I am a big proponent of blogging for your business, yes, even for ecommerce businesses with online shops! Using a Shopify blog to drive traffic to your site is nearly a requirement, but I really hope you aren’t just writing and writing with no one reading.
So! You got your blog up and running, you decided on a schedule, you filled your editorial calendar with post ideas, you started writing and publishing and yet… it doesn’t feel like the blog is working. It’s not bringing you traffic, no one is commenting, and certainly nothing you’ve done has gone viral! Guess what? You may be talking to yourself.
Maybe you have endless interesting, valuable, and witty things to say, but if you’ve gone to a party and closed yourself in the closet to say them, you’re not going to get much response. Sure, people could go over to the closet and knock on the door, but who’s going to do that? There are chips and dip to be had!
This article is about how to get your blog out there mingling with people who want to hear what you have to say. Metaphor over: we’re going to talk about how to drive traffic to your blog, so all the hours you spend writing, editing, and posting is going to make you money.
Does a using a Shopify blog really help with your search engine ranking?
People often ask me if they really need to blog to promote their business, and I tend to tell them about what I’ve seen with mine. I have a single post that I wrote in no more than 30 minutes two years ago, and it has consistently gotten 200 visits per day since Google decided to like it (9 months after I wrote it). That’s 6,000 essentially free visitors I get every month.
The left side of the graph, where it’s totally flat is what happened after I wrote it in January. Nothing. In September of that year, Google took notice of it. The small dip at the start of the graph and the major dip later on are both December, when people don’t tend to be googling the term “wholesale pricing” as much.
The traffic keeps growing and I keep tweaking the post to improve it and get people to sign up for my newsletter. As I adjust it, I hope very strongly that I don’t “ruin” the post somehow and make Google sick of it! But look, I added a nice Pinterest-style graphic to it and kept the info updated, and Google rewarded me with this little dude:
From Google, “How can I mark my page as a featured snippet? You can’t. Google programmatically determines that a page contains a likely answer to the user’s question, and displays the result as a featured snippet.”
The funny thing about this post is that it’s nowhere near being my best or most informative post. In fact, the info doesn’t seem that helpful to me, so I recently beefed it up with a big fancy pricing guide PDF.
As you can see, this is a fun amount of traffic to be getting. The visitors aren’t all perfect for us, but they’re fairly well targeted (they are probably selling a product, though perhaps not a creative, design-oriented product, like we specialize in), and some of them do sign up for my mailing list. And that’s just one of hundreds of posts on our blog, each bringing in their own traffic.
Google likes regularly-updated sites
Hitting it big with a lucky keyword that Google ends up liking is awesome, of course. But even if you don’t get that lucky post, a blog still helps with your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) in other ways. One factor Google looks at when deciding how highly to rank your site in any search is how regularly your site is updated. Adding a new blog post weekly is only going to help.
Support your social media posting with a home for the content
And what about all that work you’re doing on social media telling people what you’re up to and trying to drive traffic back to your site? Sending people to a blog post is a great way to keep them interested. And that post sticks around forever, while most of your social media posts get lost in the stream after a while and stop working for you.
What makes people share your work?
Let’s not forget sharing. I know that people do share products with their friends, family, and fans. But if you don’t have a blog, you’re missing all the people who like to share inspiration, advice, ideas, and more that you could be writing about in your blog. Blog content tends to be more share-able and save-able than plain old product information is.
Promoting a blog post
If you are serious about building traffic to your website, you may now be thinking you should work on improving your blog. But please don’t spend all your time writing! Having a blog without a plan to promote each post is going to be an exercise in wasted time.
Writing the darn blog post is just a small part of making a blog work. I’m kind of sorry to have to break this to you, because for me, the writing is the fun part and then a lot of the rest of it is just like, ugh. But I do want people to see my writing, so I do a whole heap of other things for each blog post we write.
In fact (especially at the beginning), you should be spending more of your time promoting your blog than you do writing the posts. If you spend 80% of your time writing and 20% of your time promoting, it’s going to take a long while for your blog to get traction.
You should be getting sales from each post you make. Here’s how to make sure this happens.
26 things to do to make sure your ecommerce blog is working for you
Today I’m sharing a detailed peek into the 26 items on my blogging to-do list to spread the word around and get people talking. These are the things to do to get yourself out of that party-adjacent closet and onto the main dance floor.
Lest you think I’m at my computer 24 hours a day working on our blog, I will confess that I do not do these things for every post. Maybe one day, after hiring an assistant! I have a lot of other business building to do, and the blog sometimes gets neglected.
But the following is what I do when I know I am writing a “showcase” piece, such as our 260 blog post ideas article. One that I’m going to ask people to share and is going to be a big deal for us.
All these steps aren’t worth it if you put together a quick post in 20 minutes about a funny note from a customer. But if you spent three hours researching, planning, and doing a whole photo shoot, and you’re promoting something big for your business, you will absolutely want to take the time to spread that post out in the world. When I say big deal post, think new product collection or collaboration or any other important thing for your biz.
The purpose of your blog post
Before you write the post, you need to look at the big picture. The most important question to ask yourself is so important, I’m going to give it a line of its own:
- What do you want this blog post to do for you?
Blogging is a powerful way to drive traffic to your site. As you’re about to find out, it’s a whole heck of a lot of work. You don’t want to do all of this work unless you’re pretty sure it’s going to help you to meet an objective. Spending four hours on a blog post that doesn’t intend your reader to do anything once they’ve finished reading is a waste of your time.
So, the first thing you want to do is figure out what you want the blog post to do for you. I’m speaking to product-based businesses, since that’s our area of interest at Aeolidia. Product-based businesses usually want to sell a product. Perhaps a specific product, a new line of products, a collaboration with another company. But usually you want someone to buy from you. You may also have something else in mind.
Actions you may want your reader to take:
- Buy a product
- Join your mailing list
- Share your blog post with their friends
- Shop your sale
- Like your new Facebook page
- Attend your pop up shop or other event
Once you know what action you want your reader to take, you can do some more planning (before writing!) to make sure your post will have an impact and be worth all the time you put into the text, photos and graphics.
What to do before you write a blog post
I do these 8 things during the “editorial calendar” stage of bringing a post to life:
- Article focus – what to consider
- Providing value – ways to create quality content
- SEO keywords – how to research keywords that will work for you
- Content upgrades – when to use bribes to convert
- Headline – why to spend time on the headline in advance
- Collaborate – when to bring other people in to contribute to your post
- Guest posting or syndication – how to bring in fresh new readers
- Fit it on your editorial calendar strategically
How to prepare for success while writing a blog post
Okay, so you’ve planned a smart posting strategy, and you’re pretty sure you’ve set this post up so it’s going to get a lot of views! Now to write the dang thing, and write it in a way that’s going to pay off eventually, by getting new traffic to your shop – targeted traffic, meaning the sort of people who are in the mood to buy what you’re selling.
Here is what to consider as you write your post. I’ve put these roughly in the order that I think about these things. If my post is informational, I start with the text and add photos later. If the post is inspirational or aspirational, it may make sense to start with the photos, then write about them. So modify the order of photo taking and gathering according to what works for you.
9 things to do while writing the post:
- Rough draft – hint: yes, you’re going to edit this later
- Call to action – how to make it compelling
- Cross-link to others – an easy way for cross-promotion
- Edit and proofread – and the tools I use
- Photos and graphics – how to make them effective
- Social media content – what to prep to promote your post
- Optimize with headers and alt tags
- Cross-link to yourself – an easy way to keep people on your site
- SEO double check – how to be diligent without being penalized by Google
After publish: how to promote a blog post once you’ve written it
You’ve scheduled or published your post. You’re done! Or are you? Nope, sorry, you’re not. Now that you’ve written your article, you need to put some more effort into getting it seen, so your work isn’t wasted.
Here are 8 things you can do to give your new blog post the best preparation to succeed:
- Cross-promote – why to let people know about mentions
- Ask for favors – when and how to ask influencers to share your post
- Social media (in person) – how to create a buzz
- Social media (scheduling) – how to let robots take care of the rest
- Mailing list – why your list is your most valuable marketing asset
- Syndicate – how to let the post get back to work again
- Write a spin-off – keep actively linking to the post
- Email series – introduce new subscribers to this post
You did it!
Whew, your little baby blog post is off toddling in the world, and you’ve given it a much greater chance to grow up into a popular post, repinned thousands of times on Pinterest, ranked #1 for your keyword on Google, gone viral on Facebook, or shared by a famous blogger. Best of all, it’s a post that will make people buy your product and all your work has paid off. Way to go! Now do it again for your next post.
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