I have been blogging about real estate since 2008... so over three years. I can say proudly that I have a few thousand posts. Of those, there are a lot that were NOT about real estate, but that appeared on my real estate blog. Some were about cars (I just started a car blog JUST for those posts). Others were about local news. Still others were about local businesses, entertainment venues, parks and recreational opportunities.
As long as I have been blogging, the mantra has been to "Be the source of information about EVERYTHING in the community".
But after years of blogging, and looking over my blog posts and traffic patterns... I'm not so convinced any more. I see where my traffic is coming from, and I see which posts are the popular entry (and exit) posts. BUT, I also talk to the people that call, email or contact me in other ways... and I ask them what made them make the call.
Let me make a few points...
- Almost without exception, my most read posts are NOT real estate related in any way.
- My most read posts are NOT about local issues, businesses, personalities or events.
- The post types that causes the most direct contact from consumers are market reports.
- I've NEVER had someone say they wanted to work with me because of a review of a local business.
- Most of my local name recognition has come from local event and local issue posts... but I can't say one has ever brought me business.
Keep in mind, this is specifically about real estate blogging...
Here are the take-aways that I see from the above points.
- A real estate blog needs to be focused on real estate. There is plenty of room for reviews, lists of area attractions and other local interest items, but they should not be the focus of the blog.
- Hyper-local news DOES belong on a good real estate website. It shouldn't be the focus, and even a "curatorial" style might be enough (rolling links to a variety of hyper-local news stories, for example... like a Twitter based local news feed).
- Market Reports are one of THE most important things to have on a real estate website. Consumers want to understand the real estate market, whether they are buying or selling.
- Market Stats are nice... but people want interpretation of the stats. They want to know your professional opinion is about the direction of the market... up or down.
- Community profiles are VERY in demand. Buyers want to know about the communities and the schools that they are considering. They might like to know about the history, school performance and local culture... but they REALLY want to know about prices, styles and economic outlook. All of those items belong in the community profile, but some might be links to specialty sites, like GreatSchools.net or sections of a city's website.
- Daily updates are overkill... but a good real estate blog needs to have depth. After you have 40 or 50 solid posts, posting up 2-3 times a week might work... assuming that will cover the areas you need to cover.
- Helping real estate "Do-It-Yourselfers" is good business. Give them your best tips for promoting their property, warn them of the most common pitfalls they may face (Fair Housing laws, for example) and give them the steps for a smooth transaction. But don't talk down to them.
Is this a sure-fire path to success? No. But it might help. Don't forget, though... it's just my opinion. Look for a related post coming up about Social Networking.
- Lane's Newest Toy... CCotD (gwinnettgarageguy.com)