Ning? Anyone?

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Blend Real Estate, broker/owner 01179760

Hi lovlies,

I have been trying to find the right person or company to build a Wordpress real estate blog for me and teach me how to own and operate it. How to keep it fed and watered, besides just blogging. That part I get obviously. But the real estate plug-ins and the format are, in general, completely foreign to me.

In my 9-month quest, I have met real estate agents/brokers who build WP blogs on the side, others who are not in real estate but who build general WP blogs and can "learn" the real estate parts (IDX, video, photos, posting listing, industry-specific tricks). And I have met those who used to sell real estate and now build websites.

And I even posted two Wordpress job openings: one paid at Elance.com and no one was a fit (crazy experience there, let me tell you!), and I think even another paid ad site looking for a WP contractor.

The closest I came to signing a very expensive contract was with a vendor who to be one-stop-shopping. They build only real estate specific WP sites, but they were very hard to reach via phone or email. It almost seemed like they were disinterested, even though they charge everyone the same (so I am not a low paying client, let's say).  The references provided to me only gave so-so references and complained to me that the vendor was hard to find. My feelings too.  So the contract arrived and I never signed it. And I never heard a word of follow up, even though I initially said it was a GO.  That was four months ago. Money saved, I guess!

Today I stumbled back upon http://realestate.about.com, and have been very impressed with the ongoing good business advice there for RE practitioners.  And while stumbling around there and clicking, I rediscovered Ning.com, which I read about in Inc. Magazine or Entrepreneur Magazine in early 2009. The creator of Netscape and a partner created this free blogging and website hub.

Click, click, click. Before I even signed up, impressed by what appeared to be a cool look with zero learning curve (unlike WP), I was dreaming of dropping the Wordpress idea forever.

I signed up for a blog there and once enrolled and up and running (4.5 minutes, no lie), the site has a banner saying they're moving to a three fee structure in July 2010.

In order to have your own URL without dot-Ning-dot-com in the name, cost will be about $19.99 a month, and you can get a premium account for $49.99 a month that allows video.  The cheapest program is $9.99 a month and Ning branding will still be a part of each URL name and will also be found throughout your blog. That is how it is today at Ning.com, expect it's free today.  I am not sure if you can pay monthly as you go, or you pay a year in advance. Which is how a lot of hosting is trending, by the way (paying in advance).

So the question to you Internet savvy types who believe the future of real estate is online, have you tried Ning AND, if so, will you convert your current free blog to a pay blog without fuss in July?

If you're happy, I'd like to know.  The monthly fee is low compared to the investment I was going to make in Wordpress, which after design, implementation, training and hosting will be two - three thousand.  Hosting is cheap. It's the rest that isn't. I am not talking about the free Wordpress.com site option. I am talking about the Wordpress.org site that allows your own URL, among other fancy things.

Is Ning.com the new Wordpress? 

Posted by

Kimberly Dotseth broker/owner Blend Real Estate DRE #01179760

(858) 452-2599 info@greenboxhomes.com  

2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 5-Star "Best in Client Satisfaction Award" Winner, San Diego Magazine

Recipient of Realtor Magazine's "Broker Standout" http://bit.ly/KimberlyRealtorMag  

Named San Diego Association of REALTORS 'Broker of the Year' in 2012 for 2011 (10,000+ members)

 

Comments (6)

Charles Stallions
Charles Stallions Real Estate Services - Pensacola, FL
800-309-3414 - Pensacola, Pace or Gulf Breeze, Fl.

Hi Kimberly, I don't have the answer but will park here to see what happens. I have been wanting to know if there is a way to replace my website with my A/R blog, all it lacks is buttons on the side pointing to blogs about RE and and IDX button. Good luck

May 04, 2010 11:57 AM
Mary Jo Thomas
Solutions Real Estate - Phoenix, AZ

Hi Kimberly,  I guess now I am more confused than ever.  I've only been blogging on AR for a couple of months and continue to learn about internet marketing.  Good luck.

May 04, 2010 12:09 PM
Kimberly Dotseth
Blend Real Estate, broker/owner - San Diego, CA
Try Our "Cancel Anytime" Listing!

Well, the reason to contemplate a Wordpress blog over all others is because you can add an MLS feed to it, post your listings, photos, videos of your neighborhood, links to interesting articles, and of course your blog. Most importantly, Google loves the WP platform and blogs tend to be very high on the search results if not #1 for many search terms. Google has called out Wordpress in particular as something they "love" and have not made endorsements of this kind with any other blog platform.  One does not own the other. It's just a mutually beneficially relationship because of web code and search engines.

The past nine months, I have met some super RE techies who understand this Google message and are blogging on WP to GET real estate clients, by the clients doing Google searches for agents in their area ~ or just looking for interesting real estate writing. So much of social media and real estate is not hard core selling, but being yourself and educated and interesting and have clients learn to love you.  And they will find you if you're easier to find (via Google).

So this Google component is huge and I want that! So far, Ning.com has not had this ringing endorsement. But as I wrote in my first post, WP is not super easy for the every day house seller like us!  Charles, park here and see who responds.  Mary Jo, don't be confused. You're already blogging here and it's a start. But Active Rain is not the best way to get clients.

The super techie agents I follow on Twitter are miles ahead of me and I am just trying to catch up. They're in love with the WP model, and their blogs are great. They seem so clean and easy.  Check out www.phoenixrealestateguy.com, www.housechick.com and www.webrealestatetools.com for Wordpress blogs. The first two are actual RE agent sites with MLS built in. The third is a WP blog site set up by a real estate broker for his side business training agents to market themselves better on the computer.  It does not have an MLS box on it.  I know all three people and they get a ton of action. Rightly so.

The classes and networking I have done tell me there need to be three things on the front page of any blog, like www.housechick.com, for example: 1) "What's for Sale," 2) "What's my Home Worth," and 3) "How to Contact Me" ~ those are the basics any client wants on the front page, and they want it clean and in this new fresh, interactive platform. A platform you control without paying people to write it for you or tweak it for you. Most static websites like mine, www.greenboxhomes.com, have to be controlled by the web company who designed it. It's an iceberg to me now. I paid thousands for it two years ago and it's obsolete.

We'll see how this chain develops. Ciao!

May 04, 2010 12:53 PM
Elizabeth Bolton
RE/MAX Destiny Real Estate Cambridge, MA - Cambridge, MA
Cambridge MA Realtor

Hi Kimberly ~ I don't know anything about ning but I know that I love my wordpress blog that the Real Estate Tomato designed and hosts.  It does really well in google and is so so easy to work with, customize, etc. I'm very satisfied with the traffic - though of course always gunning for more. It's very much a work in progress and lately I've been overwhelmingly busy and not paying enough attention to it. The RET has been super - I also took their training (at the time I was quite new to blogging) and their ongoing support is excellent - any time I have a question it's answered very quickly. Love them, love my blog.

Liz

May 04, 2010 04:29 PM
Kimberly Dotseth
Blend Real Estate, broker/owner - San Diego, CA
Try Our "Cancel Anytime" Listing!

Elizabeth, thank you! You literally just made my day. I love the RE Tomato guys and have been following their work during my nine month Wordpress journey. I've heard them speak at Real Estate Bar Camp meetings and am intrigued by their new University online. And I follow them on Twitter. They've just seem so busy that I havn't wanted to "intrude"with business inquiries. How silly of me. Also, I wasn't sure that they designed blogs. I knew they tweaked blogs that were already built. Your endorsement is huge for me. I am going to reach out to them today and will let them know the recommendation came from you. Thanks! ~Kim

May 06, 2010 07:27 AM
Rob Saxe
ReMax Gold - Roseville, CA
Realtor/Blog Sales Consultant, Specializing in Sacramento Real Estate

Hi Kim,

I've worked witht he RET for 3 years and having a blog hosted and designed by them has saved my real estate career. Literally.

I met Jim in 2005 or so and he's never led me astray as the many brokers I've had have.  While I must say that, in all fairness, I'm also a consultant for the Tomato, I am so because of my belief in the system. 

There are so many wannabe's out there looking to profit from our lack of knowledge of the internet.  I got a call from one yesterday who told me he could get me to the top of google for keywords I know haven't been effective from my own blog.

Without this knowledge, I could have been taken for a ride like so many of us have since it became a necessity to have a web presence.  That's what RET brings to the table.

Knowledge is power.  Application of that power breeds success.

Give me a call if you like, I'll be happy to chat with you about it.

RS

May 07, 2010 04:43 AM