WordPress and Joomla and Active Rain... oh my!

By
Real Estate Agent with Century 21 Results Realty GA RE Lic # 282060

It is obvious to everyone in the real estate business by now that the future of marketing revolves around the internet... and websites.  And the "Yester-tech" of a static website isn't going to cut it.  The days of "My broker provides me with a website at www.myname.brokerage.com" are gone.  And honestly, the days of a site coded purely in html are pretty toasted as well...  The new paradigm is what are referred to as Dynamic Websites.  Dynamic sites are exemplified by blogs, web magazines and other sites that are continually updated and interactive. 

Back in "the day", a website was little more than a flyer or brochure that was available on the internet, rather than mailed out.  It might have had as few as one page and as many as five or six pages.  There usually wasn't a search capability built in, and it was only updated infrequently... if at all. 

Todays websites have all sorts of cool things to draw the consumer's attention, and to hold it.  Search is a BIG part of that.  Blogs, updated weekly, daily or even more, are another part.  Twitter feeds for breaking news can be included, as can Flickr feeds for new pictures and YouTube feeds for videos.  There might even be links or widgets displaying other blogs or sites...  The possibilities are almost endless. 

In short, they provide a new experience each time a consumer visits.  Why go back to the website if it is only displaying something that you've previously seen or read? 

 

Which leads us to some options...

Active Rain

This is Active Rain.  And so it THIS.  Obviously the blog you are looking at is part of Active Rain.  It says so right at the top of the page.  But the link to GwinnettGarageGuy.com is also linking to an Active Rain blog.  It is referred to as an "Outside Blog" or RainMaker Blog.  It has a custom URL and only a very discreet logo in the upper left corner. 

There are some tremendous advantages to Active Rain RainMaker Blogs.  To begin with, they offer built in traffic and "Google Juice" (search engine strength).  The traffic comes from the 170,000 members here in the Rain.  They provide a sense of community, as well as feedback and support.  In short, there is a LOT to learn at Active Rain, and being part of the community enriches the experience. 

Another great advantage of Active Rain's RainMaker blogs is ease...  It is SO easy to get rolling.  Build a profile, type up a post and publish... you are GOING.  Of course there are plenty of things to learn after that to tweak the performance of your marketing, but you can learn that here in the Rain as well... and a lot of it is free... and of course there are RainCamps to take it to another level. 

The drawbacks of the RainMaker Blogs are few...  It costs $29/month.  They aren't as customizable as the other platforms. 

In the world of the web, $29 isn't that much.  There are a lot of agents paying WAY more money for platforms that don't deliver these results...  But, $29 is $29. 

WordPress

Garage with a Detached HomeAlmost everyone has heard of WordPress.  Here is a WordPress site... and another one.  Notice that they look NOTHING alike?  That is part of the beauty of WordPress.  Sites can be themed VERY differently and not look at all like "the next site"... or the agent up the street.  Full-on branding.  Every part of the site is customizable and extensible.  There are thousands of widgets and plug-ins to alter the site experience.  Almost anything you can imagine can be accomplished in WordPress. 

However, while the platform is free, hosting it isn't (expect to spend about $100/year).  Also, there are many free themes, but the best ones cost a little money (expect to spend between $30 and $100).  Just a note, don't bother with WordPress.com... you'll spend at least as much to get it up to speed as you would with Active Rain, and not have the flexibility of a self-hosted WordPress blog (sometimes called WordPress.org). 

Another drawback of WordPress is all of the flexibility... there are too many choices for some people.  There are thousands of themes and thousands of plug-ins and you can do almost anything with it... 

Joomla

GarageHomesUSA.comAnd then there is Joomla.  Only the fairly hardcore know about Joomla!.  Here is a Joomla site... and another one.  There are competitors, like Drupal... but Joomla! is the one with the most support.  And much of what I just said about WordPress applies to Joomla.  It is free, but hosting isn't.  there are free themes, but the cool ones cost money.  There are loads of extensions... and some of them cost a little bit. 

But Joomla is WAY more involved and WAY WAY more powerful that WordPress.  Using most good hosts, setting up either is easy.  One click in Simple Scripts and the site is live... but after theming and content creation, Joomla requires a structure be thought out in the way content is arranged.  WordPress organizes content more "on the fly".  Joomla takes a little time to set up BEFORE content starts to flow... it can be done later, but it is much easier to start out with the structure. 

Since Joomla was designed as a Content Management System, that is what it does best.  It can be a news magazine.  It can be a search portal.  It can be a blog.  Honestly, being a blog for Joomla is like driving a Corvette ZR1 as a golf cart... you can do it, but that isn't really using the power.  But incorporating a blog into Joomla is pretty easy... 

In fact, using my theme provider, theming a WordPress blog and a Joomla site to look like family is pretty easy.  So, for the consumer, the experience of moving back and forth between the joomla CMS and the WordPress blog is almost seamless... even if they have different domians.  LaneBailey.com and GarageHomesUSA.com are completely different sites and different platforms.  They could even be with different hosts... 

FaceBook and Posterous

There are other options as well, and the leader among those are FaceBook Fan Pages and Posterous.  Both are free options and I thik they have a place in a comprehensive web strategy. 

FaceBook is becoming THE destination for millions of web surfers.  Maintaining a storefront there will become as necessary as having a website.  Your personal profile isn't the place to do business... get a Fan Page, they are free and you can even get a vanity URL.  Mike Mueller here on Active Rain is "THE Dude" when it comes to FB Fan Pages. 

Posterous is a different kind of beast.  I have written about it a few times, and it is certainly worth investigating.  There are more ways to leverage Posterous than anyone could possibly imagine on thier own.  Brad and Bobby Carroll (Dakno) are "THE Dudes" when it comes to tweaking out Posterous pages.

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Unless otherwise noted, all content of this blog is the property of Lane Bailey, ©2012 Lane Bailey. 

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Comments (19)

Susie Blackmon
Ocala, FL
Ocala, Horses, Western Wear, Horse Farms, Marketing

Tumblr is being talked about again at Inman. ;-)

Jan 13, 2010 04:40 AM
Lane Bailey
Century 21 Results Realty - Suwanee, GA
Realtor & Car Guy

Susie - I'm not surprised.  I have one of those too...  I haven't looked at it in a while.  Geez...

Jan 13, 2010 09:03 AM
John Thomas
E3 Green HOMES - Boulder, CO
EcoBroker, MSEE, MBA

Greetings...fellow Joomla fan ;-) I think the choice of CMS is all about the application . I built my main website in Joomla E3GreenHOMES.com and my property search site which seconds as a blog is built in WordPress E3ColoradoHOMES.com I looked at installing a blogging solution inside Joomla and decided it wasn't worth the effort. Yes, you can do it but it is still not as good a WP for blogging--in my humble opinion. I know there is a solution to install WP inside Joomla but that seemed like mixing apples and oranges to me. In the end, I decided to keep them separate. I also have an AR outside blog. I host both my sites at Rochen.com

Jan 13, 2010 01:24 PM
Maureen McCabe
HER Realtors - Columbus, OH
Columbus Ohio Real Estate

You are so hard core... I will not try Joomla.  I will not try Joomla. I will not try Joomla.  I will not try Joomla.  I will not try Joomla.  I will not try Joomla. I will not try Joomla.  I will not try Joomla.  I will not try Joomla.  I will not try Joomla. I will not try Joomla.  I will not try Joomla.  I will not try Joomla.  I will not try Joomla. I will not try Joomla.  I will not try Joomla.  I will not try Joomla.  I will not try Joomla. I will not try Joomla.  I will not try Joomla.  I will not try Joomla.  I will not try Joomla. I will not try Joomla.  I will not try Joomla.  I will not try Joomla.  I will not try Joomla. I will not try Joomla.  I will not try Joomla.  I will not try Joomla.  I will not try Joomla. I will not try Joomla.  I will not try Joomla.  I will not try Joomla.  I will not try Joomla. I will not try Joomla.  I will not try Joomla.  I will not try Joomla.  I will not try Joomla. I will not try Joomla.  I will not try Joomla.  I will not try Joomla.  I will not try Joomla. I will not try Joomla.  I will not try Joomla.  I will not try Joomla.  I will not try Joomla. I will not try Joomla.  I will not try Joomla.  I will not try Joomla.  I will not try Joomla. I will not try Joomla.  I will not try Joomla.  I will not try Joomla.  I will not try Joomla. I will not try Joomla.  I will not try Joomla.  I will not try Joomla.  I will not try Joomla. I will not try Joomla.  I will not try Joomla.  I will not try Joomla.  I will not try Joomla. I will not try Joomla.  I will not try Joomla yet. 

 

Jan 14, 2010 01:21 AM
Tom Hall
Coral Shores Realty, 1119 E. Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304 954-610-4186 - Fort Lauderdale, FL

Thanks again Lane, great information. Love all this new technology, I am ready to jump into the fray.

Tom

 

Jan 14, 2010 03:07 PM
Lane Bailey
Century 21 Results Realty - Suwanee, GA
Realtor & Car Guy

John - I love tools... LOTS of tools.  And I looked at one of the blogging solutions for Joomla... didn't like it either. 

Maureen - I don't believe you...  ;^ )

Tom - Jump.  It's fun.

Jan 15, 2010 03:08 PM
Evelyn Johnston
Friends & Neighbors Real Estate - Elkhart, IN
The People You Know, Like and Trust!

Lane, of course you like tools, you are the Garage Dude! This is way over my head. . .

Jan 17, 2010 02:10 PM
Mike Mueller
Tech and Social Media Consultant - Walnut Creek, CA

Lane -

Thanks for the nice words.  I am an "Ordained Dude" (really) http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikemueller/3069016050/

If you want a Custom Facebook Fan Page here's the link: http://areweconnected.com/facebook/

I too love Joomla - but for most I think it's too much work.

 

Jan 18, 2010 03:13 AM
Lane Bailey
Century 21 Results Realty - Suwanee, GA
Realtor & Car Guy

Evelyn - You can do it... or get Mike to help. 

Mike - Glad I could help.  And Joomla is a good bit of work, but it is sweet to use for big projects.

Jan 18, 2010 02:54 PM
Warm Media
Warm Media - Bend, OR

We built some really nice websites using platforms like WordPress. Check out PortlandLiving.org and LovelyPeninsulaHomes.com.

Jan 19, 2010 04:47 AM
Lane Bailey
Century 21 Results Realty - Suwanee, GA
Realtor & Car Guy

Lyel Allen - Those were just flat out spam.  You didn't even try to comment on the post...  Bye.

Jan 27, 2010 12:17 PM
Lyle Allen
DSN Satellite - Lansing, MI

I apologize. I am new to this. I deleted it. It will not happen again. 

Jan 28, 2010 01:12 AM
Philip McClendon
Manor Realty - Grass Valley, CA

Love the blog, very insightful as I am learning to navigate this SEO world of ours.

Feb 05, 2010 05:54 PM
Don Wixom
RE/MAX Executives Nampa, ID - Nampa, ID
"Looking out for your next move..."tm

Lane, My site is Joomla based with blog format & I love it!  I have just registered on WrodPress but haven't set anything up yet.  Any words of wisdom?

Feb 08, 2010 03:07 PM
Liza Valero
AgentOwned Realty - Charleston, SC

Lane,

Can Posterous be used for Activerain blogs that are NOT self hosted?  Are  the writing protocols set correctly and if not is there a way to change them?

Feb 10, 2010 07:23 AM
Lane Bailey
Century 21 Results Realty - Suwanee, GA
Realtor & Car Guy

Lyle - Thank you. 

Philip - Thank you as well. 

Don - I don't use WordPress.com... I use a self-hosted version. 

Liza - For the first part, no.  A|R and Posterous are different platforms.  I'm not sure I understand the second part.

Feb 10, 2010 02:06 PM
Israel Hunter
RE/MAX Ideal Brokers Inc. - Medford, OR

I use wordpress. I can tell you i love widgets but i have held back because too many slow it down. you can see my wordpress site at israelhunter.com. I have used joomla before and made a site with it but was not a big fan. im all for wordpress.

Feb 15, 2010 04:21 PM
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
MOOERS REALTY - Houlton, ME
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

"In short, they provide a new experience each time a consumer visits." 

     That sums it up. The "experience". It should be helpful, quick but thorough so everything is done for the buyer. You like a travel agent, have the itinerary if they do this route, but got them covered if they chose to go that direction. There plate is all served, the meat cut up, all prepared, hot and ready to sit down, eat, digest, glean. It is not about just the sticks and brick anymore. If you have not noticed real estate sales is not just the real estate anymore because your buyer is not just local. Did not sit behind you in home room or was your third grade girlfriend, the sister of your older brother's wife.

     Heck even getting a dozen ears of corn at the local farm stand has changed. Americans like the experience, to be entertained. Instead of just here's your corn, all bagged, everyone get in the wagon drawn by the tractor or horse and we head out to pick the fresh corn..have to have a Disney experience. You are right that building your own to do the job is key. Cookie cutter shiny, flashing look-a-like sites whipped together in twenty minutes with just a credit card number and an expiration date are everywhere. But where's the beef and uniqueness to your area? Missing after you strip away the flash. The widgets that harness your media streams are pretty slick to interface in to the modules of a Joomla, Word Press, etc platforms.

Feb 17, 2010 06:44 AM
Antonio M. Cardenas Broker Associate
RE eBroker Group - San Leandro, CA. - San Leandro, CA
"The Realtors In Motion"

Thank you Lane, I will try it, for those of us who do not have all the whistles needed to make some serious noise, we need to investigate all the platforms. That way we can make an educated decision about which way to go. I appreciate your post.

Antonio

Feb 21, 2010 02:02 PM