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Once I Find Your Online Store’s Blog, Don’t Make Me…

I am looking for blogs by online store owners.  There are many hidden gems out there. Sometimes it will lead me to look at your products. Or perhaps if I bought from you, I will seek out your blog.

Sometimes.

Because even if your blog has the most fantastic content in the world, unfortunately, I may not become a reader. And while the content is important, it’s the middle stuff. What happens before I read it and after I read it is just as important.

So here’s the deal. Whether I find your blog through a link, a comment you left on another blog, a Google search, or just by accidentally ending up on your site…

I land on your store. Don’t make me…

…wonder what your blog is about.

It drives me crazy  when I first land on a blog and they have decided to remove some of the header content that identifies them as a store. Or perhaps, that header image and your name makes sense when I land on your homepage. But that picture of a quiet stream in the woods and your business name doesn’t give me any indication that you may be writing about your product, bed mattresses. Or perhaps even a blog about sleep wellness.

…hack my way through long, unformatted paragraphs.

It’s a fact. Most of our readers are skimmers and scanners. They are attention disordered and are looking for just the specific information they need.  They may not even read the whole post.  But your post length is not the issue.

It’s the formatting.

Are you using numbers, bullets and a large enough font size? Are you breaking up text with decent sized sub-heads? Do you include great photos? All of these things will make your reader’s experience more enjoyable.

…struggle to move further into your online store.

You may have your navigation down pat for your homepage and other shop pages. But can you say the same for your blog? I cannot tell you how many times I have ended up on an online store’s blog and struggled to find my way back to a specific product. Or even to find my cart that has something sitting in it. Take the time to analyze how many click-throughs your archive and post page makes potential customers go through before they can make a purchase. And don’t forget to make a search easy and accessible from anywhere on your stores site.

…search for that link.

Make sure that every product you talk about within your post has a link to buy it. Don’t let any opportunity go by. But at the same time, don’t make it a big ad or list of products. Find that sweet spot and whatever you do, if you mention a product, help me find it easily.

And when I’m finished reading your online store’s blog, don’t make me…

…wonder how to share your post.

Share buttons are simple to install, yet I still find many otherwise good blogs without them. You should have share buttons on your product pages as well, but that’s a different post. But for your post, please let me share. I was told as a kid that it’s a good thing. You have lost me if you are making me copy the title of your post, open Twitter or Facebook, create a nice little message, paste in your title, go back and copy the URL, return to my update, paste that in and send. I wouldn’t even do that for my best friend.

…aggravated by aggressive popup subscribe buttons.

I realize that you are more interested in growing your newsletter list, so that opt-in box is prominent. I also get it that you would rather have people subscribe to your blog via email, so you can build that list. But be careful with pop-ups and other strategically placed subscribe options. Don’t distract or frustrate me. Also, consider a blog subscription option separate from your regular customer list. Some potential customers may initially be more interested in what you are blogging about and want to nurture the relationship and then sign them up for the sales and  announcements when they buy. And yes, some of us still want that RSS option.

…wonder who you are.

Most of us want to know the people who are not only behind the blog, but behind the product. If you are a well-branded, large online retailer, you can have fun with your about page. But if you are a smaller retailer, at the minimum, let me know who the heck you are. Tell me a story. Why did you start this site? Was your first retail experience selling lemonade as a child? Today’s world is personal branding so find a good way to incorporate that into your brand.

…struggle to connect with you.

So I have read your post. I like what you say. I’m thinking that maybe you would be worth following on Twitter. Hopefully I’ll be able to find those shiny social connect buttons. Or maybe I want to do more than connect with you. I want to ask you a question about your product. Yes, I am interested in giving you my money. I should have no problem finding the contact button in your navigation bar, right? I won’t need to drop down to the footer and find the words “email me” in 6-point font. Your contact form will be clear and easy to use. I’ll even find the right link for support, returns and other specific things I may need then or in the future.

So that’s the tip of the iceberg. As you know there are so many things that can frustrate us as online consumers.

What about you?

Is the before-and-after experience just as important to you as reading the post?

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