Shopify stores and blogging go together like tea and cake. Or coffee & cake, if that’s your thing. Or maybe you’re the vodka and ice cream type? Your particular vices aren’t the point here. What I’m really trying to say is… if you don’t already have a blog, making one should be your first priority. If you do already have one, but it’s hosted separately from your store, I’m sorry to tell you, but you’re doing it wrong.
Why do I need a blog?
A blog is like a big magnet for customers. It acts as the top of a funnel leading right to your storefront. Most people don’t spend too much time intentionally looking for products online, but they do spend a lot of time looking for things that are related to products.
That is, related to the products you sell!
For instance, most people only have a single cake pan, and some people might have a set of cake pans. But every once in a while, people want to know how to make a cake shaped like a dinosaur! So they Google it. And if you have a guide on your website about how to make a cake shaped like a dinosaur, and you mention creating this amazing cake would be a lot easier with the dinosaur-shaped cake pan you sell…
Well… suddenly that person who wasn’t going to buy anything might just have a reason to buy something from you.
Okay, it might not happen exactly like that for every eCommerce store. But the point is, a blog will establish you as an authority in whatever niche you’re selling, meaning that people will develop a lot of trust in you. Not only will they be more likely to buy something from you, but they’ll be more likely to share your blog posts and recommend your site to friends.
Why host my blog with Shopify?
There are a lot of website builders out there where you can create a blog of your own (i.e. Blogger, Weebly, Tmblr, WordPress). However, Shopify doesn’t let you import these external blogs directly into your store’s site. This means that your website and your blog will be running on different domain names.
This doesn’t just confuse people, it also looks unprofessional, and is terrible for SEO.
So ideally, hosting your blog on Shopify is the best option for giving your blog, and your eCommerce store, the highest chances of gaining Google search ranking.
So what are the blogging options with Shopify?
The default Shopify blog
Listen, Shopify is great. In my opinion it’s hands down the best eCommerce platform on the market. But its built-in blogging system is, let’s say… less than ideal.
The blogging features you can use on the built-in Shopify blog depend entirely on your store’s theme. So if you chose a theme with some of those features disabled, you’re kind of out of luck. You either have to live with it, or rebrand your entire website. And we all know how much time, energy, and funds that would take.
Conversely, if you’re happy with your blog’s features but don’t like the way the theme looks, you can’t change the appearance of anything unless you learn how to code CSS. That’s a lot of time and effort just to recolor a few buttons and change the background.
The most surprising feature lacking from the Shopify default blog is the ability to easily embed your products into your posts. Remember that dinosaur cake pan we talked about earlier? Wouldn’t it be nice if while reading your post about it, people could add it to their cart right then and there?
And then there’s WordPress
WordPress is generally what pops into most people’s minds when they think about creating a blog. WordPress has been around so long they’ve become a household name. But before opting to pair a WordPress blog with your Shopify site, consider if WordPress actually meets your needs, or if it is just familiar.
The most important thing to consider here is that it’s not possible to integrate a WordPress blog directly into a Shopify website. You have to run the WordPress blog on a subdomain of your site. So in the eyes of Google, your WordPress blog and your Shopify store would count as two separate websites. Essentially meaning you are cutting all of your SEO efforts in half.
To add insult to injury, WordPress can’t use your Shopify theme either. So the design of your two sites would look completely different. And let’s not even get started on the plugins you’d need to install to build up the robust blogging solution you’re looking for.
While I’m on the topic of plugins, I should mention that each one you install can lead to a potential security risk. If you let even one get out of date, it can leave a hole that hackers can use as a backdoor into your site. I know, scary right?!?
Fear not, there is a solution ~ DropInBlog!
Available as an app in the Shopify Store, DropinBlog features a one-click install and automatically matches the design of your shop’s theme. Your blog content is managed through the DropinBlog App, which gives you loads of cool features.
You can have multiple authors registered on one blog for easy organization and collaboration. You can set your posts to be published on scheduled release dates. You can divide your posts into categories so readers can easily access what’s most appealing to them. You can display your recent posts on your homepage to show off what’s new and current. And you can embed your products directly into your blog posts!
DropInBlog also includes an SEO Analyzer. This unique tool looks over your posts and tells you how easy it is for search engines to find them based on a keyword that you specify. The analyzer offers suggestions on how to improve each blog post so it has the best chance of ranking well on Google. Usually, this type of SEO analysis has an extra cost, but DropinBlog includes it on all of their accounts for free.
With DropInBlog there are no plugins to wade through, no subdomains to mess around with, and no security holes. DropinBlog handles all of that on their end, taking the worry and responsibility out of your hands. Best of all, and I can’t say this enough… it lets you embed your products into posts (hello dinosaur cake pan!).
Of course, there are still drawbacks, but they’re minor compared to the other two blogging options. With DropInBlog, there’s no way to add new functions to your blog. They don’t offer 3rd party plugins, so if there’s a feature you want, you have to suggest it to their dev team. To some, this is a plus, but others may see it as a drawback. As well, there is a cost. But those who see the value DropInBlog brings to their content marketing will feel it pays for itself in no time.
So… let’s compare our options
- Restricts available features based on store theme
- CSS needed to change the look
- No way to easily embed products into a post
- Can’t be hosted through Shopify, so extra hosting costs
- Blog would be on a separate website from your store
- Can’t use your store’s theme, so it would look completely different
- Needs a plugin for every little feature
- Plugins usually don’t give you full access unless you pay
- Each plugin is a potential security risk
- Hosted through Shopify
- Easy one-click install through the Shopify app store
- Automatically matches your store’s look
- Multiple authors
- Scheduled posts
- SEO Analyzer included by default
- Lets you sell your products directly in your posts!
When you lay it out like that, it’s pretty obvious that DropinBlog is the clear winner here. And for the icing on the cake, they even offer a 14-day free trial. So grab your tea, coffee or vodka… install the app and give it try yourself!