iStylista combine blogging with keyword research to double sales in 4 months

Posted by Rachelle Money
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iStylista blogging case study from Wordtracker - the leading keyword research tool

Key Points

  • It's essential for blogging success to use carefully researched target keywords in your page titles.
  • It's got to read well. You have to have a good writer in your business or else you aren't going to connect with your audience.
  • Be the first to report something and other blogs will link to you. You could write about the latest gladiator sandal from TopShop and then other bloggers will pick up on it and link to your site. For a little bit of work you can get fantastic value.

Blogging is not just an important way to connect with your audience, it's also a great way of including keyword rich content on your site. Online personal stylist service iStylista.com found that their sales had doubled in just a matter of months, after they had launched their blog. Wordtracker spoke to its co-founder Hayden Allen-Vercoe to find out how he did it.

The idea of having a personal stylist is usually only confined to the rich and famous. These days stylists have become famous in their own right, with the likes of Rachel Zoe, Carson Kressley and UK's Gok Wan taking their fair share of the column inches and television slots.

It's got a lot of men and women thinking about their own style. Hayden Allen-Vercoe, co-founder of iStylista.com, saw a gap in the market where people wanted to know more about personal stylists but felt self-conscious about actually hiring one or unsure about whether they could afford one.

Last May iStylista.com was born, with fashion stylist Chantelle Znideric, and creative marketer Allen-Vercoe at the helm. The online personal stylist service offers 'style theory' on what clothes to wear for your body shape, what colors to wear, how to accessorize and how to conceal those areas of your body you aren't proud to show off.

Online PR

iStylista have never advertised themselves - instead they have produced excellent online PR from their blogs and their networking skills around the blogosphere. Allen-Vercoe says their success was bolstered by starting to write a keyword rich blog just four months ago, a blog which has pushed their rankings and doubled their sales.

“We do keyword research for every article we post. We look at what the competition is doing, and we use Wordtracker to death. We search for things like 'maxi dress' and I'll get all these keywords and then write the article around the keywords.”

Although this is a relatively good technique, Allen-Vercoe warned against writing articles which look staged. Your blog entry needs to have flow and make sense to the reader without feeling labored by your inclusion of keywords.

“We always knew we wanted to rank highly with 'personal stylist', but we knew that it would take time to get there,” says Allen-Vercoe.

“We built the site with the intention of introducing keywords at the right stage.

“Because the service is unique, we focused on a number of keyword strings which we got from Wordtracker and it drove a lot of organic traffic to our site, which in turn got other bloggers talking about it.”

iStylista have managed to build a good reputation in the blogosphere through their networking capabilities. They leave comments on like-minded blogs, and their reviews of new products are often linked to by bloggers.

Be the first to review products

Allen-Vercoe has worked on getting the website onto a variety of press lists so that they are the first to know about product launches.

“We are constantly being sent information on new products, and we are asked to review new lines or ranges, which has helped us write our blog posts. We often write to the brands and ask to be put on their press lists or newsletters, so we are always kept in the loop.“

This level of new material coming into iStylista's inbox means they have a steady stream of ideas to blog about. They write about three entries per week on a range of issues such as new hair-dryers, perfumes, television shows and competitions.

Blogging success

Allen-Vercoe says the blog has led them to double their sales.

“Since we launched the blog it's taken us two months for us to bed down in Google, but we have doubled our sales and we can track that through the blog. We find that people will type something like Babyliss hairdryer into Google and we'll come up - they read our blog which may have reviewed that product, and then they have a closer look at our site and finally, make a purchase.”

Allen-Vercoe says their winning combination is Wordtracker and a resource called ResponseSource.com which is a free service for journalists, and paid-for for PRs. The website allows you to find out more information about certain brands by putting in a request for information. If you are a journalist you can put in a request and the relevant PR company will send you an information pack on the products you are looking for.

As well as leaving comments on blogs that have a high visitor rate, and networking on social forums, Allen-Vercoe has found he can drive more traffic through the site using Yahoo Answers.

“Although it's read by a lot by teenagers who don't have the money for our product we have converted a few sales from it.”

Using analytics, iStylista found that 'personal stylist' singular doesn't create sales for them, but 'personal stylists' plural has produced a 50% conversion rate.

Allen-Vercoe believes that this is because “people who are searching for personal stylists aren't looking for anyone in particular and it's fascinating for us to get the lion's share.”

The iStylista team is now focusing on long tail keywords they have discovered through Wordtracker's keyword research, which reflect the kind of person who would be interested in the website. This more focused attention on keyword research will inform their new online changing room, a service which will launch in the new year.

 

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