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by Michael P. Hill July 12, 2016

Generating quality content and placing it in an effective way throughout your Shopify theme has huge implications for the success of your store — not only can you use content marketing strategies to draw in new customers, but well-written content such as product descriptions and page copy are key in optimizing your conversion rates.

The blog is a built-in, sometimes overlooked feature available to all Shopify stores and it can also be an effective tool for increasing your reach and even boosting SEO. Here’s how to use to best advantage:

Don’t worry about having a fancy blog layout

Many store owners look for ways to update or completely change their blog layout, including using the “block” or “masonry” style that Pinterest made so popular where each blog post appears, typically with a photo or image, in blocks that either line up in rows or “stack” on top of each other.

However, if this blog layout isn’t included in your Shopify theme, it requires custom CSS, HTML and JavaScript to properly accomplish. It also requires modifying the Shopify theme code, which can make it more difficult to upgrade later.

Do invest in quality content that’s targeted to your audience

Instead of customizing your theme to alter the blog layout, put your energy toward developing compelling, quality content for your store’s blog or blogs. At the end of the day, having one blog layout over another layout likely isn’t going to improve your sales or interaction with your content if the blog posts themselves aren’t fun and engaging to read.

Spend time researching the types of search terms shoppers are using to find your site, paying special attention to queries that appear to be a question or have clear purchase intent. Then, create blog posts that match these search terms in both the title and throughout the content.

Of course, you’ll also want to make sure the blog post adequately answers questions or starts viewers on the purchase path.


Shopify theme blog post
The blog page in the "Sydney" preset of the Mobilia Shopify theme.


Do spend time working on blog post meta tags

It’s also important to spend time crafting eye-catching and intriguing title tags and meta description tags for each post. Title tags should fit within Shopify’s recommended character count and make it clear what the post is about and what questions it will answer.

The meta descriptions, while not used for ranking factors, are a great way to entice searchers into clicking your listing in the search results page and illustrate your authority on the topic.

Do develop content for ‘long tail’ searches

Another key way to generate content ideas is to look for what are called “long tail” search terms that bring users to your site or are related to your products or services. Long tail searches are defined as searches that tend to be more detailed but also aren’t as common.

For example, a search for “candles” isn’t very long tail. However, “buy apple scented soy candles” is a great example of a long tail search.

Search engines including Google have been slowly pushing users toward longer and longer search terms in order to deliver better results. Think about it — the more detail a search query has, the better chance the search engine can deliver an appropriate response.

Long tail searches, while not nearly as common as their big brother broad searches, are highly valuable because they tend to be performed by shoppers looking for very specific products and who, in many cases, are ready to buy.

Some of the most important long tail search types are ones that include words or phrases that indicate purchase intent, such as “buy,” “shop,” “best” or “sale."

Long tail searches also tend to have less competition and, by developing content around a variety of long tail search terms, you’ll also be sending search engines and customers clear signals that your site is an authoritative source on the types of products you sell.

A good place to see what Google thinks might be good long tail searches for your products is to start typing in keywords to the search box and make note of the longer search suggestions that appears.

Do develop content that’s easy to read

When writing your content, consider these tips for making the content easier (and more fun) to read:

  • Break out content into smaller sections and short paragraphs to make it easier for users to read on a screen.
  • Use bullet lists (like this one!) to quickly get multiple points across.
  • Add illustrations, photos and graphics to make your topic easier to understand.
  • Entice users to read your content with intriguing and clever headlines that also make it clear how the blog article will help them.
  • Consider featuring customers or other companies that you admire in your blog posts and embed their social profiles in your blog posts. You can also tag these profiles when you post your blog article links to social media to gain additional distribution.

Don’t neglect your blog

Once you decide to start blogging, try to publish content on a regular basis; don’t just post once in a blue moon. You may want to do an initial brainstorm of possible topics and then set up a schedule for those with potential, so that you’re never scrambling for ideas at the last minute when you realize it’s been ages since you posted anything.

In order to gather followers and stay top-of-mind with your actual and potential customers, it’s important to keep publishing useful content that they can turn to regularly for insights, news and advice. And don’t forget to promote any new blog posts on your social media channels, to help your blog (and therefore your shop) reach as many eyes as possible.

Do use your content as a call to action

It’s also important to find effective ways to work in calls to action within your blog content.

Consider experimenting with various tactics such as adding an email newsletter signup form on blog article pages or linking directly to relevant collections or products within your store.

Another possible idea is to use permalinks to pre-populate your store’s shopping cart with one or more of the items discussed in the blog post.

Don't create content just to create content

It's easy to get caught up in creating content, especially long tail focused content, that's just poorly written text designed to target specific keywords.

While there's certainly nothing wrong with creating content that uses keywords prominently, it's also important to make sure the piece still brings value to the reader, whether it's answer some questions about your products or company or giving them useful tips.

Michael P. Hill
Michael P. Hill

Michael P. Hill is a Shopify, Shopify theme, content marketing, digital marketing and product management expert based in Chicago. Follow him on Twitter at @michaelphill or connect on LinkedIn.

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