The amount of value a blog brings to any site - ecommerce or other - depends on how well the blog strategy is developed and executed. It's very much like farming in that there are two main functions; sowing and reaping.
Sowing involves creating content that is going to be interesting to the people who will ultimately buy your goods. Unless you have an incredibly well established brand and compelling products, news and product information are not interesting. If you sell car accessories, your blog should write about things that car enthusiasts would love. If you're selling a fitness program, write about diet and fitness tips. It has to be information that 1) people will value either because it gives them information or entertains them (or both) and 2) is so good and so remarkable that they will want to share it with their friends. If you can do that, then you're going to end up with a valuable crop.
Reaping means harvesting all of the benefits of your remarkable content. One of those benefits should be search engine optimization improvements. You'll get these if you've done some up front keyword research regarding your topics and written the blog posts following basic on-page SEO best practices (i.e. using keywords in the URL, page title, headings, copy, etc...) A second benefit of generating great content is the links other people will create to it. This will further enhance your SEO and also increase awareness and traffic. You want to make it easy to share that content with sharing buttons on your posts and also encourage people to comment by asking questions and engaging with the audience. Finally, and most importantly, these posts need to result in conversions. You need to turn the readers into customers through calls to action. For example, if you are selling fitness products and just wrote a blog post about how important it is to keep track of your caloric intake, include a call to action at the bottom of the post to buy your diet worksheets or smartphone app to record them.
Hubspot (a provider of marketing automation software) just published a study of 7,000 of its customers. One of the reasons why blogging works is that it is constantly adding new pages to your website. In this study, they offer the following statistics in that regard:
- Companies with 51 to 100 pages on their websites generate 48% more traffic than companies with 1 to 50 pages.
- Companies with 101 to 200 pages generate 2.5x more leads than those with 50 or fewer pages.
- Companies that blog 15 or more times per month get 5x more traffic than companies that don't blog.
- Companies that increase blogging from 3-5 times per month to 6-8 times per month almost double their leads.
- B2B companies who blog only 1-2 times per month generate 70% more leads than those who don't blog.
- An average company will see a 45% growth in traffic when increasing total blog articles from 11-20 to 21-50 articles.
- B2C companies see a 59% increase in traffic after growing total blog articles from 100 to 200.
- Companies with over 200 blog articles have 5x the leads than those with 10 or fewer.
I'm writing a series of Business Blogging 101 posts that cover more on the subject.