Does Blogging for Ecommerce Really Improve Business?

We've all heard it. Content is king.

Yes, that's true. But quality content, especially blog posts, are extremely hard to come by.

I often speak with small online business owners who cringe at the idea of setting up and managing a social media account. Why? Because it takes tons of time, and you're not exactly guaranteed to see any returns unless you have awesome posts that people get exited about. In short, many business owners don't want to put in the work or take the risk.

Now, look at blogging. One blog post requires you to think up topics and outline the posts. After that, you have to either write the article yourself or hire someone to do it for you. Either way, it costs money or time. Not only that, but you have to search for topics that people are actually going to read. There's nothing worse than spending all that time and money only to find out that your customers don't care about the topic.

Next comes formatting and publishing the blog post. This often takes more time than written the darn thing. Finally, you must distribute the article to people who might find it interesting, whether this is through social media, email newsletters, guest posting or other means.

It's no wonder some online store owners find blogging to be too intimidating. However, a well-thought out plan could work wonders for your conversions.

That begs the question, how do you go about making your blogging successful? Let's take a look at three wonderful examples to understand exactly what types of topics they cover, if they get customers to interact and how they utilize the blog posts to bring in more money.

Elegant Themes Blog

The Elegant Themes company sells strictly digital products. These are beautiful WordPress themes for developers and website owners to quickly launch WordPress sites without having to start from scratch. The Elegant Themes blog is suggested in many publications as one of the best resources for WordPress developers, and it shows based on their in-depth tutorials, beautiful imagery and the number of people who interact with the authors.

Are Customers Responding Well to the Blog?

Although not all of the blog posts are hits, it's not uncommon to see dozens, if not hundreds of user comments towards the end of an article. Since the blog is all about making WordPress sites better and training developers on interesting topics, the users seem more than willing to state their opinions and ask questions to things they may not understand.

As for the social sharing, Elegant Themes has no problem getting users to share on places like Facebook, Twitter and Google +. Therefore, the customers are doing much of the marketing work for them. Now, this type of following takes time and effort to build, but they've obviously created an authority resource for people interested in WordPress.

How is the Blog Used to Boost Conversions?

Elegant Themes does a pretty good job of not over-saturating blog posts with mentions to its own products. On occasion you'll see posts talking about new releases, and sometimes they mention useful themes within the blog posts. However, the primary call to action is located at the end of the blog post, where they prompt users to sign up for an Elegant Themes membership.

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The Williams Sonoma Blog

Are Customers Responding Well to the Blog?

Compared to other cooking blogs, Williams Sonoma doesn't have an insane number of comments on each of its blog posts. That said, the social shares are respectable, and those who have questions seem to go right to the comments area.

How is the Blog Used to Boost Conversions?

On occasion Williams Sonoma will mention some of its cooking products in blog posts. However, the main tactic they use it to recommend useful products right below the blog post. This integrates directly into the ecommerce store, since a customer can scroll to the bottom, click on the link (to something like a pot) and immediately purchase the item. The great thing about this is that they don't push any of the products too hard. But all of the items suggested on the bottom are only relevant to that particular blog post. So, you may see four or five products, or you may see just one.

The Home Depot Blog

Home Depot has an incredible number of blog posts with DIY projects and home repair tutorials. The main reason I like the blog is because all of the articles look professionally made, with beautiful photos and the occasional video.

Are Customers Responding Well to the Blog?

It's unclear how many social shares the articles get since Home Depot doesn't disclose that. However, a quick visit to Pinterest reveals that each of the articles get thousands upon thousands of Pins. The company has done a wonderful job of targeting the female demographic on Pinterest, seeing as how these are generally the people who want to take on DIY jobs like this.

How is the Blog Used to Boost Conversions?

Most of the Home Depot tutorials have materials and tools lists. The writer links to all of the relevant items a person would need in order to complete the tutorial. Obviously the user might have some of the items on the list, but I'm certain that many people simply click through to the Home Depot ecommerce page to round out the tools they don't currently have.

In Conclusion

From Elegant Themes to Home Depot, you can see that blogging is not just a fun way to test the waters and see if customers might be interested in content. Sure, blogging serves as a way to offer additional information after people buy products. But these companies primarily got into blogging to make more sales, whether it be through organic search or when sharing through places like social media or email.

If you have any questions about blogging to improve your ecommerce business, or if you have any other suggestions for ecommerce professionals, let us know in the comments section below.

Joe Warnimont

Joe Warnimont is a freelance writer who creates tools and resources to help other writers get more productive and market their work.

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