12 min read

5 Reasons Why Your Small Online Store Needs a Blog

Kate Parish
November 20, 2022

What you'll learn

What you'll need

A blog may seem like an unnecessary feature for an online retailer. Why should I write lengthy articles and promote them in search if the website’s primary purpose is to sell goods?

Generating quality content is a mountain to climb, indeed. You need to have a plan, write engagingly, and prove your trustworthiness. Yet, a blog can become a game changer for an eCommerce business. How? Let’s consider this question in this article.

Suppose you develop an online store and want it to attract considerable traffic. But no one knows about your company yet, or the customer base is too small to show a decent return on investment.

That’s why you need to find more ways to provide value to users. For example, create a blog. In this article, we’ll see the reasons to start blogging for an online merchant and the tools to help you write content.

What Motivates Visitors to Stay on the Website

Before describing the benefits of retail blogs, let’s find out the reasons to come to the website and stay. Someone may search for a particular item from your store. That’s how they land on the product page. They may study the product description, read reviews, or open other stores to compare the product with similar items from your competitors. But that’s only a portion of potential customers.

Most Internet browsers wander from one page to another, look for an answer to their question, or read interesting stories. They may not show interest in buying this time. But imagine how many shoppers you may attract and convert if you provide engaging content in a blog. Once people get involved in your articles, they will be likelier to stay and click other pages, share a link with others, or subscribe to a newsletter. 

That’s where other issues to deal with may arise, such as navigation, website speed, mobile-friendliness, etc. Some online merchants enhance their stores by building them as Magento progressive web apps or similar solutions for their eCommerce platform.

As a result, the website resembles a very convenient native app. But it’s still a website that users can access from search and save as a shortcut on their Home Screens. Technological advancements can boost user satisfaction and sales while providing an unparalleled shopping experience.

As you can see, it’s more than just a blog that can influence online sales. But it’s still a potent weapon to direct your customers to product pages and checkout, build authority, and raise brand awareness.

7 Benefits of Blogging for an Online Merchant

1. Improving Website’s Positions in Search Results

There are two ways for an online store to outperform competitors in search results. You can invest in paid advertising (PPC) or search engine optimization (SEO).

PPC is an excellent strategy for starters. You pay for clicks on your website to appear in a separate section for ads. This position is higher than organic results, having more ways to attract traffic to the website. But this strategy works only for the short term. You stop paying, and the website can’t stay in the high position.

SEO ensures the website’s position in search engines regardless of whether you invest in it this time or not. It brings organic visitors without paying for each click on the link from the search page.

Besides, many users consider organic results more trustworthy than ads. One of the reasons is that it takes time and patience to improve the website’s ranking. Google has more than 200 ranking factors and doesn’t disclose the importance of each. So companies have to enhance various website components to promote it in search. The store becomes more convenient and attractive, providing a better user experience.

No wonder retailers see better results from SEO than PPC. According to Databox research, 70% of digital marketers believe SEO to be more effective than PPC. It’s because organic traffic from SEO is more long-lasting than from sponsored advertisements.

Image credit: Databox

A blog is an excellent opportunity to improve your SEO thanks to the following capabilities:

  • It lets you acquire backlinks from other websites. Links from third parties are one of the Google ranking factors. They also boost the domain rating, making the store more trustworthy for search spiders. Plus, it’s easier to gain relevant blog mentions rather than product pages. The information may be useful for customers and other companies or people looking for exciting and informative stories.

  • You can rank for the needed keywords by writing corresponding articles and inserting these words within the text.

  • Frequent posting is a positive signal for Google to rank the store higher. It means the website stays active and attracts visitors.

  • A blog enhances such website metrics as time spent on the page, social shares, click-through rate, etc.

2. Assisting with Social Media Marketing

Social media are essential for an online store to communicate with the audience. You can engage people with different posts, from Stories on Instagram to video guides and tutorials on Facebook.

With so many venues to cover, you may run out of ideas on what to publish. Let alone you need to post frequently for search engine algorithms to promote your account. That’s where a blog may help.

Blogging on the website lets you repurpose the existing content on different social networks. You can use the text, photos, or video fragments from the original article and drop a link to the website in the description.

That’s what Muse does in its blogging and social media marketing strategy. You can see the screenshot from its Twitter account below. The retailer creates several lines for the post and includes a link to the full article.

Screenshot taken on the official Muse Twitter page

3. Presenting Yourself as an Expert

Customer trust is crucial for an online business, especially for a small retail company. How can you convince potential clients to buy? Leverage certain signs of credibility. For example, a user-friendly website, well-thought-out product detail page UX, and straightforward checkout procedure.

Consumers nowadays place an increasing value on openness. They anticipate you to be approachable, truthful, and present. A blog is a fantastic platform for establishing credibility as a person and an authority.

If you run a skincare business, you can give tips on a skincare routine on your blog. Or you can post diet plans and at-home workouts as a personal trainer. Show yourself as a knowledgeable resource for potential clients by publishing relevant information on a blog. Below is an example from the Made in Cookware website. It’s a comprehensive help center with guides, overviews, instructional how-tos, and other valuable content.

Screenshot taken on the official Made in Cookware website

4. Marketing Products and Describing Their Features

Another benefit of blogging is the ability to tell about your business more, for example:

  • share company news;
  • tell about your products;
  • offer tips on improving consumers’ lives with your goods and services.

What can you write about in the eCommerce blog? The types and topics of the posts may include:

  • interviews with industry experts or team members;
  • storytelling about the brand;
  • studies featuring your products and their impact on customers;
  • corporate news about hiring a new employee;
  • reports on participating in an environmental project;
  • information about holding an online or local event.

In the screenshot below, we can see a post from the Brooklinen® blog. The company provides insights into building a productive space and advises different products from the store to serve various purposes.

Screenshot taken on the official Brooklinen® website

5. Converting Readers into Email Subscribers

Email marketing is a tried-and-true technique for promoting a company. While it may seem outdated, it never loses its popularity and the power to increase sales. Snov.io states that email is the primary channel for lead generation for 89% of marketers. It’s also the most popular tool for customer interaction (77.6%).

How can you grow your subscriber base? Use blogging to achieve it. Publish informative content and stress the importance of receiving updates on the email. The blog should include the following:

  • convincing calls to action (CTAs);
  • pop-ups for signing up for email newsletters;
  • incentives like time-sensitive discounts, educational materials, or a free meeting with an expert from your team in exchange for signing up.

Look at the example from Beardbrand in the screenshot below. The company convinces readers to subscribe to a newsletter by offering the following perks:

  • grooming tips;
  • new blog posts;
  • product launches;
  • giveaways;
  • motivation.

Screenshot taken on the official Beardbrand website

Four Leading Tools to Help with Your Blog

1. Grammarly

Grammarly is a spell-checking tool to enhance writing. Even if you have English grammar rules at your fingertips, you will be surprised at how typos can arise in the text. Such platforms as Grammarly aim to eliminate them. There are five possible ways to leverage the tool:

  • in the web app;
  • in the downloaded desktop app;
  • in Microsoft Word;
  • by downloading the browser extension and checking texts in Google documents, Gmail, messengers, and social media;
  • on a smartphone.

Grammarly goes through the piece carefully. It edits misspells, missing punctuation, and more. In Google documents, the tool puts forward a shorter version of the abstract.

Screenshot taken in the official Grammarly app

There is an option to scan the text for plagiarism. The tool shows the whole sentences and parts that coincide with the ones on other pages.

Screenshot taken in the official Grammarly app

Another essential feature is analyzing the article style. Grammarly suggests changing words if they are too complicated for the chosen target audience.

2. Hemingway App

The Hemingway app is another ally to make the content shine. It comes in the form of a free and paid tool that can improve the piece’s readability. A free version works only in the browser and doesn’t allow you to save the article. Or you can pay $19.99 to download the app and unlock all the possibilities offline.

There are two modes: writing and editing. The former lets you focus on creating a post without distraction. No suggestions. Just a white screen.

The editing mode highlights the issues to fix. The app shows the level of readability, suggests removing weak adverbs, passive voice, and complex words and offers you to rephrase sentences.

Screenshot taken in the official Hemingway app

The readability grade relies on the algorithm to determine how comprehensible the text is. Aim for an eight or lower score. The number goes down, making the piece less confusing and tedious to understand.

While the app is fantastic for enhancing readability, the major drawback is the absence of grammar checking. So you will have to reread the piece or run it through other tools to locate typos and other problems.

3. Yoast SEO plugin

Yoast is one of the most renowned WordPress plugins for checking content SEO and readability. Some of Yoast’s capabilities impact the overall SEO of the site, while others assist you in optimizing specific articles and pages for search engines. The plugin is free. A premium version with extended functionality is also available for around $99 per year.

Screenshot taken on the official Yoast website

SEO analysis involves keyword usage, density, and distribution. The plugin reviews whether you put keywords in the title, meta description, and alt text. Yoast SEO inspects the outbound and internal links, images, and SEO titles. It also prevents you from using the same keyword for different articles and competing with yourself.

The readability tab contains points such as:

  • transition words;
  • passive voice;
  • consecutive sentences;
  • subheading distribution;
  • paragraph and sentence length.

Successful points glow green, while the issues requiring improvement glow yellow and red. It's worth noting that you can achieve an excellent overall SEO even if some dots aren’t green.

4. Copy.ai

Artificial intelligence helps people in many spheres of life. Online retailers use it to personalize offers, cross-sell goods, and answer questions via chatbots. Content creation is one of the promising fields to introduce AI. Copy.ai is an AI-powered tool that streamlines this task.

It’s a user-friendly and powerful product for generating emails, ad copies, topics, etc. The tool is clean and straightforward. You can specify the product name, describe it, and choose the language and tone of the future post. Copy.ai will generate the needed content for you.

Screenshot taken on the official Copy.ai YouTube channel

The company also has a YouTube channel, so you shouldn’t face any issues. It contains tutorials and guides to get to grips with the tool and use it to its full potential. So if you have writer’s block or run out of ideas, Copy.ai can forward your thoughts in the needed direction.

Over to You

We’ve analyzed the advantages of a blog for online retail: more traffic, leads, authority, and a stronger connection with the audience. So why not launch the blog right now? Any new project can first seem overwhelming, but it’s best to get started as soon as possible. Determine topics that rank well in search results. Create several articles and schedule publications to prevent any interruptions.

With time, you will develop your brand voice and create a strong community around the brand. The best part is that articles work even when you don’t by attracting visitors and converting them into buyers. 

So go ahead and give your eCommerce website a blog. See how it can help your business by writing a few entries and monitoring your results.

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