Bringing Your On-Line Store and Blog Together
Most successful on-line stores have a lot of valuable information to share with their customers. Sometimes more information than is practical to present within the confines of their on-line storefront. There is news, upcoming events, videos, value-added information such as recipes on a restaurant site or knot tying demonstrations on a fishing tackle site. This is all information folks could be looking for, but your on-line store is probably not handling all of this extra information well. This is because of all the great on-line store applications out there, most are designed to get products in front of your face with a very structured format of information. Perhaps not the best way to present this extra information you want to share with your customers. So what are you to do?
This is where a blog comes in. It gives you the space you need to share all of your upcoming events, customer stories, videos and other information your customer’s are just ready to sink their teeth into. Blogs are great because by nature they organize your posts by categories, time, authors etc. so your information can be found easily. And the best things about blogs is they are easier to rank with the search engines! Now I say this with the majority of my experience being with the blogging format WordPress, which is my platform of choice for many reasons and ranking with the search engines is one of them.
This brings us to our latest Customer Highlight site, christinamaser.com. This site specializes in candles, bath and body and pantry items. Their niche is earth, air and people friendly products that are all natural. Their storefront is run by Sunshop and their blog is a WordPress site. Married as one site, most customers probably do not even realize they are moving from one site to the other. This site was an eye opener for me of how to take an on-line store and then “skin” a WordPress site to look like the on-line store. If you look at the store at www.christinamaser.com you will see what looks to be a normal on-line store. But click the “blog” link in the left sidebar and notice that everything basically looks the same except a right sidebar appears giving the user all of the wordpress “recent post”, “categories” links etc. This site takes it one step farther. There are no WordPress page links, but the left side bar is hard coded with store links and additional information links which are WordPress pages!
I discovered this WordPress site when asked to build a landing page for scented soy candles that Christina Maser wanted to feature in her fall line. After a little investigation I found I actually need to build the landing page that featured scented soy candles on the wordpress site and not the actual store. Creating optimized links from the blog to the store is good SEO practice as well.
I will be using this technique in the future whenever a customer needs a store and a blog site as well!