The bulging online “blogosphere” is stuffed with political blogs and gossip blogs, academic blogs and travel blogs. But remodeling blogs? At www.remodelagain.com/blogger.html, in the first known blog of its kind, clients and staff of Schloegel Design-Remodel engage in a real-time, ongoing dialogue about the clients' remodeling project.
“Remodeling is an emotional roller coaster for most homeowners,” says Jake Schloegel (Big50 2001), who started his Kansas City remodeling company 25 years ago. He debuted the blog in September as “an opportunity to vent” — a risky proposition, given the often frustrating nature of remodeling and the uncensored ease of “blogging” comments, questions, or photos. “You never know what the homeowner may write about, but so far so good.” Good client comments, good project updates, good jobsite photos.
And good marketing. In 2003, the company's name changed from Schloegel Contracting to better reflect its full-service design-remodel orientation. In the time since, Schloegel has worked with a marketing consultant to overhaul his Web site, drive traffic to it, and get people to stay long enough to want to become clients themselves. He says a good Web site is “never done. We try to make ours informative” with tools like an audio “Just Ask Jake” feature, remodeling tips, a project portfolio, and company news.
The blog is just “one more tool to throw in the marketing toolbox.”
That investment seems to be paying off. After a flat 2002 and 2003, the company's business increased 33% in 2004, with 40 projects ranging from roughly $50,000 to $400,000. And www.remodelagain.com is averaging more than 1,000 hits a month, up from 50 a year and a half ago. Turns out that blogging, more than a high-tech window into real-life remodeling projects, “moves you up on the food chain of search engines.”