One of the main purposes of the blog for the e-commerce site is driving traffic. Although Magento has excellent built-in capabilities of adding media content and text on almost any web page, often the product page or category page is not the best place to let your imagination run wild and tell everything that you want. A Blog for a Magento Store could be only implemented by using 3rd party tools like extensions or WordPress integrations.
At the same time, a blog is a great place not only for a more colorful, emotional, and exciting description of products, their use, the usage stories etc., but the best location for the long-tail keywords.
However, while generating a lot of content and driving traffic to your blog, do not forget that this is necessary to properly direct traffic, or blog can be turned into a vast repository of texts comparable to the Ancient Library of Alexandria in volume and conversions for your site. Therefore, after installing a blog for your online store, take care also of the SEO-experts who can intelligently direct traffic towards the conversion. In addition to the direct functions of driving and direction of traffic, a blog still has a few quite important features that will help you survive and thrive with your online store.
The Importance of a Blog for a Magento Store
Firstly, a blog is a great place to raise your brand loyalty. The path is very simple: tell your customers through a blog on how to use products from your store, on trends in the industry, about the history of your company, about the success stories of your customers – you attract the reader’s interest, it develops a holistic good impression not only about products but also about the company, pushing it back to read more and to buy from a store of loved one interesting brand that is trusted.
Secondly, a blog in combination with the organic search is a great free advertising platform. As soon the blog catches traffic on site, you can think over the completely free advertising campaigns (meaning that you will not have to pay for it in the third-party services).
Thirdly, a blog in combination with the ability to comment and share – is an opportunity to promote the brand among the masses through social networks and people coming out from there(and from all channels) can be caught for discussion and exchange of experience with commenting. Customers particularly trust comments left by using social network accounts directly on your page, so Facebook comments social plugin is something that should be used. Thus, a community is created that is actively discussing your brand, distributes it free in social networks and returns for shopping again.
However, to make a blog bringing its benefits, you should take care of it like a delicate plant. 1-2 posts a week, thematic categories, SEO-optimization – it’s something that requires resources. However, you are investing in a huge net for traffic, which with proper care is a source of conversion and trust in your brand.
Implementation of a Blog for a Magento Store
As we mentioned earlier, If you decided to create a blog for your Magento store, you will have to go in one of two ways: either you use Magento Blog extension, or you will have to implement the so-called “integration” with WordPress based blog. Each path offers its capabilities and shortcomings, let us look at them. I hope that this little analysis will help to determine the choice for everyone who decided to create a blog at Magento.
As expected, there is a variety of extensions at Magento Connect that allow you to add a blog feature for your store.
Magento Blog Extensions
The most popular is the extension Blog by aheadWorks. Although, quite possibly, the number of downloads of extension provided by the fact that it is quite a long time on the market (the interesting indicator – extension presented as compatible with the latest version of Magento). The pretty simple functionality is on board: create and edit posts in the native Magento WYSIWYG editor, posts partition by categories, adding tags, the widget with the latest posts, a toolbar for the page with the list of posts, commenting on posts, the display settings for different stores/store views and… That’s all. As a result, we have some kind of aggregator of CMS pages with the possibility of commenting.
The next most popular is a Blog Pro from MagPleasure (it’s been acquired by Amasty at the end of 2015), which offers more functionality out of the box (and even support native responsive theme rwd). The list of features is expanded with abilities to add a thumbnail image to post, the ability to link to the author’s pages on social networks, the ability to publish the delayed posts automatically, the possibility to subscribe to new post comments, the opportunity to monitor the number of views of a post, as well as a new custom WYSIWYG editor. There questions to that editor and to responsive, as even cursory testing of the extension demo showed the presence of defects. So after buying the extension you will have to check not only the quality of the code but, probably, the quality of the promised 6-month free support (by the way, there is the complaint review about support at Magento Connect).
Magento and WordPress “Integration”
If we talk about the so-called “integration” of a blog on WordPress and Magento, it is necessary to use for this special extension WordPress by FishPig. The problem of this integration is that it is purely a visual effect in almost all other aspects you have two completely different systems.
One of the advantages that you get when integrated with WordPress – it’s all their available tools and the ability to use plug-ins. It’s really a full-fledged blog as if you had it apart. Of the minuses – the need for additional support, the risk of low-quality plug-in installed, and with it, make a hole in the security of your system (in itself existence of integrated WordPress into Magento – a security hole without making necessary changes), as well as the need to create a separate WordPress theme to make blog be in the same design with the rest of the site (of course, you will have to integrate extensions of the type described above into your Magento theme, but it definitely takes less time and resources than the development of a new theme for WordPress).
To summarize, we should note a few things. Having a blog requires additional resources not only to maintain but also to install, as only deals with limited functionality can be installed relatively painless. So I would recommend approaching the installation of a blog with some margin of resources and patience if you intend to seriously – it is not something that will work out of the box and without support. Contact Maven to get help with Magento Blog implementation. We will find the ideal solution for your exact business.