The ultimate guide on how to start a construction blog: free resources, step by step guide, and ideas for your blog.
Whether you’re a contractor or a construction company – starting a successful blog is a great way to benefit you personally, or your business. In this guide, we’ll cover the basics of how to start a contractor blog, best practices of blogging and construction blog ideas. In this informative online course on construction blogging, the instructor teaches contractors and construction pros how to get into the blogging game.
You’re probably very familiar with the tools you need to do your job successfully on the jobsite. You wouldn’t start a job without first estimating the cost, finding what it’s going to take for you to complete the job, and evaluate whether or not you’re able to take on the work. Well, it’s the same with starting a blog.
Here’s some starting questions you might be asking:
- What materials do I need to start blogging?
- How much does it cost to start a construction blog?
- What is the best platform to build my blog on?
- What should I write about?
Those are great questions to ask. Whether you’re starting a construction company blog, a home construction blog, or a niche trades blog, we’ll walk you through step by step in the guide below and help you answer your questions.
Anyway, you came here to learn how to start a construction blog right? So let’s get started. Here’s the 13 basic steps to starting a construction blog:
Step 1: Identify a niche or topic you can write about, and that you’re passionate about.
This is probably the most important step to the whole process. This is where you’ll plan and set the trajectory of your entire blog. Ask yourself:
- What am I knowledgeable about?
Of all the things you could blog about, what are the things that you know the most about? For example, if you’re a painter who’s been in the trades for 12 years, you should probably consider writing a painting blog. If you’re a roofer who’s super knowledgeable on all things roofing – then start a roofing blog.
After you determine what you’re knowledgeable about, ask yourself:
- What am I passionate about?
Make sure that what you’re really knowledgeable about is what you’re excited about and passionate about. Hopefully these two go hand in hand, but they may not. The reason why you want to make sure you’re passionate about it is that if the topic you’re super knowledgeable about bores you to death, that’s going to come through in your blog and your posts. You won’t be creative, and worse- it will be a chore. Blogging is already hard work, and can very often take years before you see any real payoff, and for many of you this will be your side hustle – chipping away at it nights and weekends – so you better love it. If you don’t, 9pm on a Monday night or Saturday night will roll around and the last thing you’ll feel like doing is writing.
- Is my topic a niche topic?
This question is HUGE. If you choose to broad a topic, you probably won’t get anywhere. I know that sounds discouraging, but better to find that out now than 3 years in with almost no improvement in traffic. A niche blog topic is a topic that is narrow in scope- focused only one core thing. The biggest you should go is by trade: a roofing blog, a carpentry blog, etc. The smallest you can go really depends on how many searches there are for the subject. So you want to find that sweet spot: wide enough to appeal to a large audience of readers (thus increasing your traffic and rank in google) but small enough to be able to still be competitive and so that your blog as a continuous theme. Jim Lillig, former community manager at BeThePro Forum and Bosch Tools Digital & Social Media Brand Manager explains why it’s SO crucial to have a niche topic, along with some great examples of successful blogs.
Here’s a couple good examples:
- A roofing blog: where you discuss all things roofing: your favorite shingles, biggest mistakes new roofers make, favorite tools for the job, etc. The posts you could write are endless, and yet your blog still has a very focused theme. This means that as Google begins to rank you and learn about your site, it will become clear that you are a page all about roofing.
- Home inspection blog: where you write about all things to do with home inspection.
- Handyman- how to blog.
- And so on.
Now that you’ve determined your topic, it’s time to figure out who you’re going to write to.
Step 2: Determine who your audience will be.
This one should be pretty obvious, but you want to set it in your mind. If you’re going to start a roofing blog – are you writing to homeowners? DIYers? Field workers? Business owners? Or maybe you’re aiming at the young guys or gals just starting out in the industry? Or maybe all of the above! You don’t need to figure out what every post is going to be about (that would be impossible), but you do need to have a general sense of who you want to talk to. Most of you will probably have fellow contractors in mind. After all, you speak their language already, you know the pains they have, and you know articles you can write to help solve those pains. And if you can solve their pains, and get them coming to your blog for help, tool reviews, advice, etc., then you can monetize your blog and really have a good thing going.
Step 3: Determine what pains you can solve.
I believe (and so do many others) that the best way to start a business, a blog, or a project, is not to ask the question: “how can I make money?” but rather “what pains can I solve?” There’s a huge difference. If you’re starting a blog just to get some free tools, or to put banner ads up all over the place to earn some extra beer money, I don’t think you’re going to be very successful, and you certainly won’t be as happy as you could be. The reason is that eventually, people will catch on. When you’re sole goal of blogging is to make money, then people (your readers) are just a means to an end, and that will come through. Your work will be poor quality, or your posts will be centered around what will get you the next free tool you’ve been wanting.
Don’t get me wrong, you should expect and plan for profit and compensation. It’s A LOT of work to blog the right way, and you ought to get paid for it. It’s just that it shouldn’t be your main goal. Instead, start with the question: “what pains does my audience have, that I can solve?” If you’re a construction company – what pains do your customers or certified installers have? If you’re an independent contractor or tradesman who started a blog, ask yourself “what pains do fellow contractors have?” If it’s that they don’t know how to setup Excel in a custom way so they can run estimates off it, show them how. If they want one post that easily shows pros and cons of certain tools or construction estimating software, break it down for them.
If you can solve your audience’s pains – you’ll do well (assuming you optimize for SEO and get the technical stuff right, which we’ll cover below). Remember- your goal is not to just spit out 10 posts in an hour, sit back, and wait for the money to come in. Not only is that impossible, but readers will hit your site, see that your posts are unhelpful and unloving and unthoughtful, leave quickly, and Google will see that no one is sticking around on your site, sharing your content, etc., and demote you. So focus first and foremost on what pains your readers have, that you can solve.
Step 4: Decide how to monetize your blog.
OK- now that you know what you want your blog to be about, who your audience is, and what pains you can solve for them or value you can provide for them, it’s time to think a bit about how you want to monetize. The purpose of this post isn’t to be super in-depth on this area, but basically you’re going to think of three ways to monetize:
- Affiliate links
- Free gear
Advertisements are those banner ads you see on everyone’s blogs. They might be on the side of your posts, they might be in the header, but typically these ads are really only valuable if you’re a very high traffic blog. That doesn’t mean you should build them into your site from the beginning, it just means that you shouldn’t expect a great payout from them.
When it comes to ads, there are two main types you might do further research on:
–Google Ads: very easy to setup, you get paid each time a reader clicks it, and Google will choose what ads display on your site, based around the interests and search habits of that particular reader. Be sure to read a wide variety of pros and cons before deciding on these.
-Specific ads you set up and work out with the company who is doing the advertising: a great example of this is Roofers Coffee Shop. The basic idea here is that you leave spaces open on your site for advertising, then reach out to companies who you think would be a good fit and be willing to pay. The advantage is that you can usually get paid better, and negotiate a monthly cost for them keeping your ad up. However, you usually need a significant amount of traffic coming to your site before you can negotiate for any dollar amount.
Step 5: Do keyword research.
If you pay attention to nothing else in this post- pay attention to this: proper keyword research will make, or break your blog. If you skip the work of doing solid keyword research, you’re going to suffer for it. Period. What is keyword research? Simply put, keyword research is research to determine:
- What topics, words, and phrases your audience is searching for.
- Which of those “searched-for” topics gets high enough search results to make it worth your time writing an article for.
- Which of those “searched-for” topics you’re able to get competitive with, and have a real shot of ranking high in Google for.
So yeah, it’s pretty crucial. I’ll give you an example:
Joe has a plumbing blog. He writes about the best tools for plumbing, how to estimate and bid plumbing jobs, and more. Joe spends 1 year writing a total of 75 posts, from topics off the top of his head. After all, he is a plumber and he does know what’s interesting to plumbing contractors right? Only sort of.
After 1 year, Joe still only has 2,000 unique visits a month on his site- enough to generate roughly $50-$100 in ad revenue, and not enough to entice any big plumbing companies to work with him. What went wrong? Although Joe might be writing REALLY good content, and he really knows his stuff, that doesn’t mean he’s used any of the terms that other plumbers are actually searching for! See? That’s the problem. Joe has written 75 high quality posts, and some have managed to rank by dumb luck, but Joe used titles, words, phrases in his posts that nobody is searching for. Had he spent the hours of research on each one, he’d be able to see that his readers are searching for “how to estimate plumbing job” rather than what he titled his one post, “my strategy for bidding plumbing jobs and coming out ahead every time.” Now, again, Joe might rank high in google for some of these posts just out of sheer luck- but had he strategized about each post, he could have known what to title it, what phrases to beef his articles up with, etc.
So what should you do? If keyword research makes or breaks your blog – how can you make sure you get it right?
Well, we’re not construction marketing professionals here, and the world of SEO (search engine optimization) is FAR too complex to be a part of this post. So I’m just gonna give you the best resources we’ve found on keyword research:
This is the ultimate guide to doing keyword research. Follow it, and you’ll be good. Ignore it at your own peril. It’s written by Brian Dean of Backlinko.com, one of the world’s premiere authorities on SEO and ranking in Google. He ranks very high, continually, for literally some of the most competitive keywords on the internet.
You’re welcome 🙂
So now go ahead and do keyword research to determine the best domain name and blog name to center your content around.
Step 6: Buy a domain name.
After you’ve determined what your blog is going to be about, and you’ve read Brian’s amazing guide on keyword research, it’s time to buy your blog’s domain name (the name people type into their web browser to find you). Why does this matter so much? Because it’s one of many factors that affects how Google ranks you.
This guide will help you know how to choose the best domain name for your blog.
Step 7: Buy a WordPress theme, and set up your blog.
After you’ve strategized, and picked out your domain name- it’s time to set up your blog. For the sake of time, we’re just going to give you simple instructions to get started, the research will be up to you on what to choose and how to implement:
- Build your blog on WordPress. Just trust us.
- Find a host where you can install wordpress. Justhost, Hostgator, and others are very affordable and all allow WordPress installs.
- Choose an SEO friendly theme to install. Don’t be shy to spend a few bucks either, usually the one’s that cost something, cost something for a reason. Also, make sure you find a theme that is set up ideally for SEO.
- Install Yoast SEO plugin and then immediately learn how to use it.
To learn more about setting up your blog, watch this free course on construction blogging. To learn exactly how to setup a WordPress blog on the technical side step by step from a pro, you can also check out videos like this one.
Step 8: Do keyword research to identify what your first posts should be.
Sweet! Your blog is now setup, domain name purchased, you have a plan and road map for the niche topic you’re going to blog about and center your articles around, so now it’s time to start writing right? Sort of.
The first thing you’ll want to do is make a list of 5 or so articles that you can start with. Remember Step 5 – you need to do your keyword research. So make a list of 5 articles that you’re burning to write, then research what the best terms are that you should be centering those articles on, OR do some cold keyword research without any preconceived ideas, and make your list of articles from that.
For example, if you find doing keyword research centered around “roofing” that “how to estimate roofs” or “how much to charge for roofs” gets 200 monthly hits, they might be good articles to title exactly after those keywords. Again, it’s not within the scope of this article to break this process down, nor are we the people to do it for you.
The ultimate guide to keyword research and how to write killer content for your construction or trades blog is right here. Read it thoroughly and follow it religiously.
Step 9: Start writing great content.
Once you’ve got a list of a few articles that you can write, that you know people are searching for, it’s time to get writing. Here’s a few pointers:
- Write like you’re talking to a friend, or to another contractor. Don’t try and get all technical if that’s not how you normally talk. Write in a conversational way that will be fun to read.
- Write no less than 500 words.
- Don’t put any fluff in. Don’t use long winded sentences just to fill space. If you can’t write 500 words of meaty, helpful, full of info content, then you probably need to do more research or scrap that article.
If your readers don’t LOVE what you write, they won’t come back. If they come back, if they see you as an authority, if they begin to trust you for tool reviews, or product reviews, or installation techniques, then you’ll continue to grow your audience and your blog will thrive. So write quality content.
But don’t stop there! Once you’ve written that killer article, it’s time to enhance it and make sure that it will rank as high as possible. How? Glad you asked…
Step 10: Optimize your posts for SEO.
Once your article or blog post is written, it’s time to make sure that you’ve followed best SEO practices to ensure the highest ranking it can get in Google. How will you do this?
By following this guide on wordpress SEO. Seriously. Follow each step Yoast outlines here, and can sleep well knowing that you did a really, really thorough job of optimizing your article using best SEO practices.
Do yourself a favor and read it, then follow it. Or, you could watch our FREE course: “SEO for Contractors”…
Step 11: Submit your sitemap to google
You’ll either want to manually submit your sitemap to google for indexing (this is a faster way to get google to crawl your site, and all your pages and posts) or you can use the settings in the Yoast SEO plugin you installed to help you.
Step 12: Promote, promote, promote!
Phew! You followed all these steps, you spent HOURS and HOURS researching, optimizing, writing, rewriting, editing, following best practices, and you clicked “publish” on your post. Good to go right? Nope. Sorry to be the one to tell you this, but you can’t sit back and hope for the best.
It’s true that your post MIGHT rank high in google without any additional effort, especially if you’re sort of the only one writing content in your niche or space. But more than likely you’ll need to promote your content for it to be successful. Here’s why:
- Promoting builds backlinks (people linking to your site) which in layman’s terms means that Google sees your website as more authoritative, weighty, and trustworthy. If others link to you, and like you, and share you, then you must be worth promoting and are better than the average Joe’s blog.
- Promoting will get readers to your page more quickly.
Promoting your newly published article is a lot of work, but it’s worth it. And ultimately, if you want a REALLY successful web presence, this is the way to go. And don’t worry, we’re gonna give you the best guide on the web (that we’ve found) to walk you through how to do this, step by step.
Here it is. This guide will teach you how to promote your content to grow your search rankings and gain more and more readers to your blog.
Step 13: Be patient.
If you haven’t figure it out already, starting a construction blog, contractor blog, trades blog, or company blog is lots of hard work and effort. It doesn’t happen overnight. Sure, you can throw a few articles up in no time and skip all the steps outlined here, but you’ll pay for it in the end.
Just like in homebuilding, or in your daily job you have to plan, use the right tools, measure twice and cut once, so it is with construction blogging. If your domain is brand new, it can take Google 3-6 months to recognize you as an authority, and begin to vet your site. So don’t get discouraged, stay at it and never give up.
Here’s some construction blog ideas for individual contractors:
- Construction equipment blog: equipment reviews, side by side comparisons, repair guides, and recommendations.
- Construction management blog: resources for managers to lead better on the job site.
- Home construction blog: resources all centered around residential home building.
- Roofing blog: residential roofing resources, best tools for the job, how-to articles, tool reviews, roofing software reviews, etc.
- Estimating software blog: a comprehensive blog reviewing all different estimating software for construction pros.
Seriously, the opportunities are endless. So find what you love to write about, research and make sure people are searching for it, and center your blog around it.
- How much often should I write?
- How many words per blog post?
- Why WordPress?
- Which WordPress theme is best?
- Where can I get royalty free, copyright free photos for my blog?
- How long will it take to rank in google?
What do you think? What tools have you found to be helpful in starting a successful construction blog, or what tips and tricks would you give a newbie? Leave a comment below.