In 2022 I ran an experiment over at Tidy, blogging roughly once a week to see what impact it would have on traffic and sales at my solid shampoo bar store.

Last year I wrote up three separate blog posts detailing my “year long experiment to try and grow traffic to an eCommerce store”:

  1. Part 1 - the plan
  2. Part 2 - the execution
  3. Part 3 - the results.

To test the impact further, I deliberately didn’t continue with the regular blog posts at the Tidy blog in 2023. Instead I wrote two posts in January (Five reasons to switch to solid shampoo) and (Welcome to the club Wild shampoo). One post in February (Tidy doesn’t do advertising but if we did…). And one post in August (Love stock hate waste) tied to a specific campaign I was part of.

The idea was to see if there were any halo effects of a year’s worth of blogging, or whether the beast needed to be fed continuously, so to speak.

Would no blogging result in traffic and sales figures dropping back to 2021 levels? Would they hold at 2022 levels? Would they go up?!

Well, let’s look at the results…

Store visits down year on year

Year on Year 2023 saw session (visits) on the store drop by 21%. Not insignificant. 2022, the year of blogging, had resulted in an increase in the number of sessions on the store year on year of 76%, so the drop wasn’t as much as the gain the previous year, but was still not great.

Visit to order conversion rate down year on year

The conversion rate (number of visitors who actually buy something from the store) dropped by 55%. That’s huge. And not welcome. But at the same time; interesting. In 2022 the conversion rate had dropped by 35%.

I had assumed the 2022 decrease had been the natural result of more visitors coming to read the blog posts who may not have been interested in buying a shampoo bar. But with a drop in visitor numbers and a drop in conversion rate in 2023, that may not have been the case.

Whatever the cause, it’s a very bad result for the store.

Total orders down year on year

2023 saw total orders drop by 45% year on year. 2022 had seen an increase in order numbers of 67%. Blogging seemed to have had a positive impact in that regard (despite overall lower conversion rates). Not continuing with the blogging seems to have really hurt order numbers.

Conclusion of the year long “Do Nothing” experiment?

None of this comes as a surprise. Each time I published a new blog post on the Tidy blog in 2022 I’d also share an update on the Tidy instagram account and link to the post from my LinkedIn profile. That was the sum total of the marketing I’ve done for Tidy. Pausing that activity and not sharing regular updates was bound to result in fewer visitors and sales over the course of 2023.

I expected that.

What I wasn’t sure of was just how much of a reduction there would be in traffic and sales.

At the time while I was investing time and effort into the blogging and social sharing, it didn’t feel like it was having much of an impact. The results of not doing it last year suggest it did.

The challenge is I can’t know for sure either way. It’s extremely hard to directly connect the blogging and social posting to the activity on the store.

Individually none of the blog posts I published in 2022 got much traffic at all. There were only 7 orders placed by customers who’d arrived at the site via one of the links I’d shared. My conclusion was that the awareness my blogging was seeding was having some impact, but not a lot.

The results from last year’s experiment suggest that while the impact of the posting wasn’t huge, it did have a positive effect and not continuing to do it has had a negative impact.

I guess the conclusion is this:

Blogging and sharing updates on social media on a weekly basis does have a net positive effect on traffic and sales at Tidy. But it doesn’t, alone, have a huge impact.

Not doing it, or rather, not doing any form of marketing for the store definitely has a negative impact on traffic and sales.

The question is:

Should I put the effort into blogging and sharing updates again going forward, or should I experiment with other marketing channels / approaches in the hope of finding something more impactful?