Writing Content for an Ecommerce Website
We are currently seeing an explosion of ecommerce businesses that is not only threatening to kill the traditional retail industry, but that is also allowing individuals to finally access the markets that they never thought they would before.
For us writers, this ecommerce boom is providing content writing opportunities that didn’t exist a few years ago. Ecommerce business owners do not have the time nor the expertise to write content for their websites and they are ready to hire professional writers to do it for them.
As someone who has had a few ecommerce writing experiences, I figured I might provide a few insights into what to expect should you decide to offer your content writing services to an ecommerce website owner.
Let’s start with the most tedious part of writing content for ecommerce websites – product descriptions. As the name would suggest, these are descriptions that can be found on product pages. For example:
A frilly white dress that is perfect for summer evenings or your next Coachella experience. It goes great with some ankle boots and some vintage jewelry. It is available in all sizes and in three more colors, in case you are not a huge fan of white.
That doesn’t seem too problematic, right? Well, when a website sells thirty more white dresses and a thousand more pieces of clothing, it becomes an ordeal. You get paid for it, but it is an ordeal.
You are probably wondering why they just don’t copy the descriptions from manufacturers’ websites? Simply put, they can’t for SEO reasons. If they don’t want Google to start frowning upon them, they need original product descriptions, and plenty of them.
By the way, clothing product descriptions are among the easiest to write. Try writing product descriptions for car parts or something like that.
Besides product descriptions, ecommerce websites will also feature your standard corporate website pages that also require content. For instance, they will need an About Us page, which for some reason many website owners find difficult to write. For ecommerce websites this really is tricky because you are trying to imagine the target audience for this content and you try to predict what they will like to read here.
You will also have to write content for the home page, together with calls to action that are a whole other beast in themselves. On top of all that, you will need to learn about writing policies such as return policies, privacy policies, refund and terms of service policies, etc. Some platforms such as Shopify have their policy generators, but some ecommerce website owners want to have original ones written exclusively for them.
This is where you need to be extra careful and to consult someone with actual legal expertise so as to ensure that your policies are not full of holes that could be hypothetically used to harm the owner of the website and their business.
This is actually one of the best things about writing content for ecommerce websites – the blogs. This is where you can actually get creative and come up with content that will truly wow the readers. It will still need to be in the niche and you will be limited by the nature of the ecommerce website, but it definitely beats writing policies and descriptions of plumbing tools.
Depending on how knowledgeable your client is about blogging and how much they want to be involved, you will be granted more or less freedom with the blog. Some writers prefer to have clear instructions, while others like to be given free reign over what they will write.
Whatever kind of situation you find yourself in, remember that there are no boring industries. Something interesting can be written no matter what the ecommerce website sells.
Email marketing is still very much alive in the ecommerce arena and in cases where ecommerce website owners do not work together with a specialized marketing agency, they might hire you to write some emails for them.
These will be promotional emails (either featuring some of your blog writing or not) and they have to be interesting and fun enough for the recipients to open and read them while also calling for action.
Writing email marketing content (maybe a topic for a future article?) is a whole other beast and there is simply no time and space to get into it here. If you are asked to write some by the your ecommerce client, do not say yes until you have at least some knowledge about writing marketing emails.
This is just your basic guide to writing content for ecommerce websites. It is usually not the most exciting work you can get as a writer, but it pays the bills and it teaches you a certain kind of brevity and discipline which is always a good thing if you wish to make a living by writing.