When blogging first became popular, it was much different than it is now. Keeping a blog was more like keeping a journal; people would share their perspectives and thoughts, and this was enough to get people excited. Being able to communicate with people that quickly and easily was truly fascinating.
However, nowadays, the buzz has died down, but the value of blogging has not. It has become so much more than just an opportunity to share your thoughts. Instead, it’s a powerful tool for communicating, encouraging actions and building relationships. Because of this, blogs are a tool that more and more business are using to help them drive better performance.
But if you’re new to blogging, or if you’re not sure how to do it right, you may be wondering what all the fuss is about. You might have trouble seeing how a blog can help your business, but as soon as you see the power of this tool, you’ll be rushing to set one up and harness its incredible potential.
And if you run an online store, blogging becomes even more important. It’s a way for you to bring in new customers, increase sales and help keep people coming back.
If you’re still not convinced, here are five ways blogging will help you grow your online store.
If you’re running an online store and still don’t know about search engine optimization (SEO), then it’s time to wake up. This is the process of designing your site and your content so that your site appears at the top of search engine results pages. The value of this is tremendous. Imagine if you sell athletic gear, and every time someone searches for athletic gear your website turns up #1 on Google. You’re opening yourself up to a constant stream of traffic that can only do good things for your business.
In fact, the number one source of traffic for most sites is indeed organic search.
But how does blogging factor into this? Two ways, really. First, by keeping a blog you are providing Google with lots of information about your site. The more Google knows about you, the more likely it is to include you in search results. However, you can’t just post about anything. Make sure the content you create is geared around a set of search terms and topics. Search engines would rather see less but better content than tons of stuff that seems random.
The second way blogging helps you with SEO is that it gives you a body of work to show to sites when you reach out for links. Apart from content and design, to do well with search engines you need links to your site. And one of the best ways to get links is to write guest posts on other people’s blogs. However, because of this, competition for guest posting is fierce. Keeping a blog is like a portfolio that you can show to other blog owners so that they can see what type of writer you are and what type of content you produce.
SEO is hard work and requires a solid strategy and dedication. But without a blog of your own to back it up, your hard work won’t deliver the results you want.
The online marketplace is becoming more and more competitive every day. While it’s important to compete on price, doing so forever is not sustainable. You need to find something else that will convince people to do business with you.
Developing and implementing a branding strategy is a great way to do this. By communicating who you are and what it means to do business with your company, you are giving your customers something to grab onto that goes beyond just the products you sell. Maybe it’s your customer service, or social mission, or environmental consciousness; it doesn’t matter, as long as it’s uniquely you.
Your blog is your chance to showcase this to people. Offer resources that support your vision and become a source of information and motivation for your customers. This will get them thinking about you more often than when they want to buy something. But it also means they will definitely think of you when it is time to actually make a purchase.
Branding has other benefits, as well. For example, having a strong brand will make your business more valuable, something that could come in handy if you ever decide to sell your business. It’s far easier to leverage a strong brand into higher sales numbers than to do the same for a relatively unknown entity.
Building a brand requires a multi-tiered, comprehensive approach, but it starts with you using your blog to spread your message and connect with people.
Having an engaged customer base is any business owner’s dream. When people are involved in what you do beyond just the purchases they make, your life will get a whole lot easier. For example, an engaged audience will be more likely to share your content in their circles. This gives you exposure to new segments of people you might have never reached. And because people are sharing stuff voluntarily, this exposure is essentially “free.”
Your blog is where this all begins. It’s where you get to control the content you create, and it’s what you’ll market to other influences so that they share it and get your name into the conversation. Social media will also play a major role in helping to boost engagement, but you need a strong blog to support what you post on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.
Trial and Error
A blog is also helpful for growing your business because it gives you a chance to test things out and learn from mistakes. One of the obvious ways it does this is that it gives you the chance to solicit direct feedback from people.
For example, say you launch a new product. You can use your blog to ask people what they think, and then you can use this information to improve moving forward.
A blog also gives you the chance to do A/B testing. You can use a variety of different methods to drive traffic to your site—AdWords, social media, email marketing, etc.—but then once people get to your site, you can expose them to different posts. Then, you can measure the difference in conversion rates, and this will help you figure out the best path moving forward.
Lastly, your blog can help your business by making it easier for you to grow your email list. Having access to people’s emails is a great opportunity to make sales. You can send out newsletters, holiday-specific promotions or any other content that you think will help improve your image as well as sales.
By producing engaging and interesting content for your blog, and then by making it easy for people to sign up to your newsletter through your blog, you are creating another touch point for communicating with current and potential customers. This will help to improve your branding, engagement, lead generation and everything else you hope to accomplish with your marketing efforts.
Keeping a blog is no longer just a fun hobby to run on the side. It’s instead a valuable way of increasing your market presence as well as boosting sales. You’ll need to work hard to make some space for yourself, but if you put time into developing your strategy and commit to implementing it, you’ll find your blog to be a tremendous opportunity to grow your online store.
About the author:
Jock is an online business broker and specializes in the buying/selling and appraisal of online businesses.