Every single day, more than 2.8 million blog posts are written. That’s a lot of content, and that number is continuously rising. We are smack-dab in the middle of the content marketing era.
You need to find ways to stand out in the crowd, and drive traffic and sales to your business. Blogging is a huge part of an ecommerce marketing strategy, but a lot of people don’t realize that every Shopify site includes a blog.
You may already be using WordPress or another platform for blogging. Unfortunately, those external platforms weren’t developed to play well with Shopify. As a result, it’s not a seamless process to feature a product on another blog and drive readers to convert to a sale.
So, let’s take a look at how a Shopify blog works, the functionality it offers, and how it integrates your blogging with your ecommerce store.
Blogging with Shopify: The Basics
For most ecommerce blogs, Shopify’s embedded capabilities will be plenty to meet your needs. It’s free, quick and easy to get started with, and covers the blogging basics - like inserting images and video, a nice visual editor, automatic SEO for the title and description, ability to schedule posts in the future, comments, and tags. It’s not as powerful as dedicated blog systems like WordPress, but you may not need all that functionality.
Benefits of Using Your Shopify Blog
Using your Shopify blog makes it easy to:
- Start readers on your online shop and keep them there
- Maintain a cohesive feel between your shop and your blog; they’re just different pages on the same site, with the same look and feel
- Manage and maintain content, with only one admin tool to update your shop and blog
Easy for you. Easy for your customers.
How to Turn on Your Shopify Blog
To activate your Shopify site’s blog, go to your Shopify admin area and click “Online Store” in the left menu bar. In the sub-menu, click “Blog Posts”. At the top, click “Manage Blogs”, and then in the top right, click the button “Add Blog”. Give your blog a name, and then add it to your site’s navigation menu.
The blog design is part of your Shopify site’s design theme, and can be customized by editing the Liquid code.
Run Multiple Blogs for One Shopify Site
You can operate multiple blogs on a single Shopify site. This allows you to segment the kind of information you distribute based on your customers’ interests, such as company news on one blog, inspiration or entertainment content on another blog, and deal of the day or promotional posts on a third blog.
Shopify’s Content Management Capabilities
Blogging is all about the content: what topics you cover, what your readers are interested in, and how far and wide your content is shared. Like other blogging platforms, Shopify provides functionality to help people explore and share your content. Shopify apps can also integrate with your blog to offer additional features.
Shopify asks you to designate how comments will be managed on your blog posts:
- Disable Comments: This can make it difficult to build community and get feedback from readers and customers, but keeps your time investment to a minimum.
- Comments with Moderation: You have a lot of control over what types of comments show up on your site, but this can be a time intensive process, depending on how many readers you have,
- Comments Automatically Published: This supports an active community and requires minimal time to manage, but inappropriate comments can put your brand at risk. Monitor frequently, and you have the ability to remove comments as necessary.
Note: Before you can enable comments for a blog, you need to publish at least one post to it.
Schedule a Publish Date
You can set a specific publish date for your blog in advance to align with a specific promotion or event. This also allows you to streamline your content work: scheduling multiple posts at once, and setting them to publish once a week, for example. You can also backdate a post.
Display an Excerpt from a Blog Post
On your blog’s main page, you can feature an excerpt of a post (including images, text formatting, and links).
To add an excerpt, go into one of your blog posts and under the text box, click “Add Excerpt”.
Organize Posts Using Tags
Assign one or more tags to a blog posts so that customers easily find blog posts in that category. When a customer searches for a tag in your online store, matching blog posts will appear in the search results.
Social Media Buttons
Invite Customers to Subscribe
Shopify automatically produces an RSS feed for every blog that you create, so customers can subscribe to it and receive notifications when you publish a new post. The feed URL is the blog page URL with .atom appended. For example, http://store.myshopify.com/blogs/blogname.atom. Customers can also subscribe to your blog feed using FeedBurner.
Promote Featured Posts
When you have a post that does better than the rest of your blog content - either it brings in a lot of traffic, or is really successful at driving sales -- you want to make it super easy for people to access. Using your Shopify theme, a featured blog post can be showcased on your store’s homepage.
Shopify blogs can also integrate other standard content management functionality as well. Chances are, if you need it, your Shopify blog can do it.
Grow Your Reach with SEO
You need Google to easily find - and like - your posts in order to grow your audience and sales. The good news is that Shopify automatically delivers the basics of search engine optimization for your site. You can add to the built-in SEO functionality in the blogging tool with capabilities that let you edit the SEO content -- page title, meta description and URL -- for each individual blog post.
Within a blog post, below the text box is a section titled, “Search Engine Listing Preview”. Here you can see the auto-generated content that will appear in a search engine like Google, and you can manually edit the text. Using keywords and enticing language will help people find and click on the link.
The page title and meta description have set character limits. If you enter more text beyond the character limit, then your page title and description will be shortened in search engine results. You can see how this will look in the search engine preview.
Add Apps for Custom Blog Functionality
Just as you can add apps to your Shopify ecommerce shop to customize its functionality for you and your customers, you can also add apps to make your blog work the way you want it to.
Two of the most popular apps to add to a Shopify blog are:
- Disqus: This comment-sharing app helps you create an environment that encourages discussion and engagement on your blog. You will recognize it’s clean design from many of the world’s largest blogs and websites.
Disqus offers Shopify users a free seven day trial, after which the cost is four dollars per month.
- AddThis: Make it easy for your customers to share your content around the web by adding social icons to your blog. You can choose from more than 300 social networks, and can customize the icons’ appearance. Embedded analytics offer insight into your blog readers’ sharing, follows, and other valuable statistics.
- Related Posts: At the end of your blog posts, suggest other similar articles on your blog that readers may also enjoy. This gives readers a reason to stay on your site, increasing engagement, and is a boon to your SEO.
There are more than 1,800 apps in the Shopify app store, so if you’re interested in doing something with your blog, there’s probably an app for that. (If not, give us a call! We can edit your site’s code to create the functionality you need.)
Shopify Blog vs. Another Blogging Platform
If you’re already using WordPress (or another platform like Medium or Tumblr) for your blog, you can integrate your external blog into your Shopify store. However, there are a few important considerations you should know about this set-up:
- SEO Impact: A blog on other platforms must be installed as a subdomain within Shopify; it cannot be added as a subdirectory. (The blog URL will be blog.mywebsite.com, instead of mywebsite.com/blog). There may be SEO implications on this difference.
- Extra Effort: The two platforms (Shopify and your blog) will have dual logins and separate hosting.
- Confusing Design Differences: Your blog platform will have a completely different website design than Shopify; the two themes are developed from completely different languages. One option is to find a relatively similar theme and customize the colors to match your Shopify site, however, customers may become confused by subtle differences. For the interface to feel completely seamless, you will need to have a custom theme created. In this case, anytime you want to make a change to one theme, you would need to change the other as well.
- Complex Analytics: Using Google analytics for cross-domain tracking (Shopify store to external blog) requires a certain configuration. If you want to understand how your customers are interacting with both domains, your analytics account will need to be tweaked.
- Difficulty Preserving Cart Info: When working across two platforms, it can become tricky preserving cart information from a mini-cart to the site’s shopping cart. To resolve this, some coding may be needed.
If you’ve already built a blog on another platform, you can migrate content from that platform over to your Shopify blog. This will improve your store’s conversations and SEO by having your blog on the same domain as your store. A great tool for this process is BlogFeeder, which makes it quick and easy to import existing blog posts into Shopify.
WordPress’s ecommerce platform, WooCommerce, is another option to establish a seamless integration between a blog and an ecommerce site. The consideration to make here is whether WooCommerce or Shopify will work better for your ecommerce business. While WooCommerce is very popular, it doesn’t scale well. Read more about the differences between Shopify and WooCommerce here.
Get Advice. Now that you have an introduction to how the Shopify blog can work, give us a call for some personalized support. We’re pros on Shopify and blogging. Tell us about your goals, and we’ll help figuring out the best way to integrate your blog and ecommerce store for you and your customers.