You have been publishing content for years, right? By now you must have a couple of thousand blog posts and web pages. Some of the web pages and blog posts on my blog are from 2008-2010. Some of the information is evergreen. For example, some writing tips that I have shared can be used even now. I have little time sensitive content.
If you are not a professional content writer yourself and you also don’t write by yourself, you must have spent money on your content. Your existing content is the asset you have invested in.
Right now, the five-year-old content may look outdated and stale but when you published it you paid good money for it and it was quite up-to-date. You were proud of it.
Of course, if your business direction has changed than the old content solves no purpose if it was written for your old direction. It is irrelevant content. Its time has passed. Even if it is drawing traffic, it isn’t benefiting you. If you want, you can remove the content from your website. You can even request Google to remove it.
Other than that, I always advise my clients to re-purpose content. You can rewrite it. If the old information is relevant, you can update it. From a subsection you can write a completely new blog post. If you think the language of the blog post or the web page doesn’t truly represent your brand correctly now, you can update that.
Being a content writer, I am possessive about what I create. Since for the past 15 years more or less I have been providing the same services, nothing much has changed. Maybe a few sentences here and there, but other than that, with little revisions, I can easily update my old content. You should do the same if your content is not completely irrelevant.
How to write content for your website without hiring a content writer
I know, such advice isn’t good for my business, but so far I have learnt that people who don’t want to hire a writer won’t hire, and people who do hire a content writer, have a clear idea why they are doing so, and nothing is going to stop them.
Why you need to write content for your website?
Without accessing content, the search engine crawlers cannot figure what your website is about. The search engine crawlers use big data and AI algorithms to make sense of your website. Hence, a few pages and a few blog posts won’t do. They need to access lots of content from your website before they can rank it for the right search terms and keywords. Hence, you need to write lots of content for your website.
Another reason is that your competitors are constantly trying to outdo your content writing efforts. If you publish one blog post, they will gladly publish 10, or if not 10, at least 2-3 blog posts for every single post you publish. Multiply this with 25 competitors that you have and you can imagine how much content is being pumped.
You are constantly catching up. Does it mean it is a no-win game? No. You can outdo your competitors even with less content provided you stick to high quality content. And regularity.
Of course, you also need fresh content to educate your audience and keep people engaged. If you don’t publish fresh content your website becomes stale, and you give no reason to people to come to your website repeatedly. Research has shown that it takes 5-6 visits to the website before people decide to do business with you.
Why do people hire a content writer to regularly publish content?
There are different reasons why people hire a content writer. Some of these reasons are
Lack of time: They don’t have time to write by themselves.
No writing experience: Writing is a skill that needs to be developed. It is time-consuming. It is an entirely different, dedicated profession.
Regularity: For better search engine visibility and user engagement you need to publish content regularly. You need a commitment. It is a separate, stand-alone activity.
How to write and publish fresh content on your website without hiring a content writer
Mind you, in case you don’t want to turn into a full-fledged content writer yourself (leaving your current profession), this is a temporary situation. Maybe you are a startup. Maybe you don’t have enough funds.
The thing is, right now you cannot offer a good compensation to a content writer. But, as your business grows, as your needs to get higher search engine rankings and higher visibility grow, you will need to hire a professional content writer. So the tips shared in this blog post are only for a temporary situation.
Here are a few things you can do to write and publish content on your website without hiring a content writer.
Regularity and quality are important than quantity
This is something that I keep telling my clients repeatedly: don’t get obsessed about how many words you should write. I’m not saying create 15-word posts, but you don’t always have to aim for 1000 words or 1500 words.
Engagement is more important. Hence, if you have got something important to say and you can say in 400 words, just publish 400 words. Make sure that whatever you are saying is relevant, educational and informative.
Use your subject matter expertise
You already have immense knowledge of your field. If you are an accountant, there are many topics and subtopics you are aware of. If you are an engineer or a software designer, there are many aspects of software design you can talk about (just make sure they are fit for your audience and not for other software designers who may not be your target audience).
Sit someday with an Excel sheet and in one column enter all the topics you can think of. You will be surprised to know how many topics you can come up with.
Everybody likes to share insights. There must be multiple influencers in your industry. Choose a topic and interview a few influencers on that topic. They will get additional exposure and you will have something to write about.
Prepare a list of questions – 10 or so – and then approach a few influencers and ask them to send you the replies. You can interview them live using Skype or phone (or Zoom) or simply ask them to write down the replies to your questions.
An interview is ready-made content. You just have to prepare questions and the remaining content is provided by the interviewees.
Content curation saves people lots of time. It requires some research but if you make collecting and preserving interesting content a habit, it won’t take much time.
While you are browsing the Internet, you keep coming across interesting content based on your industry. Instead of simply reading or viewing and then moving on, save those links. Then every week, compile those links into a single blog post. Write a paragraph and then share the link, for every piece of content. Such curated content is also good for your search engine rankings because concentrated amount of information is available under a single link. Google algorithms like such links.
Repurpose your existing content
If you don’t want to hire a content writer, this is another way of writing and publishing content on your own. But this requires you to have some existing content. There may be many pages on your website. Your blog may have a few blog posts.
Above I have talked about content curation. This is a subtopic of a bigger blog post that I’m writing right now. I can also create a separate blog post on the importance of content creation. Content repurposing can be done not just for your own website, but different platforms. You can turn your existing blog post into a newsletter issue. You can rewrite an existing blog post by adding some new information and publishing it on LinkedIn. You can write a smaller version on LinkedIn and then put the link to your existing blog post on your website.
Publish guest blog posts
For this your website or blog needs to cross a certain threshold level. People would like to write for your blog or website if they expect good visibility or some SEO benefit. For that, you should have a decent presence on search engines and the guest blog posters must be impressed enough to approach you to write for your website. This takes initial hard work.
On an average I get 2-3 queries from different guest posters expressing their desire to write on my website. Although for a few months I haven’t been accepting guest posts (in fact, I’m writing this blog post myself, after many months), I am going to leverage this opportunity in the coming months so that I can publish content regularly on my content writing blog.
Provided that you are a prolific writer, and you love to communicate through the written word, you don’t ever need to hire a content writer, otherwise, this is a temporary solution.
Why do you need to ultimately hire a content writer? Regularity. Google and other search engines are constantly crawling the web to find new content. They set up a pattern to crawl certain websites and blogs. This pattern depends on the publishing frequency. If you don’t publish regularly their crawlers don’t crawl and index your website in a timely manner.
Although you cannot outdo your competitors (because every other business that offers something similar to your business is a competitor, and there may be hundreds), you can convince search engines that they can rely on you for consistent supply of high-quality content through persistent publishing.
There are numerous content publishing platforms on the Internet including social media platforms as well as blogging platforms such as Medium and the “Article” section of LinkedIn.
Just a few minutes before writing this post, all Facebook properties were down. Facebook.com and Instagram were not accessible. There was the usual brouhaha on other platforms like Twitter.
A few months ago, YouTube was down. Content creators have spent years building their presence on these platforms and to an extent, there is nothing wrong in that. For example, if you want to upload videos, what could be better than YouTube? It is inexpensive. You don’t spend money on hosting and bandwidth. Sometimes visibility is instant. There is also a vibrant community. There is already a massive audience. With so many advantages, it doesn’t make sense to upload videos under your own domain.
But when it comes to publishing blogs, I always advise my clients to build their own platform – publish all the blogs under their own domain, or under their own website.
Use social media and third-party platforms to network and connect with other content creators. Just imagine what would happen if I published all my blog posts that I publish on my Credible Content blog, on Medium or on LinkedIn?
I would have good visibility. People accessing my blog posts on these platforms would be exposed to my profile. But I would be sending all the traffic to these websites. There would be no search engine traffic to my own website.
You can say that I’m heavily depending on Google and what if Google itself goes down or what if Google decides to remove my links due to one or another reason? It has happened with many websites. Overnight the links have disappeared from Google.
Yes, there is this possibility, but still, all the content that I’m publishing, I’m publishing it on my own website. Whenever I want, I can take backups. Even if Google removes my links, my content remains. On other websites, if they decide to remove my content, I have got nothing.
As a businessperson this may not be a big issue for you, and you can also argue that just as Facebook is down or Instagram is down, even your own website can go down, with all the data gone forever. Yes, such calamities can happen.
But I would assert again, you can instruct your web host to take regular backups. You can download regular backups. You can always restore your data if your website is hacked, or something happens that completely deletes your information from your web hosting company.
But if all your articles vanished from LinkedIn, there is a fat chance you’re going to be able to recover them.
Want to improve search engine rankings of your e-commerce store? Want to supercharge your conversion rate? You must start an e-commerce blog.
If you’re wondering why you should start an e-commerce blog, you will find your answer here.
The e-commerce space is quite crowded. With websites like Shopify and Rackspace it’s even easier to start an e-commerce website within a few days without knowledge of programming or HTML.
According to this UNCTAD report, Covid-19 has led to a surge in e-commerce business. Due to multiple lockdowns all over the world, almost everyone ordered from home. Even those who were reluctant to purchase stuff online, started doing their shopping from online retail stores. The share of e-commerce in the global retail trade rose from 14% in 2019 to 17% in 2020, according to the same UNCTAD link.
Starting an e-commerce blog enables you to carve a space for yourself on this crowded terra firma.
Data from IBM’s US retail index shows that the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the shift towards digital shopping roughly by 5 years. The non-essential purchases in the conventional, brick-and-mortar department stores declined by 75% in the second quarter of 2020.
It is not just the big e-commerce websites like Amazon.com, JD.com or Walmart e-commerce that have taken a huge proportion of the e-commerce business. There have been thousands of startups all over the world in the wake of not just the Covid-19 pandemic, but also to leverage the fast-changing consumer dynamics. I was recently reading about a new startup called Dukaan (colloquial for a neighborhood shop in India) that came up during the Covid-19 lockdown when the founders realized that the local shopkeepers were no longer able to sell their products even to the traditional customer base. Hence, they built a platform for traditional shop owners to sell their products using the platform. There are hundreds of such examples.
Naturally, the competition has increased. Whereas the bigger e-commerce websites don’t rest on their laurels and spend millions of dollars to maintain their visibility and push their products in front of their customers, smaller e-commerce websites need to rely on search engine optimization, content marketing, and social media marketing to get their share of the pie that is already being shared by thousands of others.
E-commerce blogging can be a big weapon in your arsenal.
There are multiple benefits or advantages of starting an e-commerce blog.
Why do you buy from Amazon.com? It is a known brand. You have already purchased from it scores of times, in my case, even hundreds of times. You know it’s return policy. More or less, you have had a good experience when it comes to addressing your grievances and you know that you can rely on the company in case you don’t receive the product you have ordered or if you have received a faulty product.
Amazon.com doesn’t have to convince you. You are already convinced. It has been on the landscape of e-commerce for more than 20 years. It doesn’t need to win your trust.
But if you’re a small e-commerce website people hardly know, you need to win their trust. All the attributes that are assumed about Amazon.com, you need to establish them.
You need to convince people that not just their money is safe with you, in case they face a problem, you’re going to be there for them. Lack of trust is a big problem among the prospective e-commerce customers because they don’t know you yet. They don’t know whether it is safe to spend their money on your website.
Recently my wife purchased a kurti from an unknown online retail store that sells women’s garments. The piece of clothing cost double than what such a piece of clothing would cost on Amazon, but my wife liked it so much, that she bought from this website. It was a complete set containing upper and lower garments.
They sent the wrong color. They sent just the upper garment. When we called them, no one picked up the phone. Our email to their support elicited no response. We found that there are lots of negative reviews and feedback on Twitter about the company.
Such companies make it harder even for those e-commerce websites that mean to serve their customers well. This is an unnecessary hurdle created on the way of the well-meaning companies.
Blogging can fill this gap. It can familiarize people to your presence. It can establish a space of trust. Being a small e-commerce website, through your blog, it is easier to engage your customers at a personal level.
This Hubspot report says that e-commerce websites that publish a blog get 55% more traffic than those that don’t. Further, e-commerce websites that publish blogs get 97% more inbound links, and have 434% more pages indexed by Google.
Listed below are 5 reasons why as an e-commerce website you should publish a blog.
1. Blogging improves search engine rankings of your e-commerce website
Although a major part of your business comes from repeat customers (a universal trend among e-commerce websites) if you are an e-commerce store, in the beginning, you need to be found on major search engines like Google and Bing.
Before buying people look for information. For that they use a search engine like Google. They want to read about the product. They look for reviews. They look for opinions. They try to find the ratings.
In terms of improving your search engine rankings through an e-commerce blog, think about your own e-commerce store. It may be unique. It may be quite different from a bigger retail store like Amazon.com. Maybe you’re selling just 10 to 15 items, or even less. You need to educate people about the benefits of purchasing those items from your website. This you can achieve through regular blogging.
Blogging in itself is search engine friendly. Assuming that you update your blog regularly (1-5 times every week) Google crawls and indexes your e-commerce website with greater regularity because it expects to find fresh content. The Google crawler is engineered in a manner that it is constantly looking for fresh content, and even the Google ranking algorithm prefers fresh content over comparatively older content.
Make sure you choose the appropriate blog post titles that include the names of your products and their features. For example, if you sell ladies garments, you can publish something like “How to choose the best evening gown for the upcoming spring ball?” Or something like, “How we can help you if you’re not satisfied with our delivery”.
If you regularly publish a blog, people come to your website regularly. Research has shown that before buying, people need to come to your website for at least 4-5 times.
Regular blogging also gets you back links which are important for your SEO as well as wider visibility. Other bloggers and online publishers may link to useful posts from your blog. Also, blog posts are shared on social media with greater regularity.
2. Regular blogging establishes you as a thought leader
Trust matters a lot when it comes to shopping on an e-commerce website. Trust, coupled with familiarity. Familiarity comes from regular visibility. Trust comes from regular exposure to your knowledge, experience, and good advice.
Remember that having an e-commerce website doesn’t always mean having an online retail store where you list scores of products. Even if you’re selling one e-book, it is an e-commerce website, and to make people buy your e-book from your e-commerce website, you need to establish your presence among them as an authority figure.
3. Build a community of loyal customers around your e-commerce blog
The very nature of a blog makes you attract people who are interested in reading what you have to say. If you publish interesting and useful content on your e-commerce blog, they keep track of your blog. They leave comments. They respond to other visitors’ comments. They feel connected to your community. When they feel connected, they show their connectedness by following the footsteps of the community. If many of your community members buy from your e-commerce websites, the others will too.
4. Publishing targeted content is cheaper than advertising
Organic search engine rankings don’t just increase your search engine visibility, they also reduce your reliance on online advertising.
A problem with online advertising, especially when you are spending money on a PPC campaign, is that you pay for every click. Whenever someone clicks your link on Google, for example, and if the link is not a part of organic search results, you pay for that click. Whether the person buys from your website or not, you spend money on the person for visiting your website.
Being an e-commerce website with multiple items in your catalog, you may need to bid on multiple keywords. For example, if you want to draw traffic for, let’s say, 50 items in your e-commerce catalog, you will need to pay for individual clicks for all those 50 items. On an ongoing basis. You can easily guess how much money you will end up spending.
With blogging, the only money you’re spending is the money that you pay to your content writer. If your listings begin to appear in organic search results, whether you get 100 clicks or 1 million clicks, you don’t pay anything. All the traffic is free.
Also, inbound traffic – people coming to your website when they come across your content on Google and other websites – always converts better than the traffic that you get through advertising. This is because when people come across your relevant content, they decide on their own to come to your website. Knowingly or unknowingly, they are aware of why they are coming to your website. This makes it easier for them to decide in your favor when they need to buy something, and you offer it.
5. An e-commerce blog builds you are broadcasting platform
What is a broadcasting platform? It is a place where people come to read about your views, get to know about your products, and display interest in your ideas and opinion. With regular blogging for your e-commerce website, you can generate massive amounts of traffic within a couple of years. Something to the tune of 2-3000 visitors every day.
This gives you the ability to broadcast your side of the story in case some dispute happens. You will have a ready-made audience with you. You won’t have to depend on other websites to tell your side of the story. In case something tarnishes your image on the Internet, you can immediately take corrective measures by publishing an explanatory blog post on your e-commerce blog.
Should you publish an e-commerce blog on your own website or use third-party blogging platforms?
I strongly suggest that you publish a blog under your own e-commerce website. This way you completely own your content. All the traffic that you generate comes to your own e-commerce website.
There are certainly some benefits of publishing your e-commerce blog on a high traffic website like Medium (or LinkedIn), but then you will be diluting your traffic as well as search engine benefits. You may start an e-commerce blog on Medium, and you may get visibility faster, but most of the visibility belongs to the Medium platform. Whereas, from the beginning itself if you start publishing your blog on your own e-commerce website, it may take a while to build traffic and presence, but by the time you have built an audience, you will have your own strong presence.
Content syndication can take place in two directions: you syndicate your content, or you publish syndicated content on your website or blog.
Syndication means when your content is republished by a third-party website. Content that can be syndicated includes blog posts, infographics, videos and articles.
Just as someone may be interested in publishing your content, you may also publish someone else’s content.
Many news websites use content syndication. For example, many newspapers syndicate content from Reuters and Associated Press. These are independent news gathering services. Newspapers and magazines pay them a fixed fee and based on the agreement, they get a certain number of news items or images that they can syndicate from the agencies.
Content syndication can also be a good content marketing tool.
What is the difference between guest blogging and content syndication?
You must be wondering, if your content is being published on another website or blog, how is it different from guest blogging? After all, in both the cases you should be getting backlinks or getting your content exposed to a different audience.
Guest blogging is when you write a blog post or an article, preferably exclusively, for another online publication. This blog post or article shouldn’t be published elsewhere, not even on your own blog or website.
Syndication on the other hand allows you to publish your content on multiple websites and blogs. In most of the cases, an API/RSS/XML connection is used to distribute the content.
If someone uses your RSS feed or an XML link to extract content from your website (based on your permission) and then publishes the content with due attribution, it is syndication. The content exists on your website. It also exists on other websites.
You can syndicate product reviews, movie reviews, authority blog posts, or even social media feeds. Syndication can be paid or free, depending on your agreement with the publishers.
The basic idea behind content syndication is that your content appears on multiple websites. Doesn’t it create lots of duplicate content?
Yes it does?
Does Google penalize you for having duplicate content scattered all over the web?
Google says no.
But you need to take care that the websites and blogs publishing your content link back to your website or blog with attribution. You should also advise them to use the canonical link (that tells Google that the original content belongs to your URL).
Most of the content syndication tools automatically insert link to the original website. Content syndication is supposed to be automatic anyway. For example, if someone uses your RSS feed to extract content, whatever script is used to extract content also extracts the original URL and then links back to it.
The benefits of content syndication
There are many. You can promote your best performing content on bigger websites if they are ready to syndicate your content because of its quality and relevance.
Your old content, if it is still relevant and useful, can be repurposed and syndicated.
You generate backlinks automatically sometimes, which in turn benefits your SEO.
You can also use professional content syndication platforms such as Taboola and Outbrain to spread your content on other websites and blogs.
How to find content syndication partners
You can search on Google. You may use the following phrases when searching Google:
• “published from”
• “originally published in”
• “original source credited to”
• “republished with permission from”
You can also combine these phrases with the niche you’re looking for. For example, you can search for [“originally published in” “content writing tips”]
I have used  just to club the two phrases together, you don’t need to use these brackets. The above combination should bring up websites that have published on the topics of content writing tips and somewhere they also contain the phrase “originally published in”, which indicates that they may have syndicated the content from somewhere else.