The Anatomy of a Perfect Ecommerce Blog that Really Grows Your Brand
We often talk about the value of selling your brand, not just your products, and creating fans as a result. This only happens through intentional strategy, including a great offer, outstanding customer service, and thoughtfully designed non-product pages.
Another big factor in fan-creation is equipping your customers to be successful in using your product while also helping them fall in love with your brand. Having a blog on your ecommerce site is a great tool for this. In this post, we’ll outline the steps to creating the perfect ecommerce blog for your site.
Note: For other posts in our “Perfect Ecommerce Site” series, we have outlined frameworks for the structure of each important page. With a blog, our focus is less about page structure and more about strategic planning. That’s what we will be going over here today.
Step 1: Identify the Purpose of Your Ecommerce Store’s Blog
The first step is knowing your blog’s purpose on your site. What recurring content will you be writing about? To put this into perspective, think about the bigger purpose behind your products. It could be sustainability, health, adventure, travel, skincare or haircare, fashion, home decor, pet care, or something else entirely.
No matter what the purpose of your brand and products might be, there are two ways to approach content:
The first is brand-oriented content. This has to be a message that relates to your “why”, one that fires you up. It’s something you want to be known for, speak about, and help people with.
The second is solution-oriented content. This is a bit more practical, most often explaining how to use your products. These posts will teach your customers how to be successful with their purchases. You can also talk about how products are made, the thought and design behind it, etc.
Step 2: Choose a Better Name
Now that you know your purpose, you can choose a better name than just “Blog”. The generic title doesn’t say much about your brand and is unlikely to draw many customers in. For example, here at Metacake, we call our blog the Growth Academy. Choose a label that sounds intriguing and also gives a bit of context for what the content is all about.
Step 3: Choose the Categories
Based on what you’ve decided above, decide on specific categories of content. Establishing these early on will give you lanes to work with. Here are a few examples of categories to consider:
- The making of your product (what’s your process?)
- Behind the scenes of your company (employee stories, team activities, what a day at the office is like)
- Tips for using your product (how to get the most out of their purchase)
- Content around your product’s bigger purpose (for example tips about travel, health, skincare, haircare, fashion, pets, cooking, etc.)
Step 4: Write Engaging Content
The next step is to write content that your customers will actually enjoy reading! While a blog can of course be helpful for SEO, your primary goal for writing is to convert visitors and customers into brand fans. You can hire a writer if you don’t have the time or skillset for writing the posts, but let the ideas start with you since you know the brand best. Don’t just turn the writer loose and hope for the best. Your content will be better and more relevant if you provide content briefs or outlines for your writer.
Step 5: Use that Content Everywhere
Once content is written and you continue to add to it, start using that content everywhere. This is where true content marketing can really take off! Here are a few ideas to get you started.
- Internal linking between pages: Internal linking is one of the few SEO strategies that you can actually control and will actually have a huge impact.
- Email marketing: Use your content in the emails you send to your newsletter. You should not be directly selling in every email you send. If you send an email per week, a good balance is to have two emails per month deliver valuable or helpful content and the other two be for selling product.
- Inspiration for other types of content: Blog posts make great inspiration for social posts or videos. We can usually get several Instagram posts’ worth of content out of just one blog post.
Step 6: Create a Great User Experience
There is no need to overcomplicate this, as blogging is fairly straightforward. But keep reading for our top tips for creating an ecommerce blog experience customers will find useful and enjoyable.
First, you’ll need a listing page that is scannable and makes it easy to find articles.
Be sure to include:
- Site header
- Method of filtering if there is a large volume of posts (usually category filtering and/or a search bar)
- Simple blog listings (you could do only a title and a date, or opt to include the first sentence or two of the post)
- Pagination (we do not recommend the infinite scroll as it can be frustrating for customers)
- Area for customers to submit a question (why not take suggestions for topics customers want to hear about?)
- Product grid to point customers back to shopping if they’ve reached the end of the page
Second, here is what we recommend for the actual posts’ pages:
Top section: Orient the reader.
- Site header
- Hero image for the article (optional)
- Article title
Article content: Content should be written and structured so that it is easy to read as well as engaging.
- Good typography
- Appropriate use of headings. This breaks the text into scannable sections.
- Link to other areas of the site, especially products, where relevant
- Intermix videos and photos
- Where relevant, intermix product listings or product grids. We still want to sell while customers read.
Bottom section: Wrap up and provide next steps.
- Grid of related products
- Comment section (optional)
- Elements for brand reinforcement, trust-building, and de-risking such as customer reviews or a reminder of your guarantee or warranty
How to Measure the Performance of Your Ecommerce Store’s Blog
Attributing sales back to an ecommerce blog can be challenging, but there are a few metrics to keep an eye on. Watch the customers’ time on page and exit rate for blog pages to measure how engaging your posts are. You can also look at the site’s conversion rate when blog pages are included in the customer’s path to measure how well blog posts contribute to sales.
Ready to Get Blogging?
… as long as you don’t call it a “blog”, remember? Don’t let your ecommerce store’s blog be generic or even a catchall for random thoughts and ideas. This will only end up being a waste of everyone’s time and resources. If you treat your blog as an investment, you are much more likely to see return on that investment. Done well, an ecommerce store’s blog can help you build actual brand value and an influential brand voice that stands for something while also increasing sales on your store.