As I have been doing content development for my own ecommerce sites since 2003 I want to share a few things to start us off.
Lets get to the easy stuff to fix. If you are using a supplier make sure MAKE SURE to make their content and images your own. In other words … don’t use what they provide (images too) do your best to make everything unique and your own. DO NOT EVER just copy and paste info from a supplier. It is best to do all you can to take new images of your product as well.
@Matt_Siltala: What do you guys do in cases like this where you have all this info from a supplier? Are you lazy? Or do you make it your own?
@50mmF8: no lazy here, all new pics, new copy, and a vid if possible.
@dan_patterson: I think you can use the supplier’s info as a base, but you have to at least add to it. Give your own review, etc. You should also if possible allow for user reviews, but you can’t rely on that since you won’t start out with any. Oh, and one note on user reviews. Make sure you aren’t just using a JS widget since that won’t help you much anyway.
@vivala_katy: JS Widget? I am new to ecommerce… not sure what that is!
@bloomreachinc: Good creative is what marketers must focus on. After all, that’s what humans do best!
@Matt_Siltala: Just curious what platforms most of you are dealing with for ecommerce sites? Do you have any issues with the architecture?
@GaryLHenderson: There are always issues with architecture. Nothing is perfect. You just have to make the best out of it.
@Matt_Siltala: Exactly it is making it as perfect as possible.
@Matt_Siltala: Well lets just into another question –
What are your biggest struggles with content development for ecommerce sites?
I find a lot of people are not willing to spend money on things that matter like photo shoots for example. Photo shoots cost $$$ but when done right it makes all the diff in the world on your ecom site when no one else has your images. People don’t want to pay real content writers to make their content shine. most content from supplier SUCKS. Custom photos also give you the chance to rank the photos in addition to the product pages.
I also find that people are lazy when uploading images ie; IMAGE1.jpg ext vs taking the time and naming them (huge potential). We get lots of business on our ecommerce sites from image searches, searches that would not happen if not named correctly. You name them after the keywords they are you have a bette chance of ranking for image searches. ie; IMAGE1.jpg vs ProductName.jpg.
@Ravenjeremy: Remember File name, Alternate text and the text surrounding it are all signals used by Google Images.
Another area where a lot of ecommerce sites lack in is tracking their conversion.
@shuey03: In most cases, it’s generating unique content in volume for sites that have thousands of products.
@Matt_Siltala: so how do you go about making that content unique when its 1000s of products that are similar?
@SEObryan: You focus on the top products that drive the most value. Follow the 80/20 rule.
@FogelRivka: & on the top product keywords that drive the most traffic, or that your competitors are bidding on.
@scottcowley: I’d like to learn more about bridging the gap between content and commerce. Meaning, why does some content drive a ton of traffic, but no sales. What is high conversion content?
@Matt_Siltala: this is where Pinterest is changing the game … social type viral traffic with buyer intent.
@corey_northcutt: Managing reviews is a headache at the moment, been seeking something identical to Disqus but with rating stars.
@thompsonpaul: biggest struggles with content development for ecommerce sites? Budget. Clients used to do well with thin content.
@Ravenjeremy: Put up a flier at your community college for piece work on original takes on generic items.
@SEObryan: With platforms like pinterest, you need high quality photos to caputure viewers.
@GaryLHenderson: yeah we notice the same thing. Good photography, active social media and a network of content writers is needed!
@thompsonpaul: Custom photos also give you the chance to rank the photos in addition to the product pages – can be leveraged.
@yankeerudy: Lots of searchers use Image search rather than Web search, esp. for products. Less competition there for optimized images
@joshbachynski: don’t use title attribute – especially with keywords in it – google said point blank this is a penguin no-no. http://t.co/34pxzgSk – keywords in title attribute = unnecessary risk. You may use ALT attribute, but avoid keywords in there, label the image for blind visitors only.
@50mmF8: photo quality and price is relative to the industry, often decent in house pics and vids will do fine.
@50mmF8: I have found those type to do best in fact
@SEObryan: The issue is that many different areas of the business impact SEO, it’s important to educate them how they can help.
@bloomreachinc: Any trends in the high converting images – Category? Quality of images?
@Matt_Siltala: cheaper products convert easier … some of our products are upwards of 4k (harder to convert with just image). A lot that are converting are products under 400.
What tools do you guys use the most to track conversions on your ecommerce sites?
@SEObryan: We use internal tools.
@dan_patterson: GA Do people use something other than analytics software?
@yankeerudy: “Convert well” is relative. Important thing is to track conversion rates, adjust onpage elements, and track rate changes. Also don’t forget sight-impaired visitors who (like bots) can’t see your image and rely on title/alt text.
@50mmF8: Big Commerce/Shopify, but I like BC for their ability to make everything more difficult than it needs to be.
What platforms people are using? Pinnacle? Magento? Shopify? Custom?
@kasialorenc: moving to Pinnacle from Xcart
@Matt_Siltala: Recently moved to Pinnacle too and happy so far.
@corey_northcutt: Magento and OpenCart we work with a lot. We also see a lot of crappy .NET-based software.
@CraigFifield: I make sure I fully understand the customer, then I employ my brain. After that, analytics.
@ChuckReynolds: Don’t use off the shelf stuff anymore. magento sucks & takes lots to get up to speed. custom all the way.
@Matt_Siltala: Ballpark range what someone might pay to have it custom coded and do it right? Would be good for ppl to know.
Are you guys taking advantage of Schema/Advanced markups?
@shuey03: abso-freaking-loutely! star ratings increase click-thurs in the serps.
@corey_northcutt: yes. a thousand times yes.
@ChuckReynolds: Primarily custom built carts, codeignitor or laravel framework. re: schema = YES… it’s a must.
@thompsonpaul: What besides ratings are y’all using?
@dan_patterson: we use aggregate ratings. But there are a lot of other options depending on what your products are.
@Ravenjeremy: http://Schema-creator.org released a WordPress plugin to create that Schema code for you.
How do you go about continued content creation for your ecommerce sites?
Are you guys taking advantage of Question sites like Quora, LinkedIn, Yahoo Answers to find content ideas?
@dan_patterson: User reviews that actually show up in the code, a blog, a community… there are plenty of things you can do. White papers, video reviews, how to videos and articles, product highlights..
@CraigFifield: I use Google image search a lot, and more lately Pinterest for content ideas.
@jamesagate: Have you any experience/traffic from interacting in those places as well as using for content ideas?
@Matt_Siltala: yes they can send great traffic when you are active, but you have to be active and many can rank well too.
@Ravenjeremy: What are your thoughts on Stumble Upon these days for creativity and a occasional traffic boost?
@Matt_Siltala: It can still send amazing traffic and depending on the industry we have found it can send traffic that converts. It is also still a great tool for branding, reputation, link building when a piece takes off there. Just from personal experience with it … I wouldn’t write them off just yet lol.
@jamesagate: I was curious because we had a online phone retailer who did really well with some Yahoo Answers threads..
@Matt_Siltala: answers that point to some of our sites from 5+ years ago STILL send great traffic. So yes, I am a fan
@ChuckReynolds: So who’s using call tracking on ecomm properly? also tracking that via G.Analytics? I have a free tool – send it out there. #s are $1 through twilio and built http://twimlbin.com to route and track through Analytics.
@Matt_Siltala: What are the best methods you guys go about getting reviews/testimonials for your sites? (ie; the best kind of converting content)
@thompsonpaul: Followup emails after booking
@Matt_Siltala: I read a story that businesses were going to CraigsList and paying for Yelp reviews … YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG
@dan_patterson: Make it obvious that you take reviews, offer an entry in a drawing if you leave a review, etc. Simple incentives
@Ravenjeremy: As a consumer, My wife has given reviews when there’s some personalized note/item in the actual order.
@50mmF8: exhaustive product pages, bhphoto and LApoliceGear are examples using unique content to create a community resource