Do You Blog?

Got Blog?
Got Blog?

There has been an absolute onslaught of shop owners wanting a blog. This is not very unexpected, as the freshness and regularity of content carry far more weight then they ever have before in Google’s algorithm.

Certainly, I advise clients that this creation of fresh content on a regular business is a very good thing…. But I also tell them how NOT to shoot themselves in the foot.

Okay, so that sounds funny, but it’s very true…. Your shiny new blog can do you a huge disservice if you don’t know the basics. So today tonight I will attempt to give you new bloggers a fighting chance.

Perhaps in many cases the word content, by its very definition is too vague or not as descriptive as we mean to say. So if you read somewhere or your SEO tells you you need to create fresh content…. We should in fact say: You need to create unique, descriptive, fresh, honest, longtail keyword enriched content. Wow, that’s a mouthful. But, true none the less.

Unique is a word you should really wrap your head around for everything web you do. In a nutshell it means simply that the content is not published anywhere else on the web. So clearly grabbing those free articles and republishing them on your blog is not the ticket. Every page on your website should be unique from your other pages and all other web pages. It’s this uniqueness that holds the advantage.

Descriptive content is also often misunderstood. I will ask a client to write more descriptive product descriptions and he will provide me a product description with 50 key points in a bulleted list. Okay, so again, I was too vague… I mean that your pages should contain copy descriptive enough for users to read and scan naturally which generates an image or understanding of the product or page.

For example, if I called you on the phone to inquire about the widget for sale in your shopping cart, would you blow through 50 key points? No, you would use descriptive language and natural language to help me to visualize the product and it’s qualities. You would use examples and experiences to instill trust in your product, and lastly you would most certainly speak in a confident tone. My point is simple, you do not have to be a very talented writer to write descriptive text… Mostly, you just have to want to.

Fresh content is pretty simple to understand, this is new content. While updating existing pages is very good and important, your site will perform much better if you are creating new pages on a regular basis. Face it, this demonstrates both maintenance and growth.

Honest content is something every blogger should know and understand. This is simply the fact that this blog, while an incredible marketing tool is an extension of you and your company. These are posts, not white papers. Reach out to your readers, show some humanity and personality.

Sanitized blog posts will never bring you the readership and following needed to make your blog a success. If you are Joe, then blog as Joe…. Not admin. Make yourself approachable, identifiable and easy to follow, and your readers will love you.

Longtail keyword enriched content is rather a simple thing and easily accomplished. The best advice I can give you to create great longtail keywords is to refer to descriptive content above.

Too many times a week to count, clients will ask me what I think they should be targeting in their keywords. Now they don’t mean the Meta keyword tag, most of the time anymore… Instead they mean for me to give them a list of keywords to stuff in their content. Aside from coming up empty handed, they have now made me get my soap box out and begin to preach.

You see, most of you are not in a position to know what keywords you should be targeting. Instead you should be creating unique, descriptive content so in a year you will know.

For example, if you sell bananas, you will inevitably tell me you need to get to page one for bananas. This produces 2 problems. 1 the shorter keyword phrase is much harder to rank for, 2 it’s not likely to be a high converting or money making phrase. Something like buy bananas, or fresh green bananas are more convertible search queries. These longer phrases are created by descriptive content, AND they do support the necessary relevance and content for the bigger box search query bananas.

So after you have some data, you will begin to see in analytics that some phrases you are ranking for, which you may have NEVER thought of trying to…. are making sales. Bingo, that’s a phrase we want to target.

So now that we have covered some geek translations for shop owners, lets cover some do’s and don’ts for your new blog.

  1. Do post regularly and about topics related to your whole website theme
  2. Do Not post exclusively about sales, products and other marketing venues
  3. Do answer every comment you ever receive
  4. Do use catchy post titles
  5. Do make your posts at least 3 paragraphs <– Yes folks, I mean text
  6. Do use images and other media to engage your readers
  7. Do encourage comments and discussions from your readers
  8. Do use 10 or less post tags
  9. Do categorize your posts in a logical manner
  10. Do have your blog designed in the likeness of the rest of your website (brand continuity)
  11. Do use natural language that all most of your readers can understand and identify with
  12. Do try to use some semblance of proper grammar, so your posts can be scanned and read
  13. Do have fun and stay positive

Topic selection is a big hurdle for many shop owners… What the hell do i have to blog about?

Well, honestly, this is a tough one for many. You will have to think outside of the box to find your blog’s calling. To start your creative juices flowing consider related groups, events and organizations. How about historical points and tradition, myths, news and hey… Your own personal experiences?

These posts will be the meat and potatoes of your blog, the link bait so to speak. You cannot just run sale ads and product reviews in your blog…. No one shares these much, heck many don’t even read them. When you only market from your blog you seem fake, pushy and certainly uninteresting. So look for the things in your niche that your readers will find value in.

I have used these guys as an example before, but I will again as I am very proud of them. Silver and Pewter gifts is a Zen Cart store who has had their blog for about a year now, but their posts are incredibly intelligent. They go out of their way to find stories, traditions, uses and tips for their products in their posts.

This recent one is a favorite of mine, the post is about Salt Cellars and Shakers… Yeah I know, what the heck is a salt cellar. Well, that’s the key folks, they posted the history and the current trends into a very informative post that also effectively markets their products. Bravo!

Don’t be scared, you can blog successfully… Just loosen up a bit and relate to your site visitors on a more common and approachable level.