Fun fact: people are more than twice as likely to buy from a brand after reading a piece of educational content on their blog.
An advantage like that is just what a small ecommerce business needs to take on larger brands. Not to mention, blog content is a really good way to drive inexpensive traffic from social media.
A less fun fact: there are around 500 million blogs on the internet in 2019. (There were only 23 in 1999!)
The bottom line: Blogs offer growing businesses a lever to grow brand awareness and win against larger competitors. But those blogs need to be good to cut through the clutter.
What makes a blog good (or, even better, great)?
If there’s anything we know, it’s blogging. Hundreds of small businesses use the Matcha platform to increase traffic, leads, and sales with their blogs. In our experience working with these companies, we’ve found four onsite characteristics that can make or break a blog’s performance.
- Usability: Can readers find the blog on your website? Is it easy to navigate and find relevant content?
- Design: Is the layout attractive? Does the aesthetic match your brand? Does the design consider the user?
- Content: Is there fresh content added regularly? Are the posts helpful and written with empathy for the reader? Or they salesy and too product-focused? Is there content for each phase of the buyer’s journey? For each persona?
- Conversion: Once a reader is in the blog, how will they be converted to a lead? Then converted to a customer?
Of course, showing is better than telling. We’ve gathered 50 blogs that are crushing one, if not all, of these characteristics. Whether you’re launching a new blog or giving yours a tune-up, these ecommerce businesses’ blogs will surely spark some ideas.
So…scroll on, get inspired, and start blogging.
Blog #1: OspreyLegacy brand of backpacks designed for several outdoor sportsWe especially love the…
variety of topics.
How often should you publish fresh content? It really depends. But generally speaking, publishing more frequently improves everything from your Google search rankings to your conversion rates to your ability to reach new niches.
Osprey’s product line serves several types of adventurers and athletes, so their broad content mix allows them to engage each one more authentically.
Blog #2: Dr. Axe
Clinical nutritionist and retailer offering a range of health supplements, essential oils, and probioticsWe especially love the…
focus on education.
When you serve your audience first, you gain their trust. You also shift from “salesperson” to “helpful resource.”
The Dr. Axe website looks and feels like an online magazine dedicated to health topics. It’s only the shopping cart in the upper right of the homepage that gives it away as an ecommerce site.
Blog #3: Grateful Body
Supplier of all-natural skin care products with zero toxinsWe especially love the…
It stands to reason that a beauty blog should be, well, beautiful.
Visitors to Grateful Beauty’s blog are treated to stunning photography. Not just the typical product or model shots, but images of stunning settings that speak to their audience’s love for living more natural, healthy lives.
Blog #4: Birchbox
Monthly subscription service for beauty and skincare productsWe especially love the…
Knowing what your customers are talking about is a critical step in publishing the best content. It helps win trending terms on search engines and leads to content that gets noticed and shared on social media.
Birchbox crushes this. They regularly write about timely topics and trends, like the hygge lifestyle, side hustles, and the Marie Kondo method of organization.
Blog #5: BarkBox
Monthly subscription service for dog treats, toys, and goodiesWe especially love the…
dogs! (Oh, and the publisher over product approach.)
BarkBox has fully embraced the spirit of blogging by creating a robust publication called the BarkPost. It looks and reads like an online magazine full of inspiration and education to engage every dog owner.
Since most people consider their dogs a part of the family, the trust that creates is important when convincing them to invest in BarkBox’s service.
Blog #6: BPI Sports
Supplier of high-performance fitness supplements for every goalWe especially love the…
blend of branded, product-focused, and helpful educational content
A blog does a lot of jobs across the entire buyer’s journey. It can generate high-value traffic, convert traffic to leads, and influence buying decisions.
The BPI Sports blog has content designed for each of these jobs. It introduces the brand with helpful “awareness” content, provides recipes featuring their products, and teaches readers how taking supplements can support their goals.
Blog #7: Shari’s Berries
Confectioner offering dipped strawberries, cake pops, and gourmet chocolates delivered to your doorWe especially love the…
Publishing seasonal content is an excellent way to tap into the emotions of the first chill of fall or family summertime picnic. And those posts can be easily updated and repurposed year after year.
Blog #8: Trew Gear
Direct-to-consumer maker of snowsport outerwearWe especially love the…
clear and beautiful popup.
Popups have become a popular way to convert blog readers to email subscribers. A good popup makes it very clear what you want your reader to do. No need to get fancy. Trew Gear’s popup has a simple call-to-action, and it’s very clear what the subscriber will get in return.
Blog #9: Cutter & Buck
Apparel brand offering a high-end range of sportswear, outerwear, and fanwearWe especially love the…
seamless integration of awareness and product content.
A great blog with useful content attracts new audiences to your brand. It also helps move that audience through the buyer’s journey. With high-level educational content and product content alike, Cutter & Buck make this transition organically, making the whole journey feel natural.
(We even wrote about how you can do this, using Cutter & Buck as an example.)
Blog #10: Away
Maker of thoughtfully designed luggage for the way people really travelWe especially love the…
dedication to authentic content marketing.
There’s a growing trend of brands becoming media companies. The brands that do this successfully are amassing huge audiences that can then be tapped into for ecommerce sales.
Luggage brand Away is a great example. They publish a standalone travel magazine called Here, which they publish both physically and in the form of an online blog. Here features thoughtful essays, in-depth city guides, and travel snapshots.
Does it work? Away’s sales increased 189%from 2015 to 2018. So, yeah. It works pretty well.
Blog #11: Knockaround
Makers of classically styled, affordable sunglassesWe especially love the…
aspirational lifestyle content.
What does it mean to put on a pair of sunglasses? It might mean summertime, pool parties, road trips, or hitting the trail. Sunglasses brand Knockaround has built a blog that exudes these good-time vibes. In short, they put the lifestyle in lifestyle brand.
Blog #12: Monica + Andy
Producer of better, softer organic baby blankets and clothesWe especially love the…
clear organizational structure.
By using both categories and tags to organize their blog content, Monica + Andy makes it easy for their readers to find the articles they care about — and continue bingeing more articles on that same topic. It’s a simple way to keep website visitors and customers engaged with their brand.
Blog #13: Ben & Jerry’s
Purveyors of premium ice cream, frozen yogurt, and non-dairy dessertsWe especially love the…
content with a purpose.
According to Twitter’s Stacey Minero, 57% of today’s consumers will buy or boycott a brand based on its position on a social or political issue.
Ben & Jerry’s taps into this by publishing content that clearly expresses their progressive views on some of the toughest questions society faces today. While some businesses shy away from these controversial topics, Ben & Jerry’s is unafraid to tackle any social justice issue — and they always do it with conviction and grace.
Blog #14: Rothy’s
Sellers of ballet flats handmade from recycled materialsWe especially love the…
seamless user experience.
If your content and distribution strategy is great but your blog UX is off-putting, you’re just inviting a lot of people to dislike your brand. (Kind of like inviting people to an awesome a party at a house with no furniture.)
Rothy’s has the UX thing down. Their images are attractive, geared toward their target audience, and match the content. Many of their links feature dynamic video. And their story snippets clearly explain what each article contains.
Blog #15: Packit Gourmet
Producer of grocery items and meal packs designed for backpackers and other outdoor adventurersWe especially love the…
Sure, you want people to know what you sell and why. But if they’re not ready to buy right now, starting the conversation with product information can feel pushy and off-putting. Packit Gourmet publishes a lot of helpful content that allows for a more natural introduction to their brand.
Blog #16: Peak Performance
Swedish apparel brand offering stylish outdoor clothingWe especially love the…
simple and attractive layout.
Every aspect of your blog expresses something about your brand. Peak Performance outerwear was born of the desire for simple, modern design. The clean design of their blog mirrors this aesthetic. And the brief, to-the-point post titles continue the theme.
Blog #17: Whole Foods
USDA certified organic grocer with locations across the U.S.We especially love the…
smart conversion points.
The genius of Whole Food’s conversion tactics is that they’re helpful and not interruptive. When you click on a recipe for New York strip with chimichurri sauce, for example, you’re offered a link to a page to buy the beef you need. But it’s not all about the products — at the bottom of the page, you’re served three additional articles to read next.
Blog #18: Home Depot
National retailer of home improvement tools and resourcesWe especially love the…
recipe-inspired conversion funnel.
A home improvement store is a natural match for helpful content. There are endless project possibilities.
Home Depot uses a tactic similar to Whole Foods, only more granular. When they explain how to do a project, they include links to every single item you need to get it done.
For a smaller brand, this conversion tactic could be really useful for mid-funnel content. Have an article with 10 tips for great sleep? Include a link to your lavender essential oil.
Blog #19: KOA
World’s largest collection of privately owned campgroundsWe especially love the…
A blog can help position your products as a solution for your audience’s needs. But it can also help create that need.
Who wouldn’t want to hit the road after reading about all the amazing adventures listed on the KOA blog? And since they also publish helpful camping tips, they position themselves as the go-to source for all the information you need to do it.
Blog #20: GlossierWe especially love the…
focus on building an audience.
Beauty blog turned seller of makeup and skincare products
Glossier founder Emily Weiss launched her beauty blog, Into the Gloss, in 2010. It quickly rose to popularity, garnering over a million views each month. Only then did she choose to offer products. Now, thousands of people are on waitlists to buy them.
The lesson? Use your blog to build an audience of like-minded people — even if you don’t yet have a product for them. You can decide how to leverage that audience when you’re ready.
Blog #21: Blinto
Producer of personalized women’s health supplementsWe especially love the…
compassionate approach to sensitive topics.
Empathy for your audience is a critical attribute of a great blog.
Binto offers personalized health supplement plans and products. Their blog takes on some pretty personal topics, like fertility and aging. They tackle these topics with zero judgment and an obvious care for their audience.
Blog #22: Nature’s One
Producer of purely organic, non-GMO baby formulasWe especially love the…
The more specific your blog topics are, the more relevant they’ll be to your niche. And typically, the better they’ll perform in terms of SEO. The Nature’s One blog could offer broad-based articles about baby health (which is certainly a solid strategy of its own accord!) but instead, they answer ultra-specific questions many new parents ask.
Blog #23: Primal Urge Foods
Direct-to-your-door subscription service for beef jerky and meat sticksWe especially love the…
clean, simple design.
The Primal Urge Foods blog covers two topics really well: meat and the outdoors. This no-nonsense content lends itself to clear, simple blog design that doesn’t distract from the topics at hand.
Blog #24: Moosejaw
Popular online retailer of a wide range of outdoor equipment and clothingWe especially love the…
irreverently relevant content.
Your blog is the most visible expression of your brand’s voice. Use it well and keep it consistent.
If you’ve ever visited or purchased from Moosejaw.com, you know their voice. They wrap important information in fun, irreverent copy.
A prime example: The article ‘Top Ten Ways to Pretend You’re Outdoorsy’ is actually a clever way to sell branded trucker hats (in a surprisingly non-salesy way). Bravo, Moosejaw.
Blog #25: DuFrane Watches
Maker of luxury mechanical watches inspired by the Austin, TX vibeWe especially love the…
variety of topics.
DuFrane could talk about the sapphire crystals and 3/16 stainless steel used in each timepiece. But they don’t — at least, not on their blog. Instead, they publish content that emulates the emotion of putting on a DuFrane watch.
The lesson? Readers aren’t told about quality and craftsmanship. They feel it. What emotions do you want associated with your brand? Those should be reflected in your blog content.
Blog #26: Beardbrand
Producer of men’s grooming products with a witty brand and love of all things beardWe especially love the…
dedication to the brand.
Is my content serving my cause?
Is it consistent with my brand’s point of view?
You should ask these questions every time you decide to post something to your blog. Beardbrand has become a success story for how to use content in part because they never falter from their cause and POV. And not all their content is about beards. They also publish blog content about their target audience’s interests, from style to travel.
Blog #27: Alpine Start
Maker of premium coffee for everyday adventuresWe especially love the…
smart use of tags.
Can your blog’s visitors find content they care about easily? If not, they’re likely to be one-and-done readers. Using tags and displaying them prominently helps readers find that next great piece and extends the time they spend with your brand.
Packaged coffee producer Alpine Start does this well. It’s not super fancy. But it’s clear and easy.
Blog #28: H&M
Seller of men’s, women’s, and kids fashion clothing and accessoriesWe especially love the…
professional online publication.
H&M publishes a full-blown fashion and beauty magazine that would rival anything found on your local newsstand. It covers just about every topic in the realm from makeup tips to emerging trends and celebrity style — including, but not limited to, their own products.
Blog #29: Defunkify
Maker of scientifically proven anti-odor clothes wash and spray deodorizerWe especially love the…
You’ve attracted readers to your blog by offering something of value. Do the same when you ask for their email address. You can do this with discounts or free shipping, but content-powered popups cost you nothing and convert at a higher rate than other types of popups.
Defunkify offers a valuable in exchange for a reader’s email address. It’s a good trade — Defunkify gives their audience something they care about, and in return, they get permission to continue marketing to those folks.
Blog #30: HomeGoods
Retailer of an ever-changing selection of unique home decorWe especially love the…
scrolling navigation bar.
HomeGoods levels up the standard content category list with an attractive scrolling navigation bar. It makes finding that perfect article easier and looks more interesting than the typical blog sidebar.
Blog #31: Everly
Maker of plant-based, sugar-free drink mixesWe especially love the…
value offered in their popup.
People visit your blog because you’ve offered something of value. Continue that good vibe by offering something even more valuable in exchange for their email address. That way, you can grow your email list while building trust with your audience.
Everly does this really well. Because their products are sugar-free, it’s no surprise that a lot of their customers maintain a ketogenic diet. Not only do they publish content that speaks directly to this niche, they also use popups to offer gated content that dives even deeper into keto. Talk about a personalized experience!
Blog #32: Superfeet
Footwear insole manufacturer with a long history of product innovationWe especially love the…
relevant product links.
When you’re hoping to convert a reader to a customer, the more personalized you can make the transition, the better.
Superfeet has products for a variety of users. So they provide a link to the product that’s most closely associated with the article topic. Reading an article about the best hikes in Colorado? Boom! Here’s a link to the best hiking insole money can buy.
Blog #33: Insect Shield
Insect repellent clothing for men, women, and kidsWe especially love the…
incredibly helpful articles.
People are more likely to buy from brands that offer helpful content in the early stage of their engagement.
Insect Shield’s blog is a library of helpful tips on travel, adventure, and health. It answers the questions their audience is asking. Exactly what a great blog should do.
Blog #34: Imperfect Produce
San Francisco-based delivery service for “ugly” fruits and vegetablesWe especially love the…
consistent point of view.
Imperfect Produce sells fruits and vegetables that don’t meet appearance standards of standard grocery stores. In doing so, they aim to reduce food waste, which is a big problem in America. Their blog posts offer lots of other ways to tackle that same issue.
The consistency in their point of view reinforces their brand values and builds trust that their mission goes beyond selling a product.
Blog #35: Island Slumber
Maker of top-quality bamboo sheets and pillowsWe especially love the…
holistic approach to solving their customers’ problems.
The Island Slumber blog positions the company as a true partner in getting a great night’s sleep. Sure, Island Slumber makes luxurious bamboo sheets. But they sell the benefits of a healthy night’s sleep. And their blog topics express that mission well.
Blog #36: Kraft Heinz
Global producer of a huge range of food productsWe especially love the…
excellent use of recipes.
Recipes are a fantastic type of content, especially because they bring readers back to your site over and over. Of course, Kraft Heinz features their own products in their recipes, but you can follow suit even if you don’t sell food products. And you don’t have to be a huge brand like Kraft to use them, either.
Blog #37: Primal Pit Paste
Maker of all natural deodorants using cruelty-free, food grade ingredientsWe especially love the…
high frequency of publication.
Primal Pit Paste’s frequent publication cadence and useful topics makes their website ideal for Google search. I’m willing to bet they’re getting some serious organic search traffic, not to mention return visitors because there’s always something new being published.
Blog #38: Forever 21
International fast fashion retailerWe especially love the…
short- and long-form fashion content.
It’s easy for a fashion brand to gather a few images and share them in a blog. Forever 21 takes a different approach. They write both short-form and long-form articles with tips and trends that describe the topic in far more depth than a photo (even with a great Instagram caption) could.
Blog #39: Panera Bread
Fast casual restaurant chain offering bakery and cafe favorites, along with packaged food available in grocery storesWe especially love the…
recipes that inspire purchases.
We’ve already mentioned that recipes are traffic magnets. Panera Bread takes advantage of this by using their blog to promote their soups, dressings, and other packaged foods. They’re great at showcasing how their products can be used in virtually any type of cuisine and diet without being overly promotional.
Blog #40: Stashlogix
Makers of thoughtful, discreet cannabis storage systemsWe especially love the…
consistency in their message.
When your brand is on the leading edge of a societal shift, you’re in the perfect position to guide the conversation around it. Stashlogix makes totes for cannabis that are feature-packed (lockable and smell proof) and aesthetically simple. No “inappropriate graphics,” as they put it.
Stashlogix’s blog strikes a similar, modern approach to the conversation around cannabis. They publish relatable, no-nonsense articles to get people thinking and educate their audience on a formerly taboo topic.
Blog #41: Press
Maker of high-quality juice and soup cleansesWe especially love the…
comprehensive content library.
The more time a visitor spends with your brand, the better. Offering a range of content and topics on your blog is one way to do just that.
The Squeeze Magazine (love the branding!) is the editorial outlet of Press, a company that makes juice-based cleanse and health drinks. They’ve mastered the art of increasing time with their brand by providing a ton of content on a variety of topics that resonate with people who are concerned about physical and mental health.
Blog #42: Outdoor Voices
Apparel brand that offers clothing designed for “doing things” every dayWe especially love the…
An audience-first philosophy isn’t just for content. It can extend to how you design your blog as well.
OV sells clothing for outdoor activities. Their customer base likely spends time on Instagram. So a blog layout organized with image panels would feel familiar and comfortable to them.
Blog #43: Zero Mile Mark
Premium retail store specializing outdoor equipment and accessoriesWe especially love the…
gorgeous outdoor adventure content.
A blog is a great way to differentiate your business in a crowded market. Offering premium, high-value content reinforces a brand that can reduce price pressures.
Zero Mile Mark doesn’t make the cheapest outdoor gear on the market. So everything about their brand needs to exude quality, from their products to their marketing. Their blog is beautiful and filled with top-quality adventure guides and stories.
Blog #44: Locally Grown
Manufacturer, designer, and printer of community-focused apparelWe especially love the…
Locally Grown’s t-shirts support state pride, and the brand encourages customers to support local businesses. Their blog reinforces this theme with geographically specific articles like Tubing the French Broad: A Local’s Guide.
Blog #45: Campman
Boutique outdoor gear retailer offering high-quality gear and clothingWe especially love the…
Building trust with an audience means placing their wants and needs over your brand’s. Then, publish content that speaks to them.
As an etailer of outdoor goods, Campman could have stopped at trail and gear reviews. But they go way beyond that with stories on overcoming fear and teaching your dog to fetch a beer. This result is a brand that feels authentic to its audience.
“I wanted to create a community. Something beyond just a shopping experience for our customers. And content is how that happens.”– Chris Holt, CEO, Campman
Blog #46: Airbnb
A global online marketplace, hospitality service, and leader in the sharing economyWe especially love the…
personal host stories.
Storytelling is a powerful way to connect with your customers.
Airbnb’s blog — especially the Community Voices section — taps into the real magic of staying in a hosted home. Each post introduces a different host who explains why they love hosting visitors and exposes a few of those hidden gems all travelers long to find.
Blog #47: Revelry
Direct-to-consumer maker of bridal gowns and bridesmaid dresses, offering at-home try-ons for stress-free shoppingWe especially love the…
photos and stories featuring real customers.
Images add emotion to blog posts and help convert readers to buyers. Revelry offers images in abundance, igniting inspiration and layering their products into the overall emotion of a beautiful wedding day. But you won’t find stock photography and stuffy bridal photos here. Revelry features real people and real stories that celebrate love and friendship in all its forms.
Blog #48: Petcube
Maker of interactive pet cameras that let pet owners can keep tabs on their furry friends while they’re not homeWe especially love the…
As if content covering all things animals (training, treat recipes, cute photos, and beyond) weren’t enough, Petcube’s blog is easy on the eyes. Their playful branding shines through in both the blog design and the articles they publish.
Blog #49: Soul Cycle
New York-based chain of indoor cycling gymsWe especially love the…
attention to the entire sales funnel.
Soul Cycle is another brand publishing content that works across the entire customer awareness funnel. The New York-based chain of indoor cycling gyms publishes general health and nutrition content (awareness), inspirational stories from clients (branded), and instructor bios and class information (product).
Blog #50: Framebridge
Custom framing business that allows customers to upload photography online or mail in art to be framedWe especially love the…
how-to content that inspires purchases.
Framebridge’s blog answers commonly googled questions like “How do I create a gallery wall?” and “What should I get my wife for Valentine’s Day?” It also addresses more niche topics, like how to frame a scarf.
The blog successfully paints (hah) Framebridge as an expert in all things home decor and makes their products and services an obvious choice for shoppers.
Whew. You’ve made it all the way down here. You must appreciate great content marketing as much as we do.
But is your content marketing strategy pulling its weight? Blogs are only as good as the results they give you. And for small businesses, that means more website visitors and higher conversion rates.
Even the most beautiful blog with the best content will fall flat if you’re not using it strategically.
Yes, you need to publish high-quality content. But it doesn’t end there. You also need a plan for distributing that content to the right people and measuring your success so you can continue to improve.
This guide will walk you through everything direct-to-consumer brands need to know about winning with an ecommerce blog.
Feature image provided by Magda Ehlers