New to blogging and marketing copy? New to writing, period? We’ve got you covered with these 10 blog writing tips.
Blogging for ecommerce is an essential marketing activity, but different from an essay, book, or even news journalism. The critical distinction: you’ll be writing for anyone who could potentially make a purchase, so your content must always be informative, engaging, and, most importantly, highly readable. While these blog writing tips are good advice for any blog, they are especially pertinent to ecommerce blogs.
Still, you shouldn’t feel overwhelmed at the prospect of getting all your great ideas onto the screen. This article will dive into helpful writing tips for crafting a well-written, captivating blog that will drive engagement and provide value to your readers. And the best news? A piece that’s expertly written for ecommerce will not only be more enjoyable but can also help bolster your SEO efforts.
Let’s jump in!
1. DON’T make all of your blogs all about your product.
Ecommerce blogs can (and should) serve a specific functional purpose, so it’s crucial that you assign the right job to your content before putting pen to paper. Here are just a few common examples of jobs for your content:
- Drive new traffic to your site
- Capture good-fit readers to your email list
- Entertain/help/inspire existing customers
- Influence product views or purchases
- Build your brand’s story
Once you’ve identified the article’s strategic purpose, you can formulate topics that support that goal. More often than not, a blog is not the appropriate channel to talk directly or exclusively about your product. Unless, of course, you’re writing a buying guide or an instructional piece about how to properly use that product.
Unsure what topics your audience is interested in? The answer is simple — it’s probably the same things you are! An effective ideation method is to write the content you want, but haven’t been able to find online.
Pro tip: Using Matcha’s Product Listings feature, you can always embed your top-selling product to any content page without the reader feeling like you are being overly pushy.
2. Target your reader with a captivating title relevant to them.
Research has shown that readers spend an average of 37 seconds on a blog page. The title of the blog is your first (and potentially only) chance to grab their attention, let them know the piece is meant for them, and entice them to keep reading after that 37 second benchmark.
Pro tip: Aim for specificity and brevity, but don’t be afraid to flex your creativity! Try these rules of thumb:
- The title should accurately describe the contents of your blog. No click-baiting here.
- Keep your title to 65 characters to avoid being cut short in search.
- Use quippy adjectives and language to draw your readers in.
- Numbers in your title (commonly referred to as a Listicle) also drive click-throughs and engagement.
Here a real-life example:
- Good — “How to Make Bread”
- Better — “How to Make Bread with Your Kids”
- Best — “X Pro Tips for Making Home Made Bread When the Store is Out…Again.”
3. Steer clear of the passive voice.
In a passive sentence, the action (verb) is being done to the subject (noun), instead of the subject doing the action. Conversely, the active voice mimics the way you speak daily. Here’s a real-world example:
Passive: A blog was written by the ecommerce marketer.
Active: The ecommerce marketer wrote a blog.
In the stronger active example, the actor is the subject of the sentence, rather than the other way around.
So, why does voice matter? Using the passive voice will almost always result in overly wordy writing (see tip #6!) that’s confusing to the reader and clouds your message.
Pro tip: Make sure that no more than 10% of your sentences are passive.
4. Grammar is important. Until it isn’t.
Employing proper grammar is key to creating a catalog of content that is perceived as a trusted resource by your audience. Repeated errors can erode your credibility over time.
Eventually, you’ll develop a unique style and voice that may demand you buck the ground rules here and there. Feel free to structure your sentences in non-traditional ways (like starting with “but”) to keep your content quippy and conversational.
Pro tip: Read your writing aloud. Anything that sounds weird will read weird.
5. Check your spelling!
Nothing jumps out at a savvy reader more than a misused their/they’ re/there. Be sure to conclude every writing session with a thorough scan for any errors that could be missed by spell check. When in doubt, ask a friend or coworker for a second set of eyes.
Pro tip: Install Grammarly for seamless real-time spell checking.
6. Shorter sentences are better.
Of all the writing tips for a blog, this one may be the most overlooked, especially by academic writers that are transitioning to blogging. A reliable method for maintaining a good readability score is to keep most of your sentences short and sweet. Concise sentences also ensure that you’re never talking past your reader, regardless of the subject matter.
Pro tip: Aim for a goal of no more 25% of your sentences containing over 20 words.
7. Ditto with paragraphs!
No one wants to confront a wall of text during a leisurely read. This fact is exemplified by the rise of listicles as the preferred form of blog-style content. Keep your paragraphs as concise as possible, and create a new paragraph whenever you move to a new thought or topic.
Pro tip: If your paragraph is more than 5-7 sentences long, you might want to consider splitting it up.
8. Use headers and sub-headers
Proper use of headings helps readers and search engines quickly scan your content and understand what it’s about.
The best headers contain the essential information about the following paragraph, allowing your reader to hone in on the most important points. You can then use the paragraph to expand on the idea you teased in the header.
Because headers improve the overall structure and quality of your content and keep readers on your site longer, they can also have an indirect impact on your SEO. Sometimes, even more than keyword density!
Finally, headers also make great natural breaks to insert visual elements or product advertising.
Pro tip: If a stranger can understand your article’s narrative through just the headers, you’ve used them effectively.
9. Avoid excessive jargon or SAT words.
While you may be an expert on a subject, there’s a strong likelihood your readers are not. It’s important to establish yourself as an authority through educational and entertaining information, but try to stick to familiar terms and phrasing, especially when speaking to technical subjects.
If the average reader thinks your blog post sounds more like a Dr. Seuss book than a helpful read, they’ll leave without the information they clicked for, and may not return.
Pro tip: Keep vocabulary to a 7th or 8th-grade level and avoid insider terminology.
10. Segment your audience
One of the primary benefits of building a diverse library of content is the increased insight you’ll have into what topics resonate with your audience. You may even find that you have a few discrete audiences.
Segmenting your audience will allow you to deliver them content personalized to their interests, needs, or even purchase intent. When you tailor your content, you increase engagement and the likelihood they will convert across different stages of your buyer’s funnel.
There are many ways to think about segmentation, but here are a few helpful examples:
- Customers vs. non-customers
- Demographic segmentation (age, gender, location, etc.)
- Interest targeting (nutrition vs. weight-loss)
- Activity type (hiking vs. cycling vs. power walking)
Follow these writing tips, and your readers will love your blog!
When done correctly, blogging is one of the highest-leverage marketing activities that an ecommerce marketer can invest in, resulting in inexpensive traffic growth and subscriber generation.
Hopefully, these tips serve as a helpful starting place for writing blog content focused on accessibility and readability. Follow them consistently, and you’ll be well on your way to improving your blogging statistics and developing a performance blogging practice.