If you have never blogged before or did not grow up in the age where personal blogs are commonplace, the notion of blogging can be intimidating. However, it has become a critical marketing component for building companies. Frequently the most challenging aspect of blogging is getting started. Here are a few tips to help you with this process.
1. Start reading blogs in your industry. One of the easiest ways to get started is reading. See what other building companies are writing about. Make sure to review the comments as well. If you are apprehensive about getting your own voice out there, start small by leaving relevant comments on blog posts.
2. Set up a sub-directory or sub-domain for your web site. Blogging does not have to be very technical to be effective. If you have an IT team, consult them about adding this to your builder web site. If you don't, consult the support department for your domain host. They should be able to provide instructions. Additionally, you can consider an inbound marketing software package that includes blog software.
3. What are you trying to accomplish with your blog? What are your objectives? It's important to figure out who your audience is and what you will be providing for them. Are you trying to educate, entertain, or simply provide more visibility for your building company? Write down the personas that interest you and start outlining blog posts based on them. This process will assist you with targeting your audience and creating initial, quality blog content.
4. What are some questions that leads and/or customers frequently ask? If your persona work doesn't lead to you topics right away, the common questions you get from customers will. Pull quality content from e-mails to customers and edit it to create your initial blog posts. This is an easier way to start than drafting brand new content. If you don't have common questions from leads and customers, browse other building blogs for inspiration.
5. Start posting already! It is easy to keep re-writing, but at some point, you have to call a post done and publish it. Get feedback and decide how you can improve for the next post. Make sure that all posts are free of spelling and grammar mistakes, but don't worry about creating flawless content. As you get more comfortable blogging and start receiving feedback, your writing skills will to improve.
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1. Where should I host my blog?
A number of marketers choose to host their blog on a separate subdomain or external blogging program such as Blogger or Wordpress. One of the many reasons to blog is that it allows you to create a wealth of niche content so you will be found online through a variety of keyword combinations. While there is nothing wrong with an external address, your blog will maximize SEO potential if it's part of your existing builder web site (i.e. www.bobsbuildingcompany.com/blog or blog.bobsbuildingcompany.com).
2. Is it important to include pictures and/or videos in blog posts?
Graphics do matter. In addition to providing aesthetics, they also drive search engine and site visitor traffic. Make sure that your photos are relevant and include captions and ALT tags that describe your image and its relation to the content at hand.
Video is not only not going anywhere anytime soon but they are quickly dominating global traffic growth. Blog posts and other interior web site pages are excellent places to add videos. Use videos to display case studies, explain product features, and debut building industry data.
3. Should customers have a say in web site updates?
Start any redesign process with usability testing. Give customers scheduled site walkthroughs and note their reactions and patterns. Your understanding of their preferences and habits will guide your decisions throughout the redesign process. Stay away from surveys and other venues that will allow uses to vent lots of frustration and negativity and keep the process as positive as possible.
4. What will get people to my blog?
You will drive traffic with three basic steps: creating content, promoting on the appropriate channels, and engaging your target audience in conversations. Optimize your posts around specific long-tailed keywords. Engage other experts in the building industry. Don't forget about social media (including promotion buttons on your blog), RSS feeds, and e-mail subscriptions.
5. Should I make changes gradually or all at once?
We have all seen web sites that overhauled drastically overnight and left users confused and frustrated. Don't do this to your potential leads and customers. Take a gradual approach to reduce confusion and unexpected experiences ("how did I end up over here...?").
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