It may come as a surprise to you that the majority of e-commerce websites do not have a business blog. While there are a lot of sources that speak to why general businesses should have a blog, very little has been targeted at e-commerce sites. What is the point of having a blog when your primary objective is to set up shop online?

It is no secret that business blogs do a lot for increasing online traffic to standard website platforms, but they also have several other benefits that specifically benefit e-commerce sites. What is even better is the fact that because many e-commerce sites are not taking advantage of having a business blog, this can be the one aspect that sets your site away from the rest.

If you're not convinced and don't know if the work is worth it, consider some of the following reasons a blog would be beneficial for an e-commerce company:

Blogs are important for SEO to get your content crawled.

To start with a very basic understanding of SEO and why it is so important, search engine bots ultimately have two functions--crawling content & building an index. This allows them to provide answers to Internet users by determining relevancy and providing results. It is the goal of an e-commerce site to rank highly on search engines so that when Internet users are searching for a product, your site is one of the first options in front of the eyes of shoppers.

Blogs are essential in the process of getting content crawled by search engines because through links and content, search engine "crawlers" or "spiders" can reach the many billions of interconnected documents. Because blogs often contain links, specific phrasing, and content related to your e-commerce site, this can actually aid in getting your online content crawled more effectively. Your blog posts will help drive traffic to your site because every time you write a post it is an additional indexed page that search engines associate with your business. If your content is valuable (which we will discuss next), than this can help you climb the SEO Google ranks.

Inform (and VALUE) your reader.

If you are convinced that to help business boom it is a good idea to have a blog (and arguably necessary), then the next step is to put your readers at the center of your purpose.

In order to gain a following for your blog, you need to be sure you are producing content that is not only enjoyable to read, but also offers information that will keep your readers returning for more. Most people will decide whether they want to continue reading by the first line of your post, while others may skim and find that your overall organization doesn't seem worth their time to delve into. If you are a little stuck with how to get started, or even contemplating what your e-commerce site may want to blog about think about the following...

Address a problem or task readers may have.

Try to empathize with a task or problem your reader may be facing. I do this all of the time when I try to create blog posts; it is a great starting point to address an issue and share your experience dealing with it.

Product pages are oftentimes to the point because they have to be, so that is why blogs are your space to really address different problems and questions. He said, "you only have a particular amount of space and you need to be as clear as possible. A blog allows you to be more creative and give your brand a voice." Couldn't agree more.

Answer or start a discussion about a popular question.

When trying to craft a post, it is nice to look at previous comments on other posts or look to social media accounts to try an answer a question that a follower or customer is having. Ultimately answering a question demonstrates that you actually care about your readers, and that asking questions is a good way to create an ongoing dialogue. It also shows that what you are writing about is something that is purposeful to help your reader and is emerging from his/her own struggles and interests.

This directly relates to the customer/seller experience and people usually feel more inclined to shop and purchase goods from a merchant that connects with and makes their customers a priority.

Share an experience or a relatable story.

One thing that often separates an enjoyable post to read from one without much pizzazz is the ability for the writer to tell a story or share an experience. If you are writing a post and have a personal anecdote, customer story, or other experience to share make it your opening paragraph.

Again, this draws readers into what you have to say and demonstrates that not only are you the expert writing about this particular topic, but you have first hand experience with it.

Without structure, you might come crumbling down!

Lastly, structure can make or break a post. Do your best to use headings, bullet points, or begin new paragraphs when appropriate. People like being able to skim an article and decide whether or not it has what they are looking for. Don't make it a guessing game. You should be in the game of spoon-feeding your reader to some extent. Make in known that you have a clear organization for addressing the topic.

And most importantly, what you are writing about, the opening of a blog post seals the deal for your readership. As I mentioned in the beginning, most of your readers decide if it is worth their time by the first line. This is even more reason to start it with a punch! If there is anything to reevaluate after finishing a blog post, go back and look at your opening sentence. Would it hook you into reading more?

Getting Started: 5 Topic ideas to get you up and running

Of course coming up with topic ideas for an e-commerce website is the hardest part, and probably has a lot to do with why so many of these sites are ignoring blogs. Below explains a few different topic ideas that might help you get started:

  1. Hidden Secrets of Your Industry. Research and discuss some hidden secrets of your industry. Readers like having an edge on information they are getting.
  2. Why Choose Us. You don't need to knock other businesses to explain why to choose you. Highlight all of your best features and make it clear why you are the obvious choice for business.
  3. Your Business History. Write up your founding story and how your business got its start.
  4. Developments in the Industry. Have the first word with your clients about what is new or developing in your industry--don't wait for them to hear it through the grape vine.
  5. Advice on Products (and not just your own)! Offer advice on using industry related products and tools that your readers might find helpful. This does not need to just be your own; it can extend to similar products and services.

The Takeaway

When Internet users purchase goods or services online, they care about who they are buying from. A business blog helps to show that your e-commerce site actually values the needs and interests of their clients. In other words, it establishes credibility. Combined with providing valuable information and having your site rank higher to get more traffic, you actually make a presentation that keeps customers wanting to come back for more. Blogging will set your e-commerce site apart from your competitors and with time, building up content may help you advance in a way that serves both your business and customers.