Part of a continuing series on SEO and writing blogs.
Many clients ask me about writing blogs. What do I write about? Why do a blog at all? Our site is a commerce site trying to sell products, so what does articles have to do with anything? There are so many reasons for this, too many to discuss in one blog post. But the short of it is, trying to get a search engine to find a product on your site, over a product on another, with little more than a product description is very difficult. But what can differentiate you from those sites is providing your potential customer with information that they are interested in or need. When recommending topics for e-commerce sites, I always suggest picking products lines that are not overly broad. They should be a niche market; specific enough that there will be a good number people interested in the products without having too much competition. So rather than a site selling Dog Food, we might create a site on Dog Nutrition or even better, Dog Diabetes. And then we cater to that concept in our product descriptions as a way of differentiating our products from those on other sites.
As well, people interested in a particular topic will more likely be looking for information on that topic, more often than for information on particular products or types of products. A person who has a dog with diabetes will spend more time looking for information about the disease, than for specific nutritional products. And, they will be actively and intently looking for that information. If you can fulfill their need, they will likely read additional posts on your site, and come back to your site for more as you write additional material. Hopefully, this will translate into product sales. As well, you should write regularly. Nothing can halt traffic as easily as a long time without new content, especially if your product line is static.
So, to capture that potential customer, we need to put ourselves into the mind of that person. We try to write about topics that we know that person will be looking for. For this reason, we recommend choosing a product line that is interesting to our clients, preferably a hobby or a topic they have a vested interest in. It makes it easier to write, easier to keep up with writing each week, and easier to understand what topics the potential customer will be attracted too because you are just like your customer. You know what kind of information the customer is searching for because you have probably searched for it yourself. Also, pay particular attention to topics for which you had trouble finding information. If that piece of information was hard to find for you, it will be for others as well and you will be providing something for which there is little competition.
Another trick, is to write about something that is timely, something in the news that people may be clamoring for. Not every blog post has to be about your specific topic. It can be tangentially related. For example, if your site is about Dog Diabetes, there is no reason you cannot write a post about the dog that was rescued by his master after falling through the ice. (this was on the news yesterday). People who are searching for information in Dog Diabetes obviously love dogs so this topic can also be attractive. You could summarize what you have read or seen on TV and perhaps grab the attention of some new viewers. This can be tricky though. If it is too big of a story, you run into the competition problem. Also, if it is early in your blog writings and you haven’t gotten up the Google rankings ladder yet, it may still be missed and then after a few days, when the news is old, it has little value, as opposed to information that is more timeless.
Once you start getting into the habit of writing your posts, you will also begin to pay attention to the things you do related to your topic. You will see areas where information is lacking and continually formulate topics that may be beneficial to your customer. You will begin to formulate a strategy. You will start to see what works and what doesn’t. Not all of your blogs are going to be well read. And others will surprise you at how much they were reposted. This process may take some time before seeing results, so don’t get discouraged. If you take the time and care to create good content, and analyze what works, you will.
Let me end this post with a few tricks that may help.
- If you have a facebook account, post your article to facebook. and ask your friends to repost it for you. Dont feel shame in that. You may have 100 friends, but if you have 10 other people repost your article and they each have 100 friends, that can work out well. And you get more links that way too for search engines.
- Post to twitter, and do the same thing, ask your friends to retweet.
- Get an account at both Digg and Reddit. These sites are user generated news aggregators. What that means is users submit articles and the community votes on whether they like them. The more people that like them, the higher up in the site they go, which means more people on the site see them and can then vote to like them. If you can get high up, you can gain significant traffic. If you’re lucky, people will repost them on their own blogs and you will see some real changes in your site traffic. Its tough competition, but with the right topic, you can really change things.
- make sure people can subscribe to an RSS feed of your posts. If you use WordPress, you have one, juts make sure there is a button with the RSS link on the page somewhere.
- Most people have no idea how to use RSS, so you can use Mail Chimp or some other equivalent service to put out a weekly email newsletter of your new posts. You probably won’t get a ton of people signing up, but those that do are your best customers and you may want to target them with additional marketing strategies. But make sure that any additional targeting is not too intrusive as to make those prized customers regret signing up for your newsletter.
- Finally, submit your site to blog directories. This is a topic that needs a whole post in itself. But you can search Google for the topic if you want to learn more about their advantages.
There are of course, many more ticks of the trade, but these are items that are easy to accomplish. I will leave it there for you to ponder. As always, repost, and hit the Google+ button if you like the article. I truly appreciate it.