I often get realtors asking me about blogging, what it is and how to get started. I wrote this guide to answer the most frequent questions and provide some direction in getting started with blogging.
Where to get a blog?
I recommend that you go to WordPress.com and sign up for a free blog. The sign up process is quick and simple. This will give you a chance to play around without much time or capital commitment.
Since I’m much more familar with WordPress I’ll give a run down of what to expect from this:
- WordPress.com blogs are free to start out. You will get a web site address like: http://myblogsname.wordpress.com. When you sign up you will be able to choose the name for your blog.
- You will be sent an email to verify your blogs creation. Then you will be set up and ready to go.
- For free you will get:
- A selection of themes (designs) to customize your blogs layout
- Good SEO (well, alright SEO) already for your blog
- RSS feeds into your blog
- Excellent comment spam filtering
- Pretty much everything you need to start blogging right away.
- Never have to worry about servers going down, upgrading software, etc.
- A WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) blog editor. No need to edit HTML. Similar to MS Word.
- Ability to upload pictures to your blog posts.
- WordPress will add text-ads to your blog (somebody has to pay the bills)
- Pretty awesome for free!
- When you are ready to grow your blog or brand it some more there are advanced (paid) services
- All the information is available here: http://en.wordpress.com/products/
- The ones that you will most likely want are:
- Custom web address: $15.00/year for the name, $10.00/year for the hosting. Like: http://mygreenblog.com instead of http://mygreenblog.wordpress.com.
- Note: You can register the domain name anywhere, it doesn’t have to be with WordPress.com. They offer it as a convenience. I suggest keeping your domains together in one place.
- No ads: $30.00USD/year
- Custom design: $15.00/year. You still have to pay somebody to make the custom design for you. Contact me (email@example.com) if you need this.
Should you Blog?
Writing content yourself is a lot of work and it takes a lot of time. You can outsource your web hosting and the design of your blog. You can’t outsource your blog’s content, that would defeat the whole point. Before you jump in read 23 questions for prospective bloggers.
Before committing, these are the top 5 questions I think you should ask yourself:
- Do you enjoy writing?
- Do you enjoy reading?
- Are you willing to learn?
- Do you have time? To get real marketing return from blogging you will need to write a lot. Do you have 3 to 4 hours to dedicate a week to writing?
- Are you ready to be transparent and honest?
To get you started:
- Blogging Tips for Beginners – this is an excellent series written by Darren Rowse a professional blogger.
- Writing for the web is different than writing an email. A List Apart (alistapart.com), has excellent articles that I suggest you read. Here’s a direct link: http://www.alistapart.com/topics/content/writing/
- For your posts, ask a question and then answer it as your blog post.
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- What is the average price of a condo in Vancouver?
- How to work with a REALTOR®?
- How can I increase the value of my home?