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.