wonder, “What should the blog be about?”
To increase the ROI of your blog, you want topic choices to reflect a content and keyword strategy for SEO. SEO can get complicated, but there are a few ways to put together a simple keyword strategy. Two easy ways to get started are:
- Put yourself in the shoes of your customer. Search on Google as if they were looking for your product category. Note the keywords that come up in the search returns. Also, look at the section on the search return page that says “People Also Ask” – those phrases can give you several different suggestions for keywords.
- Look at successful competitors’ websites and notice what keywords they tend to emphasize in their marketing copy or blog if they have one. For example, UMZU categories are tied to the major concerns of their audience that their products address: blood sugar, circulation, fitness, food, diet and recipes, gut health, and hormones.
After you have chosen some keywords and seen examples of how your audience is phrasing their searches, you can create posts containing helpful or relevant information and, of course, use keywords and phrases. You can see this in action at the Honest Company’s blog, where their main categories are baby, honest beauty, pregnancy, lifestyle, wellness.
Other popular topics for blog posts include:
- Current events and holidays
- Stories about your products
- Stories about other customers using your products
- Behind-the-scenes (BTS) content to show the human side of your brand
- Guest blog posts from or with influencers
Is a Blog Right for Your eCommerce Business?
Getting started on a blog may seem daunting. One way to look at the time spent on a blog is as an investment in future traffic and conversions.Once blog posts are on your website with the right keywords, they continue to attract traffic for as long as the content is relevant. Click To Tweet
Many themes include blogs as part of the navigation, take a look for inspiration, pick some topics, and start blogging!