It’s easy to start a real estate blog. But it’s also easy to mess things up.
Here’s a list of things to avoid to keep your site looking professional, and engage site visitors with your content long enough to consider what you have to offer… Hiring you as their agent!
Things You Shouldn’t Do When Starting a Real Estate Blog:
1. Don’t use a subdomain.
It’s easy to setup a blog on a platform like myrealestatesite.wordpress.com, myrealestatesite.blogspot.com, and myrealestatesite.typepad.com. But just because it’s easy, doesn’t mean you should do it.
I have nothing against platforms like WordPress.com, Blogger, and Typepad. I think they’re great blog platforms for a newbie blogger. But here’s the thing, if you’re starting a business blog, not a hobby blog, but a business blog, then you’d better invest in your brand from the very beginning.
Having your own domain name, and your own email address on that domain, looks professional. Blogging on a subdomain and using an Yahoo email account on the other hand, not so much.
2. Don’t use the word “blog” in your domain name.
There’s no need in identifying your site as a blog. Here’s the thing, consumers don’t really know the difference (and/or they don’t really care either). All they care about is whether this site happens to have the information that they were looking for online to begin with.
So, if you can help it, go with something like PasadenaViews.com instead of PasadenaViews
Which one do you think looks better?
3. Don’t launch before having written (at least) 5 – 10 blog posts.
If you launch with very little content, you risk losing potential new subscribers before they’ve even had a chance to enjoy your content. Ideally, you want to have written somewhere between 5-10 blog posts prior to launch. This way, first-time site visitors have some content to dig through, absorb, and enjoy.
The more they read and enjoy your content, the more likely they are to subscribe.
Not sure what to write about? As Inbound Marketer, Marcus Sheridan says, “you’re first 50 blog posts should be 50 questions your customers ask you all the time.” He’s right, start with the things consumers are asking you about buying/selling real estate. Learn how to use your blog for stock answers.
4. Not paying attention to your About page (or other landing pages).
I look at enough real estate websites where the About page and other community landing pages say one of two things: 1.) “Coming soon…” or 2.) “Welcome, this is an example of a WordPress page.”
If this is what your live website looks like, you’re losing site visitors and potential customers. Here’s the thing, you need to think of your website as a business. It might not be brick and mortar, but you still need to think of it and treat it as a business. Having an empty page, looks unprofessional. It makes the reader wonder whether your content is reliable.
“How could it be? These pages aren’t even complete!”
That’s what they’re thinking.
So look over some of the most important pages on your website – About, Community, et cetera – are each of those pages complete with content? If not, un-publish them and put them in “draft” mode until they are.
5. Not having some type of lead-capture enabled on the site.
This is the part where I recommend an IDX solution and of course I’m going to recommend the Diverse Solutions IDX (Disclosure: I work for DS). The beauty of a plugin like dsIDXpress is that it essentially turns your blog into an MLS system of sorts where consumers can search for homes easily. After all, that’s one of the primary reasons they’re on your site to begin with…to search for homes.
If you can’t afford an IDX just yet, no worries, you still have a few other options. They’re a bit labor intensive, but they’re options none-the-less.
Use the AgentPress Child Theme - The AgentPress WordPress theme from StudioPress has it’s own property listings widget built-in so that you can make it easy to search for homes. Unlike the dsIDXpress plugin, you’ll have to upload listings to your site manually as it’s not using a data feed to populate live listing data. Still, AgentPress makes it easy to create a listings management system for your website.
Try the WP-Property Plugin – I’ve written about this one before. If you’re using any other WordPress theme and you’re just not ready to purchase an IDX solution, the WP-Property plugin makes it easy to add your recent property listings to your blog and to create a featured listings page. As long as you’re running WordPress 3.0 or higher, this plugin works right out of the box. It might be a bit labor intensive to add 5 – 10+ property listings but it’s perfect if you’re just starting out in the business and you want to set up and neatly organize a Featured Listings page on your site.
Bottom Line: You need some type of lead capture enabled on your site to properly generate any real estate leads. Not having an IDX is akin to having a car dealership with no inventory… No one’s gonna want to buy from you.
What else would you add?
What mistakes do newbie real estate bloggers make? What are some things to avoid when starting a new real estate blog?