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How to Win at Blogging & Boost Your Business
by Kate Ivey, HomeGauge
If you had the opportunity to increase your website traffic by 55%, would you take it? Most likely, the answer is a resounding YES! According to Forbes, businesses that blog get 55% more web traffic than businesses that don’t. That’s a pretty good reason to start that blog you’ve been thinking about.
But increased traffic isn’t the only good reason; companies that blog have over 400% more indexed pages than their non-blogging counterparts. That means when potential customers search online, companies that blog are four times more likely to show up in organic search results than companies that don’t. So, the question is, are you ready to start that blog yet?
Why Does Google Love Blogs?
Google’s algorithm may be an ever-changing mystery, but the one tried and true action that will always help your SEO is creating fresh, original, quality content. And a blog is the perfect vessel to deliver that sweet, sweet content to Google.
That’s right, Google loves content! Every time you publish a new blog post, the search engines index the new content on your website. The more indexed pages you have on your site, the more likely you are to surface in someone’s search results. The more visits to your website, the more you will sell.
Creating Killer Content for Your Blog
Start by creating a space for your blog on your website (you get bonus points if you’ve named it something other than “Blog,” such as “Ask the Inspector” or “Tips from a Pro”). Now, you’re ready to start posting regular content to it. The more often you post to your blog, the better. But start with what you can do— if you can only post once every few months, it’s still better than leaving your website static.
Addressing Your Desired Readers
What should you write about? A common mistake is writing for the wrong audience. Remember, you’re not writing technical blogs for other inspectors to read. You’re writing to attract the visitors you want to your site—homebuyers, sellers, and real estate agents. You should be writing about topics that interest your audience in a language they’ll understand.
Write about staging a home, increasing curb appeal, seasonal home maintenance, or warning signs that there could be mold in a home. Pick topics that are helpful and will attract the right audience to your site, showing Google that your content is relevant and useful.
Brainstorming ideas for your blog posts can be difficult, especially under pressure. Keep a list of your ideas in your notebook or on your phone and add to it as ideas come to you. You may think of something in a crawlspace or while out to dinner with friends—you never know when inspiration will strike!
While the majority of your blogs should be broad enough in scope to attract many clicks, it’s good to occasionally write about the services that you offer. Think about what sets you apart from other inspectors. Do you offer thermal imaging as part of your inspection? Write about why it’s a good idea to have a thermal imaging scan with your home inspection and what is often missed without it.
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Remember that people want to read about topics that will benefit them, so steer clear of the technical aspects of thermal imaging and focus instead on how thermal imaging results can help increase energy-efficiency, detect hidden leaks, and pinpoint electrical issues. This is a blog we’d file under the Safe & Healthy Home, Community, Homeowners, and/or Home Maintenance categories.
Do you want more pre-listing inspection business? Write a blog about the importance of a pre-listing inspection for sellers. Again, approach this from the angle of how it will benefit the homeowner wishing to sell, not how it will benefit you as the inspector. Topics should always educate your audience and address their needs.
Formula for Success
When it’s time to put pen to paper—or fingers to keyboard —it’s important to remember that the job of your blog is not only to entice readers to pick you to be their inspector. There’s a science behind getting the most out of your posts from search engines. More often than not, the SEO boost to your website will be the biggest benefit of your post.
Tips for Your Blog
Here are some tips to keep in mind while writing your blog posts:
Only post original content: A common mistake people make in the inspection profession is not using original content on their blogs. If you’re posting content on your site that appears on other people’s sites, it’s not doing you any favors. In fact, it could be harming your site if you haven’t told Google not to index those pages. That’s why you always want to produce original content for your website.
We’ve seen SEO services in the home inspection industry that post the same blog on multiple websites—and inspectors are paying top dollar for that disservice. If you’re paying for blog posts that aren’t original content, you should consider changing your web services partner.
Word count: Your blog post should be anywhere from 350 to 1,000 or more words. The more content you have on a page, the more likely something relevant will appear on search engines for readers.
Keywords and Keyword Density: Your posts should contain a main keyword or keyword phrase that appears in a heading and organically throughout your post. For a thermal imaging blog, this might be “thermal imaging in home inspections.” The right keywords will be what a user naturally searches for online, so choose your keywords carefully. Within the blog, don’t force it—keep your language natural. If you use the phrase too many times, search engines will punish you for too many instances of the keyword, what’s known as “keyword stuffing.”
Headings: Your post should have a main heading and several sub-headings that describe the content. These should be written with HTML tags so that the search engines read them better. At least one heading should contain your keyword, possibly more depending on the length of your blog.
Featured Images and Media: Along with your text, include a visual image that’s relevant to your post. If you have a picture— or even better—a video to go along with your post, it will make your blog that much more valuable. Be sure to never use someone else’s images without their permission. Use your own or purchase stock images for commercial use to avoid legal issues.
Links: Hyperlink keywords and phrases from your post to other pages on your website. Whether that is your services page or another blog post you’ve written, these internal links will help your SEO efforts. If you’ve used another site’s content as a resource for your blog, also create an external link pointing to that source article.
Alt tags, SEO titles and Meta Descriptions: These are things that you can’t see in your post but that search engines read— and they’re pretty important. These should match up with the key phrases you’re targeting in your article. If you’re not sure how this works, do some research or consider hiring an SEO specialist or web developer to help out.
Spelling Counts: Yes, Google is known to lower page rankings if your posts are full of spelling errors. Run that spell check and consider using other writing tools to help improve the quality of your content.
Sharing and Tracking
Now that you know what it takes to compose a great blog post, go ahead and start writing! Don’t forget that you need to share your posts on any social channels you maintain. I repeat, take full advantage of your hard work and share your posts!
Once you create a post, share the link on your social media accounts, in emails, and anywhere else you might get noticed. Don’t be shy! Each share of your blog post is an opportunity for clicks to your site. Google loves to see site visits because it means people like you and your site is a resource.
And how will you know if it’s working? There is no way to measure the success of your blog posts without tracking visits to your site. If you haven’t already, be sure to set up your domain in Google Search Console and then install the Google Analytics tracking code on your website. You can also setup Facebook Pixel to see your traffic from Facebook users. Over time, with a regularly updated blog, you will see your web traffic increase. Because business can be seasonal (depending on your area), it’s best to compare the same time period to the previous year to track real traffic growth. With more visits will come more business.
You need a blog and you need to post regularly! Driving traffic to your site and increasing your search engine visibility is crucial to your online success. Write about what you know, focus on your target audience and be sure to do it well! If this sort of thing is out of your wheelhouse, hire someone to do it for you who understands your target audience and your goals. Don’t let your website be a static storefront for your business, show Google that the lights are on and someone is home.
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About the Author
Kate Ivey has been working with inspectors for more than 7 years and is currently the Marketing Manager at HomeGauge, a home inspection software company. Kate’s background is in website development and SEO. HomeGauge also creates websites and content for inspectors all over the world. You can find examples of their work at HomeGauge.com.
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