The need for “fresh” content has sent many shop owners looking for a blog. We have built many WordPress Blogs for shop owners in the last few months…. shop owners who realize the need to deliver content in a more effective manner. So today I want to give you some tips for looking at your planned or existing ecommerce blog.
First off, no offense meant to other blogging software… But I highly recommend WordPress. The features, speed and ease of use is the perfect match for most shop owner’s needs. Add the awesome widgets and other tools to take full advantage of your content for social media, and you have the perfect application for your online store’s blog.
Caution number 1…. I do NOT recommend that you host your blog anywhere else except your OWN DOMAIN. Something store.com/blog is perfect! Subdomains are redundant and unnecessary as well… They are in fact viewed as folders by Google and not a separate site anyhow. Host your own blog as the content is far more valuable to your business than any link from it hosted elsewhere.
Caution number 2…. I do NOT recommend using a module to integrate your WordPress within Zen Cart. Fact is you lose a bunch of WordPress ability and worse the issues caused by the integrations.
I agree that you want your blog consistently branded to look like your shop’s pages, but the level of skill needed to create a good looking, branded WordPress theme is pretty low as far a templating software applications goes.
Here is an example we did recently for a Zen Cart owner to port his offsite blog content in to his own site http://www.horseprerace.com/blog/. Notice that while it’s a blog the navigation on both the store and blog are linked to each other and it’s consistently branded (styled).
Caution number 3…. Do not build a blog unless you have something useful to post. Things like articles about your products alone will not fit the bill. You have to create content that is useful and searchable. A great example is another customer we built a branded blog for, Silver and Pewter Gifts. This Valentine’s Day post is excellent, and EXACTLY the type of content you will need to attract readers, searches and backlinks!
Creating valuable and unique content for your website is a big commitment…. with big rewards. The most effective thing you can do it create 1-5 brand new pages with great content on your site weekly. Google especially respects the frequency of the content and rewards you in rank and crawl rate increase.
But how will you write all of that content? Well, to be honest… you don’t have to write it all.
You can hire a writer to create content on the topics you supply. Make sure to check their copy here so you know it is unique and not copied. Content that has been duplicated… just doesn’t rank well.
You can solicit guest bloggers… Employees, distributors, high school kids… you name it. Find people who are passionate about your website’s theme and let them express themselves. You will find that many more are interested than you think…. AND guest bloggers are a great way to help to promote your blog as well.
You can buy private label articles related to your content needs…. BUT these articles, unless unique will need to be rewritten to remove the duplicate content. However, they are excellent inspiration for the new writer and provide a nice framework for the post.
You can write great blog posts yourself. Just jump in. There are ton’s of great resources availiable to help you get started. Check some of these out:
- Writing great content http://www.problogger.net/how-to-write-great-blog-content/
- What makes great blog writing http://writetodone.com/2008/01/10/what-makes-great-blogwriting/
- One of my all time favorites… Writing great blog headlines/titles http://www.copyblogger.com/10-sure-fire-headline-formulas-that-work/
Some things I would like to add….
Blog with your own voice, words from you with your passion and emotion will be the most effective content and serve to build your readership as well.
Write your posts in 2 steps… If you are like me the ideas are just swimming around in my head and I can’t even type fast enough to get them all down. So when I finish fishing my head for ideas… I have to reorder, restructure and polish the gibberish I have pounded out on my keyboard. I am am really so bad that I will generally have 3 to 4 sloppy copies before I am done… My brain is much faster than my fingers. Read every post in preview view all the way through at least twice before you embarrass yourself by publishing poorly written or unprofessional content.
Lastly… NEVER leave a user comment unanswered. NEVER