The Original Content Manifesto, Part V

The Original Content Manifesto, Part V

Continuing on with how to add original content to your Associate-O-Matic store, we move into the specifics of item pages. Having gone through the introductions of the home page, then a level lower onto the categories and subcategories, it’s time to drill down even further to discuss how to place content alongside individual items.

As with the category areas, there are a number of different locations on an item page where you can position a custom box (aside from areas common to all pages, like Body Top/Bottom, Page Top/Bottom, Left/Right, etc.). The image below shows some sample text in each item area.

Item Page Custom Box Locations

Note that if you are using a custom theme, some of the boxes may be in slightly different areas. And yes, you can use more than one location, as we’ll see in just a bit.

Just like the category box locations, you can set up boxes that will display only on items for those specific categories. So you could put the same text on all items in a category or subcategory. This can be useful if you want to prompt the buyer to consider accessories – If buying a catcher’s mitt, do you need baseballs? Batting gloves? A catcher’s mask? Little reminders scattered around your items like these might help you multiply a single sale into several items. As mentioned in the very first part of this series, addon suggestions can act as silent salesmen, nudging visitors towards buying items they might not have considered otherwise.

The 'Silent Salesman' at work

But of course, like the category/subcategory texts, these are ‘blanket’ statements that do not apply to any one specific item. But you can target specific single items with custom boxes.

The way to do that is to enter the ASIN of the item (or more than one, separated by commas) to the Item Display Rules when setting up the custom box (also make sure that Items is check-boxed):

Single Item Custom Box Setup

This makes sure that the text for this box only appears when viewing this item. And as you can see from the image below, it can be used in conjunction with more generic text, such as the accessory list we created earlier:

An Item-specific Text Box

The only drawback to this method is that you would need a custom box for every item you wished to display specific text on. It can quickly become impractical to have more than just a handful of boxes, as an excessive number of them can bloat the size of your saved settings file, and possibly make your site run slower than it might normally. But it does allow you to make creative use of the boxes you have, even if only a small group of them.

For example, you could set up a home page with an ASIN list of products you’ve hand-picked; perhaps a monthly “Top Ten” list. You could then set up a custom box for each of the ten items, and do a basic review. Or impart some interesting facts about the item or brand (like we’ve done above with the info about “Pudge” Torres, who helped develop this specific catcher’s mitt). You could do the same with new releases or items you think might appear to a target audience.

Like we did with the category boxes, you can use the information provided about any item to create a list of possible accessories, or information you can rewrite into your own words (remember, don’t plagiarize the text of others!). The Internet is also a source of information; the trivia about “Pudge” Torres came from Wikipedia, for example. If you were to set up your own “Top Picks” or “Products We Like” lists, how long would it take you to look up information about ten items? An hour a month? If it made a difference to your sales, would it be worth your time?

And yes, it would still be an ambitious undertaking to have to create all this unique content, and possibly rotate it as needed. But as this series has tried to make clear, that’s the kind of commitment successful stores need. Sites that keep their content fresh and new and interesting will be the ones that appeal to shoppers and search engines alike. Besides, you might discover (as many people do), the more you write and create your own text, the easier it eventually becomes. If you find that a few months or more down the road, you think you can improve your content, by all means do so. Rich original content can only help a site. The more you’re able to add, the more search engines and humans will find your site to be of greater interest than similar, competing ones.

In part VI, we will discuss the importance of original text on the Shopping Cart page, which will require a very different technique than the pages discussed so far. The text you write for this page has a specific, focused goal: to reassure the customer enough that they will click the all-important Checkout button.

Part VI

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