Joe’s Blog? The Secret Truth About Blogging for Leads

If you’ve ever read any of my articles about “website marketing” or heard me speak, you know that I’m a big fan of blogging. It is, in my opinion, the single most impactful thing you can do for your website.

In fact, during my session at the Master Your Remodeling Business Workshop titled, “How to Turn Your Website into a Lead Generating Machine,” I discuss (among other things) the importance of blogging as it relates to attracting traffic to your website.

I’m sure you’ve heard that before.

But, although it’s certainly a critical component of SEO (search engine optimization), blogging is also a fantastic way to stay in touch with past clients and build relationships with future ones. This component of blogging is what I call planting and growing your very own customers.

But, although I’ve been preaching it for a while now, I’m hard-pressed to find many that have successfully put the tactic into action.

In fact, of the hundreds of remodelers that have attended the workshop over the past few years, few have done as good a job of this than past workshop attendee (and current Roundtables member) Joe Levitch of Levco Builders in Boise, Idaho.

“Joe’s Blog,” as it is appropriately named on his website, is exactly that: Joe’s Blog! It is written in the first person by Joe himself. It’s great. Each of his posts read like a personal letter from Joe to me.

And that’s the key. It’s captivating. It’s engaging. And it’s personal.

Most importantly, he still manages to touch on the main topics that his prospects are likely researching. An excellent example of this is his post, “What is the right price for a remodeling project?” I dare you to read the first two sentences and not chuckle. Not only that but you want to keep reading. It’s good storytelling.

Another blog post starts with the line, “I inadvertently stepped barefooted onto a proverbial Lego from Hell the other day.”

Ha! Perhaps it struck me even funnier than it should have because I actually stepped on a Lego two days ago. I saw stars for an hour, so I could relate.

And that’s the point!

Joe is connecting with his readers by being himself. By telling stories and anecdotes from his own life and experiences that his readers can relate to.

He writes in a casual sort of way and doesn’t worry about breaking a few grammatical rules from time to time (like I just did).

And that’s what I recommend you do. If you’re worried about your ability to write or concerned about what you should be writing about, take a lesson from Joe: write like you’re writing a letter to someone. Just tell stories and don’t worry about the rest.

If you start thinking like Joe, then you might just come up with some of your own great stories, like, “Why married men fear me.

And if you’re really serious about improving your website’s ability to generate leads then do what Joe did and come to the Master Your Remodeling Business Workshop. (You’ll also learn from the masters on other topics like finance, sales, production management and more.)

So, what do you think?

Are you up to the challenge? Can you beat Joe’s Blog? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Hey, let’s share blog posts!

There’s a handful of questions that I regularly get from remodelers. One of the most common relates to blogging.

Here’s what I heard at more than one of our Roundtables meetings a few months ago.

Hey Mark, I was thinking…most of us write blogs for our website, so why not share them with each other? There’s twelve of us, so we each only need to write one per year, and we’ll have a years worth of content!

Sounds like a great idea, right?

Well, let me start by saying that Google hates duplicate content. You may have heard horror stories of websites getting blacklisted from search results for plagiarism.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t do it. You just have to do it right.

So let’s discuss the ins and outs of sharing content with your peers and the alternatives to copy/paste.

The Copy/Paste method (aka Syndicating content)

What is syndication? Put simply, it’s the legal copying of a blog post from one website to another. Doing this with the original author’s permission is a-okay. And you’ll be good with Google, too. As long as you inform Google that it’s a syndicated piece.

And by “informing” I mean more than just putting the phrase “original article published [here]” at the end of the post. That’s not going to cut it.

There’re only two ways to protect yourself from the wrath of Google:

1. Canonical

For this method, you’ll place a hyperlink in the meta content of the page that links back to the original source. It looks something like this:

http://www.example.com/some-other-website” />

This tells Google that the content on the current page is nothing more than a copy and where Google can find the original post.

2. NoIndex

As the name implies, this code snippet tells Google not to store the page in its index. And since Google won’t have a duplicate version of the content “on file” in it’s index, you’re website is safe.

So what’s the catch?

Well, as you may have guessed, syndicating content isn’t going to do anything for your SEO. And that’s why you’re safe. Google can see that you’re not trying to use this content to manipulate the rankings.

So why syndicate?

It all comes down to the blog post’s purpose. If what you are looking to do is give your readers good, valuable content, than syndication is the perfect solution for taking some of the writing burden off your shoulders while keeping the content flow pouring to your readers.

If, on the other hand, you’re looking to boost SEO, then you’ll want to steer clear of syndication.

Reposting for SEO

Here are some tips to follow that can keep you out of Google jail while still getting some SEO value from the post.

1. Write a review or summary of the original article. This is a great way to leverage your relationships with your peers. By providing your take on an existing article, you save yourself a great deal of time in the writing process.

You will still want to reference the original article (with links) to keep the article in context. Here’s an example:

According to John Smith of ACME Remodeling, the best way to determine if your window seal is broken is [blah blah…] I think he makes a great point. I’d take it a step further and…”

2. Set off direct quotes clearly. Make it very obvious that you are quoting the original. Use your blogging platform’s blockquote feature, italicize the quote, and of course, link back to the original.

Don’t go crazy here, though. There isn’t really any specific amount that you can or can’t quote, but use common sense. If six of the seven paragraphs of your blog post are in a blockquote, that may be a problem.

3. Excerpt and link. Another option is to copy the first paragraph or two as an “article excerpt” and place a continue reading link at the end of the article. This is a borderline tactic in my opinion. I think you should always stay original.

I’d prefer you give a brief synopsis in your own words and then link to the original. You can even use the blockquote to “provide a peek” at the original. Here’s an example of this tactic in action with our friends at Remodeling Magazine.

What do you think?

Do you disagree with any of this? Or do you–dare I say–agree? SEO tends to be a hotly contested topic, and the rules move lighting fast. In fact, Google probably made two algorithm updates since you started reading this.

So please share your thoughts in the comments below. I want our readers to have all viewpoints!