[intro] Before you begin this guide, you need to install the Social Plugins feature and understand how to create your own images. When you have completed this guide, you will have configured the Social Plugins feature to link a blog to your EKM online shop. You will also learn how to set up a blog, if you’ve not created one already, and learned how to identify and create content to populate the blog with.[/intro]

A blog is a shortened term for ‘weblog’, which is essentially an online diary of events. We recommend that your EKM online shop has a blog linked to it, as not only does it provide another platform for customers to discover your Products, but when updated regularly can increase your traffic, and in turn, your sales. People write blogs for many reasons, and not all of them are related to selling products or services; there are lots of blogs online that are the result of hobbies, such as cooking, fitness, lifestyle, home renovations and so on. Some of these hobby blogs are so popular that the owner has then been able to make their blog a full-time job, earning revenue from advertising, sponsorship and affiliate deals.

Blogs are often used to recommend products and services, linking to related websites online. As an example, there are countless cosmetic review blogs online, where makeup is tested and links are provided for you to purchase the product if you wish. Regardless of the topic discussed, Google favours blog content as it recognises that blogs are populated by real people and their content has a high value; blogs link to other websites, online shops and social media platforms, encouraging followers whilst they do so, which can make some of the more popular blogs very influential. We recommend that you create and link a blog to your EKM online shop as they are an excellent platform for:

  1. Encouraging customers to form a relationship with you, your products and your brand;
  2. To show behind-the-scenes content and ‘sneak peaks’ of new product lines;
  3. To countdown to and advertise any offers or promotions that you’re running;
  4. Recommending other websites, products and services that can work in conjunction with your own products;
  5. To highlight any local events that are relevant to your brand;
  6. Creating backlinks to your own EKM online shop, which in turn can help you display higher in search engine results.

If you have not yet set up a blog to link to your EKM online shop, this guide will take you through the steps required to complete this task. However, if you already own a blog that you want to link to your EKM online shop, scroll down to this step.

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There’s a lot of options of where you can host your blog, and these all depend on your ability and how you intend to add your content.

Wordpress Blog feature

If you have never owned a blog before and you intend to write all of the content for it on a desktop or laptop computer, we recommend using the Wordpress Blog Feature on your EKM online shop. The Wordpress Blog that is created as a result of installing this feature is a simplified version of the Wordpress Blog platform; if you simply want to give your blog a basic design and create content which consists of text, images and hyperlinks, then this is the ideal choice for you. Click here to learn how to install your Wordpress Blog

Blogger Blog

On the other hand, if you want to customise your blog a lot more in terms of design and third-party code (such as feeds from your other social media channels), and you intend to create your content not just from your desk but also on the go using a mobile phone or tablet, Google’s Blogger platform is ideal. You will have to organise a domain to point at your Blogger Blog, however, this is an excellent choice for first-time blog owners who want to customise their site more than a basic colour and template change. Click here to learn how to create your own Blogger Blog.  

Linking your Blog to your EKM online shop

When you have created your blog, you need to link it to the Social Plugins feature on your EKM online shop.

1. To do this, simply visit your blog via the front end and copy the domain name of your blog:

2. Then log into your EKM online shop and click the Features tab:

3. Click the Social Plugins feature:

4. Drag the orange blog icon into the bottom field:

5. Below the Blog Link Header, paste in the domain name of your blog and click the green Update button on the bottom right:

You will now have two links to your blog on your EKM online shop; the first is via the blog icon (which will be listed alongside any other social media accounts you link using the Social Plugins feature, and the second is displayed as a webpage link.

Creating Blog Content

Now you’ve completed your blog, what do you write about? Creating blog content is actually quite easy, with a little planning. You could post about:

  1. A new Product range - you could post details of the entire range all at once, or write about a few new Products per post;
  2. Any offers or discounts you are currently running on your EKM online shop;
  3. ‘Sneak Peak’ - a hint at some new Products you will be retailing soon;
  4. ‘Behind the Scenes’ - if you’re holding an event or you actually make your Products, show customers how it’s done;
  5. Industry events - if you attend any events such as trade shows, fairs or exhibitions, be sure to take your camera with you and make a note of the other businesses you speak to. You could even link to their sites which would encourage them to share your blog post and spread your brand to a wider audience;
  6. Personal Post - if you go on holiday, or have a day off and visit somewhere different, this too can become a blog post. Again, you can link to other websites via your blog post - such as restaurants you ate at or tourist spots you visited. Add a photo in there if you can, and bonus points if you can get a bit of your company branding into the images  too!
  7. If you open an account on a social media platform, such as Instagram or Facebook, use your blog to do a countdown until the launch of this new platform to encourage followers on there too;
  8. Share a tip or trick that you know will be beneficial to your customers;
  9. Share a free resource that your customers would be interested in;
  10. Run a contest or giveaway on your blog;
  11. Talk about an industry article that pertains to you and your customers;
  12. ICYMI (In Case You Missed It) - Share a link to one of your older blog posts.

Aim for creating one blog post a week to begin with, and increase this over time to around 4 posts per week to encourage readers to keep returning to your blog time after time and build up a relationship with you and your brand.

Promoting Your Blog

There are lots of different ways to promote your blog. Once you have written the first three or four blog posts (to ensure you’re not directing people to a blog with a single solitary post), you can then share links to your blog posts across lots of different social media platforms. If you include images within your blog posts, ensure that you have a title image which measures 1200 pixels wide by 627 pixels high, which describes the content of your blog post. This ensures that when you share your post on social media, this image can be used within the preview and will encourage other users to click the link and visit your blog.

Facebook Page

Share your blog posts to your company Facebook Page, and for added visibility, pin them to the top of your Facebook Page wall until you have published a new one. If you’ve not yet created a Facebook Page for your EKM online shop, click here to find out how.

Instagram

Ensure that there’s a link to your blog on your Instagram Profile before creating an image which is 1080 x 1080 pixels square. The image must include the title of your blog post to encourage people to click the link in your Instagram bio. If you have not yet created an Instagram for your company, click here.

Twitter

Before you post your blog on Twitter, have a look and see if there are any blogging hashtags that pertain to your brand and post content. Examples include #SundayBlogShare, #Blog, #BlogShare and #Blog4Biz. If you have not yet created a Twitter account for your company, click here.

Pinterest

Share you blog posts to Pinterest to encourage readers to visit your blog and your EKM online shop. Ensure that you create an image for the pin itself. The maximum width for a Pinterest pin image is 238 pixels wide (the height will be scaled to fit, so try and keep your image in proportion) and this needs uploading with a link directly to your blog post. If you have not yet created a Pinterest account for your company, click here.

LinkedIn

Share a link to the blog post on your LinkedIn company page. If you have not yet created a LinkedIn Page for your company, click here.

Best Practices

  1. Plan your posts before you write them to ensure that there’s a definite purpose to the post - don’t just write ‘buy my stuff’ as that’s not enough reason for people to return to your blog again;
  2. Don’t overshare - personal posts are good, but remember the point of them is to promote your EKM online shop, so keep these kinds of posts to a minimum and try and relate them to your Products in some way if you can;
  3. Use images within posts when you can! If it’s a Product Image, ensure it is hyperlinked to the Product Page on your EKM online shop. However if it’s an image of something else, like your premises for example, be sure to check that there’s nothing in the frame that shouldn’t be there - if you’re taking a photo of your business, ensure there’s no litter on the ground, and that your reflection is not caught in the window, and sensitive data (such as names and addresses) is not visible etc.;
  4. The more articles you publish, the more traffic you will have - but remember quality over quantity;
  5. Longer blog posts get more shares across social media - one or two thousand words is more beneficial than 400;
  6. Get to know your blog’s analytics dashboard and be sure to include relevant keywords in your blog posts;
  7. Interact with other similar blogs in your physical locality and within your industry - read posts and leave comments on a regular basis - this will encourage them to do the same for you;
  8. Include Share buttons on your blog to encourage visitors to share your posts elsewhere;
  9. Join forums specific to your industry and post links to relevant blog posts there. Be sure to interact with the forum however - just posting links to outside sites without getting to know the community can sometimes result in a ban;
  10. Add a link to your blog within your email signature, next to a link to your EKM online shop’s domain name

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[contact] If you need our help with your EKM online shop, contact your Account Manager or Customer Support, who will be able to point you in the right direction. We're open from 8am-6pm weekdays and 9am-5.30pm on the weekends. If you'd like to suggest a feature or an upgrade on any of the EKM platforms, please let us know on the EKM Suggestions board. If you have a non-account specific question ask the EKM Team, join us in ekmCommunity.  [/contact]