Look, it’s hard to build a successful, profitable real estate blog. There isn’t a quick-fix recipe for success or a secret magic formula that will help you build a profitable real estate blog over-night.
The best you can do is observe, learn, take action, measure your progress, and adjust as you go along.
Write what you know (in your own style/voice), invest in a good design, back-up your work, and just keep doing what you’re doing.
But don’t take it from me, I asked a few Agents to contribute their own thoughts….
Here’s what they had to say…
“I wish I had focused more on the architecture and organization of my real estate blog…”
I wish I had focused more on the architecture and organization of my real estate blog. As a brute force blogger, content is not a challenge. However, much of my content has been dropped into my site like a pile of old clothes. 4 years later, I am redesigning around user experience and accessibility. Focusing on user experience continues to increase conversion on my site.
Scott Schang, author HomeownershipUniversity.com
Lesson: Don’t undermine the importance of proper site design, layout, and proper organization of your content (through categories, landing pages, etc.). Think about what, specifically, the consumer is looking for, and make it easy to find each of those things.
“You can learn and perfect blogging skills as you go, but just do it!”
I wish someone had told me “stop analyzing and just do it”. We get so wrapped up in graphics, mechanics, etc that we delay getting started. Consistently blogging, even if smaller, shorter posts keeps you top of mind with both Google and consumers. You can learn and perfect blogging skills as you go, but just do it!
Janie Coffey, author TheCoralGablesStory.com
Lesson: Don’t get stuck in the “planning” phase of launching your real estate blog. Too often, you wind up just making excuses. Better to just start, and perfect it along the way.
“I didn’t realize at the beginning that creating a blog is a lot like giving birth…”
There are many things I wish I knew when I started my blog. For instance, I didn’t realize at the beginning that creating a blog is a lot like giving birth. The gestation period is awkward and painful; the whole idea of bringing this thing into the world monopolizes your thoughts and saps your energy. Then, suddenly, you are rewarded with this baby that requires constant feeding, diaper changes and your undivided attention. It’s exhausting, all the nurturing, but it becomes your life if you want to see it mature and grow. The only difference between a blog and a baby is that this one will never leave home. You’re stuck with the darn thing.
Having said that, that is not the biggest thing I wish I knew. That honor goes to the fact that comments don’t equate to readers. Assuming as much is a dangerous trap. We have a tendency to need feedback (“Hey, they really like me!”) and, absent that feedback, assume we’re writing to an empty room. In doing so, we tend to sidetrack the conversation and derail our objectives. I have found over time that the people who don’t comment are in fact the people I am writing for, and I have to constantly remind myself of that.
Kris Berg, author SanDiegoCastles.com
Lesson: Just because people aren’t commenting on your blog posts doesn’t mean they’re not reading. Identify your ideal customer, and write your content as if you’re speaking to your ideal customer. Stick to that routine and you’ll attract the business you’re looking for that way.
“Just like most things in life, it requires lots of patience, consistency and commitment…”
Just like most things in life, it requires lots of patience, consistency and commitment. Many people quit way too soon just because they don’t see the results happening after a month or two. The way I see it, every post is like a deposit into the Google bank account. If it is useful, it will eventually lead to business. Over time and with more content, the business will show up more and more. Nothing happens overnight. But after a few years, it will become a very valuable resource.
One other thing – with blogging, you cannot fake it. You either know what you are talking about or you don’t, and a blog shows that. It can work for you or against depending on where you fall there. If you know what you’re talking about, the clients seek you out because they can tell you are genuine and that’s what they are looking for.
I do think it is advantageous for anyone starting out should seek out some training on it – the RE Tomato did a pretty good job for me, and I am sure there are others out there doing something similar.
Tyler Wood, author TheTimWoodGroup.com
Lesson: Don’t expect over-night results. But if you stick with it long enough, and stick to writing what you know (in your own style and voice), you’ll see results sooner than later.
“It’s always easy to write an article around a photo. A picture says a lot and you can easily add something informative…”
Here’s a few thoughts…
1. It’s always easy to write an article around a photo. A picture says a lot and you can easily add something informative to compliment your photo.
2. A blog makes a excellent cousin to a static site and you can get both on the first page of google. Blogs are a great way to get time sensitive articles and trends out to your future and present clients. The key is to keep your blog up-to-date in order to keep people coming back.
3. When a client asks you a question, write a blog post about it. After all, you have clients asking you the same things so why not share your knowledge with others. Just listen to what people are asking and talking about…it’s always material that you can use.
Eric Bouler, author FrenchQuarterCondoTrends.com
Lesson: Listen for opportunities to turn daily client questions into a blog post. When someone asks you something real estate related via email, phone, etc… Take the opportunity to turn that into a blog post. The more content you write, the more you’ll get people coming back to your website.
“I learned later how important it is to update old posts with new information…”
Wow, there are a bunch of things I wish I’d done differently. With my Live in Los Gatos blog, which is on Real Town and uses (mandates) the category in the URL, I really wish I’d been more careful with my category names. For instance, I have a ton of photos there but foolishly made the category name “worth a thousand words” or worthathousandwords. UG, such a terrible thing in the URL when I could have said photos, photographs, images, etc.
With Live in Los Gatos and also with my Valley of Hearts Delight blog, I learned later how important it is to update old posts with new information. For example, every year I would write about certain community events. After 3-5 years I had that many articles, and sometimes readers would go to the oldest one, which was higher ranked on Google. Initially I deleted old posts, but that was not very bright because they were getting the best traffic. Next I added a link at the top of the old posts to go to the new one and at the same time began putting dates in the title/URL so that consumers wouldn’t be confused. That still wasn’t the best solution. The best solution was to rewrite the original post so that it would always come on top and always be current – so no dates in title or URL.
Mary Pope-Handy, Silicon Valley Realtor
Lesson: Take note of the content that readers are engaging with the most. This could even be a post you wrote 1-2 years ago. With that in mind, don’t forget to update your old posts and always keep your best content up-to-date and fresh!
“Proactively designing the user experience to deliver the most value possible changes everything…”
I wish I knew to think of the reader experience before writing my first blog post. To craft the ideal experience, I’d ask myself these questions…
How will the design reflect on my brand?
What will the content say about my values?
Is this tone appropriate for my audience?
What do I expect the reader to do next?
How can I add value to their life beyond the content itself?
The answers may have taken time to determine, but the results would certainly have been worth the effort. Proactively designing the user experience to deliver the most value possible changes everything.
Lesson: Once you publish something, it’s out there for the world to see and it’s permanent. So think about the message you want to communicate. Think about how what you write, is a reflection of your brand and your values. Always keep that in the back of your mind before hitting “publish.”
“Identifying and writing to a targeted audience…”
Identifying and writing to a targeted audience would be the best advice I ever received when beginning to blog. I’d rather be a big fish in a small pond than a small fish in a huge ocean with huge fish with larger marketing budgets. It’s easier to organically rank for specific neighborhood terms anyway.
Mariana Wagner, author ColoradoSpringsRealEstateConnection.com
Lesson: Think about the type of client you want to work with. If you want to work with buyers, write for buyers. If you want to work with sellers, write content for sellers. Ultimately, you’ll end up attracting the kind of business audience you’re writing to.
“Your blog posts don’t have to be perfect. They just need to be done…”
Your blog posts don’t have to be perfect. They just need to be done. Make sure to include photos! Lots of photos. People like looking at images and they help draw the reader in and down the page. Don’t “paralyze” yourself waiting to get your site looking “just right” or done. You’ll never do anything if you wait for that. Just start creating content.
Daley Chumbley, author ClarkCountyRealEstateGuide.com
Lesson: Don’t wait for your content to be perfect (it never will be). Instead, just focus on getting your content out there. The more you publish, the better you’ll get.
“Look in your mail in-box for post ideas. Listen carefully to the questions that your clients ask. If you can answer a question for one, why not answer the same question for many?
Design is important. Look at various real estate blogs and see what makes one more interesting and more functional than another. Draw the layout on paper. Get it to the point where you feel you’ve captured everything you wanted and then build one. It will make your life so much easier in the future.
Back up often. As your blog grows, so does your database. The last thing you want to find out that you lost your data and had no back up available. Back Up Buddy is an awesome plug in and worth every penny.
Look in your mail in-box for post ideas. Listen carefully to the questions that your clients ask. If you can answer a question for one, why not answer the same question for many? Easiest posts ever are the ones where you don’t overthink them and use your expertise.
Stay on point. If you sell real estate, drive home buyers and sellers to your site with real estate specific posts. Market reports are very powerful and easy to write. Find a format that works for you and be consistent. (Here’s an example).
Irina Netchaev, author PasadenaViews.com
Lesson: Look at other real estate blogs to observe what they’re doing well. How are they structuring their content? How are they diverting traffic to their IDX search pages? How are they converting traffic? Then, most importantly, ask yourself, how can you do what they’re doing…but better? And in your own unique style? The rest is just content creation…
“Generally speaking, if everyone you know likes it, and everyone you know is in the industry, you may not get clients from blogging…”
Pay little to NO attention to what agents think about your blogging, and 200% attention to what buyers and sellers of homes DO (not what they think…what they do) after reading your blog. Like hire you…or not.
While it was only a few days from blogging to my first client from blogging, with a slow but steady stream of clients since, along the way I sometimes got lost in what peers or even friends in the biz had to say about my blogging. Generally speaking if everyone you know likes it…and everyone you know is in the industry…you may not get clients from blogging.
Keep your head in the game…and remember that those agents are not going to hire you to be their agent.
IF you want your business to be agent referrals vs buyers and sellers directly hiring you from blogging…forget everything I just said. 🙂
Lesson: Write for your customers, not for the industry!
“Conversational writing made a ton of difference and also helped in defining my audience…”
When I started my real estate blog, I wish I would have known that conversational writing was just what the doctor ordered. Instead I focused on formal writing taught in school and emphasized in our daily business. Conversational writing made a ton of difference and also helped in defining my audience.
Ines Hegedus-Garcia, author Miamism.com
Lesson: You’re not writing a term paper here. It’s ok to drop the stiff, professional tone and to get conversational. Be yourself. In fact, when you write, act as if your sitting at a local Starbucks with a friend, talking real estate. No need to use corporate speak. Just be yourself and speak casually.
“The biggest revelation for me was to write about what I know, in a natural style…
Biggest revelation for me was to write about what I know, in a natural style. I spend too much time spent trying to imitate the style that succeeded for others.
Tony Lazzari, author MyNapervilleHomesBlog.com
“Ask for the sale…”
I wish I knew to ask my readers for the sale. Once I added “Click here to get a mortgage rate” links within my posts, lead volume soared.
Dan Green, author TheMortgageReports.com
Lesson: Loan Officer Dan Green has been contributing solid mortgage advice since 2004 and continues to do so (almost) daily. Not only does his writing deliver a thorough understanding of the current mortgage markets, but if you observe what he’s doing, my guess is you’ll find a few ways to enhance the Calls To Action on your real estate website as well. His advice is a part that’s all too often overlooked… Don’t ever be afraid to ask for the sale. That’s why you’re writing after all, to generate leads!
Over to you…
Do you currently have a real estate blog (or are you thinking of starting one)? If you’ve been at this for a while, what has been the most challenging part for you?
Are there any ideas in here that you’re going to turn around and implement right away?