It’s all too easy to find yourself on the road to complete blog failure

May 12, 2010
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2845637227 f2dba69ea4 211x300 Its all too easy to find yourself on the road to complete blog failureHave you noticed the huge onslaught of Realtor/Bloggers out there in the last year? Wanna know where most of them are headed?

Complete Blog Failure!

Haven’t heard the phrase before?  Don’t worry, I made it up about 15 seconds ago, making you one of the select few to be the first to hear it and start getting everyone else commenting “That’s so CBF!”.  But in all seriousness, I’m not out to start a new catch phrase here.  I’m making a statement about a growing trend among Realtors who lack internet savvy but want to be on the cutting edge.  Many of them, sadly, are destined for the fate of CBF.

Let’s face it, more and more agents have gotten the blog bug, thinking it’s the pathway to real estate nirvana.  What’s not to like, right?  Agents love Google Juice like my dogs love tennis balls, and much like my dogs, they don’t know when to stop.  Consumers are more sophisticated as well, and websites these days need to be more advanced in order to find and retain clients.

What is CBF?

Ever heard the saying “The path to hell is paved with good intentions”?  Blogging is no guarantee that you’re going to find a stream of referral-free, loyal clientele.  It’s the goal, certainly, but I’m noticing that it seems to be hard for some agents to find the fabulous leads that other agents claim to be getting.  Just as a good blog can drive clients to you, a bad blog can just as quickly drive them away.  I have about 75 blogs in my RSS feed right now, and all of them have 4 KEY commonalities which make them successful, IMHO:



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  1. The Content Is Original- Ken Montville just wrote an excellent article related to this subject, but you need to post your own content, not others.  The reason is that original content ranks higher on Google, and reprints of other people’s work is identified as such and given lesser value in the search engine.  Wanna be valuable to Google?  Write your own content.  I’ve seen several agents who hire writers to generate content for them, and it’s a slippery slope, IMHO.  Why, you may ask?  If you don’t have time to write it yourself, how can you be sure that the assistant isn’t ripping the content off of someone else and putting your name on it?  Guess who’s on the hook for damages when you get sued for plagiarism?  It’s your name, not the assistant’s!
  2. The Content Is Well Constructed - Do you have trouble with composition, flow, spelling, grammar, etc?  If you have trouble writing in a clear, concise fashion, you may want to have someone proof read your work before you hit publish.  I can’t stand blogs that are poorly written with no regard to spell check, and consumers can’t either.  If they find your site and don’t like what they read, they won’t be back, period.  (I have ALL of my posts proof read by someone else before I publish, and it makes a world of difference!)
  3. The Site Is Well Designed and Easy To Navigate - So you’ve got all of this awesome content, but how do you keep readers on your site?  If people can’t easily find related articles and other information that is useful to them, they move on.  Generating multiple pages per visit is just as important as getting unique visitors.  More isn’t always better, and can often convince someone within 5 seconds that they don’t even want to attempt to find the answers they need in the 20 links and 30 subcategories and dozens of ad banners on your home page.
  4. The Content is Updated Regularly - Blogging only once a week (or even less) is not a smart way to build a blog.  Consistency is crucial, and by updating your blog daily you accomplish two things:  First, you’re establishing a precedence that readers can return daily to find new information.  Secondly (and most importantly to gaining new visitors), you are showing the search engines that your site is important because it is updated regularly.  Having an RSS feed for your blog is a great way to increase repeat visitors, and many email programs (namely, Microsoft Outlook) allow RSS feeds to go directly into a person’s email for instant notification of new blog posts.

Do It Right, or Somebody Else Will

Blogging is no longer some sort of fringe concept, and it’s no longer a select few agents trying to capitalize on the concept.  Realtors are out there en masse, publishing blog content non-stop in hopes of reaching out to web savvy home buyers.  The vast majority of these blogs will end up as complete failures (or CBFs), with agents frustrated that it didn’t “work” because they never saw an increase in business from the time spent on it.  “Complete Blog Failure” cannot be blamed on anyone other than the agent themselves.  Your blog can easily become the primary representation of who you are, and what your business is about.  What does it say to the client about you when your blog is inconsistent, ripped-off, and poorly written?

Just remember that it takes time, perseverance, and hard work to make your blog start working for you.  If you’re going to start a blog, follow through and keep it up!  If you quit after a month since you haven’t gotten any solid business from it, you’re doing yourself a disservice.  Stick with it for a few months, and if you still haven’t seen the traffic or client contact that you want out of it, go back to the 4 key components listed above and see where you can tweak yours to make it the best it can be.  Nothing feels better than to have someone recognize you from your blog and comment on how they’ve been an avid reader and follower for years.  Trust me, it’s happened to me before, and I plan to keep working on my blog to ensure it will again.

Photo Courtesy of fireflythegreat via Flickr cc license.

I'm a Realtor in Southern Maryland. I grew up surrounded by the RE business, spent time as an actor, worked as a theatrical designer and technician, and took the road less traveled before settling down in real estate. I run my own local market website at http://www.somdexpert.com and when I'm not at the office or meeting clients, I can usually be found doing volunteer work, playing with my 3 rescued shelter dogs (Help your local Humane Society!), or in the garage restoring antique cars.


  • Bob

    “Secondly (and most importantly to gaining new visitors), you are showing the search engines that your site is important because it is updated regularly.”

    Not true.

    Please folks, stick to writing about what you know.

  • http://www.somdexpert.com Jonathan Benya

    Bob, I’d love to hear your view on it in depth. It’s always been my understanding that a site that is sparsely updated does not see the same sort of traffic volume in the search engines that a site with consistent updates would. Is this not true?

  • http://agentgenius.com Benn Rosales

    Bob, from a real time perspective, it’s actually very true, from an seo perspective, I would agree, however, it certainly will not hurt you to be consistent nor relevant. Abandoned blogs can continue to operate on the success of one well positioned article, but it hums more balanced if it’s positioned on variety within the same category on a regular basis. Every day? Not necessary, but if I remove SEO as the reason and input consumerism, he’s actually dead on. It would have been better not to position that as SEO, but I understand why he did.

  • Bob

    No its not true. I can show you several sites that are rarely updated that rank extremely well.

    The myth that has been perpetuated with blogs is that frequency and quantity is what counts and there are more than enough non-blog sites out there to prove otherwise.

    The issue is quality content that garners links from many sources. Google is still a citation (link) driven search engine.

    I apologize for my earlier tone, but just as agents get tired of seeing people outside the RE industry give buying and selling advice, I am tired of seeing people with the same lack of experience and understanding behind the principles and concepts of search engines give SEO advice.

    • http://www.michaelbertoldi.net Michael Bertoldi

      Bob,

      I’m no SEO expert but I think we both know there’s a lot of stuff that goes into getting a site ranked well. However, I’ve read many times on sources like SEObook.com, not real estate websites, that google does indeed “like” fresh content.

      Of course other stuff has to be weighted. The websites age, the keywords it’s targeting, the competition for those keywords, etc.

      And as you’ve pointed out, links are huge. You’re exactly right. They’re possibly right up there as the most important thing.

      But for real estate professionals, I do think updated content is huge. If I have just one static page about Tuscaloosa Real Estate, it probably won’t compete well against a blog with weekly updates on Tuscaloosa Real Estate (everything else considered the same). I once worked on a website for a Huntsville Oral Surgery place and getting it ranked was easy as pie with no blog. But for more broad topics like real estate and with so many competitors, I don’t think Jonathan was giving bad advice by encouraging regular updates.

    • http://www.michaelbertoldi.net Michael Bertoldi

      “In a nutshell, SEO is about about publishing content people want to engage with, and linking. You need to create content that matches visitor intent, you need to be crawlable, and you need to have inbound links. Good SEO courses will have this message at their core.

      Did I mention links enough?”

      That quote is from a great article on seobook.com and you can read it here: seobook.com/learning-seo-noisy

      Just wanted to post that to say, Bob is right about links. Like I said they are huge. I’m just trying to point out that for someone struggling with a blog, the tips laid out in this post are a good place to start and updating content (with strategic keywords) is not a bad place to start.

  • http://www.somdexpert.com Jonathan Benya

    Point well taken. What I have worded poorly here was the concept that agents who decide to write a blog, throw up a dozen posts or so over a period of time and then hope that it generates long term traffic are going to be disappointed. I was doing my best to stay away from getting into the hardcore SEO conversation on this, because the post wasn’t meant to explain the finer points of optimization.

    I think the error was in my saying search engines are being driven by original content. What I should have made clearer is that as readership develops and content is written search engines have more to index and a wider range of topics from which to draw potential links. It also keeps your RSS feeds fresh and in the minds of your subscribers

  • Mike

    This is somewhat off topic, but I’ve seen many agents blog at least one time a day, and they even get featured on AR often, but they don’t do any business. A quick MLS search shows, little to no sales. I think that they should spend more time on business, and less time on blogging. If you do blog, you may want to stay away from describing yourself as a Real Estate expert, when you aren’t closing anything. IMO.

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  • Mike

    BTW, my response above was not directed at Jonathan. It was directed at some of the blog posts on AR and other spaces, particularly about short sale “experts”.

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  • http://centralohiohomesource.com Don Corson

    I appreciate Mike’s take on this subject. This is something that has been hitting home with me very recently: in our market, the agents that do the most transactions (100+ per year) are generally NOT the most active bloggers. Many don’t even have blogs. That said, most have a very strong web presence (which they have paid/ pay lots of $$ for), which generates many leads for the agent and their team.
    I think the blogger agent is a niche. Just like agents that specialize in historic homes, senior condos, waterfront property, etc. It is something that they love to do, and something that, if they do it correctly, can generate a good supply of leads to keep them busy as agents.
    I will definitely agree with Jonathan: do it right, or don’t do it. I have seen so many “blogs” of local agents that just throw up a photo and a description of their latest listing, and consider that a “post”. Blogging is writing. And if an aspiring blogger doesn’t have the chops for it, he or she should think of another way to market themseves.

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  • http://www.yourhasslefreelisting.com Jim Gatos

    It’s official! I am a real estate blogging failure! After experimenting for over 3 years with blogging in different forms, I have come to the conclusion that the LESS time I spend blogging. the more sales I am apt to make. Gosh darn, I wanted SO MUCH to succeed at Real Estate Blogging, guess I have to suck it up and focus on doing what REALLY matters, which is Listing and Selling, even at the expense of NOT blogging…

    LOL…

    I will STILL read and take part in commenting on other’s blogs, but me? When I keep asking the same question that keeps falling on deaf ears, “SHOW ME THE MONEY?!?!” Where are all the heavy hitting real estate selling blogging? and still, deaf ears, the answer is pretty loud to me…

    • http://www.somdexpert.com Jonathan Benya

      How about Jay Thompson, Teresa Boardman, Missy Caulk, Lenn Harley, Bryant Tutas, Todd Clark, etc.? There are plenty of very successful realtor/bloggers out there right now. I think Don Corson has a good point here: most agents doing 100+ units/yr aren’t blogging much, if at all. Blogging is NOT necessarily the best way to bring in a super high volume, but it DOES work for some. If you can get a higher volume of business from another form of marketing, I say go for it!

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  • http://launchyourlisting.com/ Mark

    There’s nothing wrong with creating one, in-depth, resource-style article every week instead of short daily articles that tend to be more superficial. Typically these longer “the ultimate guide to…” style articles perform better in the search engines and attract more links anyway.

    A good strategy for pulling a new blog out of obscurity is to incorporate content that appeals to and provides value for other real estate bloggers. This, combined with guest posting, is how you start to build relevant backlinks to get your new blog showing up in the search engines so your real prospects can begin to find you.

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  • http://AnnArborRealEstateTalk.com Missy Caulk

    Thanks for the mention…when I am busy in the business I don’t blog as much as I want to. But, I do try to do it 3 times a week, just because I want to keep fresh content up. I have a few abandon blogs…those I started on wp.com before I knew what I was doing. Yep some of them still rank, which is why I don’t delete them. Gosh haven’t looked at them in a couple of years, but they still show up on some searches.

    Consistency is key…whether it is once a week, or 3 times a week…or God forbid everyday. Your readers get use to hearing from you on a consistent basis.

    Quality over quantity is the right formula IMHO.

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