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Improve Your Small Business’s SEO by Starting a Blog!

When selling online, a question Canadian small business owners often have is how to increase their web traffic. One of the simplest ways you can boost your search engine ranking is to create a blog!

All e-commerce sites need to do some search engine optimization (SEO) so that people can find their business online. However, if you’re a small business owner, or if you’re just working a side hustle, you may not have the resources, technical knowledge, or time to do major search engine optimization. Adding a blog to your site is an easy first step that can improve your website ranking without requiring complex SEO work.

Here we will go through some of the basics:

Why Having a Blog Helps

Google rewards sites that have up-to-date quality content that people want to see. Updating your blog frequently lets Google know that your site is current and well-maintained. Good content means people spend longer on your site and are more likely to link to it. All of these factors help your website ranking, which in turn drives more traffic to your website.

In addition, by creating content with your blog you’re more likely to rank for additional keywords. For example, if you write about how you love Baby Yoda and now want to create a new line of socks for alien babies, people who are searching for Baby Yoda may find your site and then buy your products.

As we mentioned, having a blog is a great first step but it doesn’t mean ignoring everything else related to SEO. You should ensure basic SEO tags are in place and that the site can be crawled by search engines. We’ll suggest some helpful tools for doing some of that SEO work later in this post.

What Do I Blog About?

The most important thing to do when creating a blog is to find your niche. There are millions of blogs and websites out there, so it’s hard to stand out in the crowd. You’ll need to find a specific topic and generate content in that area. The good news is that as a store owner you already have a niche — your business!

Writing about the trends in your industry, ways to use your product and stories about how you’ve helped your customers are some great ideas to start with. If the content is useful or interesting, it has a potential to rank. High-quality content can also act as brand proof to potential customers who visit your website. This lets them know you’re a reputable business.

It can sometimes be surprising what turns out to be popular. For instance, back in 2018, we created a blog post to explain to our clients how to track their shipments with our partner carrier, Asendia. As it turned out, this post was helpful for people beyond our existing clients. This post reached people just trying to understand Asendia tracking and continues to bring increasing amounts of traffic to our site!

Graph of Asendia tracking updates blog post views from January 2019 to December 2019. Views increase from less than 100/week to around 300/week
Page views per week for our Asendia tracking blog post

If Chit Chats has helped your business, we’d obviously love if you write about us :). Let us know if you write a blog post about Chit Chats, and we’ll mention you in our own blog. This can boost your SEO by creating a backlink. Backlinks are powerful and valuable for SEO because they represent a vote of confidence from one site to another.

How to Set up a Blog for Your E-Commerce Store

If you have an online store, you likely already have the tools at hand to create a blog. Here’s how to do it for some of the bigger platforms.

Shopify

Shopify comes with a built-in blog engine. With their helpful guide and beautiful themes, you can get a great looking blog up and running almost instantly.

WordPress/WooCommerce

WordPress was built around blogging, so if you’re using WooCommerce you can start blogging right away. You can also install the Yoast SEO plugin that will provide tips on how to improve each blog post and make it easier to find.

Etsy

If you want to blog using Etsy, you’ll need to sign up for Pattern to get your domain name first. Etsy provides additional instructions for how to set up your blog once your domain is set up.

Amazon/eBay

If you’re selling on Amazon and eBay, you won’t have a way to set up a blog on your store. We’d recommend creating a separate blog using Wix, Squarespace or WordPress and linking to your product line from there.

Tips for Getting Started

There are a lot of tips out there for creating good blog content. Ahrefs, an expert in SEO marketing, has a great guide and a helpful video which we’ve included above. Moz, another expert, also has a guide on creating quality blog content. If you’re just getting started or want to improve your content, we’ve boiled down what we think are the five most important areas for blogging when you’re a small business.

1. Create Great Content that People Want to Read

Engaging readers is the most important goal but also the hardest to achieve when writing your blog. This usually means knowing your audience and doing your research on whatever topic you’re writing about. The advantage here is that you’re already an expert in your area of business.

Here are the main things to aim for when writing:

  • Make the content unique so it will rank
  • Make it interesting so that people will click on it or share it

On top of this, you’ll want to have high-quality images. This makes your post more visually appealing. A post that’s all text can seem a little like a textbook, especially if it’s long.

Although there’s no ideal length to a blog post, Google tends to favour longer articles so you’ll want to have at least a thousand words per blog post. Longer posts also give you a better chance to rank for additional keywords, so don’t be afraid to go in-depth on topics you’re knowledgeable about.

2. Make Your Posts Easy to Read

The usability expert, Steve Krug, has likened the way people read websites to driving by a billboard at sixty miles an hour. Most people quickly skim content to find out what they want, so you need to make sure that it’s easy to read.

Some of the best ways to do this are to:

  • Read your post out loud. Your post should sound more like a conversation than a technical document.
  • Make sure that your paragraphs and sentences are short so they’re easy to scan.
  • Use simpler words to make your content accessible to more readers.
  • Use headers and bullet points whenever possible.

3. Do Basic On-page SEO

You always want to make sure you’ve set your title tag, meta description tag, and h1 tag (your post title) for all your blog posts so that search engines know what content they contain. If you want the post to rank for a particular keyword, that keyword should be used in all of those tags.

Most blogging platforms will automatically add an h1 tag and a title tag for you. You will usually have to add the meta description yourself. For Shopify, you can edit directly in the post. For WordPress/WooCommerce you’ll need a plugin like Yoast. The great advantage of Yoast is that it will tell you how to improve the readability and SEO performance of your post. We highly recommend this plugin if you are using WordPress as a platform.

4. Add CTAs to Direct Traffic to Your Store

Calls to action (CTAs) on your blog motivate your readers to explore more. The specific goal is to have your blog send traffic to your store. You don’t want to spam your visitors with popups and the like, but you do want to encourage them to buy your products. Having a simple CTA at the bottom of your blog that links to your products will help divert traffic where you want it to go without driving visitors away.

Implementation

We’ve followed our own tips for this post! We made content that we thought would be helpful for small online businesses (our niche). Then we made sure our post passed the Yoast plugin’s tests for readability and basic SEO tags. Finally we added a CTA to our sign up page at the bottom so that readers of the post can check out our services.

Conclusion

In conclusion, having a blog can help your business rank in online searches. It also helps build a community for your brand and awareness of your online store.

And of course, if you write about Chit Chats please let us know. We’re always happy to hear from our clients and how we’ve helped them. Happy blogging!

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