Getting the Most Out of Your Blog
So now let's talk about getting the most out of your blog. So, you're probably thinking that we may have done things backwards, right? I was like, "Just pick a platform and get started," and by now you've created two blog posts, right? 'Cause we've already made two blog posts in this class. And now we're gonna talk about maybe some things like is your blog set up properly. But that was strategic, because I want you guys to get moving first. I want you to take action. So, we're gonna focus on consistent content creation first, then we're gonna worry about the details of your blog. Because guess what, in the beginning, it doesn't actually matter. In the beginning, no one is reading your blog, and that's actually a good thing, because it means that you can just start, and then over time, you can fix those details and make the blog better, because they're not gonna start reading it for a while anyway. So, that's why we're going to prioritize action over perfection. We're gonna do the work ...
first, and we're gonna adjust it later. Your blog is a work in progress forever. My blog is over 10 years old. It's a work in progress, and that's fine. So, remember that the goal of your blog is to help you sell more products. That's why we're doing this. Gotta bring it back to the whole reason. We're trying to sell more products. Now, this can happen immediately. I saw the thing, I liked the thing, I clicked the thing, I bought it, or it might happen over time, that over time maybe I saw the post, I liked you, I joined your email list, or it might be I saw the post, and then a few months later I saw another post on Pinterest, and then I saw a third post and I was like, "Oh, these are all from the same girl? "I like her!" Now maybe I wanna go look and buy a thing. So, it could happen either way. Remember, our blog is driving sales in four ways. It's attracting new customers, it's deepening our connection with potential customers, it's overcoming objections to purchase, and it's building excitement for upcoming products. So, in order to do that, we have to ask what do we want someone to do after they land on a blog post? Because remember, most people are not gonna scroll our whole blog. They're gonna get there via an individual blog post. So, what do we want someone to do after they land on a blog post? We've got a few choices. Ideally, you maybe want them to buy your products, right? But that's not always gonna happen, so we may have to think about some other choices as well. We want them to join our mailing list, that's a good thing. Maybe we just want them to read more posts. The longer they have on our site, the longer they have to decide that they like us, or that they hate us, and that they're not our customer, and then they go away forever. That's okay too. Tracy was talking about how she uses her blog to retract and repel customers, which I love. Right, so it's okay. Either way, if they read more posts, they decide if they like us or they don't. Or maybe we want them to learn more about us, which probably happens because they clicked our about page, right? So, those are really the actions that we want someone to take. If they can do one of those things, then we've successfully moved them down the funnel to our product. So, you can encourage these actions through links and calls to action within the post itself. I think I've been pretty clear about how we're doing those, right? We're lots of links, lots to action, never a post without a link to something. You could also do them in your sidebar, in your footer, and in your site navigation. So let's talk first about optimizing individual blog posts. So, every blog post on your site should contain one of these things, a link to one of these things. It should contain either a link for a product to buy, a link for a call to action to join your mailing list, or a link to another post they should read. So, let's say that you have decided that your blog post for today is a lifestyle post that's meant to attract your ideal audience, and it has nothing to do with your product. Totally fine, but somewhere in there, you should link them to another post on your site, so that they have a reason to stick around and read more. Now, you can do this through the post itself. One of the reasons that I like WordPress is that I added this handy little related post plugin, right? So, "You might also like," and I can actually edit these, so I can make them be whatever I want. As far as I know, you can't do that on the Shopify blog. It doesn't have that bells and whistle. So, instead, if you're writing that kind of lifestyle post, and the outcome is that you want them to go read another post, somewhere towards the end, link to another post, add a little call to action that says, "Hey, did you like this post? "You may also like this thing." So, you have to do it manually instead of automatically, but if you've got a post without a link in it, that's a good strategy to use. Then you wanna optimize your sidebar. Your sidebar should contain a brief bio, a mailing list signup, a link to your online shop, a link to view other posts, and links to follow you on social media. So, I know that's a lot of things, but luckily our sidebar is long. So, we wanna make sure that our sidebar contains all of these things. And, truthfully, and I did not put this up here, but your brief bio should also direct them to your about page, ideally. So, I'm gonna show you guys some examples of this. So, we've got, we're gonna ignore this post that we've seen about a million times, and look at my sidebar instead. So, here I've got a little bio about me, and that read more goes to my about page. You can see I've also got some links to my social media, and also a place to search this website. Not super important, but in case someone's really looking for something, it's there. I'm pretty sure the person who uses this the most is me, 'cause I'm trying to find old posts, right? If we keep scrolling down, then we'll see I've got a signup to join my mailing list in the sidebar. It doesn't get used a lot. There are places that work better, but it gets used sometimes, so we're gonna keep it there. And then I also have a link, "shop jewelry," so that's there as well. I don't have any recommended posts, but I do have categories and archives in case they wanna dive in deeper. I don't worry about putting suggested posts in my sidebar, because I have that related posts plugin. But I know Shopify makes it really easy to put recent posts in your sidebar, so you may wanna do that as well. And then the last thing that I do have down here is that I have a copyright notice in my sidebar, just because I want people to know that I spend a lot of time creating my content, and it's my content, and I don't want them to use it without my permission. So, I just throw that at the bottom, just so I have that as well. All right, so that's our sidebar. Then, we wanna also optimize our site navigation and our footer. So, does your site navigation include a link to your about page and a link to your online shop? So, this is specifically when they're in your blog. You can have other things in your site navigation too, but if they're on a blog page, at the top, in your site navigation, you have a link to your about page, and a place where they can go shop. And then in your footer, does your footer include a link to your about page, a link to your online shop? You're starting to get the idea here of what we're supposed to have, right? Links everywhere, 'cause you never know where people are gonna end up or stop looking at your page. Mailing list signup, and then links to follow you on social media. You can see here, if we're in my blog, my navigation is pretty simple. I've got about, I've got a link to the blog, and then I've got shop online, which I actually do as a drop down menu. Now, the nice thing is, if you are blogging on Shopify, it's gonna be the same navigation that's in your site, so it's all just gonna show up there. But make sure you have your about page. A lot of people forget that one. Have your about page, and I like to remind people that you can, in fact, shop online. So, I've got that there. Then I'm actually gonna show you guys, this is a footer from Tiffany Wiff's, from her Tiffany Anne Studios Shopify site, 'cause her footer kinda has all the things. I actually, I break this rule in my footer, but the reason that I break this rule in my footer is because my site is mobile-responsive, and so, when you're on mobile, that entire sidebar moves below the content. So really, for me, because most of my content comes in through Pinterest on mobile, my sidebar is usually my footer anyway, so I don't worry about that. But Shopify, again, is really nice because most themes have all of this stuff in your footer, right? We've got a place to join an email list, we've got our social media links, we've got links to the shop, the about, the blog, all there in the footer. So, I want you guys to do an assessment of your blog, and make a list of tasks to complete over time. And also make a note, if you need, if you yourself can do these tasks, or if you need help from a web designer or a tech savvy friend, because sometimes you can't do it yourself, right? And it's okay, so just make a note of that. Do I know how to do this, or do I need help? But most importantly, do not wait until your blog is set up perfectly to start creating blog posts. You guys are laughing. And like, yeah, who's guilty of that? Like, it's not ready yet, it's not perfect yet, I can't post yet, Michelle. It's not ready yet, right? Do not wait, 'cause it's never going to be perfect. It's never going to be perfect. So instead, again, this is why we're at the end of the class and we're only just now talking about this, because I want you guys to take all of the action first, and then come back and worry about these details, because in the beginning, no one's reading your blog anyway. And instead of being like, "Ugh, "no one's reading my blog," it's liberating. No one's reading my blog! It doesn't have to be perfect yet!