eCommerce Done Right: 20 Well-Designed Brand Blog Examples
If you sell a product or service on the Internet, luring potential customers is essential. It's a challenging task given the sheer amount of stuff people are selling on the web. However, you can do yourself a huge favor by incorporating a blog into your brand's ecommerce site. A blog helps in two major ways: 1) it allows you to show off your product in a fun and creative way and 2) it does so with SEO benefits.
For example, when people are searching for recipes or fashion tips or a host of semi-related topics online, a blog post featuring your product may show up in the search results, thus allowing you to capture top of the funnel keyword traffic that you otherwise might not receive. So, which ecommerce sites are doing it right? Unfortunately, not that many, but I did find a few hidden gems. I tried my best to include a variety of fashion, food, and fun. Here's a list, in alphabetical order, of 20 brands with well-designed blogs:
|Blik||Eartheasy||Johnny Cupcakes||Peter Nappi|
|Bohemia Life||Etsy||Kate Spade New York||Scotch & Soda|
|Bored of Southsea||Far Fetch||Kipling Brazil||Threadless|
|Brooks Brothers||Forever 21||Loyal KNG||Visual Supply Co|
|Di Bruno Bros.||Fred Perry||NAU||winestore|
I begin my list with Blik, the world's first removable wall graphic company. Blik's blog (say that ten times fast) features a clean design, interesting stories, and great photography. Their posts almost exclusively feature their products and how their customers use them. It's a great way of showing how good their products look in the real world without coming across as a blatant marketing play. After scrolling through the blog for just a few minutes, I became convinced my walls need some new decorations.
Browsing through Bohemia Life is like taking a trip through Zooey Deschanel's brain. Cute, quirky, and whimsical, the Scottish online boutique does a great job of mixing fashion and culture with entertaining pictures and prose. Posts include articles about new products, fun contests, and the cultures that inspire the brand's designs. They also do an excellent job of linking to the product pages just in case you're inspired to make a purchase.
Bored of Southsea
Who says skater punks can't blog? Actually, come to think of it, I can't remember anyone ever saying that. But if they did, they would be wrong. Bored of Southsea is a British skateboard and apparel company. Their blog's layout is simple and clean, prominently displaying the four most recent posts. As a copywriter, I will say the writing isn't the best, but they totally make up for it with great action and product shots and awesome skating and music videos.
When you think of Brooks Brothers, your mind might start to fill with images of yacht clubs and pastel-colored chinos. You may think of them as a little old-fashioned...a little stuffy perhaps. Well, though this clothing company is almost 200 years old, they're quite contemporary when it comes to their online presence. And when it comes to the clothier's blog, Of Rogues and Gentlemen, the tagline says it all: "style advice, tips, and essentials for the modern man."
Posts are meaty, helpful, and well-formatted — a factor often overlooked when it comes to blogging. Think of it as your own personal English butler dispensing gentlemanly advice, all while helping you look fantastic (like Ask Jeeves but actually useful).
Di Bruno Bros.
What would this list be without at least one food blog? Incomplete, that's what. Started by two Italian immigrants in 1939, Di Bruno Bros. gourmet food store has become as much a symbol of Philadephia as Rocky and the Liberty Bell. The company's blog has fantastic content and the passion for food really shines through with topics such as great goat cheeses, amazing recipes, and interviews with the cheesemongers.
WARNING: If you're going to visit the website, cover your keyboard to avoid drooling on it.
Eartheasy offers information and products for sustainable living. As far as content goes, Eartheasy is by far one of the most impressive blogs I've encountered. Articles are informative, well-researched, and very comprehensive. My one minor criticism would be the long list of blog posts on the homepage. Showing fewer posts with larger pictures and more teaser text would create a much more visually pleasing layout.
Celebrating independent businesses and artists, Etsy has built an incredible reputation by showcasing beautiful, handmade goods at reasonable prices. Part food, part lifestyle, part how-to, the company's blog is just as much a mishmash of the cute and quirky products sold on the site. I have to say, I am extremely impressed by The Etsy Blog. The layout is clean, posts are consistent, and the content is varied and compelling. It has a very modern feel that contrasts well with the homemade products featured within it. They also get fantastic engagement, with blog posts receiving a plethora of comments.
Far Fetch definitely has one of the most unique layouts of the blogs featured in this list. Modern and wonderfully weird is the best way I can think to describe it; and it perfectly matches the contemporary, hipster-ish fashion sold on the site. Posts are well-written and have a good dose of humor. Scrolling through the photos on the homepage, the scattered layout (frustrating for some, I imagine) is a fun user experience.
It almost feels like you're discovering something secret when an interesting headline or picture catches your eye. Unfortunately, it's spoiled a bit by a lazily placed Facebook widget. Fortunately, that's an easy fix for any web designer worth his or her salt. The blog would be much better served with a Like button placed higher on the page and out of the way of posts.
With shades of Tumblr and Pinterest, the Forever 21 blog is a fantastic example of a heavily visual blog done right. Clicking on any of the pictures opens up a related blog post. Each post has a great visual and short, fun text accompanying it. The blog posts are a feast for the eyes and easily digestible, much like a fashion magazine. Sharing is elegantly incorporated into the blog with grayed-out Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter logos that appear when you hover over a post. All-in-all, the blog is much like the brand itself: nice to look at and easily accessible.
In the late 1940s, an Australian rugby player approached British tennis player Fred Perry to create an antiperspirant device known as the "sweatband" for athletes. The brand known for its distinctive laurel wreath has come a long way since then, and a visit to the blog is evidence of a sleek, modern fashion company. Blog posts will treat you to photos of new store openings, product debuts, the inspiration behind the Fred Perry catalog, and more.
A clothing brand very near and dear to my heart, Johnny Cupcakes was started in the early 2000s by a college dropout selling shirts out of the trunk of his car. It has since become an international, multi-million dollar business, and its blog is about as good as it gets. It features superb photography, entertaining videos, and a great mix of updates about products and events. Continuous recognition of the brand's loyal fan base rounds out the content mix.
Kate Spade New York
If you visit Behind the Curtain, the blog from Kate Spade New York, the design will most assuredly be different than the one I have below. The background changes more frequently than the latest fashion trends, giving their site a fresh, contemporary feel. The content is also updated at an incredible pace, with posts often going up several times each day. Normally, I would say that's too much, but these blog posts are fun and easy to read.
Kipling, the maker of backpacks, totes, luggage, and other stylish carrying accessories, has a great blog on their Brazilian ecommerce site. Reminiscent of a fashion magazine, it's bright and colorful and features pictures of outfits paired with their products, along with the occasional recipe and lifestyle post. I can't read Portuguese so I can't say whether or not it's well written, but I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. Now, you might be wondering why I didn't use the Kipling USA blog. Well, that's because the Kipling USA site doesn't have one (for shame). This marks a rare instance in which an American could emulate a Brazilian by adding more.
An indie t-shirt brand based out of Texas, the Loyal KNG blog is an excellent example of making a blog an extension of your brand. A fusion of skater punk and pop-culture parody, the Loyal KNG crew has done a fantastic job of linking their blog with the attitude and style of their clothing line. The blog features posts about video games, cartoons, hip-hop, skating, fashion, and more. Combine that with pictures of their products and the events they attend, and you've got just the right mix of fun and marketing.
NAU is an urban and outdoor clothing company based out of Portland, Oregon that focuses on style and sustainability. Its blog, The Thought Kitchen, is a fantastic mix of travel, culture, music, photography, and fashion — all while showing the versatility of their apparel. While the content has a very nature-oriented, folksy feel to it, the blog design has a modern, minimalist, European vibe. Think: Portlandia episode filmed in an IKEA. While not as quickly digestible as some of the other blogs on the list, it definitely rewards those willing to take a deep dive.
With stunning photography and a great vintage tone, Peter Nappi brings the same handmade feel of its products to its website. You can almost smell the leather while perusing this blog. Posts do an excellent job of giving the reader a glimpse into the life of an artisan. During the fall and winter, they've been posting a very interesting "Our Family" series about all of the people that work at the company. It really shows the pride they have in their company and the appreciation for the effort put into quality, handmade goods.
Scotch & Soda
Much like the beverage, this Amsterdam-based fashion brand has a blog that is smooth and refined. When you visit The Latest From Scotch & Soda, you'll find that what you see is what you get, quite literally. At first glance, the blog homepage appears to have previews of all of the posts, but they are actually the posts in their entirety. Blog posts do have their own web pages, and as such, typing in the correct key words will bring the posts up in search results.
However, I can't for the life of me figure out how you get to individual posts from the blog homepage. Although, it's really not necessary because, as I said before, the entire blog post is right there. I imagine this type of site functionality might skew their bounce rate, but considering all of the posts are very short and the sites's online shopping is so easily accessible, it might not be something they care about.
That said, the Scotch & Soda blog is quite good. It offers sneak peeks at upcoming lines, interesting features on events and life in Amsterdam, and these fantastic "shoppable" videos that allow you to pause at certain points and get a break down of what the models are wearing (and links to buy them, of course).
UPDATE: Since writing this blog post, Scotch & Soda has updated their blog. Now you can visit a post from the home page by clicking on the picture or title.
If you're a connoisseur of funny or stylish graphic tees, then you're probably familiar with Threadless. Unfortunately, their blog is difficult to locate on the homepage, reserved to hyperlinks in a drop-down menu at the top of the site and in small text at the bottom. However, once you do get there, it's quite entertaining. The great product shots with attractive, fresh-faced models make these affordable t-shirts look chic (like something Ryan Gosling might wear on a casual Friday). Graphic designers looking for some extra cash would be wise to frequent this blog. Threadless regularly hosts themed contests and handsomely rewards the winning t-shirt designs.
Visual Supply Co
Visual Supply Co, or VSCO, specializes in post-processing for pictures and video. They offer a variety of software to help you quickly edit and bring the most out of your films and photos, not to mention a pretty snazzy iPhone app. All due respect to the others, this blog is my favorite of the bunch. The design is so clean, and the content is so rich. And best of all, every blog post is an organic advertisement for how good their products make pictures look. Although many of the sites in this list do a fantastic job of blending their product into their blog, none do it as seamlessly as this one.
Star Wars fans may notice the logo of this online store bears a resemblance to a certain rebel force's insignia. Fear not, wine aficionados. This is not a trap. The aptly named wineblog is a haven for any connoisseur of fermented fruit juice. Content features excellent advice, information about tastings, and some great deals on vino. It's a treat for the literary palate as well. Posts are well-written and quite humorous.
So, there you have it! A sampling of ecommerce sites with great blogs. Which ones do you like? Share in the comments below.
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