≡ Menu

Getting Started With The Rich Contractor

Welcome to the Rich Contractor, the ultimate business resource for contractors, service professionals, and those who dream of some day dumping their dead-end job in exchange for the wild world of small business ownership.  Consider yourself lucky, because you’ve just found the playbook that I wish had been available to me when I was getting started.

MY ROUGH START

Around the time of my 30th birthday I decided that it was time to rock the boat, so to speak.  My day job was sucking the life out of me, and the idea of breaking free and starting my own business was the only thing that got me through each workday.  Finally, after years of dreaming about it, I got off my butt and did it.  I started my own home services business.  But it wasn’t a walk in the park.  I was tackling an industry in which I had little experience, and I was clueless about how to get started and how to run the operation.  Searching the internet for answers, I realized that there wasn’t much in the way of helpful information on the web for people like me.  I also noticed that many of the other contractors in my city were just as “lost” as I was when it came to running and marketing a business.

I PERSEVERED

Well, I forged ahead with my new business anyway.  I learned a lot during those first few years and devoted myself to consistent improvement whether it came to marketing, customer service skills, or simply running a more streamlined operation.  As time went on my tenacity and willingness to learn began to pay dividends, and I eventually became one of the most highly-regarded professionals in my chosen niche worldwide.

But it still nagged at me that so many of my new-found friends and peers in the contracting industry were having a difficult time with their business.  I realized that many of them were still as lost as they had been years earlier, and would always struggle financially unless they learned a new way.  I knew that it was time for somebody to step up and develop an online resource that was truly helpful and comprehensive, and since I had some basic web publishing knowledge and the work ethic to see it through I decided that person would be me.

THE RICH CONTRACTOR IS BORN

So I started RichContractor.com towards the end of 2007, my primary goal being to educate, inspire, and empower other contractors and would-be contractors who were eager to succeed but lacked basic business know-how, just as I did years before.  The rest, as they say, is history.  It’s now one of the most authoritative sites in the world on the subject of starting and running a successful contracting or home improvement business.  So how can it help you?

Well, let me point you toward a few different entry doors:

Door #1:  If you want to become a professional contractor but haven’t started yet, first read my epic post about how to become a contractor.

Door #2:  If you’ve already started your business and need help with marketing or getting new business, I would suggest you begin by reading my posts about starting a blog, getting free construction leads, and choosing construction business cards.

Door #3:  Other popular points of entry include my rant about how to make a lot of money and my comprehensive introduction to nailing contractor leads.

Then just keep working your way through the site.  There’s a mountain of information available to you here, so you’d be wise to bookmark the site for later reference.  Well, that’s all for now, folks.  Now go grab a cup of coffee and start reading…it’s time to turn that dream of entrepreneurship into a reality!

{ 0 comments }

I know a female lawn care business owner and operator who charges a good 20-30% more for her services than almost anyone else, and her business, though seasonal, is absolutely rocking.  I recall last year she had trouble keeping up, and had to start bringing in help because there simply weren’t enough hours in the day.  I believe that there were many days when she was grossing $500 or more by herself, just from mowing grass.

It got me wondering…

Does this same phenomenon apply across the board to all home service niches?  If so, why?  I don’t know the answer to the first question, but I’d like to get some feedback in the comment section from you guys (and especially gals).  What have your experiences been with this?

If indeed it does apply to multiple specialties, I would assume it has something to do with trust.  It’s no secret that a big part of having a successful home services business is having the ability to put clients at ease.  They need to be assured that when you come to their home you are going to treat them, their family, and their property with respect and kindness.  And, well, men are viewed as more of a potential physical threat than are women…it’s just the reality of the world.

I’m sure you can see where I’m going with this:

Why Aren’t More Contractors And Service Providers Hiring Women?

I think, at least in some industries, you’d make a lot more money!  I know it’s hard to find good people who don’t mind physical labor in the first place, and (in general) women probably tend to be drawn more to jobs that involve a different set of skills (more mental and less physical), but it’s not an impossible task.  My lawn care friend is the perfect example of this.  If simply having a female or two out in the field (or at least doing sales) has the potential to boost margins by such a tremendous amount then why not make more of an effort to recruit them or to set up training programs specifically for them?

Is it just sexism?  What’s the deal?

{ 0 comments }

Now that you’ve signed up for hosting and installed WordPress, it’s time to log into the back-end of your blog and choose a theme.  Any time you want to log in and do anything with your blog, whether it be writing a new post or simply adding a picture, you’ll need to go to the url that I told you to write down in the last step.  Basically, that means adding a wp-admin to the end of your root url.  Using the example of my site, I would type the following into my browser:

http://www.thecincinnatihandyman.com/wp-admin

You should then see something like this on your screen:

wp login page

Enter the username and password that you wrote down from the last step and press the blue “Log In” button.

Choose A Theme

Welcome to the back-end (administrative area) of your new blog!  You’ll see the page below.  Now let’s choose a theme.  Click on “Appearance” in the left sidebar:

pick theme

By default, the “Twenty Fifteen” theme is already activated for you, but there are many other options to choose from if you so desire.  It’s all about personal taste, but for now I recommend starting with the Twenty Fifteen theme as it’s free, easy to read, and responsive to different devices (meaning that people who find your blog will easily be able to read it even if they’re using a smartphone or tablet).  You can always switch to another theme later, and if you do all the posts and pages you’ve created will transfer over to the new theme so you don’t have to write them all over again.

So, let’s assume you’re using the Twenty Fifteen theme.  Click the blue button that says “Customize”:

customize-theme

Now you can begin to shape the look and feel of your new blog, and remember that you can always adjust any of these options later.  After you click the blue customize button (as depicted above), you’ll be taken to the homepage of you new blog with a customizer series of menus along the left side of your screen.  For now let’s just walk through a couple basic things that will get you up and running quickly:

  • Site Title & Tagline.  This should be pretty straight-forward.  For my blog I will give it the title of “The Cincinnati Handyman” and my tagline will be a contact phone number.  I don’t have this set up yet so for now I’ll just fill it with the number (555) 555-5555.
  • Static Front Page.  Under this setting you’ll want to make sure that you select “A static page” and NOT “Your latest posts”.  Under “Front page” select “Sample Page” in the dropdown menu.  This gives you the opportunity to create more of sales-oriented home page that instantly gives new visitors vital information about you and your company.  The blog posts will serve as more of a backdrop, at least for people who find you through your home page.

Now press the blue “save and publish” button.  Eventually you can come back to this point and have fun adjusting your colors, your header image, and the widgets, but for now let’s keep moving through the essentials. Next press the “x” button in the upper left corner of the screen.

Next, click on “Settings” in the left menu bar, then on “Permalinks”.  Instead of using the default setting here I want you to select the “Post name” option, then click the blue “Save Changes” button at the bottom of the page.  This one simple tweak will do wonders to help your search engine rankings.

Install Plugins

There are literally thousands of plugins to choose from in the WordPress universe, and you will no doubt find ones that serve your unique needs as time goes on, but for now let’s just install a few that I feel are crucial for any new blog.  Click the “Plugins” link in the left menu bar in your main dashboard.  Then click “Add New”.  Use the search box to locate and install the following two plugins (and, yes, activate them, too!):

  • All in One SEO Pack.  After activating, click the “options configuration panel” link.  This plugin is pretty much ready to go right out of the box, but I highly recommend that you scroll down to the “Home Page Settings” and fill in the three boxes.  For “home title” I will enter “The Cincinnati Handyman | Cincinnati Home Repair Service”.  It’s very important that you have your city name and main service represented in this text box.  In the “home description” box, give a brief summary of who you are, what you do, and what the blog is about.  It would be a good idea to once again work in your city name and main service somewhere in this area.  Also put your company phone number in this area if you have room.  This is the description that search engines visitors will see below your home title when your blog is listed in search results.  For now, I’m going to put the following text in this area for my new blog: “The official blog of The Cincinnati Handyman, Cincinnati’s most trusted and professional home repair service. Call today for a free assessment: (555) 555-5555.”  Finally, you need to add a few phrases in the “Home Keywords” box.  These should be a few relevant phrases about the main services you offer and their synonyms.  Don’t go too crazy here.  I would say a max of five or six phrases.  For my example I will be using: “cincinnati handyman, cincinnati home repair, cincinnati home maintenance”.  Be sure to put a comma between each phrase.  Now scroll back up to the top of the page and click the blue “Update Options” button.  Now your on-site seo is good to go.
  • Contact Form 7.  The creator of this plugin wrote a concise and excellent walk-through for how to set up your contact page, and you can check it out by clicking here.

Now….Start Blogging!

If you’ve followed this guide to a “t” then your blog’s foundation is now set on solid ground and ready for you to build out the rest.  By the “rest”, I mean adding posts, pages, images, and possibly video.

The folks with WordPress have put together countless tutorials on some of the basics of blogging with their platform.  Here are a few that will help you get going:

Once you get these basics down and start creating content you’ll be surprised by how quickly your blog will come to life.  Like with most things, the more effort you put into your blog, the more you will get back out of it in the long run.  If you write half-ass posts that aren’t very helpful to anyone then you’re not going to get super results.  The people who really see game-changing results to their company’s sales numbers are the ones who roll up their sleeves and challenge themselves to make their blog as awesome as possible.

“But…I’m a terrible writer!”

If you like the idea of having a blog but feel that your writing skills are poor, don’t give up!  There are plenty of ways around this.  The most obvious would be to have somebody else write them for you.  Can your spouse turn a good phrase?  Ask her (or him) if they will spend some time to help you put the posts together.  Explain the potential monetary benefits to them and they should have no problem helping you out.  If that’s not an option then perhaps you have a son, daughter, nephew, or cousin who can write.  Offer to pay them for their services.  If the writing is quality then the investment will pay for itself many times over.  If all else fails, you can always hire a writer at Elance.

The bottom line is to make the information on your blog as useful, comprehensive, and persuasive as possible.  One final note here: DO NOT COPY FROM OTHER INTERNET SOURCES.  This might sound like an attractive short-cut to filling up your blog with lots of content, but it’s a TERRIBLE idea.  Not only will this tick off the original author, but they might also come after you, legal guns a-blazin’.  It’s basically stealing.  You’re taking somebody else’s stuff and passing it off as your own.  Not cool.  To add insult to injury, if you do this kind of thing then it will seriously hurt your stance in the eyes of the google algorithm, and your chances of showing up in the search results will be slim to none.  Make sure the content on your site is ORIGINAL and you’ll be fine.

“What The Heck Do I Write About?”

Any and everything related to your service!  Have a brainstorming session with your spouse or business partner and you’ll be amazed how many ideas you can come up with.  For example, let’s say you run a remodeling business.  Here’s a short list of ideas I came up with in about three minutes of brainstorming:

  1. How To Pick A Qualified Contractor For Your Major Kitchen Remodel
  2. The Top Five Home Improvement Projects For Increasing Resale Value
  3. The Pros and Cons of Radiant Floor Heating In Your Bathroom
  4. Home Upgrades That Pay For Themselves By Reducing Energy Consumption
  5. How To Best Utilize Space When Finishing A Basement

The possibilities are endless.  Just write about what you know…you might be surprised how easily the ideas come to you once you get going.

A few more tips and tricks for writing posts that pull in search engine traffic:

  • When possible (and with the homeowner’s permission), take pictures of a project that turned out particularly well and create a post about it.  Make sure the TITLE of the post includes the name of the exact SUBURB or area of town where you were working (not the larger city name).  So, the title could be “New Deck Installation in {suburb name here} Leaves Customer Stunned”.  Include pictures of the amazing new deck you built, brag about all the included features, and talk about how happy the customer was.  It’s easy to create a whole post about work that you’re proud of.
  • Create posts that answer questions you often hear from your customer base.  If it seems like people are always asking you what the difference is between corian and granite then odds are good that lots of people are asking that same question on the internet!  Write a post dedicated exclusively to that topic and it will bring traffic to your site.
  • The longer the post, the better.  There’s nothing wrong with a 300-word post here and there, but what I’ve discovered is that longer posts tend to pull in more traffic.  Aim for 600 words or more if you can do so without rambling or repeating yourself.  Your traffic stats will thank you.

It’s time to start writing and pulling in those leads!

Have questions?  Comment below or shoot me an email.  You can also check out the blog that I set up during this tutorial (The Cincinnati Handyman) to see how it’s coming along and how I’m going to build it into a monster lead generator.

For those of you that used this guide to start a blog or who already have a blog, please leave a comment below to tell me about it.  Feel free to leave a link to it, as well.  I’d love to see what you all are creating out there, and in a follow-up post I plan on highlighting five or ten of you who are really crushing it with your blog!

{ 0 comments }

Okay, so if you’ve made it to this post then you should have already read the previous two posts in this series: How To Start A Successful Blog For Your Business and Choosing A Domain Name For Your Business Blog.  If you haven’t, go back and read those first.  Then jump back to this post, where I’ll be giving you a step-by-step guide for registering a domain name and setting up hosting for your blog.

I’m actually going to let you follow along as I do this for MYSELF.  I’m toying with the idea of starting a local handyman service as a complement to my other business interests, and so you’re about to get an exclusive peek over my shoulder as I go through the process of starting up MY new blog.

Step 1: Take out a pen and pad and write down at least five ideas for your blog’s domain name.  Remember the general guidelines I laid out in my previous post.  Using my own rules I came up with these five:

  1. CincinnatiHandyman.com
  2. CincinnatiHandymanService.com
  3. CincinnatiHandymanServices.com
  4. HesterHandymanCincinnati.com
  5. TheCincinnatiHandyman.com

Step 2: Click here to go to Bluehost.com.  The landing page I’m sending you to should look similar to this:

Click the green button that says “get started now”.

Step 3: Select the hosting plan that best suits your needs.  The starter package is good enough for what we’re trying to do here, but if you will be starting more than one blog  (if you have more than one business, for example) then it would be smart to get the plus or business pro plan:

bluehost-step-3-select-planFor my new blog I’ll be selecting the starter plan.

Step 4: Register your free domain name.  In the left box titled “new domain”, start entering the domain names that you came up with in step one.  Bluehost will tell you which names are available and which ones have already been registered by someone else.

bluehost-step-4-select-domain

The first three on my list were already taken.  HesterHandymanCincinnati.com is available but it looks a bit long and is not very memorable.  TheCincinnatiHandyman.com is also available, and I like that it has both my city and service in it.  It’s also shorter and will probably be easier for people to remember.  So that’s the domain I’m going with.

Step 5: Enter your account, package, and billing information.  The top of the page will look something like this:

bluehost-step-5

After you’ve entered your general account information you’ll be presented with package options to choose from.  Select the plan from the drop-down menu that best suits your needs.  There are other upgrades available here to choose from if you are so inclined.  It just depends on what you want and your particular situation.  As for me, I won’t be needing any of these so I unchecked all the boxes:

bluehost-step-5-picB

Finally, enter your billing information and click the green “next” button.

Step 6: You’ll be presented with a number of available upgrades for your account.  You don’t need any of them, but if something looks useful to you then be my guest.  I’ll be skipping them all and clicking the green “complete” button at the bottom of the page:

bluehost-step-6

 

Step 7: Create an account password.  First, click the blue button that says “create your password”:

bluehost-step-7-passwordcreate-final

Now click the box that says you agree to the terms of service, choose a password, and click the green “create” button:

bluehost-step-7-password-part2

Step 8: Log in to your account.  Use the password you just created and click the blue “submit” button:

bluehost-step-8

Step 9: Click the “Hosting” tab near the upper-left corner of the page:

bluehost-step-9

Step 10: Click the “wordpress” icon under “website builders”:

bluehost-step-10

Step 11: Install WordPress.  A new tab will open and you’ll be taken to a site called mojomarketplace.com.  It should look similar to the image below.  Click on the green “install” button:

bluehost-step-11

Step 12: Click the green button that says “Check Domain”.  Don’t change anything in the dropdown menu!  Just leave it alone and hit that green button:

bluehost-step-12

Step 13: Check the box to accept the terms and conditions and click the green “install now” button.  You don’t need to check the “advanced options” box:

bluehost-step-13

Step 14: Find your blog’s login credentials.  Click the black box in the upper-right corner that says “View Credentials”:

bluehost-step-14

Next, scroll down a bit and click the link that says “View”:

bluehost-step-14b

Now you’ll be shown your unique blog login credentials.  This information is very important.  Write it down or save it in a protected spreadsheet!

bluehost-step-14cfinal

 

Your blog setup is now finished.  Woo hoo!  If you had any problems along the way or need help getting this set up just contact me – I’d love to help!

Next step: Pick A Theme, Configure WordPress, and Start Writing!

Please Note: Some of the links above are affiliate links that will provide me a commission (at no additional cost to you). I am not recommending these products and services because of the commission I would earn but rather because I know they are helpful and are companies that I find to be competent and trustworthy.

{ 0 comments }

Choosing the right domain name for your business blog is very important.  This is not a decision to make hastily.  The domain name is the one thing about your blog that can never be changed (without doing some url redirecting which is for advanced web experts only). Nearly everything else can be easily edited, fixed, or altered in some way.  Once you’ve registered a name, it’s pretty much a done deal.  So, you’d be wise to make sure you get this step right.

Criteria That Should Be Met When Picking A Domain Name

Every blog expert has slightly different ideas about picking a good domain name, but I’ll tell you the things that I personally take into consideration when I buy a domain name for a business blog.

  1. It should be short, if possible.  Three words or less is ideal.  Four is okay if one of the words is “a” or “in” or “the”.  Any more than four words and it will be hard for people to remember.  Do you really think a potential customer is going to remember your domain name if it’s something like JacksMowingandLandscapingServicesofOrlandoFlorida.com?  Of course not.  Instead, Jack would be better served to go with something easier to remember.  JacksMowingServices.com.  MowingByJack.com.  Better still: OrlandoLawnMowing.com.  Which leads me to criteria number two:
  2. If your services are specific to a city or geographic region, then the domain should have your city name in it, if possible.  This, more than anything, is for the benefit of the search engines so that they will send you more traffic and qualified leads.  One of the things that the Google algorithm takes into account when returning results for a search phrase is the text within the domain names of websites.  It uses the logic that if some or all of the text in the domain matches some or all of the text in the search phrase, then it’s a site that is more likely to give the user exactly what they’re looking for (whether it be information, products, or services).  If a user searches for “house painters in Memphis”, then all other variables being equal, Google is more likely to display results that have “Memphis” in the domain name than results (sites) that do not.
  3. It should have your most popular service in it, if possible.  This is for the exact same reason as #2.  If somebody searches for “house painting” in your area and your domain name has the words “house painting” or “house painters” or “house painter” in it then there is a much better chance that Google is going to give you a favorable location in the search results.  The higher you are in the search results, the greater the chance that a user will click on it, which lands them directly on your blog and gives you the opportunity to grab a new customer.
  4. Choosing a Domain Name for your BlogTry to get a .com, and stay away from hyphens.  Domain names that end with .net or .biz or .org extensions are at a disadvantage, in my view, because most people will forget the extension and assume it’s a .com.  If somebody at a party asks you what your website is and you say “HoustonWindowReplacement.NET” (maybe you had to settle on .net because the .com was taken), when that person goes to look for your website the next day I can almost guarantee that they will type in “HoustonWindowReplacement.COM”, which sends them to your competitor’s site, in all likelihood.  Epic failure.  Instead, try slightly different wording and go for a .com.  You could try ReplacementWindowsHouston.com or NewWindowsHouston.com or HoustonWindowInstallation.com.  For the same reason, I recommend staying away from hyphenated domain names.  Nobody will remember the hyphen!

It’s not always possible to nail all four of these criteria, but get as many as you can.  Some of these things might sound nit-picky, but it can mean the difference between a blog that just sends you the occasional lead and a blog that takes your business to a whole new level.

“But These Blog Name Ideas Aren’t Cool…”

It seems like I hear this a lot.  People think their blog domain name has to be clever or cutesy in some way, but for a business blog that targets a specific geographic region or service this simply isn’t the case!  In this situation you’re not trying to become the next big blogger about sports or politics or entertainment (in which case a more brandable name would be understandable); you’re simply trying to pull in more local leads for your service business.  Sticking your city name and service in the domain name might look a little ugly and weird at first, but it’s a necessary evil in my view.  Sure, if you can find a way to meet all of the above requirements AND make it sound good, too, then go for it!  But, I think you’ll find that this could be difficult.

Alright, so now I want you to write down a list of five or ten potential domain names for your business blog that meet all or most of the above four rules.  If you missed the first post in this series, then I recommend you go back and read it: How To Start A Successful Blog For Your Business.  If you have your list of contender domain names then you’re ready to move on to the next step in this series: Registering A Domain Name and Setting Up Blog Hosting.

{ 0 comments }

Usually when I tell contractors and service providers that they should start a business blog they look at me like I have two heads.  I think most people hear the word “blog” and associate it with politics, entertainment, or sports, but the truth is that blogging is one of the best kept marketing secrets of successful small business owners.  It is, hands down, one of the most effective and efficient methods you can employ for growing your business.  Intrigued?  Read on.  I’m going to walk you through the entire process of setting up a blog that gets superior results.

But, you might ask, what qualifies me to speak with authority on this subject?  Simple. Because I AM an authority.  I have started dozens of blogs over the last several years for a variety of ventures and purposes, and I know from experience what does and doesn’t work.  I also know that there’s a right way and a wrong way to set up and promote a blog.  I feel like I’m getting ahead of myself.  First, let’s address that question that is probably already on your mind: How on earth is a blog going to grow my business in any sort of meaningful way?

Blogging For Your Business Can Hook Boatloads Of Leads

Hooking Leads With A Blog

Consistent blogging is one of the smartest ways to hook leads for your business. With every post you write you are essentially throwing a new line in the water. More lines equates to more leads. It’s simple math.

I want you to imagine all the potential customers in your city as fish in a lake.  You are the fisherman, sitting in your boat, and you’ve just cast your line into the water.  A single rod and reel.  A lonely worm wriggling on the hook beneath a bobber. Though you know the lake is teeming with fish, there are only so many you can catch in one day with one rod and reel. You go home that evening with four respectable catches, but nothing to brag about.

The next day, determined to catch more fish, you take ten different fishing poles with you. You stick a worm onto the hook of each one and cast all ten lines into the water, all in different directions off the boat.  Not surprisingly, by the end of the day your boat is literally overflowing with with new customers (ahem…I mean fish).

Okay, so this analogy is a bit silly, but it’s an illustration of how active blogging can pull in boatloads of new leads for your company.  If all you have is a one-page website, or if all you’re doing is relying on your facebook page to hook leads, then you’re the fisherman who only has one line in the water.

On the other hand, if you have a company blog set up and actively write new posts week after week, then you are the smart fisherman with many different lines in the water at the same time.  With each new blog post you write, a new line is cast into the lake.  I’ve worked with several contractors who have consistently added to their blogs for years, and literally have hundreds of different posts.  That’s a lot of bait in the water!

Search Engines Will Send Traffic And Leads To Your Business Blog

I won’t get too much into the geeky details here because I don’t want to lose your attention, but basically this system works because of the search engines (most notably Google).  When you publish a new blog post it gets indexed by Google.  It puts more skin in the game for you as far as the search results are concerned.  If, for example, you only have a one-page, static website then there are a limited number of search phrases that are going to pull up your site in the results.  But if you have a blog with dozens or even hundreds of posts then the chances of one of them being displayed in the search results for any given phrase are exponentially better.  In essence, it casts a wider net and provides a much greater opportunity for potential customers to find you on the web.

And, yes, people really do look for contractors and home improvement advice on the internet.  Lots of people, as a matter of fact!  Many people, myself included, don’t even use their phone books anymore.  When they arrive at my doorstep every six months I throw them directly into the recycling bin.  When I need something I go to the internet first.

Here’s an example.  Let’s say I’m a homeowner and I have a plumbing issue in my home. The kitchen sink is clogged and I don’t know how to fix it.  I go online to Google.com and search for “how to clear a clogged drain in the kitchen”.  The search results pull up and I see that one of them is a blog post titled “How To Unclog a Kitchen Sink” (I see the worm dangling in the water, to continue with our fishing analogy).  I can also see that the web address of the post has the name of my city in it (we’ll dive into this part more later), so I click on that result (I take a bite of the worm and a hook snags me).  This is a very possible scenario, by the way, because Google often tailors results to your exact geographic location, whether you know it or not.  Now I’ve arrived at a post that perfectly answers my question.  But I realize that it looks like a messy job and I don’t want to fool with it (I’m being reeled in).  I think I’ll hire a plumber to fix it.  Who do I hire?  Well, the plumber who writes this blog sure seems to know what he’s talking about, and his blog sure looks professional, and he provides services in my city.  I think I’ll give him a call for a quote. Oh, there’s his phone number conveniently placed in the header of his blog.  I pick up my phone and give him a call (the fisherman pulls me out of the water and into the cooler I go).

The real beauty of this is that that same worm will continue to catch fish after fish after fish in the future.  Once I’ve written the blog post and published it online it stays there perpetually.  Yes, writing that post took a few hours and I had to take some photos to put into it, but at the end of the day it’s going to pull in leads for my business as long as search engines are in existence.  I work once and reap the benefits for years to come. What could be better?  And we’re just talking about one post.  Imagine if your blog had 20 posts?  Or 100?  Or 500?  Throw more lines in the water and you’re going to catch more fish – it’s simply a numbers game!

Additional Benefits Of Having An Active Business Blog

Taking up more space on the search engines is reason enough to start a blog, but there are lots of additional advantages:

  • An active blog that gets traffic has value.  It is a business asset, no different from the company pickup truck or table saw.  If you sell your business at some point your blog will enable you to command a higher asking price.  This assumes that you’re using paid hosting with your own domain name and not a free blog platform (more on this later).  I’ve personally sold a handful of blogs over the years, and I can attest to the fact that if they are cared for and pull in traffic then they are worth cash money!
  • Your ability to connect with other local contractors increases dramatically. Contractors in other trades will often stumble across your blog while researching on the internet.  Many of them will reach out and contact you through your blog in efforts to swap leads or help each other grow.  Or they may offer to send you qualified leads in exchange for cash (this has happened to me on several occasions).
  • It helps to prove that you are a legitimate authority.  If you have a blog that is chock-full of helpful and and detailed information, it demonstrates to anyone who reads it that you know what the heck you’re doing and you’re not going to screw up a project.  It demonstrates COMPETENCE, which is what consumers really want.  This perception will also allow you to charge a little bit more for your services.
  • Local media outlets may occasionally contact you in an effort to get a quote for a story.  When a local reporter or news writer is researching an item intended for the nightly news or the daily paper they quite often will go to the internet to look for local experts they can quote.  Let’s say the weather is unusually cold and a writer wants to put together a quick piece about how to prevent pipes from freezing and busting.  Odds are good he’s going to search Google for a local plumber who looks experienced and intelligent so he can ask some questions.  Low and behold, he sees a post from your blog in the search results that is titled “How to Prevent Pipes From Freezing in Winter”.  He calls you up, you give him a few helpful tips, and he mentions you and your company in his article.  The next day the article is published in the newspaper and BOOM, your phone is ringing off the hook with new prospective customers.
  • If your blog becomes popular, there could be opportunities to make money directly on the site.  Using a blog to generate leads for your company is the main purpose, but if you really put in the effort over months and years then you will discover ways to monetize your blog’s traffic with ads or by selling products or information on the blog itself.  I won’t get too deep into the weeds with this topic, but take my word for it that having a very popular blog opens up all kinds of new avenues for generating additional revenue. Google AdSense is the easiest way to make money with ads on your blog, but often times you can make more with your own product, ebook, or service that is sold directly on the blog. The majority of you just starting out with a blog will want to focus on harvesting leads for your service, but just keep these other ideas in the back of your mind for the future.
  • Unique opportunities will present themselves out of nowhere.  Having a popular blog literally gives you a global audience, and there’s just no telling who might stumble across it in the search engines.  The blog that you’re currently reading (RichContractor.com) is a perfect example of this.  A year or so ago I was contacted by a representative from a major publisher who enjoyed this blog and wanted me to write a book for them about how to become a successful contractor.  I respectfully declined because I’d rather focus my efforts on the blog and not a book, but this is an opportunity that would have never presented itself if I didn’t have a blog.  More recently, a director of programming from HGTV stumbled across my blog and made contact.  Where that could lead is anybody’s guess, but, again, if this blog did not exist I would never have heard from this person.

There are so many reasons to have a blog and so few reasons not to have one.  It’s just a no-brainer, in my opinion, if you’re a contractor or service provider of any kind.  Bottom line: it elevates your profile and can help to take your business to the next level.

Starting A Blog Is Relatively Cheap And Easy

Try Something New To Generate More Business

Both in business and in life, if you’re not willing to try new things then it’s difficult to grow. Starting a business blog might be different than the marketing tactics you’re used to, but it could just be that fresh new approach that takes your sales to a higher level.

But this all sounds like it’s probably expensive and too technical for me to figure out, you might be thinking.  Not true!  Use the host that I prefer for my blogs and you’ll get a free domain and hosting for $3.95 a month.  And if you set things up the way that I’m about to teach you, then you don’t need to know a lick about coding, programming, or web design. If you can type and use a mouse then you can create a nice blog.  There really is no excuse to not do it.  I’m sorry, but if you aren’t willing to spend less than five bucks a month trying something new to grow your business then I don’t know what to tell you.  I honestly don’t.

Okay, sorry for tangent.  Now let’s get to work creating your blog.  In my opinion, there are four main things you can do to give your blog the best chance of success:

  1. Set it up properly.  In other words, don’t even think about using a free platform like Blogger.com or Tumblr.com.  I’ll explain more in the next post of this series, but take my word for it that you need to use the WordPress.org blogging platform on your own domain with a paid hosting account.  I prefer Bluehost for most of my blogs.
  2. Make it as helpful and useful as possible.  Let’s say you have a deck-building business and your blog has a post entitled “The Pros and Cons of Using Composite Decking”.  A searcher who finds this post in the search engines should read your post and think to themselves, “Wow, that was an amazing post.  It answered my question in detail, it had photos to illustrate concepts, and it even gave me some new ideas and options that I had not previously considered”. Every post on your blog should aim for this high standard of quality.  As with most things, the more effort you put into your blog the more you will get back out of it in the form of new business leads and increased exposure.
  3. Have patience.  It will take time for your blog to really take off and flourish.  If you start a blog on Monday and expect the phone to start ringing with leads on Tuesday then you’re in for disappointment.  It will likely take months of effort before you start to see an effect on your sales.  I’ve noticed that the most successful bloggers are the ones who stick with it for years and just keep writing amazing post after amazing post.  It has a compounding effect that eventually can take a business to staggering new levels of success, but you have to be in it for the long run.
  4. Take guidance from somebody who has already had blogging success. That would be me, of course.  If you get stuck or have a question, leave a comment below or send me an email.  I’m happy to help!  Use Bluehost and I’ll be better able to understand any issues you might have setting things up.

This is the first in a series of posts about creating a successful blog.  Now please read part two: Choosing A Domain Name For Your Business Blog.

Please Note: Some of the links above are affiliate links that will provide me a commission (at no additional cost to you). I am not recommending these products and services because of the commission I would earn but rather because I know they are helpful and are companies that I find to be competent and trustworthy.

{ 2 comments }