When your business’s reputation is based solely on the work that you are able to do, a contracting blog can be one of your most invaluable construction marketing tools. Unfortunately, unless you’re also a technologically savvy individual, setting up your own blog can be an intimidating experience.
- Do you need to use a template?
- Are you going to need to set aside the time to learn a new, complicated programming language?
- Or are you going to need to carve a new niche in your budget to have someone set up and maintain a blog for you?
Don’t worry, we have the answers to these questions, and brought together a simple, painless step by step process to help you set up your first blog and get your business out there on the web.
The 4 Basic Steps
Setting up a blog is actually a lot less complicated than you might think, even if you’re not tech savvy. When you break it down, there are only 4 steps that you need to consider:
- Picking your Platform
- Choosing where to put your blog, on a new domain or your existing site.
- Designing Your Blog
- Inputting Your Information
That’s all there is to it. Four simple steps, and you’re up and running.
Step 1- Picking your Platform
There are a variety of platforms that offer blog hosting for free, provided you use their domain name, and a number that offer domain name hosting as well. The most prolific and commonly used blogging platform is WordPress. Out of the top 100 blog hosting sites currently on the web, WordPress hosts more than 48% of the blogs on the web.
Other sites, like Blogger and Tumblr, offer fantastic easy to use platforms that are available to any internet-savvy individual for free. For a professional contracting blog though, don’t rely solely on Tumblr. The site, while a stable blogging platform is also considered a social media website and it is easy to lose your blog entirely among the multitude of fandom-related blogs.
WordPress offers one more tool that many of the other platforms do not: the ability to choose your own domain name.
Step 2 – Picking Your Domain Name
While it may be tempting to rely on a free blog-hosting website, there are a few negatives. The biggest negative is that you will find yourself with a blog URL that looks something like this:
Free blogs are limited to using the WordPress (or Blogger or Tumblr) URL after their blog name. It’s an option, true, but it doesn’t look as professional as:
That small change lets your blog readers know that you’re willing to put in the effort to make a professional contractors blog, rather than relying on a free platform. Additionally, dropping the .wordpress.com makes the blog URL much shorter and easier to remember.
For a small fee ($100/year, the cost of an Amazon Prime subscription!) you can register a unique and custom domain name through WordPress. This account upgrade also offers a great variety of other benefits, such as extra storage space. This will become invaluable as your blog grows and you store video and images on your site.
Picking your domain name can be as simple as adding the word Blog to the end of your company’s name and slapping a .com onto the end. The easier your blog’s name and URL is to remember, the more likely it is that your customers will seek it out.
Step 3- Designing Your Blog
This is the fun part. Sites like WordPress and Blogger supply a variety of customizable templates that you can tweak to fit your blog’s needs. Of course, paid accounts have access to many more templates as well as advanced customization options that can help make your blog stand out in a blog-space that is overpopulated with copycats.
You can learn some HTML/CSS to help with your blog’s customization, but it is not a requirement. The design interface is set up to be used by people of all skill levels.
This is where you’re going to want to pick out things like your blog’s color scheme. Do you want to make the blog homey and earthy with shades of brown to remind your customers of the materials that you work with, or do you want something bright that’s really going to pop?
The interface also allows you to choose your post layout as well as add widgits like social media sharing or copyright notices. There are dozens of different widgets for every possible type of blog. Do you want to add a comment feed on your main page? There’s a widget for that. Do you want to link your blog to your company’s Twitter or Facebook account? You’re in luck, there’s a widget for that too.
Step 4 – Inputting your Information
This is the final step in setting up your shiny new contractor’s blog: inputting your company’s information. This will consist of more than just your address, phone number and email address. A few things that you should consider adding:
- A frequently asked questions (FAQ) page. Not only can this help to reduce some of the clutter in your inbox, it can help your clients feel a little more confident in their own decision to hire you for all their contracting needs.
- Product reviews. If you use a lot of products that a DIY-er might use, consider adding a product review to your blog. People are always going to try to do the job themselves, at least until they get in over their heads and when they do, your product review will make your company name spring into their mind.
- Job showcase. This is one of your most valuable tools. Invest in a good high-quality digital camera and take a lot of before, during, and after photos at each job you complete. Use these to create a showcase for the completed job, showing your clients exactly what you are capable of. Update it frequently as you complete new jobs.
- Testimonials. Nothing boosts consumer and client confidence like some testimonials from satisfied customers.
There’s a lot more to having a successful blog, but you have to start somewhere. These are the four simple steps you need to follow and your blog is up, running, and ready to bring you in some new clients. The rest you can learn as you go.
It’s impossible to get ahead in any business these days without a strong online presence, and setting up a blog and maintaining it is one of the easiest and most economical ways to do that.