02 Dec 2008

Think Your Store Doesn’t Need Articles? You’re Wrong!

So you’ve got this great online store.  You’ve got customers.  You’ve even got repeat customers.  They seem to be pretty happy.  That makes you pretty happy, because that means you’re making money.  But are you really getting your fair share of the market?  Is your competitor getting business that you could be getting?

You may think that you only need a great product catalog and a good advertising campaign, but you’re missing out on opportunities if you’re not also offering informational articles to your users.

Why adding content works for your store:

  1. Articles add value for your customers. There are several dozen (if not hundreds) of other sites where your customers can buy that widget.  Why should they buy it from you?  Assuming all other variables are equal, if you give your customers some suggestions for what to do with that widget, you’ve given them a reason to shop with you.  What kinds of articles?  Tips and Tricks for Using This Widget.  The History of the Widget.  Why the Widget is Better than the Thingamajig. (You’re not going to get killer titles here.  I save those for paying clients!)
  2. Gain non-buyer traffic. People out there are probably looking for information about the widgets you’re selling.  They’re searching for them in Google, Yahoo, and maybe Ask.  They may not be initially interested in going to a product’s “buy me” page, but they may want to see what you have to say about why the widget is better than the thingamajig.  And when they read that article they found when searching for [widget] and ignoring the blatant store links, they might just click through to the transaction page.  Because you totally added the link to the product page from the article, you sly dog, you.
  3. Roll in the natural backlinks. Bloggers who may be wary of linking to product pages without having an affiliate relationship probably won’t mind linking to an informational page.  If you offer a valuable resource to users who aren’t customers, people will link to that resource.  And the people who follow those links to your resource may just convert into paying customers.  Bonus?  Links are good; search engines like you better if people link to you.  Yeah, it’s a popularity contest.  So leverage your popularity and get those links!  (Extra bonus: the links won’t be obscured by affiliate redirects, so they’ll actually count with  the search engines!)
  4. Dare to be different. Refer back to #1.  Articles add value because other online retailers aren’t offering valuable content!  You don’t want to bury your content with a vague “resources” footer link, or only referenced from your site map.  Plenty of stores do that.  You want people to know what you’re doing.  Link to relevant articles from your purchase pages, and have the articles link back to the purchase pages.  Nofollow (or not) as you see fit – this isn’t meant to game the search engines, it’s for greater usability for your customers.

I’m sure I could come up with more reasons for why YOUR store could benefit from some linkable content, but I’d have to know what your store is.  And I’d need a contract for providing you with that fantastic content. 😉 It’s what I do.  And I’ve got some very happy customers because of it.