To Blog or Not to Blog?

Written by Melita Ogden

Drapers recently reported that high end fashion brand Jigsaw has increased online sales by 34 percent in the year to September 2014. In part the brand feels that a rejection of the trend towards editorial content has been responsible for this upsurge in the effectiveness of their e-commerce.

It's a bold move, but Peter Ruis, Chief Executive at Jigsaw, reckons that keeping the site simple and focussing on great photography and products are key.

It’s an interesting viewpoint and one with has clearly reaped dividends for this particular brand. At Message we have always felt that unless you have good quality, true and authentic content regularly updated it might be worth considering leaving editorial out and focussing your priorities elsewhere.

Done right, blogging can be a powerful tool in creating a strong fanbase of buyers and generating a community loyal to your products and buying decisions - Rapha and Oi Polloi are a perfect example of doing it well. Iffley Road are another example of a company who live their brand and have found an authentic way of talking about it.

It’s vital to have a true voice online, and it’s a big commitment. Copywriters often need to be employed but if you are a start-up you risk someone not quite getting the what you are about or simply not being able to devote budget to it. A focus on social media might be the best approach if you are in an either / or situation. Social Media is a great place to start when creating your voice online so your efforts may be best placed here.

Here’s our quick guide to how to approach content on your e-commerce site: 

A picture speaks a thousand words - Whoever you are and whatever you sell, the single most effective way to make your website and product look high end is to use well shot, well lit, professional photography. Money spent here is money well spent.

Simple is Beautiful - Think like a user. If you are selling gorgeous products your customers will want to see good quality photographs of them (see above) but mostly they want to be able to shop easily and without distraction (this includes music and spinning images, gizmos - we blogged about it a while back here). Make the path to checkout clear and simple and make it easy for people to spend money with you.

Be Authentic - If you do decide to blog, make sure you know your voice and are able to bring across your key messages to your customers in the right tone. Write for human beings. Engage with actual people rather than the elusive 'google bots'. If you can’t do this, maybe you should think twice before having a blog. 

Less is More - you simply don’t need to overload your site with text content. There is nothing wrong with a simple but beautifully formed range and a navigation to reflect that. Your product should stand on it’s merits and your website should allow it to do just that. 

We're not saying that blogging is bad, or that editorial content isn't good. But you should be aware of the potential downsides of getting it wrong, and the cost implications of doing it right.

Message has been building beautiful, profitable and accessible e-commerce sites since 1999. If you need help with your content strategy, social media or user experience or want to discuss possibilities for improving on what you have and taking your e-commerce to the next level get in touch.

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