So, you have a content strategy mapped out for your ecommerce website, some willing bloggers and ideas to create the best content your niche has seen… now you just need somewhere to put it! As a platform Magento Go does not have a built-in solution for running a blog so an alternative solution is required.
Running an External Blog
The quickest entry point to running a blog for your brand is to start up a blog on a platform such as WordPress or Blogger. By finding an available and relevant name for your sub-domain, choosing a skin and you could be up and blogging in around 15 minutes.
A slight alternative to the above is using the external blogging platform but to host the content on your own domain name, a name that is not your branded ecommerce website. One of our clients, CoverYourWall, has used this option to create their own On Wall blog which is host to information-based content related to the products that they sell. The blog shows some excellent engagement with customers via the comments section; highlighting the value of this area of a post and one that shouldn’t be neglected and tainted with the “blog spam” brush.
These methods offer a very quick entry to blogging and an easy solution to implement for ecommerce websites using Magento Go; the external blog can be linked to the main brand’s ecommerce website.
The disadvantage of this method is that it is difficult to associate the great content that you are adding to the blog with your main branded retail website. By linking across from the blog to the ecommerce store you will create some strong links for your retail website, if you build up the strength of the blog.
A solution implemented by CoverYourWall is to add the Hello Bar plug-in for WordPress that promotes their ecommerce store at the top of the page. This is an excellent way to ensure your blog readers know about your store and can easily navigate to the site.
Hosting the Blog as a Sub-Domain
If you are running a blog on a WordPress or Blogger platform you can redirect the content to a sub-domain you have set up for your main brand domain. Eyesore Merch is an online retailer of band t-shirts who launched a new website in November 2011, they were originally blogging using a WordPress set-up but by creating a blog sub-domain on their Eyesore Merch domain were able to redirect the original blog that was set up to this new location; all the old content was transferred and redirected to the new location. The domain mapping service in WordPress does have a yearly charge but makes mapping a sub-domain to a WordPress blog quick and easy.
This has the advantage that the blog content and its value can be better associated with your brand and building the strength of the blog sub-domain can have some positive impact on the strength of the overall domain.
You still need to make sure that there are clear calls to action to move visitors to the blog through to the main ecommerce website; again the Hello Bar plug-in could be a potential option as could image banners in the blog sidebar.
A Branded Solution
A more comprehensive solution for Magento Go ecommerce websites is to use the above solution, creating a blog sub-domain to your main domain, but to implement a skin on the blog that replicates the design and header of the main ecommerce website. This creates a more complete customer experience as they visit the blog and they can more easily move from the blog through to the ecommerce pages.
The Distance built an ecommerce website for Louise Pierre and used this approach for their blog; hosting the WordPress blog on a sub-domain and using the URL Rewrite Management area in Magento Go so that a link can be added to the main navigation that redirects to the blog. Readers of the blog will find not only the regular updates from Louise Pierre but the main navigation of the website offering easy access to the store pages and the blog is fully branded and consistent with the retail area.
Thanks for reading, I’m Ben Pethullis and I hope this was a useful follow-up to the tips for ecommerce blogging (read Part 1 and Part 2 of these tips) and provides some ideas for Magento Go stores to get out there and add some new, great content to the web.