Go beyond the bare-bones Shopify Blog to create a truly engaging experience for your audience—and simplify the creation of meaningful content.
Table of Contents
- The Best CMS for the Job
- What Makes Ecommerce Blogs Different
- Shopify Blog Plugins
- What Should I Write About?
- Publishing Frequency & Format
- SEO – The Basics
- How to Promote Your Shopify Blog
- Using Licensed Content
- Hiring Freelancers
- Measuring Success
- Conclusion – The Power of a Great Shopify Blog
The venerable blog is undergoing a renaissance as we enter a new age of content marketing. Online purchases of consumer-packaged goods are on the rise. Blogs once thought of as side-projects are taking center stage. A Shopify Blog is one of the most powerful ways a small-to-midsize business can legitimately compete with larger companies. Here are just a few ways a Shopify Blog is a powerful tool for your business:
- Massive source of organic and unpaid traffic, that sustainably grows upon itself over time.
- An on-site experience that connects customers with your brand on a deeper level.
- Blog posts can be recycled across multiple channels to engage your audience and invite them in.
- Regularly creating blog content builds your site SEO over time, creating a strong presence on search engines.
A good ecommerce blog features engaging content, SEO optimized articles, and strong writing. A great ecommerce blog goes further with product listings, analytics for your marketing funnel, and the ability to capture leads.
The good news is that every Shopify business site comes equipped with a blog powered by Shopify’s proprietary content management system (CMS). The bad news is that this CMS is an underpowered platform that has limited functionality, especially when compared to leading CMSs like WordPress (think Microsoft Paint vs. Photoshop). Add to that, many businesses already have blogs on WordPress or other platforms, making the Shopify Blog option irrelevant.
Integrating the power of Shopify’s virtual storefront with small business blogs seems like a no-brainer. The problem, however, is that Shopify’s Blog CMS has limitations that compromise the ease of content creation, product placement, and the ability to track that content. And it doesn’t play nice with WordPress and other existing blogs.
The truth is that the Shopify CMS (and other CMS platforms) were never designed to drive ecommerce beyond standard blog principals.
Enter the Matcha Blog Creator.
Matcha Blog Creator: The Foundation of an Evolved Shopify Blog
Try the Matcha Blog Creator with a 7-day free trial. No credit card required.
The Matcha Blog Creator is the first blogging platform created specifically for ecommerce. It is designed to fuse the power of your Shopify store with your Shopify blog.
The features built into the Blog Creator are focused on creating ecommerce-friendly blogs at a reasonable price ($9 per month)—considerably less than the caffeinated drinks used to fuel the actual writing of your blog posts!
Matcha spent years collecting feedback from small business owners to create blogging solutions in step with ecommerce challenges: time and budget constraints, building brand awareness, automating SEO-friendly content, and connecting seamlessly with email and social media campaigns.
Doing All the Things a Blog Does—But Better
Ecommerce blogs are the engines that drive your online presence. A solid blog will:
- Create and establish brand awareness
- Develop your company’s voice and vibe
- Publish content that your audience can relate to and appreciate
- Shape articles that give value to your social media channels and email campaigns
- Foster long-lasting value with SEO-friendly content that drives organic traffic
- Build subscribers through locked content
- Promote products and services
- Establish alliances with partner companies and influencers
The best blogs blend quality writing, video, and useful resources. The best blog platforms make the creation of your content easy, efficient, and optimized for search engines.
This is where Matcha’s Blog Creator Shines.
Once connected to your Shopify Store, users will have access to a much more intuitive CMS interface than default Shopify CMS. This interface integrates with your Shopify Blog, your WordPress Blog, or can be used to copy and paste into other blog CMS platforms. Blog Creator guides users with drag-and-drop images, tool-tip suggestions for best writing practices, automatic SEO optimization advice, and clean formatting—all standard fare in a top-notch CMS.
Beyond that, Blog Creator allows businesses to embed product listings from their Shopify store, create content snippets with thumbnails for social media and email, and track analytics using visually appealing reports (especially when compared to Google Analytics). Users can schedule social media posts linked to their blog content as well.
A final bonus with the Blog Creator is the option to subscribe to Matcha’s Content Library, a collection of over 12,000 articles from top publishers like Popular Science, Field & Stream, Backpacker, and Saveur. These articles can be shared to your blog with the click of a button. Because SEO engines pay attention to publishing frequency, this is a great solution when you are short on time or when you want to publish helpful information (such as best health practices during the Covid-19 outbreak).
Pairing a Great Shopify Blog with Great Shopify Store Plugins
With the Matcha Blog Creator powering your blogging experience, it’s worth checking out plugins that can further enhance the overall experience of your user. A Shopify Blog is really just an extension of your store. A clever content creation trick is to talk about the services these plugins offer in a blog post—and share links to that blog post on your product pages.
Note: it’s a good idea to have a solid spellcheck plugin like Grammarly if you’re creating written content. These types of plugins generally install in your browser and are worth adding.
Here is a sampling of plugins that add to the user experience in a Shopify Store:
- Swell Loyalty & Rewards
Customer loyalty plugins are a great way to build repeat visitors by offering special offers, icon badges, referral bonuses, and developing rewards programs.
- Wishlist Plus
Wishlists are a great way to know what your audience likes without them actually making a purchase. This data can help drive sales, promotions, and social media outreach.
- Free Shipping Bar
Because who hasn’t added on impulse buys to their order when free shipping is only a few bucks away? This plugin offers a visual progress bar
Seguno’s bread and butter is courtesy—automated thank you and welcome emails, logic-generated discount codes and outreach emails (based on factors such as abandoned shopping carts), and similar loyalty-boosting communications.
- Return Magic
Returns are just part of the business. Return Magic lets you craft a branded return process, complete with automated refunds.
There are hundreds of more plugins available in the Shopify App Store—great plugins are one of the reasons why Shopify is an excellent ecommerce platform. The bottom line is that setting up your Shopify store with smart plugins will add value to your audience’s overall experience both in the store and the blog itself.
What Should I Write About?
Now that your Shopify store and Shopify blog have a symbiotic relationship and a powerful CMS, there’s the actual business of writing the thing! Finding the balance between touting your products and services without sounding too sales-y is always a challenge.
The beauty of a blog is that it offers a price-effective way to nurture longterm a relationship with your customer. Traditional print, video, and television ads rarely have the time to do anything other than to showcase a product. Blogs let you do that, of course, but also to create a brand personality. Modern blogs have pivoted to creating a human brand within their product brand—a way to share passions, interests, and social causes.
Ideas for your blog need to simultaneously entertain, inform, and ultimately generate sales. Here are some proven article themes that help engage your audience:
- Provide examples of your products or services doing the cool things they were meant to do. For example, a backpack company can write about the best hikes in a region, while tacking on a product placement snippet via the Blog Creator.
- Write about the aspirational aspects of your product. With your brand’s running shoes, one day you too will run the Boston Marathon! Testimonials about the experience rather than the product can go a long way in building trust without being overly direct.
- If you have a physical product, write about how it is made or engineered—or profile the people who actually make the product.
- Don’t be afraid to write blogs that are not product-driven. This is a popular strategy for social media and it works for blogs, too. This is where licensed content can play a part if you don’t have time to write a non-product blog from scratch.
Publishing Frequency and Format
Let’s keep this one simple! 4 – 6 blog posts a month is a reasonable number of articles for most businesses. Publishing frequency should be tied into a larger marketing plan that incorporates social media and email marketing. Blog articles that are evergreen are especially useful on a Shopify Blog, as they can be recycled into your media efforts throughout the year.
That said, non-evergreen articles such as product launches, events, and company news have their places, too. One tip: evergreen articles should be SEO optimized with more diligence as they hope to relevant for a longer period of time.
As to format, easy-to-digest content wins the day. Numbered lists in the 700 – 900-word range are a good bet to engage your audience, gain SEO traction, and be worth sharing. Product round-ups are often a good way for a small business to shine a light on their best goods and share the love with partner businesses as well.
What Was That About SEO?
Matcha’s Blog Creator comes with built-in SEO guidance for your Shopify Blog, so by simply following the advice given along the way, you’ll end up with an article optimized for SEO best practices. If you’d like to go deeper with your SEO metrics, plugins like SEO King can put some extra muscle behind your organic ranking efforts.
SEO strategy runs deep but that doesn’t mean it should be intimidating. Blogs that follow best practices in formatting (such as header HTML, image attributes, and limiting the number of links in the article) will benefit from the default page setups most Shopify and Worpdress themes provide. A few very basic SEO tips can help you write well-optimized copy:
- Articles should have a primary keyword (a keyword can literally be a single word or a phrase). The keyword is the search query you hope your audience searches for and finds… you! This keyword should appear in the title, in at least one of the subheadings, and in the body text itself—notably in the first and last paragraphs.
- Limit links to other websites. Too many links take on a spammy appearance both for your readers and for search engines. How many is too many? The answer is surprisingly human: if the links distract from the article, don’t provide quality resources, and are arbitrarily distributed, there are likely too many. Search engines often won’t penalize excessive links less than 100 total on a page, but links do lose their usefulness when there are too many.
- Take the time to optimize your images with captions that can provide context to your article. For example, saying “Niagara Falls in upstate New York” is better than “A beautiful waterfall.” As a caption. Alt-tags are a meta-data field that is a great place to put your keywords (they should describe the photo in plain language).
How to Promote Your Shopify Blog
You’ve done it! You’ve written a masterpiece. Now what?
Chances are you are already familiar with the top social media outlets: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. Posting on your owned social media outlets is an obvious start. Both paid and organic campaigns can be helpful in getting more eyeballs on your content. (The Blog Creator’s social media functions can help with scheduling these posts).
Good ol’ email is still a proven winner, even if it feels like it is lost in the shuffle of modern social media. Leading with quality blog content is a great way to get readers to trust your newsletters and improve return visits.
Another place to share your blog articles are in the communities and interest groups your brand appeals to. Reddit, Facebook Groups, Quora—any of these places can be tactfully used to reference your blog content.
Using Licensed Content With Your Shopify Blog
As mentioned above, Licensed Content is an excellent way to round out a well-crafted blog by improving publishing frequency, sharing relevant content from established publishers, and giving your audience a reason to stay engaged with your blog.
For busy marketers, licensed content can also ease the burden of content creation—big time. There’s a lot to be said for a blog post that takes one minute to post versus a piece built from scratch that could take days to produce, edit, and upload.
As an added plus, non-brand content shows that you aren’t all about the sale (even if you are). If your audience knows you occasionally post content simply for their entertainment or knowledge, it shows respect for your readers and confidence that your brand doesn’t need to be front-of-mind for every bit of content you share with the world.
Hiring Freelance Writers to Write for Your Blog
No matter how dedicated your team is, small business owners often have a lot of irons in the fire—which explains how so many blogs end up abandoned or neglected. However, hiring freelancers that are any good can be just as time-consuming—and puts your brand’s message into the hands of someone not connected to the company.
Thankfully, there are companies like Truestoke Media that specialize in linking professional freelancers with your brand. Factoring in the time and effort it takes to create custom content, freelancers can be a great investment when you know they are on-board with your message.
Working with local freelancers isn’t a bad idea if you have the time to sample their writing, work ethic, and ability to craft quality articles. The old adage “when you find a trusted mechanic, keep ‘em” applies to freelancers as well.
Measuring the Success of Your Shopify Blog
Give your blog a job.
Knowing your goals prior to creating content goes a long way in deciding what analytics should define a “win”. Yes, generating revenue is a universal goal, but how that journey proceeds will be written in the insights provided by data capturing apps like the one built into the Blog Creator. Google Analytics is the standard for data-driven website analytics, though it tends to have a lot of information that can be challenging to act on without proper analysis (something busy marketers may not have time for).
Is your goal to create a fanbase? Work on building traffic, pageviews, and engagement. Looking to build loyalty? Look for return visits, time on page, and leads. And when your blog is running on all cylinders, find out which posts have an actual connection to generating revenue.
Your blog posts should all be written with a goal in mind. Those goals will often align with their place in the marketing funnel. Measure your individual posts against your goals to determine success, and discover what’s working for traffic, sales, engagement, and email list building with analytics like those found in the Blog Creator.
Conclusion – The Power of a Great Shopify Blog
Whether you power your blog on Shopify’s site with the Matcha Blog Creator, you’re ahead of the competition before you’ve written a single word. By letting the Blog Creator do the heavy lifting of a tailor-made ecommerce CMS, your business will have amplified the effectiveness of one of marketing’s most powerful and proven tools.
Thanks to an array of plugins, licensed content, and freelance writers, you’re not alone in your efforts to share your innovation with the world. The story behind your message and brand is one that should be told—and it’s one that will build a stronger relationship with your audience.
Long live the (Shopify) blog!