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
- 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.
- A header image to suit the theme I was going to use which was 770 pixels x 140 pixels
- 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.