Monthly Archives: August 2017

Small Home Improvement Contractors

For contractors, the rules of the internet apply just the same as they do for everyone. So, increasing your visibility online requires the same techniques, no matter what industry you are in. You will rank where you rank within Google searches for the same reasons that other companies rank where they rank. If you rank highly, it is likely because your website provides valuable content, among other things.

The best way to increase your ranking with Google as well as other search engines is to provide the visitor of your site with an overall helpful experience. If you think about it, you will almost never open up your browser and type in a URL of a site that is not helpful. You type Google because it helps you search. You type Hotmail because it helps you check your email. You type in CNN because it helps you check the news. People do not visit websites out of charity. They surf the net to look for something.

They are looking for information, products, services and entertainment. So, if your site isn’t truly providing any of these entities to the website visitor, your website will not rank highly. Remember, every search that someone performs is like a test for Google. Google’s and other search engines’ main goal is to provide the most relevant and helpful results for the person who is searching them. Of course, some responsibility will always be put on the searcher to perform a smart search. But, this is a different subject.

Assuming the search keywords are relevant to the intended results, the actual search results should provide what the searcher is looking for. If not, the search engine has failed. To that effect, if people continually perform searches for something and they continually click on the second or third page of the results, these sites will eventually start to rank higher and will likely be on page one of the results before long.

Of course, if people continually click on these sites and then quickly navigate away from the sites, these sites will fall even lower in ranking. This means that people can no longer “trick” the search engines into ranking highly just by receiving pointless clicks or using spamming techniques. If your site is worthless, the visitor will communicate this to Google by clicking away from the site just as fast as he clicked onto it. This in turn diminishes your Google ranking.

So, the question becomes, how do you allow for people to visit your site and then stay on your site. And, again, it all comes back to content. The simple way to look at it is this: If you were searching for the services that your site offers, would your site be of service to you? If not, this is the first issue you need to address. Again, if your site is not helpful, you simply do not stand a chance.

If you think about most successful sites, they provide a certain service or product better than anyone else. Or perhaps they provide information that most other sites do not. Google is the best site for searching online. But perhaps TMZ is the best site for celebrity gossip. eBay is the best auction site while a different site is better for learning how to advertise.

The trick is that almost all of these sites perform one thing and they perform it arguably better than anyone else. This is why they are successful. This is good news for you because this means that in order to rank highly in search engine results, you don’t have to have an all encompassing website about everything. You simply need to have a very helpful website about one thing. Of course, when you look at companies like Google and eBay, you see that the sites are among the most dynamic in the world and that they offer a plethora of services beyond the search and auction genres. But these extra services all branched from their original singular internet functions.

Once you are successful online for providing one service, you can start to use that success to offer other services. In fact, this is the exact formula to be extremely successful online and to stay at the top of your respective online industry.

As a small contractor, you may never compete with national contracting and construction brands and companies. These sites and companies have already established themselves as the leaders in the industry and competing with them online will be about as fruitless as competing with them anywhere else. So, the key is to develop a niche. No matter how “normal” or basic your services may seem, they are always unique in some fashion or another.

You may be a handyman contractor. You may think that there are thousands of handyman service companies competing with you online- and you are right! But maybe you are one of only a few handymen that provides electrical services. Or perhaps you also perform emergency repairs. Maybe you offer a specific discount or a special “limited” material. If nothing else, you probably are only one of a few contractors that work within your given area.

Even if you provide services to a large city or a large geographical area, focusing on the locality of your services will greatly diminish competition from those providing similar services outside of your work radius. So, the main thing is to focus on what you do differently as a company that sets you apart from others. The next thing to do is to write about those things.

We’ll say it again: CONTENT, CONTENT, CONTENT. If the words are not written on your site, there is no way for Google or other search engines to know what makes your company special. So, using the above handyman example, you would want to blog on your site about using special materials or electrical handyman services. And you would especially want to blog about providing services in you the areas that you do so.

But, you want to avoid simply talking about what your company does or how great you are as a company. After all, a site can only have but so many “about us” pages. People get sick of reading the same things on every similar website. The other thing to remember is that people are always performing informational searches. Try to imagine what people may search for, relevant to the services that you provide.

Let’s say you are a masonry contractor that specializes in block foundations. You can imagine how there may be homeowners or even other contractors that perform online searches for “how to lay block correctly,” or “places to find cheap masonry in (city,USA).” Being an insider, you know the answers to these questions and you could write articles about these topics and post them on your blog/website. Someone performing such a search would eventually land on your site, read your information and then perhaps click on other pages and articles on your site.

This is why it is so important to provide as much content as possible that is relevant to your industry and the services that you provide. You must realize that people that are interested in one topic that they find on your site are probably very interested in other similar topics and if they can find this other information on your site, why wouldn’t they stay on your site longer?

Not everyone that finds your blogs will become a customer. But, just like everything else, it’s a numbers game. The more visitors you get and the longer they stay on your site, the higher your site will start to rank within search engines. In turn, the higher it ranks, the more visitors you will get and the more visitors you get, the more customers you will gain. But, it all starts with providing valuable niche content.

Unfortunately, we cannot tell you exactly what you should blog about. We cannot tell you specifically what your niche market is. But, the good news is that you know your market better than most people. You know what types of questions your customers always ask you and you can bet that these questions are common online searches as well. Essentially, you would be posting answers to these questions on your site. This allows your site to be helpful instead of simply promotional. If your site truly is helpful and useful, this will win out in the long run.

Small Home Improvement Projects

You have decided that you need to take the plunge and do some home remodeling. However, everyone knows that this can be extremely expensive. If you are looking for some smaller tips, then look no further. One way you can update your home’s look without breaking the bank is to install light dimmers. Light dimmers add instant mood to any room, whether that is the entertainment room, dining area, or the bedroom. With dimmers, you get style and functionality in one fell swoop.

Another easy fix is replacing all of your outdoor outlets. Outdoor outlets should resist all types of weather, so if yours are starting to erode, then update to a newer model. You can only enjoy this benefit about half of the year, but it will be worth the money and time. Along the same lines as dimmers, consider new hanging light fixtures. These fixtures can be the central point of your room, so you will want to replace anything that looks like it is from another decade entirely.

To those of you willing to drop a little extra cash, but who still want to remain on the conservative budget side, then think about your appliances, and whether they could do with an update. There are many different energy-friendly appliances that are relatively inexpensive. This will cut into your wallet a little bit more, but the visual side effects are greater as well. Dimmers and outdoor outlets do not have the same effect on a room as new appliances in the kitchen or wash area.

Along the same lines, look at your heating and air conditioning to see if you could use a newer model. Add to the comfort of any room simply by updating the air circulation and flow. This can also include fans, which can be both visually appealing and functional. You can do all these things with minimal strain on your wallet, so go get started. Everything from dimmers and outdoor outlets to green appliances can help give your house a fresh new look.

Home Improvements That Can Make A Big Difference

Every little bit helps when it comes to improving and maintaining your home. Below you will find six improvement tips related to interior painting, conserving energy, and protecting your floors. Keep them handy for when they’re needed.

1. Vacate the room as much as feasible. Though you may be prepared to try to just shove everything into the center of a room and try to paint around it, rather than taking everything out of the room (which can seem like lots of work), leaving your possessions in the room when you paint will make the job more difficult and awkward, and will only risk damaging your possessions with paint drips and splatters.

2. Become familiar with when to use foam brushes and rollers. Foam paint applicators are low priced and can perform a great job. They permit you to buy a complete set of different shapes and sizes for the same price as one or two traditional paint brushes. Foam brushes are perfect for touch-ups and smaller areas. The rollers are perfect for a smooth finish and won’t splatter paint. They’ll break apart on anything other than a smooth surface, though, so don’t use them on a roughly textured wall. You’ll save a lot of money by choosing foam for the right surface.

3. Install solar power panels. Though this is an expensive renovation to start, by setting up solar panel systems on your roof, you’ll put a huge dent in your energy bill. Your home will be cost efficient as a whole. Different models will either produce electricity for your home or be used to produce hot water.

4. Install energy-saving light fixtures. Though energy-saving light fixtures cost about the same as more typical models, they are generally less expensive to install and can save you money over the years by reducing electricity usage. By combining their use with energy-efficient bulbs, you’ll save even more.

5. Sprinkle baking soda on area rugs and carpets. Before you vacuum, lightly dust your rugs and carpets with baking soda. This will help to remove any moisture and can get rid of odors such as those absorbed from food and pets. Just remember that this will fill your vacuum canister or bag more quickly so you’ll need to empty it more often. That said, it will help to increase the life span of your carpet, which will also need fewer steam cleanings, saving you time, money, and energy.

6. Protect floors from your drop cloth by vacuuming. Dust caught between your drop cloth and your wood, laminate, or other types of flooring can cause scratches as though you’d used sandpaper. Save cash and frustration by vacuuming the floors before you lay the drop cloth down on top of them.

Small Home Improvements For a Quick Sale

When preparing your home for sale, the small improvements count to make you sell quicker!

To the seller, it may be more of a nuisance to fix a piece of wood rot, replace carpet, or paint some exterior trim. To the buyer it looks to them that this is deferred maintenance. They see some rot, and then begin to think, “What else have the sellers not taken care of?” Then they start picking apart the house instead of saying, “Wow this seller really takes care of his house.”

Also, the buyers think that it costs a lot more to do the improvements than it actually does. Replacing carpet may only cost $2000 – $3500, but a buyer may think it costs $5,000 – $10,000. Most buyers these days have enough money for their down payment or closing costs, but not both. They certainly do not have cash set aside to make these improvements after closing.

Most buyers I see in the market want to move into a house and do nothing. I had a listing recently where I advised them to repaint the exterior trim. I got a quote from my painter, and it was $3500. My seller was resistant and said that he would negotiate that in the contract if necessary. We later had a potential buyer come look at the house for a second time. I called to get feedback and the agent told me the biggest drawback to the buyer was that the exterior trim needed to be painted. To the buyer it was a huge deal and he thought it was too big of an undertaking. I told the agent I had a quote for only $3500 and they came back to take a third look.

Had we prepared the house perfectly prior to listing, and painted the outside, we could have possibly received the offer on the first or second look. The moral of the story is if there are things that you know need to be updated, fixed, or improved, do so before listing. It is going to make your home show better, sell quicker, and quite possibly sell for more money!

Nina Harris and The Suits Team with Keller Williams Realty Peachtree Road collectively have over 10 years real estate experience in the Atlanta market. Year after year they sell 50-75 homes, rank in the top 5 in their office, and continue to be top producers within Keller Williams Realty.

How Small Home Improvements Can Improve Your Quality

If your life has been feeling drab and you think a change is needed, consider treating yourself to a home improvement project. While some people may prefer to indulge in desserts or heading to the beach for a vacation, these treats are short-lived. Once they are over, you are back to feeling unfulfilled. With a home improvement, you will be able to come home each night to the change you have made. This can help you feel better about things, just knowing at the end of a long stressful day, you will be able to enjoy your home even more. Changes can be drastic, but they do not have to be. Just by making small changes, you may find your mood lifted and your attitude changed. Even if there is no drastic improvement in your mood, it will improve the value of your home, so in the long run; the home changes will help you feel even better. Start by evaluating your outdoor space. If you feel like you would enjoy spending more time in your backyard, but you lack the privacy you need to feel comfortable, consider installing a CT fence. A Connecticut fence will allow you to feel as if you yard is the perfect escape from the stresses of life.

If more privacy is not needed, consider another backyard improvement like adding a pool. Imagine how it would feel, after a long hot day of working, to come home and jump into a nice, cool pool. This is also a great way to give the kids something to do during the long, hot days of summer. If you can reduce your stress of keeping the kids busy when school is out, you will start to feel like a whole new person. A pool can bring a great deal of joy to a family.

Those who would rather keep cool inside of the house should consider adding central air conditioning. This is an expensive home improvement, but it will add a great deal of value to your home. If you live in a climate where the temperatures top out in the 90’s or higher, central air conditioning will help you cool your home more efficiently. If you are looking to escape the stresses of life, knowing you will come back to a cool, comfortable house may do the trick.

If big changes are not in the budget or your house already has practical features like central air, consider a few cosmetic upgrades to make you feel better. Sometimes brightening your outlook on life is as simple as waking up to a fresh coat of paint. Look around your home and decide which rooms could use a little sprucing up. Having a desire to spend time in a new room in your home due to its bright, cheery feeling will give your entire day a boost.