4 Reasons Home Performance Pros Should Blog.
We’ve repeatedly stressed the importance of blogging for up-and-coming Home Performance businesses. In our webinars, blog posts, white papers, emails or conversations you may have heard us stress the importance of “fresh content” for your website, and how blogging is a great way to get fresh content on your site. You may be thinking, “what?,” and that’s fair.
So we thought it would be worthwhile to give a quick rundown of the top reasons we think it’s worthwhile for you home performance contractors to at least dip a toe into the blogging world.
Just remember, it doesn’t need to be intimidating: you don’t need to chronicle your every meal and emotion, and you don’t need to publish a new blog post every day. In fact, you don’t even need to call your blog a blog -- the default title on the Energy Circle PRO system is, in fact, called simply “news,” in order to take away the intimidation that often accompanies the idea of getting into blogging.
Here are 4 reasons we think it’s a good idea for you to start blogging:
Picture yourself heading, for the first time, to the website of a home improvement professional or contractor in your area -- say, for example, you moved to a new town and you were looking for a good local electrician. One of the first things you would probably be thinking would be, “Is this guy for real? Does he know what he’s doing?” To answer that question(s), you’d look for a couple things: testimonials, so you’d know what other folks in the area had to say about him, first of all. You’d probably check the “about us” page to see what his bio looks like. But then, suppose you saw a link to his blog. You’d probably check out what he had to say. If he had some useful information there -- say, about local news relating to his industry, or helpful tips for homeowners -- you’d likely be inclined to think to yourself, “I dig this guy,” and shoot him an email.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Fresh content on your website sends a powerful signal to Google and other search engines that your site is active, and is one of the most important characteristics of a site that performs well in search engines. Your business -- inherently local, and likely to be identified by search engines as such -- has a good chance of appearing at the top of search results if it’s treated right. This means adding new content occasionally, having good keywords, titles and descriptions on each of your pages, and writing content that’s worthy of having other sites link to it. You may have heard links called the “currency of the web,” because they’re so valuable in signaling to search engines that your site has quality content. Link-worthy content is easier to produce on a blog than it would be on, say, your “about us” page, and could be anything from a Youtube video to a cool set of images to a list of easy ways to keep your house warm in the winter.
Help Your Customers
One of the most fundamental reasons blogging is a good idea for home performance professionals is that it’s just plain useful for people. You’re an expert in the field of home performance - how homes work, how homes use energy, and what can be done to fix them - and as such, you have a bunch of information that many homeowners would find extremely useful. They have questions - “How do I get rid of drafts?,” “How do I prevent ice dams?,” “Why are my energy bills so high?,” etc. You have answers.
Drive the Industry
As you may have noticed, the Home Performance concept has yet to reach the “tipping point” in the mainstream market. (See Energy Circle CEO Peter Troast’s column in Home Energy Magazine for more on this.) Yes, people are still buying insulation. Yes, people are still trying to get rid of ice dams. Yes, people know their utility bills are too high. And so they’re slowly finding us, one by one, but the whole-house Home Performance concept that’s so critical for fixing our nation’s housing stock has yet to reach the mainstream.
What does this have to do with blogging? Well, if you have a blog with good keywords and useful information, people in your area who are searching for things like “new windows” will find your site, and they’ll learn about the better alternatives that are out there. When they search for “ice dams,” they’ll find you, and they’ll learn all about how ice dams are caused by insufficient air sealing and insulation. When they search for “lower utility bills,” they’ll find you, and they’ll learn about the whole-house concept. They’ll hire you, they’ll end up happier and more comfortable, and then they’ll tell all their friends about you. That’s good for you, and it’s good for the industry.
If you have any questions about how to get started blogging, feel free to ask us in the comments. Also, feel free to check out our free White Paper on web marketing for home performance pros, and our blog roll of good home performance blogs if you’re curious what your peers in the industry are up to.