Writing a blog post is easy! Writing a good blog post that is going to beneficial for your ecommerce website is not so easy and effective blogging is considered by many to be an art form.
That is why I decided to write a complete tutorial on how to craft a good blog post, as I have written and re-written many blog posts across numerous sites to make them as good as they can be, not only for the reader but also search engines so that they get traffic.
Step 1: What is the Purpose of the Blog?
Before you even type your first word, you want to identify what the purpose of the blog post is going to be and most people new to blogging for ecommerce fall into the same trap…
They want to use their blog to generate more sales and these types of posts are destined for failure from the start as any readers you get will soon figure out that it is a glorified sales page and will click off and go some where else.
The best blog posts do one thing and they do it well, the Educate and Inform, just like I’m aiming to do with this post as you didn’t come here to be sold something, you came here to learn something and if you make this the primary focus of your blog posts, it will give them a better chance of success and there are some secondary benefits:
- Number 1: It can generate you some sales with well placed links to relevant products
- Number 2: It can attract people much earlier in the buying process
- Number 3: It can grow your websites authority by generating back links
You ideally want your blog to become a resource of valuable information to your visitors and potentially customers and this can pay dividends in the long run.
Step 2: The Subject of the Blog
The second step is to choose what your post is going to be about and one of the most important things I have learnt is:
- Don’t write about myself such as How I Do xyz or I like do xyz, because: a) No one will type that into search engines and b) no one really cares how I do it
Instead you want to find subjects that people are actively looking for and the majority of blogs/blog posts that have high levels of traffic are either answering a question or teaching them how to do something.
All you have to do is look at the rest of the EcommerceGold website to see that all of my posts fall into these two categories.
Step 3: Keyword Research
Now you have decided that what you want to write about, you need to find out if:
- Are people actually searching for this
- How much competition is there
- What alternative keywords can I use
This encompasses points 1 and 3 above and there are many different tools out there that you can use, both free and paid but when you are just getting started, Google’s alphabet soup as it is affectionately known is a great free tool.
It is also very easy to do as you just go to Google .com or .co.uk (if you are focusing on the UK) and start typing your initial post name ideas into the search bar and see what Google autosuggests.
As you can see in the image above, I started typing out the title of this post and Google suggests some alternative queries that people have searched for recently.
Not only does this show me that people are searching for this topic but also gives me information on more specific titles I could go for, such as UK or an example blog post, which may be easier to rank for than the more general search term.
Another great source of information within Google searches is the related searches at the bottom of the page as this can give you more search terms and keywords that you can add in to your post.
You want to do this for all of the potential blog post titles that you are thinking of using and this will give you a good selection of keywords and phrases that you can include in your blog post.
Also take a look at the titles of the posts that appear on page one in your search, are they using that specific title or something slightly different? If titles aren’t all the same, then there may be an opportunity there for you to rank your post.
You can also use the alternative titles that others are using and do some search analysis around these terms as well.
But what about competition?
For pretty much any search term, you are going to face competition but you can increase your chances of ranking higher by focusing on search terms with easier competition.
For example, this search term of this article: How to Write a Blog Post is extremely competitive and puts it head to head with some of the biggest names in the industry, meaning it is going to be a challenge to get it to rank on page 1.
But changing it to How to Write a Blog Post UK, provides less established competition and increases the chance of the post making it onto page 1.
The next step in analysing your competition is to take a look at the posts that they have created and ask yourself:
- Is the content any good?
- Does the content really answer the question?
- Can I produce a much better quality post?
If the answer to the first two is its ok or no and you know that you can write a much better post, then it is definitely a post that is worth considering. This can also sometimes be the case with some of the big names in your chosen niche as they have a half decent post that ranks well but if you can produce a really top quality piece of content, then you can out rank them.
Step 4: Plan out the Content
Now you know what the post is going to be about and have a list of keywords that you want to include, you need to plan out your content, so that:
- It makes sense
- It has a logical flow
- It answers the question
Now obviously, you need to plan what you are going to write but there are a couple of other elements you want to think about before you start bashing the keys!
From your keyword research, you probably have a good idea as to what the title of your post is going to be but you want to keep it short and to the point by briefly explaining what the post is about as more people are likely to click on the post from search engines.
When thinking about your title, you also want to consider your URL and try and match the two up as close as possible. Many platforms will auto populate the URL but in some cases, you may want to edit this to remove unnecessary words.
For example, this post includes the words beginner’s guide in the title but the URL is just ecommerce-gold.com/how-to-write-a-blog-post/.
This is where headers come into play and a way to think about how to use these are:
- H1 – This is the main header tag and is used for your post title and the page should only contain 1 of these.
- H2 – These should be used for the main sections of your page, for example on this post, all of the Steps use the H2 tag.
- H3 – These should be used for sub-sections, such as the Header Tags above. This helps break up your content so that it is easier to read.
- H4 – These are ideal for sub-sub-sections and as with the H3 header tags, they can help break your content up into smaller, more easily consumable chunks.
There are also H5 and H6 tags which follow on from the H4 tags. Now you don’t need to over do these header tags, just use them where it makes sense, for example moving from one section to another. These header tags also help search engines understand a little better what the content is about.
A good practise is to fill out all of your header tags before you start writing your post as you will then have an outline for your post. This makes it easier to write a post, rather than just having a blank screen in front of you.
Using images in blog posts can be very beneficial as they provide visual stimulus for the reader as a long post of just text is pretty boring to look at!
Using images correctly throughout your post can really help keep people engaged and depending on the type of post, they can also help the content.
For example, if you are producing a How to Post, showing images of the different steps can help the reader understand your content and as they say, a picture can be worth a thousand words.
I also highly recommend that you use original images if possible, a stock image here and there is ok but using too many of these stock, generic images doesn’t really add any value to your blog post.
You have already looked at a couple of these in this post! Layout elements are different ways of displaying your content and one of my favourite ones is using bullets points or numbered points and it makes it easy for the reader to digest that content, rather than it being in a normal paragraph likes this.
Other popular elements include tables and quotes but there are many different ones to choose from and they do vary depending on the platform, page builder and plugins/apps that you are using.
As with images, these can help to break up your content and provide a different visual stimulus for the reader and when done properly, can help the reader process and digest the information you are providing in a much easier way.
Step 5: Writing the Content
Bet you never thought you would get to this point!
If you lay out your blog post well before starting write, it becomes so much easier to write! And you can also produce content much quicker as you aren’t trying to do everything at once.
But there are two main traps that new bloggers fall into:
Writing Blocks of Text
I did this when I started and would write 10, 15 or 20+ line blocks of text but you want to stop that before you start! Instead use short, punchy sentences that are no longer than 4/5 lines.
This not only makes it easier to read but it also looks good on mobile devices, a 15 line long paragraph looks like an essay on a phone. Some bloggers even go as far as using just using one sentence per paragraph but I personally feel that is a bit too far (even though I do it myself occasionally!).
Using smaller paragraphs also makes it easier for you as the writer to go through and proof read the article after you have written it.
Going Off Topic
Lots of bloggers do this as they want to add word count to their posts but this is counter productive as you are wasting time writing irrelevant content that most people aren’t going to read.
Instead, keep the post on topic and make sure that it answers the question that your post set out to do.
If in this post, I started talking about web hosting, themes, page builders or plugins that are awesome for WordPress bloggers, I would have lots of people click off because they came to this post to learn how to create a blog post.
Keep the post on topic and don’t worry about the word count, it is much better to produce a high quality piece of content that is between 600 – 1000 words, than a 1500 word post that waffles on about stuff that doesn’t help the reader.
This is a bonus point but think of your blog post like any book, it needs a beginning, middle and end. Your title/intro paragraph is the start, then main content is the middle and having a conclusion gives it an end.
Lots of bloggers don’t give a conclusion and lots of visitors to blogs will actually go to the conclusion before they even look at the content. So spend a little time creating a conclusion and give a short summary of what you have covered in the post.
Step 5: Proof Read/Editing
Once you have finished writing your content, you want to save the draft and then walk away from the post. Proof reading after writing often leads to mistakes being over looked.
It is much better to come back a day or so later and proof read the post with fresh eyes and you may also want to do some tweaking to the layout of the post so that the formatting is better.
It is also advisable to proof read the post a couple of times as mistakes can slip through the first read through.
Ecommerce Blog Post Ideas
Now you have an idea why you should add a blog to your website, lets take a look at the different types of post that you can create and for ecommerce websites, I have identified six different types that can generate more traffic.
1. How to Guides and Tutorials
One of the best types of blog posts that an ecommerce website can produce is are How To posts as these not only:
- Show how much knowledge and experience you have in your chosen niche
- Generate sales as you can link back to products that you stock
When you are creating a How To post, you want to give as much in-depth information as you can but also remember that you are more than likely going to be targeting beginners, so keep it beginner friendly and don’t go too heavy on niche specific terminology.
There are many different types of How To posts that you can create from small ones such as:
- How to assemble a product, think flat pack furniture!
- How to use a product, might seem obvious but remember, this is brand new to someone and they might not have a clue how to even turn it on, let alone use it.
These are great posts to create and can be very helpful, video tutorials can also be great to embed as well. You can also do much larger How To posts, such as:
- How to do a project
- How to achieve a specified outcome
These are going to be less product focused but by creating super in depth How To posts, where you show your expertise, in builds trust with the reader and can also generate the much prized backlink!
Larger How To guides are great for adding links in to your products and people will be more likely to click through and buy as they can see what benefit having that product will be when they are doing there own project.
2. Buyers Guides
Buyers guides can attract visitors who are at the very start of the buying process, they have an idea what they want but have no idea what they need to be looking for.
And you have the opportunity to educate them on the subject and in these types of posts, you want to include as much relevant information as you can as you really want it to be the best resource on the internet about your chosen subject.
Within these types of post, you also want to include lots of information such as facts, figures and statistics, especially if you can post this information from original research as it is data packed posts such as this that can generate backlinks.
These types of posts can also potentially generate sales due to the trust factor that posts of this type can generate and when they are ready to buy, they may come straight back to your site to make the purchase.
3. Product Comparison Posts
These are quite similar to review posts but instead of a single product, you take two or more and compare them head to head to see which one is the better option.
Comparison posts can often lead to the reader making a decision as to which one to go for as they have narrowed the options down to just a couple and want a final nudge into which one to go for.
As with the review posts, you want these to be honest and unbiased but you also want to come to a logical conclusion.
Sometimes it can be a simple conclusion like ‘Product A is better than Product B’ but you may come up with a conclusion that ‘Product A is better in this situation and Product B is better in another situation’. Whatever the conclusion is, you are giving the reader your opinion and that is often enough to help them make up their mind.
4. Best of Lists
Best of lists fall very much in the centre of the buying process as they know what type of product they are looking for but want to know what the best products that are out there.
To add credibility to your best of list, it helps if you have reviewed lots of products that could be on that list and the top 5 or top 10 are the ones that you have rated the highest.
But as with the two types of post mentioned above, be honest and list the pros and cons of each product. You may could also include tags to certain products such as:
- Best budget option
- Best value for money
- Best for beginners
- Easiest to use
- Best feature (if it excels at one thing)
Adding these types of tags gives credibility as to why that product is on the list, it can also help the reader narrow down the products that they might by to one or two and that is why it is worth leaving a link to the full review and also the product listing as well, so that they can progress further down the process, while staying on your site.
5. Informative Comparisons
The first three types of post of very much product orientated and should attract visitors to your site who are at some point between Browsing and being Ready to Buy but the next three are more information based and can attract visitors who are at a much earlier stage in the buying process.
The first of these is informative comparisons and unlike the Product Comparisons, they are more about informing your visitors about the differences between different types of products, for example:
- The difference between Mirrorless and DSLR Cameras
- Impact Driver vs Hammer Drill, what is the difference?
People searching these types of questions aren’t yet at the point of buying as they trying to find out what type of product they are buying, so they in more of a research mindset but posting the odd link to examples of each product wouldn’t hurt (just don’t be spammy).
But by creating a comprehensive comparison between the two types of products, you are educating the reader and in their eyes, you are an authority on the subject.
A secondary benefit to this type of post is that other websites may link to your article as a good source of information, which looks great to search engines.
6. Answer Common Questions
Think of these types of posts as an FAQ page on steroids!
When you are selling products, you will probably find that you getting the same question over and over again and it can be time consuming to type the same answer or slight variation to that answer out every single time.
This can be a great opportunity to create and in-depth and detailed answer to these common questions, this post in fact is very much a case in point as blogging and SEO for ecommerce are things I commonly get asked about, so rather than typing out a lengthy reply, I have simply created this blog post that I can refer people to.
What to Avoid
The main thing you want to avoid when creating any type of blog post for your ecommerce site is that you don’t want it to be a sales pitch, your visitors want to be informed, not sold to!
I have seen some try and mask a sales pitch as an informative post, for example, creating a review but only listing the products good points and obviously not mentioning the flaws, if you try this, your visitors will see straight through it and click off your site.
Just be Honest, Unbiased and Transparent on all of your posts and your visitors will respect you for it.
So there they are, 6 blog post ideas that you create for your ecommerce website.
Now, I do want to be completely honest here and say that you probably aren’t going to see results from creating blog posts for a while as it can take anywhere from a couple of months to a year plus for posts to start ranking in search engines.
Obviously, this is dependant on your sites authority, competition and how well optimized your posts are for SEO. In the mean time though, you can share them on social media to get them potentially in front of peoples eyes.