If you’re a blogger, chances are you’ve already put a lot of hard work into building your audience.

If you post regularly and your content is useful, funny, informative or insightful, then it’s likely you already have a following, which is the perfect position to be in when launching into an eCommerce venture.

Whether you want to sell digital, or physical, products and services – here’s how to convert your readership into your future customers.

Turn your blog into an eCommerce platform to sell products.

Because you know your target market, you’re one step ahead already. You can investigate what the people who read your blog are like, and the kind of products and services you can offer that would appeal to them.

Stay loyal to your audience

Stay loyal to your following and serve them up with products and services they really need.

The first and most obvious option for monetizing your blog is to sell products that are related to your niche, whether it’s home decor, cooking, tech, pets or whatever.

Start by thinking about the kind of shop you want to run and what products or services you want to sell, as this will inform which eCommerce solution is the best option for you and how you ultimately want to run your store.

Brainstorm around your niche and ask your audience questions about what types of products they’d like to see and why. Selling online is incredibly market-led – lean on your knowledge of your audience to succeed.

Experiment and see what works

The fun part is that you can sell almost anything – assuming it’s legal of course and relevant to the readership of your blog. (For instance, it would look a bit strange if a book review blog started harping on about its jewelry or coffee sales).

Use your imagination and try to be inventive with your new product or service offering – don’t just focus on ‘obvious’ items people can get from big merchant sites.

  • Opt for a product or service that accurately represents you and your specialty – something that you and your audience are passionate about. Go for deep expert knowledge and specialization over superficial sales pitches.
  • When it comes to sourcing products, it could be that you purchase them from a wholesaler or you might want to create your own products if that’s your thing. Don’t let a lack of funds or space stop you – you can start a drop shipping business on a shoestring budget in a matter of days.
  • It’s worth looking at what other similar bloggers are selling online to help you generate ideas.
  • And don’t be afraid to experiment – try a few things out and see what’s popular and what isn’t to help refine your product offering.

Find the right solution

Choosing the right eCommerce solution is important. You should consider how you want to take orders and receive payments in a way that is easy both for you and your customers.

You could opt for a full-service eCommerce platform that is fully built out with customer support, or you could simply add an eCommerce extension to your existing site, allowing you to place e-store features strategically throughout your blog without changing how it looks. Here are what American Webmaster Association consider to be the best eCommerce software platforms.

As you decide, think about the user experience of each platform and whether they make the purchase process as seamless as possible for your customers. A good user experience will ultimately boost your conversion rate and customer loyalty.

Show that you are trustworthy

You need to get your customers to trust you – invest time and money into quality content, design and user-experience to keep people coming back.

  • If you want to make your e-store appear more trustworthy, then consider joining the Google Trusted Stores program. Stores that consistently provide a high level of customer service are rewarded with a badge that will let shoppers know you are a verified and reliable online outlet – and who will offer them $1000 of lifetime protection.
  • Display trust signals throughout your store, especially near the checkout pages to help build trust and credibility.
  • Have detailed terms & conditions and delivery and returns information on your site, and always make contacting you easy.

Make payments easy

Offering multiple payment options is a good way to instill confidence in your customers when they come to check out.

Setting up your store with the PayPal payment gateway is a must, as this is one of the most popular secure online payment methods out there. It can also provide useful shopping features for your site, such as ‘buy now’ buttons and simplified checkout options.

Alongside this, allow your customers to make non-PayPal secure card payments and ensure you have the functionality for them to easily make purchases, regardless of what device they are using.

Get the technical stuff right

Running an eCommerce store is different to running a blog – you may need to give your site an overall technical upgrade.

  • Look at your current hosting provider. Planning to install a WooCommerce plugin on your WordPress blog? You may need to invest in a more powerful WordPress hosting solution like WP Engine to keep your site from slowing down (WPEngine review here).
  • Crawl your site’s URLs with an SEO tool like Screaming Frog to smoke out any potential indexing issues.
  • Large store with products that are coming in and out of stock? Always redirect individual product pages back to relevant category pages to avoid losing any sales because of annoying 404 pages.

Have you ever attempted to convert your blog into an eCommerce store? What lessons did you learn along the way? Let us know in the comments.

Patrick Foster
Patrick Foster, eCommerce entrepreneur, coach & writer. He's currently writing on EcommerceTips.org where he shares engaging eCommerce content for entrepreneurs and business owners. You can follow him on Twitter here, or add him on LinkedIn.