[intro]In this Guide, you'll learn how to configure and publish Posts on the EKM Blogs feature, encouraging readers and potential customers to formulate a relationship with your brand and your products. [/intro]

[summary]

[/summary]

[warning]If you install EKM Blogs on your EKM online shop, this will automatically uninstall the legacy WordPress Blog feature, so you will no longer be able to access any content on that blog and we will be unable to reinstate it for you. If you want to continue, please ensure that you have removed all content from your WordPress Blog feature first, before returning to EKM Labs and installing EKM Blog. The easiest way to do this is to use a Notepad (or Text Editor file if you're using a Mac) and copy the text from your posts onto that .txt file. From there, you can easily copy these posts onto the new blog on your EKM online shop. [/warning]

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 a blog on your EKM online shop as they are an excellent platform for:

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

Installing the Feature

1. After installing the EKM Blog feature on the EKM Labs page, you need to click the Features tab:

2. Scroll down to the More Features box, and click the icon for Blogs:

3. Click the green Install Feature button in the bottom right-hand corner:

4. When Blogs has been installed, you’ll see this page. Click the Settings tab in the top right-hand corner:

5. You’ll then see this page. Firstly, you’ll need to give your Blog a name in the field provided. On the right-hand side, you’ll see two boxes for Access, where you can tick the boxes to ensure that a link to your Blog is displayed on your EKM online shop both in the Main Navigation and Footer. When you’ve added a Name for your Blog, click the green Save button in the bottom right-hand corner:

6. Now you need to click Blogs to return to the main page of the feature:

Writing your first Blog Post

7. Click the green button in the centre of the page:

8. Give your Post a Title using the field provided and then add your text into the Content box. If you’re not sure what to write about first, click the link to read a list of different suggestions. You can use the grey buttons to format your Post, adding images, quotes and links to videos:

[tips]If you are copying text from elsewhere - such as Microsoft Word or from an existing webpage, make sure you copy it into Notepad first, or Text Editor if you’re using a Mac. This is a .txt file that will allow you to copy the text without including any superfluous code and formatting, which could negatively affect your blog post. You can read more about copying text in this Guide. [/tips]

Image

9. On the right-hand side of the page, you can add an Image to your Post, which will be visible on the first page of your Blog, and ideally should encourage readers to click into and read that particular Post. Click the cross symbol to upload a square image from your computer:

10. This image can be as small as 500 x 500 pixels, although we recommend 1024 x 1024 pixels for optimum results. We also recommend that before you upload your image to your blog post, you optimise the image using TinyPng or TinyJpg to ensure that it loads quickly for the best experience for your readers. In the window that appears, click Upload Image in the top right-hand corner:

11. Then you need to click Select File:

12. You’ll then be able to select a file from your computer. Your next step is to click Upload File:

13. When the image is listed in the window, you simply need to click it to add it as the featured image for your blog post:

14. You’ll then see it display in the element on the right:

15. Below the Image element, you’ll see three different elements:

Status

16. Here, you can save your Post as a Draft, or make a previously Published Post a draft again, by ticking the relevant box. If you click Schedule Post, you can set the post to be Published on a specific date and time of your choice. Click in the Publish Date field:

17. Now you need to use the calendar and time menus to select when you would like your Post to be published:

18. When you have selected your date and time, click the green Apply button:

19. You’ll then see the time and date listed within the Status element. If you need to, you can cancel this by clicking the text below, and your Post will remain as a draft:

Topic

20. Topics are essentially ‘tags’ or ‘labels’ that can be applied to each of your blog posts, based on their subject. This will help readers of your Blog locate the posts they’re most interested in. Choose from the drop-down menu which Topic you would like to assign to this post, or if you want to create a whole new Topic, click the text. In the window that appears, add the name of the Topic into the field provided and click the green Add button:

[tips]Don’t create too many topics. Instead, keep your list of Topics to around five or six, to help your content stay focused and to help viewers quickly find the content they’re looking for. [/tips]

Author

21. Here you can select the name of the Author on your Post. Choose from the drop-down menu, or instead, click the link below to add your own. In the window that appears, add in the Author’s Name and Email Address in the fields provided, before clicking the green Save button:

Summary

22. This takes the first 250 characters of your Post to create a Summary. If you want to write your own Summary instead of using the autogenerated version, simply tick the box:

23. This will reveal a field where you can add your own Summary:

[tip]For best results, ensure that your Summary is no longer than 250 characters (including spaces). [/tips]

Comments

24. To enable your readers to leave comments on your Post, tick this box:

25. This will then reveal a second box - tick this to ensure that you can moderate any comments that are posted. We recommend that this is ticked, as it ensures that you can prevent any potential spam from being viewed by your readers:

Search Engine Optimisation

26. If you want to override the SEO data on your post, you need to tick this box:

27. This will reveal three fields:

The Meta Page Title

The Meta Page Title is what text is displayed in the browser tab when your Post is viewed via the domain name. This text would also be visible as the title in search engine results. Keep this as short and concise as possible - don’t be tempted to stuff it with keywords.

The Meta Description

The Meta Description is text that describes what your Post is about. This needs to be well written, informative and concise as it is visible when the Post appears in search engine results.

The Meta Keywords

All major search engines including Google no longer use Meta Keywords for ranking your website. Google confirmed in a blog post "Google doesn't use the 'keywords' meta tag in our web search ranking." This means you can ignore this field and it's contents - editing the Meta Keywords section isn't something you need to do.

Viewing your Blog Post

28. When you have published your Post, you’ll be able to see it on the front of your EKM online shop. If you ticked the box for the Blog to be visible in the Header, you’ll see it here:

29. And if you ticked the box for the Blog to be visible in the Footer, you’ll see it here too:

30. Clicking a link to your Blog will take you to a summary page, which looks like this. The more Posts your write and publish, the more will be visible on this page. Clicking the Read More button will take the reader directly to the Post itself:

31. Looking at the Post itself, you’ll see the Image embedded in the text at the top, and to the right, you’ll see the Topic listed against this post. Recent Posts will detail hyperlinked titles of your recent Post (which of course will increase the more Posts you publish), the Author of this specific Post, and finally, the Archive, which allows readers to look through previously published Posts according to month and year:

32. If you scroll further down the Post, you’ll see the comments fields that readers must complete to leave a comment on this Post:

[remember]If you cannot see the CAPTCHA field for readers to click, you will need to turn this on via the Outgoing Emails page in your EKM online shop’s Settings. [/remember]

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:

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 that 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 your 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 Practises

  • 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;
  • 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;
  • 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.;
  • The more articles you publish, the more traffic you will have - but remember quality over quantity;
  • Longer blog posts get more shares across social media - one or two thousand words is more beneficial than 400;
  • Get to know your blog’s analytics dashboard and be sure to include relevant keywords in your blog posts;
  • 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;
  • Add a link to your blog within your email signature, next to a link to your EKM online shop’s domain name.

[more]

[/more]

[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 EKM Community.  [/contact]