Several years ago, I had the opportunity to blog for Shopzilla, the massive shopping website also known as BizRate. As part of my responsibilities, I posted 5-days a week on multiple first page Google ranked Shopzilla blogs on topics ranging from cordless telephones to baby clothing. I directly worked with Shopzilla’s in-house SEO team, and, as you might imagine, providing blogging services to a company of that size and scope was a fantastic learning experience.
Here’s what I learned when I blogged for this multi-million dollar company:
Understand Who Your Viewers Are
When blogging for Shopzilla, I was encouraged to take the time to think about who my viewers would be. For example, one of the blogs I wrote for was a green living blog, where I was assigned to write search engine optimized blog posts on items of interest to green living enthusiasts. In order to come up with daily, fresh, and witty blog posts, I really had to take the time to get into my viewers’ heads. What type of person is interested in green living? How much disposable income do they have? Where do they live?…and so on. By answering those questions, I had some direction on what to write about and when.
Expand the Scope of your Visitors
Another thing I learned while blogging for Shopzilla is that after determining who your viewers and potential viewers are, it is important to expand that idea. Once again, using the green living blog as an example, I knew that my blog visitors were interested in buying green products and, to keep the blog fresh, I had to come up with countless new ways to grow that concept. What else would a green-conscious visitor be interested in? What about toxins found in bottled water? What about organic fabrics? Or recycled wrapping paper for the holidays? Or throwing a green birthday party? You can see how the idea grows and expands the more you think about it.
Ace the Aesthetics
When I blogged for Shopzilla I learned that the appearance of any blog can mean the difference between success and failure. For example, I learned how to select quality photos taken from correct angles, and properly size them, and how to lay out a post that is easy and enjoyable to read. I also learned how transparent or white background images can provide a dramatic impact on making a blog look professional. And, as you probably guessed, broken links, awkward layouts, and mediocre images were simply unacceptable.
So, I have Shopzilla to thank for training me to blog in a way that is knowledgeable, thought-provoking, and visually appealing. What I learned from them has helped me go on to successfully provide quality blogging services to many companies. And for that, I’m truly grateful.