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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Blogging power

Keith Bloemdaal (left) of Raleigh Fence Contractors observes how his blog has succeeded with me and North Carolina Publisher Bob Kruhm.

Keith Bloemendaal has discovered blogging power. The Raleigh, NC fencing contractor has developed a new network of clients, relationships, and connections just months after starting his blog -- and he hasn't yet reaped one of the most tangible (and business building) rewards of a well-managed blog -- really high search engine rankings for his business.

North Carolina publisher Bob Kruhm arranged for us to meet with Keith during my visit to Raleigh yesterday. At 3:30 p.m., we consumed several cups of coffee at an Olive Garden restaurant, as he relayed his life story and experiences, and how he has found the blogging process has influenced his business.

Bloemendaal's web designer created a blog that combines the immediacy, relevancy and ease of updating of a blog, with the design of a professional business home page/website. I like his blog -- it exudes professionalism. And he writes well. This has caused his blog to attract attention of some of the leading luminaries of the blogging community, creating link backs and traffic -- and within Raleigh, connections within the community's high technology community. Many of these people need fencing for their homes, and some have been calling him for estimates, and to give him work.

Keith however must wait several months for Google to do its thing. Google takes its time in giving high search engine rankings to new blogs and websites -- sometimes you can wait for upwards of a year before you are out of the "sandbox". We can speculate on the reason for the seemingly unmovable delay -- it could be to ensure authenticity and discourage spamming, or it could be a device to induce people needing higher search engine rankings to purchase advertising through Google's Adwords program.

(Keith says he tried Adwords but this grew costly as local competitors engaged in bidding wards, pushing the price for key words through the roof. )

I told Keith that a good sign his blog will be leaving the sandbox is when he finds, suddenly, that Google disables it. I experienced that on my Blogger account -- to find once the site had been manually inspected by a real person (presumably to ensure I wasn't publishing a Splog -- or a blog entirely designed to manipulate search engine results), that this blog's search engine rankings suddenly skyrocketed. Keith may not experience the same thing; he is using an alternative template and thus may not be subject to the Blogger controls I experienced.

Regardless, Keith's blog combines the right combination of authoritative, interesting information, and practical self-promotion. You can read the blog and learn stuff about fencing whether or not you have any interest in calling him, but you'll find his phone number clearly displayed if you need fencing in Raleigh and wish a free estimate. (I don't really like 'free estimates' but realize it is common practice among residential contractors and service providers.)

Keith suggested he in the future he could provide blogging consulting services for other contractors. He could succeed at this, I think, but the challenge is really good blogs must reflect the individual character and personality of the blogger; and not that many fencing contractors, I think, are great writers who enjoy the hours that need to be spent in making an effective blog. Of course, if you are in that category -- or are willing to pay someone to be your ghost writer -- you could still succeed.

If you know of other examples of well produced local blogs from construction contractors, let me know. I expect I'll segregate these into a special reference list -- and of course the blogger will gain the advantage of a one-way positive link from a highly ranked and relevant blog. (And that gets into that other area of Internet marketing -- Search Engine Optimization).

4 comments:

Mark Buckshon said...

Keith sent this email to me:

Mark,
Thank you for the conversation we had on Tuesday. I completely enjoyed meeting you and Bob and hope to build a long lasting relationship with you.

Having read the NC Construction News after I returned to my home office. I realized it is aimed specifically at commercial construction. I take it this is your aim as the projects are more news worthy. My opinion is you could be missing out on advertising revenues by leaving the residential sector out. There can be some very interesting stories provided about the residential construction market (I may even be willing to get involved, if you would have me).

I believe it would open up a whole new area of advertising dollars for your publication. Of course, this is only my humble opinion, and you are the expert in the publishing department. For all I know, you may have already tried the residential side, and found it to be less worthy of publication.

Just my thoughts,
Thanks for the additional article on your blog about our meeting. And, if possible, could you link my web designer, just in the article when you mention him? I try to always mention him when people ask how I got started, because without his instruction, I never would have made it. His link http://ibusinesslogic.com

Thanks,

Keith Bloemendaal
Owner
Raleigh Fence Contractors, LLC
Phone: 919-671-8227
Fax: 866-926-7651
Email: keith@fenceadvice.com
Web: http://raleighfencecontractors.com
Blog: http://raleighfencecontractors.com/blog

Keith said...

Mark,
Just wanted to update you on my Fence site. Today, google ranked my site as a PR3, and Alexa ranks my site in the top 1million (worldwide).
I have recently begun consulting for iBusinessLogic and am already working with one customer (who found me through your site) on blog development.
So, after only 2mos of hard work, my site shows on the front page of google for most of my keywords. I am also on the second page for a national search for "fence contractors". These results have amazed me! This, by far, exceeded all my expactations for this site.
Keith Bloemendaal
Raleigh Fence Contractors, LLC

Mark Buckshon said...

Keith, this is great. One important point in successful blogging is consistency -- I've seen some really good stuff where the blogger started out, then, for whatever reason, stopped. Like many things in marketing/business, results often seem 'easy' when they arise, but usually a lot of work goes into the process first.

Mark Buckshon said...

I received the following comment today:
Blogger sasiraman said...

Any amount of ‘selling’ will just fall apart in practice if you don’t do the actual work you are selling well – and excellent on-the-job results give you the basis for repeat business and referrals, and a network of connections that lead to future work.
--------
smithsan

The comment is fine, the link on it (to a SEO service) is not. So I'm publishing it without the self-serving link.