Blog traffic equating to actual revenue can be a mystery for marketers who haven’t given content a chance. Here’s how one client took 7 steps to achieve blog revenue.

Industry: Clothing, ecommerce
Content: Blog posts, infographics
Highlights: Blog content brings in 186% more revenue YoY

Your ecommerce blog can accomplish several business goals: brand awareness, engagement, lead generation and thought leadership. But at the end of the day, your company’s digital presence goes back to revenue: How can my blog actually make money?

Our client, an ecommerce retail brand that caters to industry professionals, knows the importance of creating a blog presence that nurtures leads throughout the buyer’s process, without being overly salesy.

And their progess is working: not only has blog revenue increased 186 percent in the past year, but readers actually enjoy the content they’re reading. We know this because, on average, individuals posts are seeing:

  • 96% more page views
  • 30% longer time on page
  • 41% improved bounce rate
  • 12% decrease in exit rate

Here’s a 7-step look at what they’ve done to make their blog more successful:

1. Target, target, target

This client has several target audiences so the blog  appeals to an amalgamation of diverse lifestyles. For example, a bartender looking for work shoes is going to find different blog topics interesting than a nurse or a grocery clerk seeking out the same products.

To cater to a variety of personas, each blog post is defined by a specific category, and it’s our writers’ job to make sure that each section is brimming with fresh blog topics.

When a reader is looking at the blog, they can see the various categories in a side tab, so they have the option to explore or remain within their chosen category.

This year, there has been a focus on creating more content for the underserved categories that haven’t typically been the highest profit drivers. This shows that while your most profitable target audience is critical, it’s important to take a step back and direct your efforts toward other groups that have potential.

2. Home in on lifestyle

Read: "Expand your brand: Conveying a lifestyle through your blog"

Read: “Expand your brand: Conveying a lifestyle through your blog”

Once you have your target audiences in place, think about the content that’s going to hook them. When creating a blog that’s centered around lifestyle, we suggest starting by looking at your potential customers outside of their job:

How old are they? What’s their income? Where do they live? What music do they listen to? What are they reading? What celebrities to do they look up to?

All of these lifestyle questions can help you determine how to speak to each audience.

3. Blog content that sells (but doesn’t try too hard to sell)

No one wants to read blog post that’s pitching a product (that’s what your product landing pages are for!) Instead, think about how you can incorporate your products, without selling them.

As an example, our writers created a post along the lines of “what your shoes say about you.” This post appealed to readers because it was essentially a personality quiz – it talked about them, not the shoes. Each shoe that was featured was available for purchase on the website, and the photos linked directly to product pages. This meant anyone looking to learn more could quickly click the image, be directed to the product landing page and access their shopping cart.

4. Custom illustrations

Attractive visuals increase audience willingness to read content by 80 percent – and custom illustrations also drive home brand awareness. This client’s illustrations include small info-stats that are featured within the body of the blog post. They not only break up the text, but provide a visual representation of what’s being discussed.

5. Take SEO into account

Part of why organic traffic boosted this year for our client was the decision to focus in on long-tail keyword strategies. Alongside using tools like Google Suggest and Google AdWords, conduct real, practical searches on the queries in question so you aren’t just thinking about an Excel sheet and a keyword set.

Content Marketing Strategist Colleen Saville says that a full analysis of the search experience should seek to answer the following questions:

  • Are users looking for a quick answer to a question?
  • Do they want to read something in depth?
  • Would a video or picture offer a good solution to the query?

Learn more about how to boost your keyword strategies in 2016 here.

6. Better headlines

Headlines can make or break a post – forget about measuring bounce rates, time on site or conversions if your post’s title doesn’t get someone to click in the first place.

For this client, we saw that about half of the top blog posts have contained a question in the title. Articles that define a product or common industry term have also seen great success. Question headlines work because:

  • It lets the audience know what the post is about (but doesn’t give the answer away).
  • It allows writers to incorporate long-tail keywords.
  • It can be an actual question you’ve seen show up as a commonly asked question among your target audience.

Here are 3 more tips for better headlines

7. Better CTAs

With every great blog post, there should be a great call to action pointing the reader in the next direction. Alongside related articles, this client also has a “most popular” and “most recent” articles tab. This means that readers have plenty of opportunities to seek out and explore more information.

For readers who are further down the sales process, most articles include a CTA button for a product that was mentioned within the post. When posts don’t include a product, there is a coupon offer to refer a friend to use the site.

Learn more about CTA buttons:

Molly Buccini is Brafton's community manager. She joined the team with a background in digital journalism and social media. She's a theatre nerd, pop culture junkie and lover of summertime.