What is ActiveRain?
If you've been on here for any length of time you probably know all this. But if you're new, like we all were once, this might be a helpful FAQ to get you started. Visit the links within the questions for more information on that topic.
Q. What is ActiveRain?
A. ActiveRain is an online real estate related blogging platform. It is designed to connect Realtors®, financial advisers, inspectors, stagers, and real estate marketers to each other for the purpose of referrals, marketing and expanding their business through blogging.
Q. Can Anyone Join?
A. A free account is welcome to anyone within the real estate related industry. If you feel your business can benefit from the connections on ActiveRain you are welcome to join.
Q. Are there any Rules?
A. Yes, ActiveRain does ask that you adhere to certain rules when posting blogs. Basic fair housing laws and general respect to other members applies.
Q. Why should I bother blogging? Does it do any good?
A. Those on ActiveRain who take their blogging serious find immense rewards from on-going and consistent blogging. ActiveRain blogs are indexed by Google within minutes of posting and searchable by billions of people worldwide if you have a Rainmaker account.
Q. What is a Rainmaker account?
A. Anyone can sign up for ActiveRain under a free account and instantly access thousands of blogs from real estate professionals possibly answering any question you may have. You are free to comment, email, converse and learn from all these blogs. You are also welcome to write blogs but they will only be seen by the members of ActiveRain. This is perfect if you are just getting started and need to get a feel for the community, ask questions and glean knowledge from other members of your peers.
But, if you want to start getting your blogs out to the public, your clients and possible customers you will need to upgrade to a Rainmaker account. Only then will your blogs be visible to billions of people on the Internet. Your blogs will be searchable by title and subject and potentially fall into the hands of a client in your area.
Q. Why should I bother paying for a Rainmaker account when I can get a free blog account somewhere else?
A. ActiveRain has spent over 5 years perfecting and establishing themselves online. With over 200,000 members many of whom blog everyday there are easily thousands of blogs that pass through ActiveRain each day. This keeps Google coming back for more information allowing the ActiveRain platform to constantly be searched by Google. This means your blog will come up almost immediately on Google and other search engines. This type of quick and heavy searchability takes months if not years to establish on a new blogging platform when you do it yourself.
Q. What if I don't know what to blog about?
A. That is the ultimate question but as you can imagine since there are thousands of posts a day going out of ActiveRain that someone keeps thinking up stuff. And don't worry if you ask a question that's been asked before or blog about something that someone has talked about already. If it's in your own words, your own voice, go for it! First timers get a lot of grace around here so just let it fly. Here is a list of topics to help get you started but the easiest way is to start talking about your area. Best restaurants, parks, events and activities. When your clients realize you are an expert where you are, they will naturally think of you when the time comes.
Q. What are the points for?
A. ActiveRain points are simply an incentive to rise higher in your area. If you have the highest points in your town, county or state you will show up first on those area specific pages when the public searches in your community. Once you have 100K points you get a new badge under your profile picture in comments. You must have 10,000 points under a free account for your picture to show up in comments to avoid spammers that may want to rig the system. You receive points for different things you can do on ActiveRain.
Q. What does SEO have to do with any of this?
A. ActiveRain encourages real estate professionals to blog for SEO purposes as well as business boosters and education. SEO means Search Engine Optimization. ActiveRain teaches SEO tactics to increase traffic to your blog, be more easily search-able and gain more traffic to not only your blog but your main website as well. Because ActiveRain is so extensive there are SEO professionals and those that have learned a great deal about SEO while blogging here on ActiveRain. There are many blogs that teach how to create catchy titles and how to get found once on ActiveRain.
Q. Is it worth the money?
A. It all depends on how much you are willing to invest. If you pay for a Rainmaker account and only blog once a month you probably will not see the type of results you expect. Those that close deals, create relationships, gain referrals and benefit from ActiveRain typically blog 3-5 times a week. If you invest this time, you will typically see payoffs that continue to add up.
Q. How much time will it take?
A. Many active, regular bloggers only spend an hour or less a day on ActiveRain, typically in the morning. They write their blog and head out into their day.
Q. What do I do with all the comments?
A. If and when you receive comments on your blog the best way to further your ActiveRain career is to respond to them. This creates relationships that people can relate to. By communicating back and forth with potential clients, referrals and customers you build a relationship and trust that will land you sales and deals in the future. Speak WITH your clients, not AT them.
Q. What's the best way to begin?
A. Start by mentioning you are new to ActiveRain. Find some members that have a lot of posts and see if any of them appeal to you, then subscribe to them. Learn your stats and facts and know who is looking at your blogs, who is subscribing to you and how to create more buzz with your blogs. Your statistics are on the "my home" page on the left. Scroll down to see statistics. There you can see how many views your blog got, comments and who your subscribers are.
Q. What are associates?
A. Associates are members you want to associate with and refer to those that view your blog from the outside. Its like making a database of all the mortgage lenders, appraisers, inspectors, home stagers and other agents around the county that you can quickly find and refer out.
Q. If someone subscribes to my blog, do I have to subscribe to theirs?
A. No. What may be important to you may not be important to them. Such as an agent subscribing to an inspector for tips to enhance their business. Not every subscription has to be reciprocated. Subscribe to those you find interesting, informative and helpful.
Q. Can I post my listings on here?
A. Yes, Click on listings on the left from your home page and enter any listings you want. These will show up on the side bar of your blog for more exposure.
Q. Can I blog about my listings?
A. Yes. You can paste information and code from any website including Real Bird, Postlets or Trulia. Listing blogs are great for targeting specific buyers in your area.Title your blog appropriately and you should see results.
Q. What are groups, channels and categories?
A. Anyone can create a group with a specific niche of blog types. You can join any group that allows it (some are with permission only). You can post your blog into 5 groups per post for more exposure. The channel is another way to organize your posts. These are ActiveRain channels that can be surfed by members and consumers alike. Under the post to visibility section on editing a post you can click on channel box and scroll on the drop down to choose a channel then write in a topic. One or two words to describe the topic of your blog. Categories is for your outside blog. It's a more customized blog setting where your blogs are categorized on the right side. This makes it easier for consumers to find what they need from your blog. Use all three to create more exposure and better leads from your blog posts.
Q. Will I get spam on my blog and if so, what do I do about it?
A. You may get spam on your comment thread from time to time and you will should be able to distinguish this from an actual comment. If so, there is a "report a concern" link at the bottom of the spam comment that you can click on. Don't delete it as the AR Staff will check it out and do it for you. Plus you will get 10 points for reporting it! If there is a concern about bad language, improper use of comments for personal gain, or just plain rudeness on your blog, you can report that as well.
Q. Do I need to post my picture and profile?
A. People, meaning members and consumers alike, want to see who we're dealing with. Having an updated picture of yourself helps folks relate to you more, gaining you more familiarity and respect. At the bottom of each of your comments there is a link to your profile and your profession. Use this space (found on the profile edit section of your home page) to tell us your name, where you are located if applicable to your profession and what you do. All of these help point consumers and referrals your way just a little easier.
Q. How do you get your blog on the ActiveRain Home page?
A. These are called "featured posts". Your blog gets featured when enough readers click the yellow "suggest" button at the top of your blog. Then the AR staff decides if it's conducive enough to be on the homepage. This must be a news worthy piece, helpful, creative, informative or even controversial. But this can be good for your business in that more people are exposed to the feature page than any other page on ActiveRain. The more you blog, the more chance you have at being featured.
Q. Can I feature someone's blog?
A. Yes. By clicking that suggest button, you have sent in your vote that this blog is something worthy enough for others to see.
Q. What about the re-blog option?
A. The re-blog option is when you don't want to write a blog about the same topic but simply expose others to the blog. This can be in agreement or disagreement on the original blog. It's a good idea to put the blog back into edit mode and change the title slightly then add at least 50 words of your own at the beginning of the blog leading into why you re-blogged it.
Q. Can I get listings as well as buyers from ActiveRain?
A. Yes. When you write about your authority on listing in your community, short sales, foreclosures, etc... sellers see this and want you to be their listing agent.
Q. Does blogging on ActiveRain help traffic to my website?
A. Yes if you set it up right. The biggest thing that ActiveRain can do for your website it generate more traffic that way. BUT you must tell people where to go. In the signature of your blog (set up under settings in the home page) make sure you have a link to your website and anchor that link with your major keyword. Don't use the term "my website" or "click here" for anything. You must link your primary phrase or keyword to your website. Do this on the side bar under the links section. The more you direct search engines and actual consumers to your website the more exposure it will have benefiting you overall.
Here are some other helpful blogs and members on ActiveRain:
- Craig's Classroom - Blogging 101 and Beyond
- Brad Andersohn - The Zillow Master
- Rebekah Radice - The Facebook Profile Queen
- Richard Yates - Video Guru
- Using ActiveRain SideBar Links in Your Favor
- If you're not blogging someone else in your market will
- Create More Buzz with your Blogs by adding a Continuing Saga or Parts...
- Does the Title of your Blog Really Matter?
- What Do All the Boxes Under a Profile Picture Mean? (In Case You Wanted to Know)
- The Difference Between Image Title and Image Description
- I Flit, I Float, I Fleetly Flee I Fly....
- How Many Clicks Does it Take to Get to the Center of ActiveRain
- Simple Ways to Add HTML to Your ActiveRain Blog - Write - Save - Repeat.....
- How to Write and Organize an Optimal ActiveRain Blog Post
I want this to be an ever expanding Q & A on ActiveRain, adding helpful members, posts and more. If you have a Question you want to see here, answered, or member highlighted, please let me know and I will do my best to add it. :)