Small Business Ecommerce: The Perils of Canned Content - Page 2

By Helen Bradley
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A Real World Solution

Once you've accepted the need to differentiate your site by using better product descriptions, start by listing your most important products. These will be products that are seasonal, products that you have large numbers of in stock, your best sellers, the most popular products, those that you convert most regularly and those with the highest profit margin.

If you look critically at your product list, you'll see that some products are more important and of a higher value than others. Make a list of products from most important to least important, and then start from the top and work down.

Write short and unique product descriptions for these top products. Take into account the benefits of the product and not just its specifications. For example, if we consider a handbag, its specifications might be that it is green leather with a shoulder strap and four zippable pockets. Its benefits are that it can carry everything you need for your busy day, it goes effortlessly from workday to evening wear, and it is stylish and trendy.

While search engines don’t index images the same way that they index text content, including lots of images can help your site ranking -- provided that you include rich text descriptions in the image alt and title tags. This will help your images rank highly when someone searching for a product does so using an image search.

Finding Inspiration

If you need inspiration to write up a particular product, check around the Web for additional information about the product. Read comments and reviews not only from your own site, but also look at comments and reviews on other sites like Amazon.com, Buzzillions.com, Epinions.com and Bestcovery.com. These review sites are handy places to find product reviews that you can use as inspiration and information when writing your own product descriptions.

If you're not good at writing product descriptions ask other people in your office, your kids and other family members to help. Even if you need to clean up their spelling and grammar, they will likely have a different perspective on the products, and they will often come up with descriptions that you would never have thought of yourself.

Encouraging customers to review your products is also a good idea, as it provides richer content for your site. However, customers are often reluctant to spend the time writing reviews; you may need to supply an incentive in the form of discounts on future purchases to encourage them.

Writing good product descriptions won't make-or-break your e-commerce website, but it can help you differentiate your site from those selling similar products. Good and unique product descriptions are yet another tool that you use to improve your site's ranking and help attract buyers to your site.

Helen Bradley is a respected international journalist writing regularly for small business and computer publications in the USA, Canada, South Africa, UK and Australia. You can learn more about her at her Web site, HelenBradley.com

Do you have a comment or question about this article or other small business topics in general? Speak out in the SmallBusinessComputing.com Forums. Join the discussion today!

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This article was originally published on April 26, 2012
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