Nowadays, it’s most common that merchants will feature a blog on their Magento 2 store, because as well all know, these kinds of posts improve SEO and help establish customer loyalty. Recently, HubSpot’s researched 1500 companies and published findings that show businesses with implemented blogs receive around 55% more visitors, 97% more inbound links and 434% more indexed pages.
Additionally, according to Omnicore, 81% of internet users are more likely to trust information they find on blogs and 61% of them are more willing to buy a product based on blog recommendations.
Now the small downside is that Magento platform doesn’t include blog functionality by default, but no need to worry; we’ve got you covered there A blog can be implemented on a Magento 2 store in two ways: installing a blog extension, or with the most popular blogging CMS: WordPress. And lucky for all of us involved here, the implementation process is quite quick and painless, as this is quite a popular add-on solution.
Magento 2 blog extensions
It’s 2018, so there’s a bunch of extensions on the market that can easily add blog functionality to almost any Magento store. But it’s also done in a snazzy enough way that helps preserve the unique design and marketing message that’s already doing wonders for each Magento store owner. Their feature list isn’t quite as rich as a WordPress blog, but it’s more than adequate enough for online store blogging and SEO. After it’s been implemented, blog sections will appear in the Magento 2 dashboard, making it super easy for your Magento 2 store admin to manage.
Let’s take a closer look at a few well-made extensions we’ve worked with.
Mirasvit, Blog MX for Magento 2 (Free)
Mirasvit is a free Magento 2 extension, packed with the most necessary features. It allows the user to configure SEO settings by adding meta titles, meta descriptions, and URL keys. The extension also supports publishing material in the form of images and videos, as well as text. It also provides the user with the ability to create tag clouds, preview posts, and pin them at the top of any given page. Posts can even be sorted by categories which is often the fan-favorite of nearly any online store that’s expanding their blogging footprint.
AheadWorks, Blog for Magento 2 ($349)
This paid solution offers a range of advanced options in addition to some of the basics we’ve already mentioned. Options such as scheduling publications, selecting posts that can only be displayed to certain users, and customizing the sidebar composition. AheadWorks lists all posts in the sitemap.xml file to help web crawlers index pages easier. It’s also integrated with the Disqus service, so customers can leave comments on posts by using their previously connected social network accounts. Moreover, it enables such features as assigning related blog posts to product pages, and adding products to blog pages; two really big factors for a wide range of Magento 2 users.
WordPress blog in Magento 2 integration
WordPress, for those who don’t know, is a powerful content management system designed for blogging. According to Search Engine Journal, WordPress’ share of the global content management market reached 60.2% in March, 2018. WordPress allows installing a variety of themes, plugins, widgets, sliders and galleries to enhance every aspect of creativity and customization. It has an extremely user-friendly interface so managing content can’t be simpler and the best bet here is, you ge full control over your website and you can customize it in the way you want.
However, as great as WordPress is, there is a downside. Having a blog on WordPress means you actually have two different platforms that you need to maintain, the blog, and WordPress itself. While the two do work in perfect harmony together, it can occasionally cause a need for additional paid modules, and increase the need to keep a close eye on internet security to prevent any malicious attacks.
FishPig’s extension (Free)
FishPig, a wonderful name at that, has developed a free extension that integrates WordPress directly into Magento 2. The module allows a bit of flexibility, such as allowing the platforms to share a single theme, or completely separate ones. FishPig also sells more advanced add-ons that extend the WordPress functionality. Some options include supporting plugins and widgets (around £70) a single sign-on for your store and blog (around £50) or a module that brings together search results of blog material and products (around £50.) An added benefit of the single sign-on option is that it includes the “must be logged in to comment” feature, which can really help cut down on spam, bots, and overall party poopers; a small fee for a bit of peace of mind if you ask us.
The bad news is that WordPress is still a vulnerable system. Knowing that a system like this is super popular, and easy to use, also means ease of access, of all kinds. It’s something we all should be doing anyway but be sure to take a few extra precautions on your hosting server to protect your overall site if this is the option you choose.
Standalone WordPress blog
This option means launching a blog either on a separate domain or on a subdomain, rather than linking directly to your Magento 2 store.Connecting a standalone blog with Magento 2 can be done with a little help from a WordPress blog link, directly to your Magento 2 store. They’re easy to set up, and can be placed in the header and/or footer area of a post, or via the more complicated method of cart to blog integration.
The upside here? It allows you to use all the WordPress features, as well as create a unique design for your blog. The great part here is that this type of integration won’t reduce the security of your Magento 2 store. Jokesters, pranksters, and cyber ninjas may be able to get passed the WordPress piece, but they won’t be able to make it into the e-commerce platform.
But let’s talk about disadvantages of standalone WordPress blog approach. First of all, customers don’t see their cart in the top header while scrolling through the blog. In order to see that icon again, they have to click back to the store. It may not seem like a big issue but small things like these have been proven to influence sales.
In this case, Magento 2 and WordPress act as completely different websites, so they keep different databases. So, users have to sign up twice (to store and blog) just to access all material; not exactly the best user experience model.To skirt the issue, a dedicated module can be put in place but it is a rather expensive option for such a small impact.
Speaking of user experience, next comes search capabilities.The websites don’t share a common search by default so users who search for something on a store will only see product results. When they look for something on a blog post, they’ll be provided with only the best of the best blog posts. In order to streamline these search results, two custom modules have to be developed and implemented. The first one for Magento 2, the other one for WordPress. Considering this option, do keep in mind the overall developing process as it can become a bit costly and time-consuming.
Lastly, something to consider: having a standalone WordPress blog is the worst possible option in the context of SEO. Having the website on a separate domain doesn’t attract a lot of long tail keyword traffic to the store, which we all know by now, isn’t a good thing. And if it doesn’t boost keyword traffic, it doesn’t boost store ranking either. The only chance a WordPress blog on a separate domain (or subdomain) will actually have at helping your Magento 2 store is if users access the page via the links in the content that lead to the products on your store.
To sum up, this option is more trouble than it’s worth, so while we’re here to provide information in the sake of being unbiased, it’s not our favorite option.
The pool of E-commerce blog topics is endless – as well as your target audience interests’. Some may find value in writing about product reviews, comparisons, and trends. Others may want to focus on promotions, top lists, and how-to articles. A blog, done right, can help in so many areas. Anything from helping communicate with consumers, connect a brand with a personality, serve as an echo chamber for client feedback, engage them in conversations with each other, and in some cases, even encourage others or themselves to make a purchase.
The key points you have to consider when preparing to implement a blog are frequency, and length of posts. For those who plan to publish short texts several times per week, we might suggest setting up an extension. On the flip side, for those who are going to post long articles every day, maybe you want to venture on over to the WordPress integration section.
After you have a clear vision of how to add a blog in Magento 2, we want to share some helpful statistics that might increase your blog efficiency. According to Omnicore, it’s better to post at least 16 times per month to maximize traffic, and articles should be between 1,000 and 1,500 words. Posts with images get 94% more views whereas articles that include videos may increase traffic up to 157%.