Video Tutorial: How to Create a Free Real Estate Blog in 25 minutes

The word Blog is short for the word “web log”.  Blogs first started in the late 1990’s but really became popular around the year 2000 and today there are hundreds of millions of blogs around the world. You are even  reading a blog right now.

Social Networking followed blogs by about 5 years and started gaining momentum soon after the millennium. Websites like Facebook and Twitter have gained hugely in popularity and proactive agents have been early adopters of social networking.

The problem with social networking from a marketing perspective is that their instantaneous nature means that they are very much like throwing handfulls of snow in a snowball fight and hoping some of them hit home. Stop throwing and you will stop hitting people. This means that to get great results you have to be constantly posting which can be very time consuming for many agents.

Tweets on Twitter have a lifespan measured in minutes and will normally be most effective within 10 to 15 minutes of posting. Facebook posts are a little longer lasting but their effectiveness is still measured in days. Blogs posts on the other hand keeps on giving days, weeks, months and even years later.

At Nerang First National we have had our blog going for a little over a year now and during that time we have posted up 57 articles which equates to around 1 article per week. Posts that I made in the first month are still being read and attracting visitors over a year later.

In the context of our snowball fight think of blog posts like rolling your snowballs down the hill at the opposition. You write an article just once and every day it’s readership is just getting bigger and bigger with no further work from yourself.

To illustrate  this here is the statistics for two o four posts.

Funny Real Estate Photos was posted in July 2009 and has been one of our more popular articles.


Thinking About a career in Real Estate? was written in late August and even with a limited audience that this subject would appeal to the views have been very good.


Then you get more time sensitive posts like “Local Christmas Lights on Display” which attracted about 400 views in just the few weeks before Christmas.


The first two articles were written when the readership was only a fraction of what it is today. If they were written today they would have much bigger peak in the first few weeks.

Every month the readership of our blog increases and in the past year we have had close to 10,000 views on the website. If the month on month growth continues we should see well over double that traffic over the next 12 months. But blog readership is not all about web visitors as articles can be read a few other ways including an RSS reader like Google Reader, and through email subscription. Unfortunately tracking those views is far more difficult.

In addition to our own readership we have also been lucky enough for about 7 or 8 of our blog articles to be picked up and republished in the Gold Coast Bulletins Lifestyle Guide with full credit back to our agency. We also use many of the blog articles on our facebook page and in our email and printed newsletters.

I talk with other agents all the time who want a start a blog but are often put off because they believe that it costs a lot or is beyond their technical skills to setup. So to show people just how easy it is I decided to take setup a blog another First National member and use screen capture software to capture the process and offer it up as a video tutorial.

The Blog I set up was for Bushby First National in Tasmania.

I asked them to provide me with just three things

  1. Create an account on WordPress.com. I could have done this as part of the process but this way they get to select their username, password and email that they want.
  2. A header image  to suit the theme I was going to use which was 770 pixels x 140 pixels
  3. Copy of a first article with matching pictures.

Using just those resources I was able to setup a blog on WordPress.com and post the first article in around 25 minutes and it was all absolutely free. I took a couple of calls in between so you may see the video jump around where I stopped and started a few times.

Now what you will not see is an amazing professional Propvid style special effects, professional voice overs or mind blowing editing. What you (hopefully) will see is a quick and easy way to get your first blog up and running today. So be kind with my video skills… even you Brett!! 🙂

WordPress.com is not the only free blogging service around but it is the one I recommend. The services uses the WordPress blogging platform albeit a very locked down version to provide a free blogging service.

WordPress is the underlying blogging platform that runs the Business2 blog and in a followup article I will cover options of how to upgrade your blog. This will cover domain mapping and even upgrading to a self hosted wordpress solution just like Business2 or my personal blog at glennbatten.com. A self hosted version of WordPress allows you to install your own plugins and themes and provides greater functionality but you need to crawl before you walk and so a WordPress.com blog is the perfect start that provides you with access to a powerful upgrade path for the future.

Anyway on with the show. The whole tutorial covers three separate videos thanks to Youtubes 10 minute limitation.

You will notice that the address of the blog in the video is bushbyfn.wordpress.com. Since creating the site Bushby First National has since purchased their own domain bushbyblog.com.au and used the Domain mapping upgrade on WordPress.com (about $US10 per year) to map this new domain to their wordpress blog.

If you follow the tutorial and use it to setup your own blog please share it’s address with everyone in the comments section. Also, if  you are a real estate agent and already operate a blog for your agency then please share its address and your experiences to date so those considering setting up a blog can be inspired and learn from your experiences.

I would highly recommend any agency who wants to interact with their community, increase their brand profile and leverage more visitors to their main website consider starting up a blog. You don’t have  to go into as much detail in your articles as I have  on some of them.  Keeping it topical, opinionated and up to date is far more important.

Anybody who has been reading my articles on this site will notice the occasional cross over articles on our blog where I have written on the same subject but just from different angles. The article titled “Google Real Estate and Nerang, Highland Park, Carrara and Worongary” is the perfect example. Just write whatever comes into your head that you want to share. At first it may seem a bit foreign but you will soon be knocking out articles with ease.

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17 Comments

  • Leanne Pilkington
    Posted January 22, 2010 at 2:04 pm 0Likes

    Thanks Glenn,
    It is awesome that you go to the time to help us all with this. I will start working on my blog, and yes I will share it when its done. For some reason I cant view the last video – its saying it is private and diverts me directly to You -Tube – help?!
    Regards, Leanne

  • Glenn Batten
    Posted January 22, 2010 at 2:13 pm 0Likes

    Thanks Leanne.. That third video is set as public now. My apologies.. I must have forgot to press “save changes” on the last video when I made them all public..

  • Glenn Batten
    Posted January 22, 2010 at 2:19 pm 0Likes

    I am hoping Robert will share his experiences. When he updated his website last he had quite a lot of articles he had written in the past put up on his blog which created a huge boost to his page numbers.

    The RWM blog is integrated directly into his website. The fact that his website was created in WordPress makes it all seamless.

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted January 22, 2010 at 2:57 pm 0Likes

    Thanks Glenn,

    Just had lunch with Peter Ricci (and he paid) where the entire conversation surprisingly was about online 🙂 This year will be our tenth year of writing our weekly newsletter Virtual Realty News where on our website we have archived well over 2,500 pages (the average agent website consists of approximately 150 pages. The benefit of archiving is that the links remain live and this does wonders for our SEO on Google.

    Writing the blogs are definitely the way to go – and WordPress is the best technology available. Here is our last edition in 2009 and we start again next Friday.http://bit.ly/57yXxF

    I is written in Word then copy and pasted across into WordPress and generally takes approximately 30 to 40 minutes to set up (links and code etc) then we just hit send – that simple.

    Just as interesting is that clients only read a few blogs each week so if you are going to do it make sure it is entertaining and of very high quality as you want to see new subscribers not unsubscribers.

    This is an excellent article Gleen – congratulations.

  • Jonny Real Estate
    Posted January 23, 2010 at 9:36 pm 0Likes

    “Tweets on Twitter have a lifespan measured in minutesTweets on Twitter have a lifespan measured in minutes”

    Is it really worth doing for only a few minutes?

  • Nick
    Posted January 27, 2010 at 10:24 am 0Likes

    I’d agree that WordPress is the best technology available, although it is not as good as you can get.

    Completely separate from my day job, I’ve developed a custom CMS from scratch to serve a specific purpose and the difference is incredible.
    It is being used by several rather large sites and it works better than any off the shelf product.

    Mind you I’m a coder, so my perspective is slightly different from most people who want ease of setup. 🙂
    Just dont rule out custom stuff so fast.

  • Glenn Batten
    Posted February 1, 2010 at 4:59 pm 0Likes

    Just to give everyone a better understanding of the power of WordPress as a CMS we just upgraded our main site to a WordPress solution http://nfn.com.au

    I still have to integrate Zoo Property for the property database so that will take a little longer.

    Another example using a professional design is of course Robert’s site which is http://www.rwm.com.au

    He has the integration with the property database working really well.

    Both sites use WordPress for the full site, not just the blog.

  • wayno
    Posted April 7, 2010 at 3:47 am 0Likes

    Glenn
    When i start my blog, with these RSS feeds, if I see a very interesting article on your blog can I cut and paste it in it’s entirety with a paragraph telling where I found it with a link directly back to you blog ?

  • Glenn Batten
    Posted April 7, 2010 at 4:57 am 0Likes

    It is certainly technically possible to do that.. but generally the polite way to do it is to gain permission first. Why wholesale copying of articles is not good for anyone is you are creating a duplicate content and both sites get an effective penalty.

    What you would not really need permission for and is a positive from an SEO perspective for everyone is to include an extract ( a paragraph or two) and then link to the original article combined with a small introduction and commentary from you. Both sites would have unique content and rank well.

  • wayno
    Posted April 7, 2010 at 5:19 am 0Likes

    Thanks for the response Glenn, now I know that I intend doing it and then expanding on the original article with my own thoughts (is this allowed) ?

  • Glenn Batten
    Posted April 7, 2010 at 7:06 am 0Likes

    Wayno,

    Yeah.. thats what makes the content unique.. eventually you wont even feel the need to quote another’s article to bulk up your own article.. In the end you might just be linking to them. Certainly you can be influenced but other articles you read but just try and make as much as you can original content.

    Initially though if you treat it like you are commenting and sharing stuff you find with your readers… maybe something along the likes of this below

    Cheers

    Glenn

    ***********************************************
    Wayne over at XYZ realty has recently commented on some really good points about print advertising being ineffective for real estate around the country and how vendors can get better bang for their buck expanding their online marketing with additional features such as virtual tours, floor plans and professional photography rather than the traditional newspaper ad.

    Here is an extract of the article

    yada yada yada for a few paragraphs.. (you should be able to differentiate this text by using italics or quote)

    and you can read it in full here (insert link).

    Wayne makes some excellent points. In fact here at abc Realty we have found that online advertising is responsible for more than 80% of all enquiries etc etc etc etc..

    ****************************************************************

  • wayno
    Posted April 8, 2010 at 2:06 pm 0Likes

    Glenn
    Would you suggest having a static front page for your blog then a second page with all your posts on it or just the one page with the posts on it when people go to it ?

    Also if you had a domain xyzrealestate.com.au as your web site what would you recommend as a wordpress domain ? xyzre.com.au as an example that is linked to your web site, do you register this domain name and then update it to WordPress for that fee of $10 a year or am i missing something.

    Thanks in advance

  • Glenn Batten
    Posted April 8, 2010 at 11:41 pm 0Likes

    Wayno,

    From an SEO perspective on the home page you can get better consistency with having a fixed page however that being said most of the SEO traction you will get from a blog is the individual posts themselves. The home page for the blog is the best way to introduce people to your however many last articles so thats the way I would recommend.

    With regard to the domain there are a few options to go for and each has advantages and disadvantages.

    If your main website is xyzrealestate.com.au you could have your blog located at

    blog.xyzrealestate.com.au
    http://www.xyzrealestate.com.au/blog
    or a full new domain say http://www.xyzrealestateblog.com.au

    Which one you choose is a personal thing based upon and none of them is perfect solution.

    A full new domain starts your SEO from scratch but when you build up some SEO value it will pass some of that “link juice” back to your main website helping to drive it a little better.

    If you want to run your own domain the if its a .com (ie. xyzrealestateblog.com) domain you should be able to pay for it automatically through wordpress.com and everything will work automatically. It is currently $US14.97

    http://support.wordpress.com/domain-mapping/register-domain/

    If you wanted a .com.au address then you will need to purchase this through and external registrar and point it back to wordpress. You need to pay for that domain seprately and the mapping at wordpress.com is $US9.97

    http://en.support.wordpress.com/domain-mapping/map-existing-domain/

    Both a subdomain and a subfolder will both leverage the current SEO value of your website to give you a quicker growth. Most people are divided over which is better a subdomain (blog.xyzrealestate.com.au) or a subfolder (www.xyzrealestate.com.au/blog). You will see many discussions about it on the web.

    My personal opinion is that a subfolder will give you slightly better use of your current SEO.. but only slightly. But since your probably using wordpress.com you are restricted to using a subdomain only. Subfolders are only applicable when you main website is run using the same wordpress installation (like ours is at http://www.nfn.com.au). This is a good thing because having the two separate you are less likely to botch a link from a subdomain than a subfolder.

    To do this you need to change the domain settings for your primary domain and there is a domain mapping charge still applicable at wordpress.com for $9.97

    http://en.support.wordpress.com/domain-mapping/map-subdomain/

    In summary.. if you have a website ranking well already and you want to to leverage that and not be as worried about SEO strategy then I would use a subdomain option. This is really the option applicable for most agents and probably you. If you wanted to create more a of a community based blog and/or really try and maximise your SEO (and all the work and research that entails) then I would recommend an independent domain and preferably a .com.au one.

    Hope this helps

  • wayno
    Posted April 9, 2010 at 8:28 am 0Likes

    Hi Glenn

    Just thought I would let you know on bushby’s blog front page the link for http://www.bushbys.com .au is directed straight to nfn.com.au

  • Michael
    Posted May 12, 2010 at 1:24 am 0Likes

    I think that creating and using blog through wordpress.com is definitely quite easy and good start but it has some limitations. Bloggers have much more options using full version of wordpress on their hosting. You can install plugings, change themes and other great functions which are either paid or not allowed through wordpress.com.

    Of course it is harder to run and install blog on your own hosting. Many hosting providers has utility called Fantastico De Luxe which makes installation of wordpress easier. If you are quite tech and internet savvy you can try it yourself.

    For everyone else you have to use web development agency. I am sure that agentpoint.com.au can help you with that.

  • Timothy | Real Estate Agent Brisbane
    Posted March 7, 2011 at 12:29 am 0Likes

    I’ve been hearing wordpress from some people I know. They are right, wordpress is a great platform. I thought it can only be used for blogging, I now have an idea that you can create a site out of wordpress. I never used it before, I might use it to my real estate sites. Thanks

  • justmoveout
    Posted March 16, 2011 at 6:58 pm 0Likes

    This is really the option applicable for most agents and probably you. If you wanted to create more a of a community based blog and/or really try and maximise your SEO (and all the work and research that entails) then I would recommend an independent domain and preferably a .com.au one.

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