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:
- 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!
- 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!)
- 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.
- 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.