- Why integrate?
- How to integrate WordPress and Magento with various plugins
- Improving your blog to better spark e-commerce sales
- General e-commerce blog rules
- Types of e-commerce blog posts to try
When businesses go out to find core software for their businesses, two of the most important pieces are the content management system (CMS) and the shopping cart. As open source has become increasingly accepted and even preferred in business, WordPress and Magento have emerged as the leaders in these two categories:
- Magento is the top e-commerce platform among the Alexa top 1 million, at a 29.1% market share. [source]
- WordPress is even more popular among the CMS competition, with a whopping 58.8% of the market in March 2017. [source]
Understandably, any businesses that use these platforms want to use the solutions together as effectively as possible. From a literal perspective in terms of development, businesses want to be able to integrate the two systems. They also want to learn how to better drive traffic from the WordPress blog portion of their site to the Magento shopping cart to make purchases. This blog discusses both of those topics. First, though, let’s talk a bit more about reasoning.
We all know that the general concept of integration makes it easier to manage information so you aren’t having to transition between different environments. However, there are specific reasons that businesses often cite for integrating WordPress with Magento (or CMS with shopping cart):
- Improve the SEO of your e-commerce products so people can find you on Google and Bing
- Theme integration
- Ability to share components of one system (such as cart data, menus, or static blocks) within the other
- The delivery of a user experience that is truly blog-to-cart, with products appearing in your WordPress that link directly to the Magento cart
- Unifying the login so that shopping carts are less likely to be abandoned.
How to integrate WordPress and Magento with an extension
It makes sense to want integration of these two key systems. “Marrying WordPress and Magento can integrate your themes, break down any barriers to order completion, and increase the ease of navigation between the two platforms,” explained plugin and extension developer CreativeMinds.
Since WordPress gives you a portal for publishing content, it means you can communicate with and promote to shoppers; bolster your search visibility; and that you have an intuitive system for management of product data. On the other side, Magento is the primary tool you have for major e-commerce needs such as product creation and management; order creation; and the handling of shipments.
Harshal Shah of open source magazine Open Source For You suggested using Magento WordPress Integration, a free extension created by FishPig that is supported by the Professional, Enterprise, and Community editions of Magento (3.9 / 5 stars; 282 reviews).
To use the extension, you don’t have to adjust the core files of either WordPress or Magento; you can access it through Magento Connect. Once you’ve backed up your system and installed it, you can control both administrative accounts by just logging into your Magento account. It enables you to connect WordPress posts to products within Magento. You can even generate a menu within WordPress and pull it into Magento.
Optional add-ons from FishPig are Magento WordPress Multisite Integration and Custom Post Types. The former allows you to integrate all the sites of your entire WPMU installation with numerous Magento stores. The latter gives you the ability to use a variety of templates for WordPress blogs within Magento.
Improving your blog to better spark e-commerce sales
If your business is primarily concerned with e-commerce, you might wonder why expressing yourself through a blog is necessary for your business. To look generally at blogging, it is a way to market yourself directly to your customers, straight through your site. Every additional blog post accounts for another indexed page within Google, so it helps your search engine rankings. It gives you content to post and discuss within your social accounts. Finally, it converts traffic to leads – or, even better, into customers.
Blogging is essentially an opportunity to establish authority and show your target audience what you know; that knowledge will in turn make people feel more comfortable trusting you as their supplier.
Ryan Harris of Raleigh-based digital marketing company TheeDesign talks about e-commerce blogging using the example of a running shoe store owner. Blogging gives that owner (as it does a marketing team) the chance to talk about various running-related topics. “Consider writing topics about snacks for runners, and the dangers of not properly hydrating,” suggested Harris. “Maybe take the time to blog about a personal achievement like running a marathon.”
Now, blogging generally in this manner is part of the e-commerce process because you are driving traffic that’s searching for running topics. Plus, it helps you connect, on a human level, with those who come to your site.
Evergreen information, news reports, how-to articles, and best practices lists all work within blogs. Plus, it makes sense for an e-commerce company to ensure the blog has particular characteristics, and to spend some time discussing the products it sells.
General e-commerce blog rules
WordPress blogger and podcaster Bob Dunn provided his rules for making the most of an e-commerce blog; although published a few years ago, these ideas are still pertinent:
- Your offer should be relevant to your target, to increase interest.
- You want to be transparent and authentic with links, so that readers understand they are requesting additional details.
- Make your offer highly visible if you want to get clicks.
- Incorporate the blog with your products by writing about topics within the blog that tie to calls-to-action (CTAs) for specific products you feature.
- You want to leverage the blog for user-generated Look for inspiration in the comments.
- Exclusivity is a great way to improve sales. Give deals that are only available to your audience and related to your blog subject.
Types of e-commerce blog posts to try
Those broad rules are great, but let’s get more granular. Here are a few specific types of posts to use for your e-commerce blog, as indicated by Harris:
- Featured product posts – In these posts, you can highlight and possibly compare your current products (either one item or the whole brand).
- New product posts – Newness, in and of itself, gives a product more value. Show off anything you’ve just started carrying.
- “Coming soon” posts – Create buzz prior to the arrival of products. It’s especially helpful if a new version of the product is being released, so that people can decide if they want to buy the current one or wait for the launch.
- Exclusive product posts – We talked above about exclusivity as a general rule, and you can apply that specifically to any products that only you are selling.
- Gift idea posts – Write up lists of gift ideas for the holidays, for birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and “just because.”
- Product testing posts – You can test your products and pass on the results.
- Review posts – You can discuss reviews of products, since reviews are such as major trust signal.
- Sales promotion posts – Notify your customers of a sale well before it takes place. “Letting your loyal blog readers in on the sale ‘secret’ ahead of time will help them travel farther down the conversion funnel and ultimately lead to a sale,” said Harris.
Now, as a note of caution, this discussion of blog topics specific to an e-commerce blog is not intended to advocate writing about products or sales in lieu of quality information related to broader topics. Yes, you can educate on products; but simply talking about your products will make your blog read like an ad. Typically you want to include much larger quantities of helpful information such as how-to articles and trending news.
Hopefully the above ideas give you a better sense of some options for integration of WordPress with Magento, and for general integration of blogging with e-commerce. Now, what about upgrading your infrastructure? At Total Server Solutions, we offer high performance web hosting for e-commerce. Increase conversions.