How To Create A Free Blogging Module With OpenCart

OK, I might have misled you with the title a little bit. While this won’t be a module as such, it is a clever way to utilise the OpenCart system to create a blogging area on your OpenCart store.

Blogging is a fantastic way of engaging with your audience, covering more Search Terms and building trust for your customers. If you can prove through a blog that you know exactly what you’re talking about then you are setting yourself up as an authority in your chosen niche. While I talk to a lot of people who don’t think that blogging doesn’t fit with eCommerce software and isn’t a viable SEO tactic.

This is not true!!

In fact, I would say it is even more important to have a blogging area when you are selling something because your customers are going to be wary of buying online. Lowering your prices and adding loads of incentives can further worsen the situation because your customer isn’t sure whether it is “too good to be true”.

So, follow this blog and set up a blogging module on your OpenCart store without paying for any module and see how posting up regularly will help boost your ranking, traffic and ultimately (hopefully) your sales!

I will precede this by saying that is a hack, a non-official way of using Information pages to create your blogging system and you can get loads of good modules in the OpenCart marketplace which can do the job for a couple of dollars. I would advise that you try out my way first however because this might be sufficient for what you need and it doesn’t cost you anything to try out.

How Will My Free Blogging System Work In OpenCart?

Basically we are going to be using OpenCart Information pages to create a blog. We will be setting up a main page to use as the central home page for our blog and then using other information pages to create the actual blog posts and start linking them across. To follow this blog you will need to make sure that you have URL rewriting enabled on your OpenCart store!

Creating The OpenCart Blog Homepage

Nice and easy start, just create an Information page with the title “[YOUR STORE  Blog]”. If you don’t want to put your store name in the title then choose a keyword driven title that fits your brand for extra SEO points. You don’t have to write anything in this page yet just make sure that the SEO keyword box is set to “blog” under the “data” tab.

This is the page where we will be putting all of our blog snippets and and pushing the customers to read them. I would avoid making it too cluttered and definitely don’t put adverts in this blog section even if you are hoping to make a bit of money off them. It will drive your customers to competitor sites and makes it look like you have to rely on adverts because you’re not selling stock!

Creating The Blog Post

Did you know that you can put a “/” (slash) symbol in an SEO keyword box on OpenCart? Well, you do now and all you have to do to create a new blog post is set up a new information page which has your blog post (remember, 500 – 1000 words is best for Search Engines and Readers alike) and set your blog post SEO title to “www.[YOUR DOMAIN NAME].com/blog/[BLOG POST NAME]”.

So, if I had written a blog post on customising OpenCart Information pages to create a free ecommerce blogging section then I would set the SEO keyword to: “blog/How-To-Create-A-Free-Blogging-Module-With-OpenCart”. This is a keyword driven SEO title which says exactly what it is and makes it look like it is a subdirectory of the blog folder. Remember that adding a “-” (hyphen) tells Google that they are seperate words whilst using an “_” (underscore) tells it that they are part of the same word, so make sure you don’t fall into that trap.

Linking Your OpenCart Blog Page To Your Actual Posts

This is nice and easy, just add in a paragraph or two to your OpenCart Blog page which links to the actual blog post. Usually you start with a H1/H2 header with the blog post, followed by a short intro paragraph depicting a little more information about the article and a link to the author.

You can either set up an author page as another Information page or have a link going to your Google+ or Twitter profile instead.

Using Your OpenCart Blog

So you will start building up a blog library which will ultimately boost your profile, ranking and authoritativeness in your chosen Marketplace. Utilise it to talk about new releases in your industry, personal tips answer common questions (or better yet answer niche questions) or just to provide a real voice for your customers to engage with rather than an automated software solution.

I would seriously advise giving blogging a try as it could turn out to be very effective for your business and it doesn’t really put you out when you know a lot about your industry. Some people have said to be that “no one else in my market blogs so it obviously isn’t worth trying”. If you are working in a saturated market where none of your competitors are blogging then you have struck gold! By creating really good quality content and engaging with your customers then your traffic rate could skyrocket!

Integrating OpenCart And WordPress

Just a quick note before I close this one off. Loads of people are looking at using WordPress for blogging and OpenCart for selling the products themselves on the same domain. This isn’t good for user experience, Branding or general web development. It is extremely difficult to follow the branding across OpenCart onto WordPress and vice versa and could leave your customers confused about where they are actually buying from.

You could hire a designer who might be able to get the main features from one theme and copy it across to another template but this is likely to cost you a lot of money. If you have a free or low cost Web Host then there is likely a bandwidth and storage space limit which means having two feature-laden software solutions like OpenCart and WordPress could push you well over before you have made any money off either!

There are also security issues related to both softwares and if a hacker sees fit to break into one, then you are actually jeopardizing the other as well which could mean them hacking your WordPress and gaining access to your customers credit card details which is a PR nightmare!

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