Congratulations. You have a website; maybe you've had one for a while. Either way, you may be sitting there saying, “OK, what’s next? Where are the leads?” Then you read somewhere that it doesn't work that way, that you have to market your site and maybe start a blog. So you think, maybe I’ll give this blogging thing a shot. Seems to work for that Slaughter guy.

That's right around the time my phone rings, and the conversation goes something like this: "Darren, I have a site. It's not bringing in any leads. … I want to start a blog."

I counter with this statement: If you want to start blogging to develop new leads, I ask that you do the following exercise first. Sit down and write 30 blog posts that are between 250 and 500 words each. If your eyes are already rolling back in your head, then blogging isn't for you. But if you think you have the chops to create content on a regular basis, keep reading.

The Four Rules of Blogging for Contractors 

1. It’s never about you: The best post you can put out there is the one that creates an image of you and your company in a way that readers remember how you service them. If you don't make it easy for your reader to realize why you are good for them, then you are just one of those guys or girls killing time in Starbucks. (Wait ... that’s me.)

2. Don’t speak above your reader: You want to write in a way that isn’t too "inside baseball." In other words, write with clarity and simplicity so that someone who knows nothing about what you do can easily understand.

3. Different people read differently: Some people read headlines, others read bulleted lists, while others look for bold or italics. Give each type of reader something to sink their teeth into in your posts. This will keep them reading and happy. Don’t dawdle. Get to your point within the first 50 words or so. Then, just when you think you are done, cut half the words out of the article. Then cut again.

4. Know your stuff: If you can’t get across to a buddy at Starbucks what it is you do, how you do it, and how you do it better than the 30 other people who do it, then you might want to avoid blogging.

Expert Position 
Blogging helps you set yourself up as an expert in your field. That has a lot of power because people want to buy from the people they perceive to be knowledgeable not salesy. If you can convince your audience over time that you know what you are doing, people will come to you, and you can spend some of those advertising dollars you used to spend marketing on more fruitful things, such as a new truck or a vacation.

So remember, if you can't put together 30 blog posts, just forget blogging for now. Blogging is marketing, and sometimes that is better left to others if you can't or don't want to do it.  —Darren Slaughter runs a boutique website design and marketing shop that serves only contractors in the home improvement space.