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John Meyers, Real Estate Pro in Park Ridge, IL

Which blog sites are best? Is it worth it to pay monthly fees on some for better exposure?

Asked by John Meyers, Park Ridge, IL Sun Jun 17, 2012

I've done mostly traditional marketing (direct mail, door hangers, etc.) which are expensive and not very effective.

I'm networking in my community which is working and would like to blog about local real estate trends & dining/entertainment (within a 5-mile radius).

Can I blog the same thing on 2 or 3 different blog sites or is that frowned upon? ~~ I realize there is no silver bullet. Just looking for better direction.

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Answers

12
Try several sites and see which combinations work best for you. Use AdWords and other tools for your test. Here are the platforms I use in the order in which they seem to respond best to searches:
1. Wordpress
2. Trulia
3. YouTube
4. ActiveRain
5. RealTown
6. Blogger
7. LinkedIn
8. Google+
Annette Lawrence (Florida agent active on Trulia) made a suggestion that really helped me move up the search ladder: don't copy the same blog onto every platform exactly the same. Change a few words in the title and in the first line or two so that Google doesn't fingerprint the content as a repeat and not count it.
Best of luck.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 18, 2012
Thanks for the info John!!!
Flag Thu Jun 21, 2012
Thanks for including your suggestion about the changes to blogs .. it's appreciated and I will be following your advice within my own blog. Thanks again ...
Flag Wed Jun 20, 2012
It you are looking for a blog site that will give you immediate google juice nothing beats Active Rain. I am usually on page 1 and in position 1 or 2 within an hour of posting on AR. Trulia is also great and will move you quickly up the google ranks. I also like American Town because it has a very local focus and I've have generated a number of strong lead from posting on it.

Thanks to John Souerbry's answer below I am going to start making a slight revision to them when copying a blog from one site to another.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 18, 2012
I think it's probably ActiveRain, hands down, in terms of web-presence, and helping you with SEO. However, I've been hearing of some other local ones lately that sound quite interesting. I think there are a few "boutique' sites/blogs out there that have gained a larger presence (sometimes for more specific audiences, of course)
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 17, 2012
Add my name to what is surely going to be a long list of Active Rain fans

You can also try to be the local real estate blogger for Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/ although this site doesn't have the same functionality as Active Rain.

And...have you posted your blogs in Trulia? Obviously, you like it enough to post your question here.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 17, 2012
I have a blog over on Active Rain. It's free for us since we started in 2009. I hear most people say wordpress.org is a good blog to have.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 17, 2012
I have time for Facebook, Trulia, Linkedin and sometimes Twitter. Wordpress gives you a lot of flexibility and you can make use of extensive keywording that gets you exposure. I believe if you have something genuinely interesting to say, people will find you. Pinterest is looking very interesting and I have put up a lot of favorite photos and a few pics for my biz, nothing serious yet.

Door hangers may work if you're farming a neighborhood. I don't rely on it very much. Though other agents tell me they get business from calendars and magnets, I think it's a lot of expense that is unjustified. It's better to get your name out there online.

Suz
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 24, 2012
John,

I have been on Trulia for three months. I have had four good leads. Two of the leads have become solid well qualified buyers. I have had several people contact me who just wanted info on a home they saw on Trulia, but did not commit to a face to face meeting.

In my opinion Trulia is the best value for the money. I pay 39.99 per month and bought a very small share in one zip code for 21.00 per month. I was spending way more than that on postage alone doing direct mail marketing.

Trulia is also great for getting tips from fellow Realtors. It is also a place where you can share your experience.

Trulia is very user friendly, so even low tech agents like me, can navigate it with ease.


Best Of Luck to YOU!!!
Kawain Payne, Realtor
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 18, 2012
Let me be the first to tell you that I think you're making a bad decision to use blogging to market yourself. If you don't even have knowledge of the etiquette of reblogging your own content, you should take that as a warning sign that you're stepping into a subject matter about which you know very, very little.

A blog does not make a good marketing platform between you and your potential clients, which are (presumably) home buyers and sellers within 5 miles of you. First, the subject matter is extremely diluted with competitor blogs: Crains Real Estate, Tribune's real estate blogs, and the like are all already giving market analysis to Chicago readers, and they're just the biggest fish in the pond. And if you were to Google "Chicago dining blog," I bet you'd crash a server somewhere. So your first problem is visibility: why would anyone read a blog that tries to straddle two huge subjects when they have all those other alternatives to investigate?

Second, a blog is unlikely to generate a substantial amount of business for you when compared to the investment you need to make in it. Your target audience - soon-to-be home buyers or sellers within 5 miles who discover, read, and act upon your blog posts - is minuscule. The amount of time and effort needed to maintain a blog, however, is enormous. Even if you're an infrequent updater, 3 posts per week would be minimally necessary to keep your readership interested in you. If each one takes three hours to research, write, and edit, that's 9 hours/week. Assuming you're already putting in a solid 40hrs/week, are your blogging efforts really going to increase your income by 25%?

Look, it's easy to say, "Start a blog!" and call that a marketing strategy, but it isn't. A blog - a real blog, with an active and enthusiastic audience that spreads the word about you and converts to sales - is a business all by itself. And it's a very challenging business to run. (And ActiveRain is not so much a blogging platform as it is an article farm for real estate professionals who are unfamiliar with how the internet works. It doesn't even reach your target audience, so you should just avoid that time vampire altogether.)

Instead, take your money and hire a guy who can run a smart Google Adwords campaign for you, and put up a few targeted articles in your website if you really want to generate leads from the internet. That's a much better use of your resources than starting a blogging endeavor. If you need the name of the best Adwords consultant in Chicago, drop me a message.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 18, 2012
Active rain i.e. AR has a strong website presence. They usually let you test it for a few months to see if you like and has monthly fee.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 18, 2012
John: Congrats on taking the social media and blogging route to success. I think you'll be glad you've made the decision you have.
I, like the Christiansen Team, are members of ActiveRain.com. I've commented on many of their blog posts and are very aware of their professional services, as a result. ActiveRain is a great "community" for real estate professionals of all types to belong to. I have found my participation to be of great value, not only in marketing online, SEO, name recognition ... but as an educational tool and great format for feedback among other members. I've also found great referral partners via AR and have closed transactions for clients through that outlet. The advantages to being a member have surpassed and gone way beyond what I had hoped for when I first became a member. The benefits received are worth the expenditure you might face.
As far as other outlets for your blogging ... I post the same blog post in multiple locations and sites, one being on my own personal website. I have found that there is little overlap and no repercussions to doing so.
If you have any questions regarding AR or entering the social media/networking arena .. please don't hesitate to contact me. I'll offer any assistance or answer whatever questions I can ...
Best of luck to you ...
Gene
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 17, 2012
I dont use any, but I have heard some people like activerain. I personally think its a waste.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 17, 2012
Thank you Matt. I thought that you would be a big blogging supporter since I see you everywhere. (Please take that as a compliment.)

I am going to experiment with ActiveRain but not go crazy since I need to maintain focus on face-to-face networking. I update you all soon. -- Thanks for the feedback everyone!
Flag Mon Jun 18, 2012
Great question John, and certainly does not lend itself to a simplistic response.
As our society become increasingly segmented and the information from which decisions are made come from increasingly narrow venues, the 'you gotta be everywhere' mantra seems to ring true. As time progresses, being everywhere will have an increasing time, money and resources cost also.

Your decision to go local reflects you see the delima awaiting folks at the end of the everywhere rainbow. It would serve you well to respond to yourself the answer to the following question. "Why is your community responding to your business efforts?" Each response, I'm sure you will discover, was based on a value you are perceived to bring into the relationship. That value may have multiple foundations. Take great care not to betray that value relationship with thoughtless promotion.

The same thing on 2 or 3 different blogs. Clearly you do not mean the same thing on two or three local blogs. Would you not be talking to exactly the same people..with the same message? That will be perceived as a betrayal of your value relationship.

Now the same thing in entirely different channels...now that's something that can work....except for 'penguin.' We'll get the that later.

Your Park Ridge ball players who are your Facebook followers will not be effected by the information on your Trulia blog. These blogs can contain identical content...but one group, or the other will be greatly disappointed.(the same message would not be compatible with both audiences)

Having the same data on your Park Ridge RealEstate Wordpress, your Facebook business, and your Park Ridge Community Guide Ezine publication will work well because they are unlikely to share the same reader population. When you can isolate the readers AND create a universally received message, you are good to go.. except standing between you and world domination is a 'penguin.'

This is Big G's (deployed in April 2012) counter attack on 'black hat' seo methods. Keyword stuffing, duplicate content, auto posting, repeated url links are all going to get folks penalized. If world domination is not your goal, it is unlikely that Park Ridge domination will find you in the penalty box. Just be aware, stay inside the guidelines and the penguin will just be cute. :)

Best of success to you,
Annette Lawrence
Broker/Associate
ReMax Realtec Group
http://www.FloridaRealEstateMadeEasy.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 17, 2012
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