Every Monday, I talk about individuals or companies promoting themselves in a neat way online. Feel free to contact me to nominate yourself or a friend; I’m always looking for new ideas.

When I think of groups of people who have a good excuse to not be on the internet much, I think of building contractors.

I know a few contractors (from my hardware background) and when someone wakes up super early to work hard on a construction site all day, it is perfectly understandable for them to not have time to, say, catch up on blog reading on their lunch break. Those of us chained to our desks (you know, in a nice way!) have it easy as far as following internet trends.

Calfinder is a nationwide service matching contractors with home renovators. Part of their site is a frequently updated blog about remodeling trends, DIY tips, and information about locations and contractors. I use this blog as an example with some of my clients (and have emailed it to my family a few times) to show what a company can do with a blog.

Don't think contractors are online? Think again. Even professions that are traditionally non-bloggers are getting online, and accessible to the rest of us.

Here’s what I like about Calfinder:

Calfinder reaches out online, and not just to contractors.

I found this blog when its author Taylen wrote to me about my blog. He had just written a post about frugal remodeling and he wanted to share it with me.

Now I get emails like this all the time. What made this one stand out was the fact that he used my name (you’d be surprised how many lazy people write to me ‘Dear Sir/Madam,’ even when my name is all over this site!). He also actually seemed like he had read my blog, another thing people who contact me don’t always do.

A California based contracting company reaching out to a personal finance blogger in Maine? It seemed like an odd choice but Taylen thinking outside the contractor box is exactly what works to increase brand awareness of Calfinder.

The Calfinder blog produces tons of (useful) content.

Does Taylen produce enough content to update the site multiple times a day? Nope, but this is why blog sites with multiple authors are a good idea.

Even if your company doesn’t have multiple potential authors (or even just the energy) to update a daily blog, you can still reap the benefits of having a blog on your site, if only because blog entries can provide lots of keywords for your site and frequently updated content that keep both people and search engines coming back for more. Popular posts on the Calfinder blog include ‘Mad Men and Vintage 60s Style’ and ‘Hidden Costs of Bathroom Remodeling’.

I asked Taylen about whether the blog was increasing traffic to the Calfinder site and he said “..traffic is seeing a rise because of the content”. Makes sense to me!

The Calfinder blog, still subtly reminding of free estimates further down on the page.

There is at least one photo with every post.

I wasn’t able to find some statstics on this but I can say with the experience from my blog that my posts with photos are much more popular than posts without photos. Calfinder is good about using large, bright photos in all their posts, which not only makes the text more skimmable but makes the overall website more attractive.

Calfinder reminds the visitor of what they are trying to do without being overbearing.

Calfinder wants to hook you up with a contractor. A tab in their website menu, an ad on their front page, and an occasional popup light box remind you. Calfinder does have something to sell and, as a visitor to their website, I respect that. I also respect that there isn’t an automatically playing video or otherwise obnoxious reminder of this fact every time I click on a new page.

And Calfinder can use this contact information for lead generation, or even just to figure out where their customers are and what they are looking for in terms of services.

Calfinder talks about their remodeling projects and contractors.

If you believe in your product, why wouldn’t you talk about it?

While Calfinder is has more generically useful tips, photos and updates from actual contract work show those thinking of hiring Calfinder what they can do firsthand. It’s a good balance between ‘Here’s some free information’ and ‘Hey, look at us’ that can be difficult to strike on a business blog.

So even industries that are traditionally not users of internet marketing are getting online in new and interesting ways. Check out the Calfinder website and their blog and I’m sure you’ll get some ideas!

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