Matt and Beth chat live on Facebook about all things blog related!
In this Video you will learn
- Small, practical blogging tips that you can apply to your online business right now.
- Why your ecommerce business needs a blog.
- Which 3 Business blogs stand out for their success.
To develop a detailed blogging strategy, simply sign up to my online ecommerce course, Mastery
Watch The Video
Welcome to the E-commerce Mastery, Facebook Live, I'm Matt Edmundson, and this is the beautiful, talented, and all-around good egg Beth.
Wow, thank you, Hi- That's a great way to start!
We're all Mac'd up today, as you can see. We have the Mac, and we have the iPad. The reason we have all these computers is, I will share my screen with you at some point today, and you're checking out Facebook.
E-commerce news, 'The Best Online Business Blogs We've Ever Seen', so we're looking at the best business blogs we've ever seen.
First thing we need to tell people out there:
Why does your e-commerce site need a blog?
This is a really great question, now we finally got to it. This is a really great question. Why does an e-commerce site need a blog? Now, if we talk about Jersey Beauty Company, we have a blog, and you run it, right?
The team of us do.
The team you're in, but you oversee the whole thing, right? Making sure it happens. We changed our marketing maybe, what? 18 months ago?
Coming up to maybe 18 months, two years ago now? We started to blog with a lot more intentionality, whereas before, it was quite sporadic. Every now and again, when we thought about it.
Yeah, when we felt like it, we'd be like, "Oh, hi."
"Hi." About anything that we could think about writing about at the time, right? But we have since then, we've changed our stance. We've become much more proactive and much more intentional about our blog.
'The bottom line is, the blog brings traffic to your site. The blog is a great way to educate, and inform, and to connect with clients, and for them to understand who you are, what your products are, how you can help them.'
It is a really critical one, right? In fact, last week, I think it was last week, or the week before, we reviewed the book They Ask, You Answer.
We talked about this last week. They Ask, You Answer. In effect, the foundation of this guy is, he wrote a blog, right? He started writing a blog.
And he was selling swimming pools, so you can do it with anything.
You can do it with any business, right? I think blogs are a great way to generate traffic. When they're done right, when they're done intentionally, generate traffic, connect with clients, educate, draw people in, and increase sales on your website.
The bottom line is, on an e-commerce site, a blog, when done right, and that's the critical part. 'Cause we didn't do it right for, like, 10 years. A long time, right? Maybe nine years.
A blog, when done right, increases traffic on your website. A blog, when done wrong, increases frustration on your website.
Definitely. Let's have a look at some blogs. Which blogs stand out then? Which blogs are doing it right? Which blogs ...
Are doing it wrong?
Have you got any wrong blogs?
We should've got some really wrong blogs.
Blogs that are doing it right!
To be honest, though, in my research, it took me a while to find people that I was like, "Yeah, you're doing it right."
A lot of people doing it wrong?
Mm-hmm. The big people, you think, would've done it right. Perhaps I need to have a blog business.
Yeah, so I guess the guy that sort of started me down this road would be Mike Hyatt,
So what does he do then?
Michael Hyatt, your virtual mentor. 'Win at work, succeed at life'
He's an American, right? Very American sort of feel, but Michael is a kind of online coach, in effect. Your virtual mentor. He does a lot on leadership. He's written a number of books like how to build an online platform. He used to be the CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, one of the biggest book publishers in the world, so he knows a thing or two about getting a book published. He does a lot of stuff about platform, building your platform, what that looks like in the modern day. He has a lot of people look at his website. He's got a lot of followers, lot of subscribers, and he blogs around that kind of productivity, how to manage a day, leadership sort of genre. I would say he has been, out of anything, he has been super consistent with his blog. Back when I started reading it, back in the early days, he has always, always, always been blogging, just consistently banging out the content. Boof, boof. Now, a lot of that content is repeated. Some of it isn't, or maybe it's the same topic with a different slant, but he is constantly whacking that content out there, and it's a great site. If we look at his site.
Why did you like this blog then?
There's a number of things I like it.
I like his headline, 'your virtual mentor' You know in an instant what this guy is about, right?
Credibility quotes, He has evidence of credibility- his Forbes, Businessweek, Wall Street Journal, these are all big-named, builds credibility. Then we go onto his blog, and everything's super clear, right?
He's got nice, clear headlines, sub-headlines, and what you can learn from it. He's got here his different categories. There's five different categories of blog post, personal development, productivity, leadership, influence and, obviously, his resources. I quite like that. Then his blogs sort of follow a very similar pattern in terms of how he writes his blog posts. I've not actually read this one, George Washington Shows Us How Leaders are Readers. How leaders are readers. Obviously, he's talking about, you know, Washington and reading books. You'll find this a bit a lot in Michael Hyatt kind of posts.
- Five Lessons He gives you this sort of step one, do this, or five top tips. Number one, read widely. So five lessons. Number two, use books and challenge yourself, three, organise your personal library, four, record some thoughts on books, and so on and so forth. Now he's got a little quote.
I like this tweet the quote thing. I don't actually know how many people use it, but it encourages social interaction. Then he always ends with a question, which I think is a great way to get people to engage with your blog.
At the bottom, he's got this, "Like this post? "Sign up," so you can subscribe. That's his call to action. Then he's got all kinds of things on here. Can I say what I don't like about this blog? I like his simple call to action. Now, "Want to launch your own blog? "Watch my free screencast." Now he's gonna draw me in. I imagine this is gonna want my email address so then he can get me on his list and start marketing to me. I'm not a big fan, oopsy daisy. Pressed the button accidentally. I'm not a big fan of all this stuff on the right here. This just feels very, very busy, and quite distracting. How to launch a Wordpress blog. Obviously, that makes sense for what I'm on here.
Inspirational, quotes to share.
My shareable quotes, get noticed, theme for Wordpress. Now he's selling me his theme for his blog. Let's take your blog or business to the next level with Platform University, that's his membership site. Get published, that's his course. Now he's got adverts on there. I just, I think that's a bit busy for me. I'd be like, give me one thing. Amy Porterfield, actually, I was listening to her podcast, which is not a blog, but it's like an audio blog.
So it doesn't have to be a blog.
If you prefer to do the audio stuff, you can do podcasts. We do Facebook Lives. Super easy, right?
What is the main aim of a blog?
I think the main reason you do it is to connect with the person reading it, right? Ultimately, you want to build your tribe. You want to build your audience, whether it's an e-commerce website, or a leadership site like Michael's, or a marketing site like Amy Porterfield. You want to build your tribe, which means you want to build your email list of actually good people that you can market to who will buy your goods and services, whether they're digital or real, right? To do that, you've gotta give great content in a blog, and you've gotta take people on a journey, and so on and so forth. Where Michael has just thrown everything on that one page and it's like, "Which one do I click? I don't know," Amy Porterfield has actually taken all of that off. You can't actually find links to her courses on her website. In fact, shall we have a look at it?
It's a clever move.
I think it's really interesting. There's a real difference here between Michael and Amy. Both quite well-known, both have really high generating traffic sites.
They do, they're always talking about each other. Amy makes money from courses, right? You join her, I think, 1,000, that's the product in effect, but all of this is about her podcast, right? So she's breaking it down, making it easy for you. Which do you want to do? I want to start, so I'm gonna go, and I'm gonna go and, here, watch Expert Secrets and Online Strategies with Russell Branson, who's a webinar guy. We'll read that. Now, it looks like a blog post as such, right? Except for, I can listen to the podcast.
Using podcast or video as content for a blog
Amy's just takes her podcast. Somebody else then takes the content from that podcast and creates a blog post out of it. But look, real simple call to action. Get the freebie, right? Amy's always about the freebie. Get your email address. Then what she'll do is, and you can listen to her podcast, 'cause she tells you all of this in her podcast. I'm not sharing anything that's secret. You'll join her email list, and then she'll take you on a very definite journey with email to sign up to her courses. That's the real difference, and I actually prefer, I think, Amy's way of doing it because it's simple, and it's not confusing. I do really like Michael Hyatt's content though. I think the way he puts his content together is super helpful, same with Amy. You and I sit and listen to Amy.
We love Amy, she's awesome.
The amount of stuff you can learn. Yeah, the whole thing is quality. She gives amazing freebies. I'm like, "Wow."
Yeah, really top quality content. Her and Michael give you a lot of good free quality content.
Make sure your blog has got quality content.
Not just like, "Hi, here I am," but actually fill it out, quality stuff.
Yeah, exactly. Today, on Facebook Live, we could just go, "Yeah, your website needs a blog. "Here are three examples," and then just kind of left it, but we're delving in a little more. Try and add more value to the content, right? This is what you want to do with your blog, definitely.
Brilliant, let's move onto another one that we've got.
So good. Instantly, right, you can see why I love this blog. I'm like, it's pink and yellow.
Is that why? This is all about the design?
I came across, she's called Ruth, but I don't know how to pronounce, it's like, Sur-kup or Sur-koop, I don't know. I came across it because she wrote an amazing, ask her about her story. It took you into four different parts of each story. Then we did an Elite Blog Academy cast.
Oh, yeah, she was in Elite Blog Academy, of course.
Actually, she started out, her story is that she was spending too much money, and her life just spiralled down, down, down, down from that point, and then she, to keep herself accountable to not spending money, she wrote a blog to be like, do something else other than spend. Then from that, she's created these amazing planners, how to save money, just really cool ways that you can learn how to save money. If you click on her blog.
Instantly, right, I love how easy it is. Food made simple, life, home 101, smart money. There's four categories, only four. That's just, makes my life simple.
Yeah, super cool. Michael did the same thing, real simple categories. Amy's was simple categories.
Yeah, and I would probably click life 'cause I'm just really nosy.
That one? I'll click life, see what happens.
Then just go on any one. Go on the first one, the summer one.
This one here?
Yeah. Summer Fun on Any Budget. Just, if you scroll through it, you will see how long these are. She calls them pillar content.
She doesn't do anything by halves. She puts everything she knows about one topic into a blog post. She's got the faffy bits on the side like Michael Hyatt, but her blog posts are insanely good, so good. I actually really like the fact, by the end of that, you read that, by the end of it, you can't help but like it, do you know what I mean? Instantly, genuine, this is proof that it works. When she released her Living Well, Spending Less planner, I was like, "I really want it for some reason." Even though it's American, even though it's more expensive than a normal planner, I'm like, "I really want this planner." Just 'cause I really like her, and I know who she is, and I know her story.
The way this works for you, then, is it engages you, right? Again, high quality content, and she's putting stuff out.
If you like reading blogs, then that's brilliant.
Great design and Images
Yeah, and she's obviously put a lot of thought, and the imagery is quite nice, and it draws you in. Like you, I'm not a big fan of this down on the side, but I can see why she's done it. She's put a few ads on there. I don't know, does that actually make any money? That would be one of the things that I ... Again, I'm not a big fan of the ads, but I get why people do it. If your income is coming from a blog, then that makes a lot of sense, right? If this is how you're generating income, cool. For an e-commerce website, I don't think you need all of those adverts personally, but the thing which we've learned from here then is that, like Michael, she got really simple navigation, four choices of category, right? We've all been to blogs when there's, like, 20 different categories.
Yeah, it's too much.
You're spoiled for choice. I think four or five categories is max, from what we can learn here. The other thing that she's done very well is, she's tailored the design of her blog to her audience.
Yeah, she has.
Very well, so has Michael, I would say. Michael's is very corporate, very blues, greys, we're talking to business leaders. She's obviously talking to, I would say, females, It's not very masculine in terms of the colours and such, but they're fun, so I would say she's quite a fun person. Use the design of your site to represent your brand pretty well.
Yeah, and you can do that with anything. Even if your selling sheds, you could get as much quality content about that as possible.
You could do some great content around sheds.
You might think you can, but you actually can. Her stuff is amazing, and it's so long, and detailed, and really good, and it's just about having a book check.
Long Form vs Short Form Blogs
Do you advocate, then, the long-form blogs?
Like these, over the short-form blogs?
I think they work more. On Jersey, if you go on the Jersey blog. Jersey Beauty Company
Blogs that do best are the really meaty ones about dark under-eye circles, about six beauty therapy steps, the ones that we were like, "What do we know about beauty?" We sat down, I remember writing the briefs for them, and just putting everything that we knew in there.
I'm looking for the 'dark under eye circles' blog, it's worked well for us, right?
It's generated a lot of traffic.
It's basically just everything that we've learned over the years about dark circles, everything.
Again, a lot of content on there. If we're gonna learn from some of the other blogs, we've got a picture here at the top. We could probably do with maybe scattering a few more images in the post.
Funny you should mention that. If you go to our latest blog post, you will see that the wonderful Christina has added images on. I think it's gone live. Try the sun protection one. If you scroll down, there's some nice pictures of people enjoying the sun.
There we go, sunshine.
Much nicer. Again another long-form kind of blog post. Obviously, we link to relevant products in the blog posts, so that's a product about SPF, which is rather, it acts during the summer, right? We also link to products which we talk about in the post. It's not a sales letter as such. It's just super helpful information.
It's information. It's like, what works, what doesn't, and we are very honest about what doesn't work as well in our blogs. We're like, "Actually, we tried this, it doesn't work. "We tried this, it did." We'll tell why, and we'll go into ingredients, and that kind of thing.
We're trying to educate a little bit.
'The purpose is to educate. It's not to sell.'
Again, you can use that in your e-commerce website. You can draw people into this content and point them to your products. I like the fact that we've not got many things here on the right hand side. We've got the recent posts, posts by topic. We've got our little Solve Your Skin Concerns Today. This, again, is deliberate, right? We want people who aren't ready to buy products to give us their email address.
So that call to action on the blog post is super helpful. In fact, it's one of the things that I don't like about the Matt Edmundson e-commerce consulting blog.
Let's go on that one as well.
Should we go on that one?
Let's round it out, yeah.
I'm just gonna rip my blog to pieces, but that's okay, we're getting a new one. Phew.
Things we've learned while creating our blogs
Here is a blog that we created from one of the Facebook Lives. There's the video from the Facebook Live. This Facebook Live will become a blog post at some point. We've got the headline, we've got kind of things that you'll learn, nice, clear, clutterless screen, which I quite like. We've got the transcript, which is the content for the blog post.
That's nice, I like that it's just a blog. I like that, it's really nice.
Then we put some headlines in to make it easier. We could add a few images. The one thing I don't like about this blog, which is the one thing that I think we are gonna address in our new blog that's being developed at the moment, is there's no distinct call to action. It would be great to get people's email addresses with relevant, targeted opt-ins at some point so, if someone's wanting to know about, I don't know, say e-commerce technology, then we have an opt-in which is kind of like, "Hey, download 20 things you need to know "about choosing the right e-commerce platform "for you and your business" or something like that. We get the email addresses of folks, and then we can enter an email conversation, and hopefully build a relationship with those folks, which is the ultimate aim, right? Not to spam, but to connect. That's one of the things I don't like about this site. We are changing it. We use a number of different blogging platforms, don't we?
Which Blogging Platform Could Work Best for Me?
Yeah, we do, yeah.
For Jersey, we use ...
Tell us which one you use. It'd be really interesting to know what people are using, to compare notes.
Compare notes, yeah. But what do you use for Jersey?
Do you like HubSpot?
Yeah, it's great. There's a number of us that do it though, so my work is They've got this clever little tool where you just upload the blog really quickly, and then other people make it look pretty, so how genius is that? I could say that I spend ages on it, but I check through it, I'm like, "Yeah, it's great," do some editing, put it on there. I can't remember what it's called, but it's just this little tool that means you can pass it on to different people. They make it look brilliant, and then I'm like, "Brilliant." You can track what's happening on the blog, how many people have clicked on it. Is it doing well?
Yeah, it's great. HubSpot is a phenomenal platform, but it is super, super expensive, especially for e-commerce websites 'cause the cost of HubSpot is based on the contacts in your database. You've gotta be committed to that road to go down it, which we are, 'cause we also have a marketing agency that we're involved with. We've chosen HubSpot for Jersey Beauty. Now, for the Matt Edmundson site, we use a platform called Ghost, which is a platform I had never come across. We tried Squarespace, we tried Weebly, we tried Wordpress, we tried Rainmaker, we tried them all, right? We ended up using Ghost as a blogging platform, which for me, I just love because it's so easy to type and format. It uses Markdown, so that works super well for me. You can check out Ghost.
What was your experience of Wordpress then? I think, when people think blogs, "I need to set up a blog," they do Wordpress.
They do Wordpress. Wordpress is a really interesting platform, and they say that, is it, one in four websites at the moment is a Wordpress website?
I would imagine it was something like that.
I mean, Wordpress powers, like, a quarter of the internet, or some crazy amount of websites. Whatever the number is, it's ridiculously high. You can either use their hosting, so they'll host the Wordpress blog for you, and you can just use it, or you can download the entire code and upload that to your own hosting server. We've tried it with both. Wordpress is great in the sense that it's open source, it's free, and if you want your Wordpress site to do anything, somebody somewhere will have written a plugin to make it do that. Mike Hyatt is a Wordpress site.
He loves it, doesn't he?
He's a big Wordpress fan. He sells you the theme for the Wordpress site. That's another cool thing, right? You can go onto any store and buy a theme for Wordpress, so you get a professionally-designed website for, like, a hundred bucks. I mean, it's cheap as chips, and that's incredible, right? It's amazing. You think you'd have to go and get that whole thing designed. It's free, you can manage it, it's flexible, it builds, it scales with you. There's not really a whole lot you can't make it do. That said, I'm not a fan. I'd been on Wordpress for years, and I got bored with all the constant updating. I appreciate things are different now. You can get hosting companies that do all that for you, and then plugins not working with new updates, and so on and so forth. It is just, it's resource-heavy. It just takes a lot of resource to run that site.
It's quite complicated.
It is, and things like Ghost, I thought, was much simpler.
Yeah, it's a bit clean.
Maybe we're just a bit like, "Oh, no clutter."
We obviously don't like clutter. Yeah, so we've gone 'round the mill of them, but that said, we're getting rid of all of those, and our wonderful tech guys are busy building a custom platform for us to get us to do exactly what it is we want on our blog.
Watch the space.
Yeah, we'll let you know when that site launches. Actually, when we've done it, we'll talk through the different features of the site and why we've done them.
Yeah, that'd be good.
There's some really clever learning going into that. I'm really, really excited by it. Finally, we will get there, but there may have been some site work. That's the site I'm proud of for, like, five minutes before it all changes. But yeah, back to e-commerce, blogs.
So we've learned so many things about blogs, little tips, big tips.
Make sure it's quality content. Make sure that it's not cluttered.
Review it all in your head. The bottom line is, if you have an e-commerce website, and you don't have a blog which is generating traffic and sales for you, you are missing a trick.
eCommerce Mastery Course 2017
Yeah, in E-commerce Mastery, which is our new digital course which is gonna launch super soon, it teaches you all you need to know about e-commerce, and in there, there is a whole section about content, and creating content, and how we do it.
This is quite a step-heavy process as well.
Yeah, I mean, one of the things that we come across a lot with our clients is, you know, it's great, you're telling me that, if I do this content over here, then I'm gonna generate this traffic, and that's super cool, and I want that traffic, and I want those customers, but how in the hell do I create that content in the first place, right?
Because that's a lot of content, and it scares folks. They're like, "I'm not a writer. "I'm not this, that, and the other." We go through all of that in Mastery, and we go through the framework which we use. We tell you step-by-step how we do it because we think we've found some really clever little systems that still work super well for us, very quick time-saving systems. We do go through all of that in Mastery, which, like I said, is the new e-commerce course coming out hopefully very, very soon. It's all done. In fact, we're working on the bonus videos right now. It's all very exciting stuff. You can get that and learn a whole bunch of stuff about e-commerce. One of the things that we do talk about is the content of the blogs.
Yeah, actually, it's worth saying that, if you are watching this before the cart is open and pre-registration is still up, pre-register, because if you pre-register you get first refusal on the course when it opens, and there are only 50 spots in this particular launch. Make sure you get in there because it is gonna ... Well, I think it's incredible. Everyone that's done it before said it's really good, so I'm a little bit biassed.
Just a little bit bias, but I do think it's really good. Yeah, make sure that you do pre-register. Good, anything else to say on blogs?
Facebook Live Plan
Next week, we are joined by Mark Jackson and HotJar!. You can find that video here
Mark is a technical dude. Like, he's the boffin, isn't he? Anything technical, Mark knows the answer to, and we are gonna talk to you about a service called Hot Jar, which we've used to great effect on the Jersey site. We're gonna go through that and try and understand what's so cool about it. If you, again, run an e-commerce website, this is a free tool that we use. We're gonna run through some key things about it next week which can super, super help you get your website engaging customers a lot more. Great tool, he loves it, and so, yeah, really recommend it. That's next week, which I'm looking forward to. Mark's a cool dude.
Facebook Lives with Matt happen every week at 6pm BST you can join him live on his Facebook Page
You will also find a whole host of videos, vlogs, and eCommerce tutorials on The Matt Edmundson YouTube Channel