Let me rephrase that, FRESH content is king, for many reasons. Of course the ‘bots and spiders,’ sounds like Halloween, love to see new things on your site when they come crawling, it keeps them coming back more often, humans are the same. If either comes to visit a few times and always find the same stale information in the same places, they’ll both slow down their visits. The spiders still tend to remember you and come back, even if it’s not as often as you like, the humans have a tendency to forget you until the next time they need something from your site when they hopefully remember you instead of just searching again and finding a competitor.

For eCommerce sites you can always add new products, that’s new content for sure and may even make extra money if it’s something your customers like. But what if you can’t always find or create a new product to add to your site, maybe it’s time to think outside the box and become even more useful to your customers. I’m not going to use the “B” word, even though we have many customers that have WordPress sites and do great jobs filling them with posts, it’s a lot of work, has a few drawbacks, has some costs associated with it, and if not maintained and executed properly, can do more harm than good. Fortunately CommerceV3 has a cool built in feature than can make adding content to your site as easy as adding a new product.

Content Only Products has been around a while and many of our customer do a great job with it but nearly everyone out there can surely find a way to use this feature to add content to their stores with only a few minutes of their own time, at no additional costs. Go into the Inventory tab and choose either All Products or Products by Cat, whichever is your favorite way of adding a product to your store manually and click the Add Product link at the top. It’ll take you to a fresh product page with nothing on it, and the first field at the top is a drop down box called Product Type that defaults to Regular. If you change that to Content Only you’ll notice the Retail and Wholesale sections disappear, you’re now ready to let those creative juices flow. What used to be your product Name is now your article Name and what was once your product Full Description box is now a Static Content box where the article goes, notice right above it that HTML and Smarty (think video embed code here) can be used in that box if desired, so type away. Once you’re done, scroll down and notice that every field that was there for a product that was eCommerce related is now gone,  but all of the SEO and marketing features of products are still there. Just like a product, you can still change meta data, the url, add pictures relevant to the article, add the Content Only Product to relevant categories, and at the bottom you can still use Related and Additional Products to link relevant products to that article.

Now you can educate your customers, aren’t you an expert in your field? Maybe how to use, assemble, or install your product, maybe even with a video, then an “oh by the way, we sell these” underneath with a Related Product. Customers can’t submit directly to the site, but you could post customer projects or them using your products, maybe even have a contest to get customers to submit articles, photos, or video that you add to the site. Do you go to trade shows or festivals, add your upcoming trips so customers can come see you and your products in person. Maybe you were featured on TV or in a magazine article, you could have a Media page with the video or reprint of that article. You could even write about industry related items that aren’t directly product related. Not only are you adding value to your site, making it more SEO keyword rich, and giving your customers another reason to visit than giving you money, you’re starting to get social and have another reason to market to your clients and show them that you care about them instead of just sending an email, Tweeting, or posting on Facebook to come buy something from you. Instead of every time you market to them saying “Come give me your credit card,” you can now go with a more social approach of “Come check out this article with new information,” your customers will probably thank you.

How about some examples of clients using this feature well? Check out FireCraft, they sell grills and grill supplies but also have some Grilling Guides about their products and some cooking information. Organic Prairie uses it to showcase their family of co-op farmers. Arbico Organics does a great job at education on “why and how” when it comes to pest control and organic gardening.

If you truly think you want to blog, oops, I used the “B” word, we can sure help you out with a WordPress install and there are great reasons to have one, but Content Only Products has a few other advantages as well. From the store, you can’t search and find both product information and articles relevant to the search if the articles are on another platform like WordPress or Blogger. With Content Only Products, they’re just like another product so they show up in searches. Its part of your store on the same domain instead of http://blog.yourstore.com which isn’t terrible, but having it all under the same roof is even better. Your customers also don’t leave the eCommerce site and get distracted over on a different site and never come back to the store to shop, they stay right inside the store and learn, then hopefully continue shopping when they’re ready. Best of all, it’s already right there inside your store and doesn’t cost anything to start using*.

We’ve tried to make it so easy to add content to your store you’ll want to do it all the time without feeling like you HAVE to go write an article weekly and think Content Only Products is the best way to do that, give it a try and see how it works for you.

*Older stores may require a template upgrade to take advantage of Content Only Products. Contact Support to find out if your site is ready or needs updating or if it’s time to give your site a fresh new look contact Sales.