A blog is just another tool for your auto repair shop.

A blog is just another tool for your auto repair shop.

Maintaining a blog is one of the best things you can do for your business.

Blogs are easy to create and maintain and relatively inexpensive—with sites like WordPress or Blogger, you can get started for free—and they will help you reach new customers through improved search engine rankings and general word of mouth.

The concept is easy, but the execution may be a bit more difficult: everyone with a camera is not a photographer and everyone with a pen is not a writer so, therefore, everyone with a blog is not a blogger (or at least a good one.)

The beautiful thing about blogs, though, is that they don’t have to be that complicated. Here are a few quick ideas on what you can put in yours:

Examples. Take pictures of some of the cars that come into your shop and write a brief summary of what you fixed and how you did it. It doesn’t have to be that long: start small and work your way up. You can explain some repairs with about 250 words. You can also tailor this kind of content to the season or whatever promotions you are running in your shop. Show examples of uneven tread when you are unloading tires and explain some of the suspension problems that can contribute to them.

Odd jobs. Sometimes, the most entertaining content is the stuff that takes you by surprise. Repairs you never thought you’d have to make or something that was difficult to figure out. Perhaps one of your customers will have an amusing story about why he needs a new fender that he or she won’t mind if you share (ask permission first).

Basic repair tips. You won’t be throwing money away if you explain regular minor maintenance and repair techniques. How to recharge your air conditioning, change a wipe blade or troubleshoot a fuse box. Customers will recognize you as an authority on what you’re doing and, many times, even after they read how to do something themselves they may still want you to do it form them. (Technically, anyone can do an oil change, for example. But do they really want to?)

Explain basic engine parts. Nobody likes to look foolish when they go into an autorepair shop. You can regularly photograph and explain basic engine parts to get your customers more familiar with the jargon that goes on inside your shop. They’ll appreciate your willingness to spread the knowledge.

Tales of caution. It’s okay in your blog to take a few pot shots at the competition, as long as you don’t mention them specifically by name. Take a photo of a botched repair job, explain what went wrong, how to stop something like that from happening again, and detail the steps you took to fix it—or the collateral damage the inept repair may have caused. Just make sure you make it known that you were not responsible for the faulty repair to begin with.

“Shop shots.” The auto repair blog The Humble Mechanic features a semi-regular section called ‘shop shots’ in which he takes photos of odd things throughout the shop and explains what they are and what they do. You could also spin this into a customer engagement tool: have a ‘guess the part’ contest with a discount or special offer as a prize.

Business blogs improve your rank on Google when you include certain keywords that are related to auto repair and your geographical location (include “auto repair or auto shop” along with your location at least twice in your copy). They will also help you create a following of people in your area because they allow you to show off your know-how, business sense and personality.