Four reasons to start a blog (and to maintain it if you already have one)

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first blog post
My first blog posting, from October 2006.

It has been about a decade since I started the original Construction Marketing Ideas blog. (You can see the earliest posting, from October, 2016, here.) If you measure the time that it has taken to maintain an almost-daily schedule and spending about 30 minutes per day on writing and managing the postings, I come up with the astounding number that I’ve spent 72 days of my life on this project. The actual number may be quite a bit more, since there have been times when I needed to spend many hours fixing problems and correcting crashes.

Has the effort been worthwhile? We can measure that through four criteria.

Direct business (and business that can be truly attributed to the blog)

There has been about $150,000 in direct business, though much of this business resulted from one lead that led to several large-scale repeat/referral sales. Take the big one away, and there is less directly quantifiable results. Yet, if we compute the numbers, it looks like I’ve earned about $82 an hour for my blogging time. (This number may be a bit overstated as I’m counting gross revenues rather than actual take-home profit.)

Indirect business from search engine optimization

Results here are much harder to measure, but undoubtedly far exceed the direct results. Certainly there are good ranking on Google — and the blogging skills have been extrapolated to managing all of our company’s websites, which operate on what originally had been designed as a blogging tool, WordPress. We receive several valuable potential client inquiries each week and the salespeople in our organization love these — because they are inbound requests not pushy outbound solicitations.

Reputational value: Becoming an expert

The value here may be much greater for you if you are a professional service provider or consultant, than to me, operating a publishing business. But I’ve certainly achieved some speaking engagements and consulting assignments from the blog — and made it easier to open doors and win connections to others.

Lucky stuff

Some years ago, when we were building much earlier versions of our company’s regional publication websites, we had Google’s advertising serving program (AdSense) on the sites. I failed to maintain the sites properly and because they were not of good quality and in compliance with AdSense standards, our business AdSense account was disabled. This generally is a life-time purgatory. However, the personal account associated with my original blog site remained in force. I discovered that, after I had cleaned up the business sites to comply, I could post my AdSense code from the personal account on the websites, and be paid. This led me to start posting observations on the AdSense help forum and later (after another crisis) achieving Top Contributor — or moderator — status.

I achieved this status just as Google was introducing a special program for Top Contributors, with annual meet-ups and summits, which has resulted in me being invited to California for several events and the opportunity to really get to know the company. After a while I decided to purchase some shares of Alphabet (Google’s parent company) for my personal investment account. The shares have appreciated quite nicely.

So, yes, blogging pays off. If you aren’t a natural writer, you might want to work with a staffer or colleague who is more comfortable with words, but if you don’t mind videos, you can certainly build a video blog using your cellphone and a simple YouTube account.

You can see some good examples of successful blogs among the 2017 Best Construction Blog entries. Here is a list of the current voting results (voting closes March 31) — you can click on the links to view the top blogs yourself.

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