Engaging customers through blogs and news articles on an eCommerce store can have its benefits, but before setting up a blog there are several areas that need careful consideration.
- What blog platform will you use?
- Have you got the resources to write the blog entries?
- Is there an appropriate plugin for your eCommerce platform?
- Does the plugin do everything you require?
- Is it going to be a separate blog or integrated with your sites design?
There are several plugins available for Magento which make the integration to platforms such as WordPress quite straight forward. But it is important to research each one carefully and decide which is the best plugin for your business needs.
It is important to find out what the extension actually supports in terms of WordPress. Will it support a separate search, share facilities or recent posts for example. Some of the extensions require separate databases. It is important to find one that uses the same database as Magento, otherwise it simply will not work.
Below is a list of areas to consider when planning integrating a blog into your Magento store:
- Full seamless integration or a separate blog
- Share links
- Tag clouds and Avatars
- URL of the blog
If you have more than one store, such as several multilingual stores, it is important to consider the translations and how the other sites will access their blog.
A lot of companies like to have a separate news section in addition to a blog to provide their customers with industry news, not just blog entries. There are many different ways that this can be set up, either with categories, a new WordPress instance, or news feeds. It all depends on how your organisation is set up and how you want to manage news and blog articles.
Another area for consideration is how having a blog might affect the design of your overall store
- Where will the customers access the blog from?
- How will it be advertised on your site?
- How will you communicate the new feature to your customers?
A blog can act as another way of getting customer reviews and feedback onto your eCommerce store, as well as utilizing the review and tag features in Magento. You can also create buzz around a new product. The added value comes from the knowledge you present in your blog posts, if you demonstrate you are knowledgeable in your field, customers will keep returning and these returns could turn into sales and loyal customers.