Learning from Other Successful Bloggers - Watch Listen and Observe !

Real Estate Agent with The Somers Team at KW Philadelphia

 Learning from Other Successful Bloggers - Watch, Listen and Observe !

When I first started on Active Rain less than a year ago, I had no idea what I was doing in terms of blogging and setting up a blog.  Today I have more of a good idea thanks to the Active Rain community.  In addition, I paid attention and subscribed to many blogs where it was obvious that they were top bloggers and had a lot of information to share.  Further, what I found is that many bloggers here on Active Rain are so helpful and informative.  One of the bloggers here on Active Rain that has been extremely hepful and informative to us is Bill Gassett.  He does not know it, but he is one of our mentors when it comes to blogging for business, SEO and the like.  I mention him in a number of posts to give credit where credit is due.  Hopefully he does not think we are stalkers !

In any event, Darren at Probloggers Day 4 task was "to spend time watching, listening and observing a successful blog with the goal of letting what you learn help shape your own blogging strategy."  Bill graciously agreed for us to write a post on his blog after performing that exercise.

On his main AR blog, he has tremendous content.  He has content for consumers, Realtors, other bloggers and so forth.  I believe his AR blog is his main blog that links to his other blogs as he has several of them.  Due to the great content that he has I can see why he ranks as number 25 in all of Active Rain for number of subscribers !!

In his individual blog posts, Bill knows about link love !  One of the tips I learned from him is to link relevant content to other blogs posts that you have done which is great for SEO.  I am not a SEO expert but I know Bill is.  So I need to remind myself to continue to have a linking strategy within your blog post.   I can also see that Bill knows his keywords quite well as you can analyze pretty much any of his posts and you can see keywords strategically placed throughout the post.  However, if you were not looking for them, you probably will not find them as his posts flow well and the keywords are not forced.   Speaking of SEO, I think the footer that Bill uses on the bottom of his posts help out a ton as he has both link love and keywords for the towns that he specializes in.  It reminds me that I need to get a more professional type footer.

From a design perspective, Bill's photos are crisp and there is plenty of white space in the blog where reading comes natural and easy.  His photos on his consumer posts for his listings are numerous and look great.  And for other localism content, he has some great fun photos that correlate to his blog subject.

On his main AR blog, he does not have too many widgets on his side bar.  For a time, I had way too many !  His Feedburner widget is broken as is mine.  I have sent Active Rain a help message twice but they have yet to respond with a solution.  (Bill, if you figure this out, please let me know). 

From an interative standpoint, Bill gets a ton of comments on his blog posts.  Many of his posts will get well over 100 comments.  The reason being is that Bill rocks !  But also he is very interactive.  Not only does he respond to many of the comments on his own blog but I am see him commmenting on many other blogs as well.  The benefit of this is obvious - he is being interactive, engaging and connecting with others.  I try to do this as well as much as I can but it gets challenging on those busy days !

On Bill's outside AR blog, www.massrealestatevoice.com , his blog is very clean and crisp with a lot of white space which I like.  His indexing at the right is incredible.  His tags are relevant and easy to follow.  I am thinking that my tags might be all over the place and that might be something I need to update and tighten up a bit.   His feedburner widget is above his Listing Router.  Matt was saying that probably the Listing Router should come first as that might be the largest call of action but I am not sure how much of a difference that makes.

Lastly, Bill has a number of ways to subscribe to his blog at the bottom of his posts.  I still have not figured out how to have a link or button at the bottom of my blog posts to give readers the option to subscribe.  I also like the way he has "subscribe in RSS" with the feedburner icon where I just have a plain link.

Well, I did not intend for this blog post to ramble on.  There is just a lot one can learn from a top blogger !

Good luck in your improving your blog.  Remember to watch, listen and observe how other top blogs operate !

What will you do today to help improve your blog and your blogging skills ?

Other Related Posts:

Are you Connecting with Your Readers ?

Are You Blogging for Business ?

Have you read some of these top Bloggers ?

Promoting Your Blog - Day 3 of the Build a Better Blog Challenge

5 Ways to Recommend Price Reductions to Sellers

Day 1 of Build a Better Blog - Elevator Pitch

I am really excited to be doing this 31 day challenge (see Matt Stigliano's post - 31 Days to Build a Better Blog - Who's in ?).  It is not too late to be a part of it.  You can join the Active Rain Group "Build a Better Blog" today.  Or subscribe to our blog to follow along !  Is just a click away !

The Somers - Chris and Stephanie Somers

Click here to receive our Blog updates via email ! 



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Fernando Herboso - Broker for Maxus Realty Group
Maxus Realty Group - Broker 301-246-0001 - Gaithersburg, MD
301-246-0001 Serving Maryland, DC and Northern VA

Great testimonial;. . I'm also subscribed to Bill's blog and I tried to learn as much form him.

Apr 10, 2009 10:04 PM #28
The Somers Team
The Somers Team at KW Philadelphia - Philadelphia, PA
Delivering Real Estate Happiness

Jason- That is awesome that you and Jennifer are together.  Stephanie and I do the same thing as far as helping each other with the blog.  Last night, we had a fabulous dinner at the new Comcast Center (Table 31) in Center City.  We took a couple of photos and I am sure we will do a localism post on that in the next couple of days.

Lee and Pamela - Yes it is good to have great mentors.  And here in the Rain, there can be so many of them as we all help each other : )

Maria - Yes, sometimes Stephanie and I can blend but other times it is pretty clear for the most part.  In the future, I would also like to have a blog like Bill !


Apr 11, 2009 12:15 AM #29
The Somers Team
The Somers Team at KW Philadelphia - Philadelphia, PA
Delivering Real Estate Happiness

Bill - It is hard to believe that you were "as green as they come"!  But then again, maybe not as when I started (not too long ago), I was also as green as they come too.  The great thing about Active Rain is the ability to learn and to learn fast as there are so many great bloggers here and superb resources right at your fingertips.

We have certainly learned a lot from you and will continue to "watch, listen and observe" to learn more !!!

It really is amazing how much business can be had from having a strong and consistent Internet marketing and social media marketing strategy.  Part of that is certainly making the connections with people and other bloggers which includes reaching out and making those reciprocal comments and building those connections through email or twitter, or even offline at the conventions or RE bar camps and the like.

Thanks for the tip regarding feedburner.  I do have that link now that I am adding to the bottom of some posts.  I still would like to learn how to add buttons or links in the post for Rainers to subscribe as well.  Just got to do some research on that.  I like the little icon you use next to your link.  I need to figure out where to get that as well : )

I have some work to do !  In addition to doing the next task for the "Build a Better Blog" challenge !

Apr 11, 2009 01:35 AM #30
The Somers Team
The Somers Team at KW Philadelphia - Philadelphia, PA
Delivering Real Estate Happiness

Richard- It is pretty amazing the page rank a blogger can build up to.  I am not well versed of PR and all that but understand the basic premise.  Is quite awesome.  Would be interested in discussing more with you !

Hannah - You are making me blush !! : )

Erica - You are welcome !  It was fun doing this one as well !

Marian- I could not agree more !  Bill has taken the time since we first started to answer our questions and emails that we sent to him.  Very genuine indeed !

Sally - A ton of info !  I am enjoying soaking it all in.  Is awesome

Loreena- Thanks !  The exercise was quite rewarding and will continue to be a daily task of sorts as we can all learn from each other.


Apr 11, 2009 01:41 AM #31
Jessica Jones
Sandestin Real Estate - Sandestin, FL
Destin Sandestin 30-A Real Estate

Thanks for some great tips and advice! Great post and looking forward to many more great ones!

Apr 11, 2009 02:09 AM #32
Gary Woltal
Keller Williams Realty - Flower Mound, TX
Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth

Christopher and Stephanie, your honoring Bill here reminds me how much we all help each other in the Rain with blogs, our business, and life. A very good summary of all your observations.

Apr 11, 2009 03:07 AM #33
Jeff Belonger
Social Media - Infinity Home Mortgage Company, Inc - Cherry Hill, NJ
The FHA Expert - FHA Loans - FHA mortgages - USDA loans - VA Loans

Hey Stalkers... I mean Chris & Stephanie....  hey, how much did Bill give you for that awesome plug...  ;o)  Seriously, I could agree with you more. Bill seems to know how to lay this out and what to do. And I have learned a few good tips from others on AR.

Overall, I will agree with Bill's comment, you all, and many others... being amazed on how much business that you can generate from writing blogs online and from social media networking.  Nice job on this one.

Jeff Belonger

Apr 11, 2009 04:55 AM #34
The Somers Team
The Somers Team at KW Philadelphia - Philadelphia, PA
Delivering Real Estate Happiness

Russ- Rock on !  Blogging for business can be very successful and a lot of fun for sure !

Terrie - Thanks !  We are glad that our blog is also informative and resourceful.  It is great when one can take what they have learned to improve upon individual blog posts and the blog as a whole.  I saw that Kristin Moran featured you in one of her recent posts which was great !

Kay- There are so many great bloggers out there.  It is great when you can learn from them.  As our title mentions, it is just taking the time to watch, listen and observe.  Bill certainly is one of the premier bloggers.  Being ranked number 25 in terms of number of subscribers is quite impressive !  However, the bigger picture is that we all can learn from each other, no matter if we are veteran bloggers or newbies !

Kathy - Exactly.  We can learn from each other and learn something from practically every blog post that we read here in the Rain !


Apr 11, 2009 07:42 AM #35
Patricia Aulson
Realtor - Portsmouth NH Homes-Hampton NH Homes

We learn from watching others. AR is a great place to get worthwhile information about every things.

Portsmouth NH Real Estate

Apr 11, 2009 07:47 AM #36
The Somers Team
The Somers Team at KW Philadelphia - Philadelphia, PA
Delivering Real Estate Happiness

Liz- Thank you for your insightful comment.  Your advice to your friend was great.  Just by reading and reviewing other blogs in your niche or even here in the AR community, one can learn a lot.  I am glad you found this post informative.  You are right that if the blog is too "me me me" than providing relevant and informative content, that blog might not be returned to. 

As far as feedburner, I should be speaking to Bob Stewart on Monday to figure out why our feedburner widget is not working on our AR blog.  But it is working on our outside blog !  Feel free to follow-up with us if need be.  It is certainly a great option to have on your blog.  ~ Chris

Apr 11, 2009 09:42 AM #37
The Somers Team
The Somers Team at KW Philadelphia - Philadelphia, PA
Delivering Real Estate Happiness

Mike - Great quote !

Andrew - It can be hard work, but it can also be quite rewarding.  When you feel it is hard work, than know that you are also "blogging for business" .  The rewards may take to come, but they do come for sure from consistent blogging efforts.

Chris - It can happen sooner than you think !  I would suggest to join the "Build a Better Blog" here in the Rain !

Sharon and Greg - Bill is certainly one of those bloggers to emulate and learn from.

Christine - The same with us !

Gene - Congrats and welcome !  We have alreayd learned a lot since we joined and only a few days into the blog challenge !

Jeff - Coming from you, that means a lot !  Wow and thanks.  We look foward to keep growing here in the Rain with the likes of yourself, Bill and many others !

Fernando - Subscribing to Bill's blog is definitely a wise decision !



Apr 11, 2009 01:15 PM #38
William Johnson
Retired - La Jolla, CA
Retired Real Estate Professional

Hi Chris and Stephanie, I am not sure that we have met before but I am William and my compliments on the post. Bill is a fine blogger and a really nice guy as well and I am delighted you have showcased him as he has certainly earned the praise. I look forward to also reading more of your contributions here in the Rain. Well done!

Most Sincerely,

Apr 11, 2009 02:06 PM #39
Sharon Alters
Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308 - Fleming Island, FL
Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL

Chris and Stephanie, Bill has been one of my top favorite bloggers since first participating here seriously last summer. He has always been helpful and friendly. He's very willing to share what is working for him. Just like he did when he told you about how to do feedburner. Great post! ~ Sharon

Apr 11, 2009 03:03 PM #40
The Somers Team
The Somers Team at KW Philadelphia - Philadelphia, PA
Delivering Real Estate Happiness

Jessica - Sounds good ! We will definitely have some related posts as a result of the "Build a Better Blog" series.

Gary - Wow, I really appreciate it.  Helping other and giving is what it is all about and what makes life beautiful.  And the best part is is that it comes back to you in many ways : )

Jeff- Thanks !  It is amazing how much business can be generated from blogging and social media.  The key is to build your presence and have consistent content and learn from the likes of yourself and Bill !  You can pay me later on that one : )

Patricia - Most definitely.  We can learn something every day here in the Rain !


Apr 11, 2009 11:45 PM #41
Debra Kukulski, Broker Associate
RE/MAX Suburban - Cary, IL
SRES;SFR,CDPE;GRI;ABR;e-PRO Realtor, Northern IL

Hi Christopher and Stephanie:-)   I am heading over to  Bill Gassett's blog now to check it out!  That is one of the great things about Active Rain....the power of learning from each other:-)

Apr 12, 2009 01:12 AM #42
Terrie Leighton
Ferrari-Lund Real Estate - Reno, NV
Reno Real Estate Agent ~ Selling Homes in Reno

Stephanie ~ I am so thankful you mentioned Kristin had mentioned me in her blog, I missed it! Thank you so much and have a wonderful Easter!

Apr 12, 2009 04:13 AM #43
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg Real Estate

You guys are stalkers and are lucky Bill had to time to consult with you on this.  Good post.  I'll say that the 'subscribe to me' at the bottom of some people blog is just annoying.  Can't remember the last couple of recent posts about it but if you want to subscribe to someone in AR just click on the right!  EGADS already.

Apr 12, 2009 10:48 AM #44
Sonya Loose
Modern Realty - Beaverton, MI
Helping Buyers & Sellers of Waterfront Property

I have picked up tips from Bill as well!  He is a great blogger and should be very flattered by your praise of him!

Apr 13, 2009 01:52 AM #45
Carrie Sampron
Home Smart Realty Group - Highlands Ranch, CO
ABR SFR & Kathy Sampron (303) 931-3629 Highlands R

Carrie and Kathy SampronHey thanks for the link to Bill's site.  I haven't read him before but know I'm looking forward to it!

Apr 13, 2009 10:17 AM #46
The Somers Team
The Somers Team at KW Philadelphia - Philadelphia, PA
Delivering Real Estate Happiness

William - Is nice to meet you as well !  Am glad you enjoyed the post.  Bill is certainly a great one to learn from.  Will look foward to networking with you more in the Rain !

Frank & Sharon - Is great when we have the resources here to work together to help each other.

Debra - You are right.  We are all here to help each other grow our business !

Terrie - You are welcome !  It was a great feature !

Apr 13, 2009 01:32 PM #47
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