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Friday, February 20, 2009

Catching on with blogging

This image is from the site for FW&D Fairlington Window and Door LLC in Arlington VA. Ned Overton started a thread asking others for guidance about blogging. This posting reports on this thread -- and the setting of several hyperlinks to relevant construction marketing blogs from this site.

A couple of years ago, as I started the Construction Marketing Ideas blog, I sought out other bloggers in the niche by posting on with an offer of a one-way link (no reciprocation required), and received virtually no response.

How times have changed. Last week, Ned Overton at FW&D Fairlington Window and Door LLC, in Arlington, Virginia, posted this note:
Any blog experts on this forum? I started a blog, after all isn't that what we're supposed to do to increase traffic to our website, now what do I do. I'm not a writer, to say the least, but I will force myself to publish something. I just don't want to shoot myself in the foot while I'm trying to hit the target.
His posting initiated a response from several other contractors, all reporting on their new blogs.
Unfortunately, I couldn't meet Ned during my most recent visit to Washington, but his blog at certainly qualifies for a permalink.

So do several others who reported to the thread, which are listed below, but first I should clarify why they qualify for permalinks and why this is valuable to their business.

Google's algorithms like frequently updated and relevant blogs and this means that the blogger can ultimately expect a higher search engine ranking. As well, the blog by linking back to the main site for the contractor, will help to elevate the contractor's own search rank.
And high search engine rankings are really important for finding business these days.

But there is a big catch to this process -- if your primary objective is search engine optimization, you may ultimately be disappointed. This is because Google is constantly tweaking its rules to curtail gaming and manipulation. As you watch the story unfold, you will notice something of a tug of war between SEO (Search Engine Optimization) practitioners and Google -- people pay games to attain free high organic listings and Google, in part for good business reasons (it sells advertising after all) and partly because the gaming distorts the search engine objective of leading people to relevant and interesting sites, constantly changes the rules to prevent crappy stuff from overriding the meaningful and useful listings.

Google especially is watching out for splogs -- massive, "phony" blogs set up purely to catch reverse links and build up other sites status. This blog, for example, when it reached the stage where the number of backlinks to it would cause it to rise in Google rankings, experienced a temporary shut-down as (owned by Google) warned that the site would need a manual real-person review to continue. Once someone human inspected and found that indeed this is a real blog written with real content, my search engine status rocketed.

I continue to believe that any business with a legitimate blog used for construction marketing should be eligible for a free one way hyperlink. Of course these one way links are much more valuable as this blog has a high ranking. The list is starting to grow a little long, of course, but the blogs here are a library of construction industry marketing examples and can be useful for your own idea generation. I think once or twice a year I will need to review the blogs and cull out the ones that are not updated properly (at least once a week) or lack any meaningful original content.

Can you achieve even greater prominence here than your free presence in the growing list of links? Yes, by communicating something exceptional or effective, telling a story of how your business achieved marketing success, and describing what you did to succeed -- or simply asking questions or engaging with me and others on the blog. This justifies separate postings and more hyperlinks. If your blog is specifically relevant to AEC marketing and closely relates to my own personal network, I may grant additional presence/publicity and special intense links. Here reciprocation, while not required, is usually reasonable as our sites will closely correlate in interest and relevance.

While I appreciate that a higher SEO ranking is probably the most tangible benefit of blogging, remember that your blog ultimately will succeed if it contains original, relevant content, and you write it for the love of blogging, not the love of SEO.

Anyways, here are the other blogs referenced on the recent thread.

Chris Gerald in Toronto started Tongue and Groove: Flappings and Groovings about Remodelling, linking to his primary sites Vic Porch -- Decks and Porches and -- Retail and Office Repair.

He posted on
Tips? Don't talk about yourself. Really. Don't try to sell yourself or your services. You've got to give info away for free sometimes in order to gain the trust of customers.

Blogs are a source of info. They are not ads. Websites are ads. People form an opinion of you when they read your blog. People hire people they like. Nobody likes people who only talk about themselves.

One of the most sought after opinion-meisters of the blogosphere is Seth Godin. Here are his 57 them all and use the ones that apply to you.
Meanwhile, Brian Corns at, links to Hydroblast Pressure Cleaning and this video (another SEO device!)

Duane1982 representing Poole Construction in Central New York reports:

"I do blogging as an informational source and in hopes that people would ask for an estimate. Since blogging my web traffic has doubled and my site ranks well with Google."

Kelly Morisseau writes in her blog, Kitchen Sync: A few remodeling tips, some kitchen design and everything in between, that she works as a Certified Interior Designer for a residential design/build firm in Northern California.

"This blog isn't about looking for clients," she writes. "After 25 years in the business, I wanted to give something back."

In her posting, she observes:
A couple of things I've found:
  • Pictures are worth...etc., etc. Make sure that they're your own or credit the source. A lot of folks don't.
  • If you don't want your pictures shared, make sure you add a note saying so.
  • Linking to other blogs will raise your traffic.
  • Write what you like. What interests you? What do you always tell your clients and wish everyone knew? What do you want to show off? What do you want to laugh about?
  • Keep it professional. You never know who's reading it.
  • Have fun. Life's short. (Eh, thought I'd toss that in.)
HomerJ at Goco Home Improvement and Repair LLC in Chesterton Indiana started a and then posted on to find ideas and obtain a (useful for SEO) signature line link available there.

Nick Jacobson at Nick's HomeWork Solutions in White Co., Indiana has started a blog, appropriately titled,

You can also review Atlanta Roofing Repair's posting in the thread:
Here's a blog I just started 24 hours ago. I'm still working on it but feel free to leave a comment or question on the 3 articles I've already posted! = )

Why and how I'm using the blog will remain a mystery though.

PS: Right click on the screen for a surprise bonus!
The right click (or on Macs, command/click) reminds us of an essential requirement for successful blogs.

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