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Guides & Advice

How to use your on-site blog to boost your sales in ecommerce

By Jon Hunter / September 24th 2018

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On many retail sites, well-targeted and interesting articles provide an excellent way to attract potential customers – new site users that you haven’t attracted with your product and category descriptions.

With the average search query length being just under five words and increasing in length, millions of research and informational searches about commercial products are made every day. Many searches will relate to your products, representing an opportunity for you to connect with them via search.

To do this, you should take a different approach when putting together ecommerce blogs than if you were producing one for a services website. To make sure your content delivers, we explain how to use on-site blogs to boost your sales in ecommerce.

Issues with on-page blogs for ecommerce

Writing an on-page blog for an ecommerce website where you sell products is very different to writing one for a site where you provide services. With a services site, you can take users away from your services pages to your blog page, so they can learn more about your offering and make a decision whether to use them.

But with ecommerce, you shouldn’t take users away from your product pages to your blog page. Your product pages are where you want your users to be, with the aim that they’ll move from there to your checkout page and make a purchase – potentially boosting your sales.

When done right, writing a blog for your ecommerce site can be hugely beneficial and achieve higher conversion. But, when done wrong, it can, to put it bluntly, be a complete waste of time. In fact, many marketers will waste hundreds of hours writing blogs for ecommerce websites each week, which either aren’t read or don’t benefit their company sales in any way. Typical reasons for this include:

  • There is no viable plan of how to get users to your blogs
  • Content is written for the sake of it, like to fill a gap, rather than to serve a purpose
  • A visit to a blog page, once a user is already on a site, becomes a distraction and a barrier to conversion
  • The content doesn’t keep users engaged

It’s important to instead:

  • Use blogs to attract new users to your site
  • Write content that’s relevant to your business and suitable for your audience
  • Avoid your blog content distracting existing users by creating a more natural user journey
  • Write your blogs to keep users engaged

Using your ecommerce blog to create a useful user journey

An ecommerce site usually has five-page levels:

  • Home
  • Category
  • Subcategory
  • Product
  • Purchase

When it comes to creating a user journey for your ecommerce site, your aim will probably be to take a user from the page they enter your site, such as the category or the product page, through to the purchase page to make a purchase.

But this user journey can become confused when the blog is introduced.

Confused user journey

A blog page is often positioned so it is accessible via a link from the category page. But, when the blog doesn’t meet the right spec, this can create a multitude of problems. For instance, the blog:

  • Becomes a distraction, the user forgets why they came to the site and leaves
  • Has no call to action (CTA), so the user has nowhere to go. The user goes back to the category page or leaves the site. You can learn more about CTAs in our guide, How to write a call to action for a blog
  • Is poor quality, the user isn’t engaged and leaves the site

Useful user journey  

You should instead aim for your ecommerce blogs to create a useful user journey, which captures a new audience, allowing the content to serve as a key component that helps to boost your sales. This process involves focusing on what users are searching for on search engines and coming up with content that meets their needs.

Ideally, this should work as follows. A user:

Diagram showing the path a user takes from asking a question to taking appropriate action

 

From here, the aim is that the action they take will be to go to your checkout page, where they can purchase a product. While this might not happen on their first visit to your site, the stage is set. They have new information about your products in mind and have experienced your brand, which should encourage them to make a purchase at a later date.

To achieve this user journey, you need to get your content right. And, to do that, your blogs should achieve three different things.

Writing the right content

Getting your content right is about writing blogs that will capture the right audience, which is right for your business. This involves keying into those questions a user might search for:

The what, where, when, who and how to…. types of questions.

But to take your content up a notch, there are other things to think about.

Achieving requirements, authority and benefits

Firstly, your content should cover three areas: user requirement, company authority, and commercial benefit. In these areas, you should aim to answer yes to the below questions:

User requirement – Does the content meet your audience’s needs, wants, problems and queries?

Company authority – Does it demonstrate your business’s skills, knowledge and experience?

Commercial benefit – Does it drive your sales, promote your services, increase user engagement?

Capitalising on moments of intent

Secondly, your content should consider user intent – what the user intends to do when they conduct a search. This is concerned with those key moments when they either want to know, go, do, or buy something. For instance:

I want to know – When they’re exploring and researching, and not in purchase mode

I want to go – When the user is looking for local businesses or is considering buying from a nearby store

I want to do – When they want help completing a task or to try something new

I want to buy – When the user is ready to make a purchase or needs help with what to buy

In these moments, consumers want what they want, when they want it, and they’re drawn to brands that deliver on their needs. So you should aim to capitalise on these moments to encourage users who, for instance, want to buy something that they could buy from your site.

It’s worth pointing out that this is just scraping the surface when it comes to understanding user needs and user intent. You can learn more in our guide, Effective SEO strategies for ecommerce.

Producing quality content

Thirdly, your content should be of a high quality. To know if you’re producing high-quality content, you should keep the USER in mind – quite literally. You should aim to produce a blog that’s:

Unique – Is researched, contains your own information and isn’t duplicated from other sites

Substantial – Adds value, isn’t boiler plated or padded

Engaging – Written for a human, is informative, chatty and shareable

Relevant – Fits your business and brand and appears natural

Writing a blog with these four things as a focus should set you on the right path to creating high-quality content.

Presentation board displaying the words unique, substantial, engaging, relevant

Avoiding cannibalising to maintain quality

Cannibalising is when you blog about direct product names, instead of researched-based queries related to product names.

This means that users with an intent to buy, searching for direct products, might come to your blog pages that they can’t buy off, instead of your product pages that they can. This might lead to a situation of your site receiving more traffic, but making less sales.

An example of cannibalising could be a product review that contains much more substantial content on the blog than the item’s product page. This results in the review receiving more traffic than the product page.

Blogs to boost your ecommerce site sales

By carefully crafting high-quality on-page blogs that are the right fit for your business and the audience you’re targeting, you can ensure your ecommerce content meets your users’ needs and intent. This should put them on a user journey that’s useful to both them and you – giving them an experience of your brand and a taste of the products you offer, and bringing you potential new customers. Together, all this can ultimately help to boost your sales.

We’d love to explore how our content marketing strategies could boost your sales and deliver greater results for your ecommerce business. To arrange a brief telephone conversation with one of our team, call 08447 550 350 or get in touch to find out more.