Want an easy way to promote your products and generate more clicks on your eBay listings without spending a dime or lots of time studying search engine optimization? Try blogging.
It's easier than you might think. If you have an account with Auctiva, then you already have a blog page. When buyers open your Auctiva Store, the Blog tab will display on the upper right corner of the page. To view and manage your Auctiva Store and its blog page, simply log in to your account and click on the Store tab. A link to your store (e.g., http://store.auctiva.com/auctivausername) will be shown.
Blogs are one of the most valuable, yet underused features of Auctivalikely because users feel they either don't have the time, the technical know-how or anything interesting to say. But that perception is beginning to change. According to Kevin Kinell, Auctiva's vice president of engineering, Auctiva users create more than 100 blog posts every day and nearly 18,000 have posted at least one blog entry.
"I was kind of shy about blogging at first," says Michelle Coulter, owner of Michelle's Merchandise, and an avid Auctiva blogger. "I didn't know how to promote my stuff."
Coulter now blogs every listing to boost exposure to her items. Each time she creates an eBay listing, she copies the item description into a new blog entry, spices it up with additional comments, adds a title and some keywords, and enters the item number to associate the blog to the item she has just listed. Just a few extra keystrokes later and she's created an entirely new, and free, advertisement.
Promote your brand
Blog to provide updates on your store, information about your products, helpful hints related to a category you specialize in, or anything that would be interesting to buyers
Used the right way, a blog can be a valuable tool for promoting your products or services, whether your business resides on eBay or elsewhere on the Web. Coupled with the branding benefits of a custom domain (e.g., www.awesomestuff.com), a blog can help get your name out there as a trusted seller and an expert in your field.
Think of your blog as a marketing brochure or a sales flyer. Use it to provide updates on your store, information about your products, helpful hints related to a category you specialize in, or anything that would be interesting to buyers. If you sell gourmet food items, you might share a recipe featuring one of your products. Sell tableware? Offer tips for setting the table for a dinner party or creating a unique centerpiece.
Even one blog a weekjust a paragraph or two of quality contentis enough to generate interest and start getting picked up by search engines. But there's no reason to not blog more often. In fact, the more you blog, the more visibility you will get in search engines like Google and Yahoo!.
"So many people have said they found me through a search engine," reports Auctiva user and PowerSeller Kathy Fritz of Kathy's Beaded Blessings. "I blog every listing, and I always will, because I feel like that's my major advertisement."
You can blog on eBay, Facebook, blogspota myriad of blogging sites exist on the Web. But having a blog right in your Auctiva Store helps make your eBay listings more interesting and encourages visitors to subscribe to your blog and come back often to read the latest entries. You can even ask people to add their comments. This creates a community around your products that, in turn, helps to foster customer loyalty.
How to get started
Every night, Auctiva submits new blog entries to Google Directory to drive natural traffic to your site
To create and manage your blog entries, log in to your Auctiva account and select Blogs under the Store tab. Click "Create New," and enter your information. You can select HTML if you're comfortable writing code, or switch to Standard to use a visual text editor. When you create a new blog entry, you'll be able to associate it with items you're selling by entering relevant keywords. The association will also apply to future listings that match those keywords.
Or, each time you save or post a listing through Auctiva, you can simply select "Post a blog about this item" under the Options page, and copy and paste the item description (or another message) into the blog field. It's that easyno technical skills required.
Every night, Auctiva submits new blog entries to Google Directory to drive natural traffic to your site. The more you post, the more exposure you will get. If you have time, you can also submit your blog URL to blog directories, which will index your entries and help increase the likelihood that they will be read by Web crawlers. Scores of blog directories exist, like blogarama, Best of the Web and Bloggapedia. Others can be found, appropriately enough, by searching the Internet.
Through her eBay Store, Coulter has access to research on what keywords are most popular. She uses that knowledge to populate her blog entries with terms that will get picked up by search engines.
"I know it works," Coulter says. "I recently listed a brass bed on eBay. When I did a search on Google, mine was on the front page."
Intrigued by the idea of search engine optimization, Coulter signed up several months ago for Google AdWordsbut she never uses it. "I don't have time to use it for every item," says Coulter, who lists hundreds of items in her eBay Store and runs 100 to 200 auctions a week. "With Auctiva, it's so quick and easy. And I'm really pleased with the way things are going."
Here are some tips to ensure your blog gets read by search engines:
Mind your META tags. META tags are the words and phrases that search engines use to decide how to place your site in their indexes. Your META Title is probably the biggest factor in determining which keywords will find your listing on major search engines such as Yahoo! and MSN. META Keywords are additional relevant terms that people might use to search for an item like the one you're selling. Sprinkle those same keywords throughout your blog. Auctiva's technical support team recommends repeating keywords three to four times on the page.
Link to your blog and store. The more links you have pointing to your blog, the higher search engines will rank the page. So if you have other Web sites or blogs, or you participate in discussion forums, paste in a link to your Auctiva Store and/or blog. Include the URL in all your correspondence with buyers, on your business card, on your shipping invoice and so on, to help drive additional traffic to your store.
Use a custom domain. This will get you a higher ranking on Googleand it looks more professional to your customers. Customers can e-mail you at that domain and messages will go directly to you. Instead of "http://www.auctiva.com/stores/viewstore.aspx?id=awesomedude," wouldn't you rather customers see "http://www.awesomedude.com/blog.aspx?" Plus, it's a great way to promote your brand and encourage repeat buyers.
Custom domains are available for Auctiva Stores for an annual fee of less than $10. The sign-up can be found under the Stores tab on the Auctiva site. If you purchase a domain through Auctiva, Auctiva will automatically link it to your store.
Update often. Updating your blog helps keep your keywords and items current for people searching the Web. Adding new information encourages search engines to crawl your pages more often. Whatever form your blog takes, keep entries relevant to what you are selling. This way, the Googles of the world will start to see you as an "expert," and rank you higher in searches.
So, why not give blogging a try? You have nothing to losebut potentially much to gain.