I have been a long-time blogger on ActiveRain. While I signed up in 2008, I didn't actually start blogging here until 2009. Since that time, I've written almost 2,500 posts and become one of the top bloggers on ActiveRain. (That's determined by points, nothing else.)
I am a big fan of ActiveRain. It put me on the real estate map before I ever even knew there was a map. I will tell you my early years on ActiveRain were a bust. I didn't know what I was doing or how to do it. Someone told me to just start blogging and nothing about how to do it or how it could benefit my business.
Thanks to people like Bob Stewart I learned how to craft a decent blog post. But I didn't limit what I'd learned here to ActiveRain. I think that's where most bloggers miss a significant opportunity.
You see, everything Bob taught me about writing a blog post could be easily implemented on my personal website. Here's how I've been able to leverage my ActiveRain blog to drive traffic to my personal website.
First, I create a neighborhood page on my site. This page includes information about the neighborhood, photos, links to other pages on my website and a completed IDX search. Second, after that page has been on my website for several days, I write an ActiveRain post about that same neighborhood.
That post provides multiple links to our website. The most important thing is to direct your ActiveRain blog post to the exact anchor text link. For example, when you click on luxury estates in the above AR post, you're taken to the Westhaven luxury homes page. Each of these anchor texts links to a different page on our site.
You may be asking, why do we create separate pages on our website for the same neighborhood? Because a buyer may only Google Westhaven condos or Westhaven luxury homes. By creating separate pages, we increase the possibility of being found in the Google SERPs or ranking in several spots on page one of Google. We don't want to lose prospects because our content page wasn't specific enough. All your links should be directed to very specific search pages, not your website's home page.
Here's where I think most bloggers fail, they post on ActiveRain and nowhere else. They don't have any content on their personal websites to link to or, in some cases, don't even have their own website. ActiveRain should not be your primary blogging venue, it should be used as a conduit to your primary lead source which should be your website.
Your ActiveRain blog will provide valuable backlinks to your personal site by doing this. These backlinks help push you up in the Google SERPs. ActiveRain and the content on your website work together to help you to rank higher in the search engines.
The other day, I was on an agent's website. She had a link to her blog on the site. When I clicked that link, I was brought to ActiveRain. She has, indeed, created lots of content here--there's only one problem....so have several other Rainers in her market. She's taking prospects from her personal website to ActiveRain; a place where other great agents in her market can be found. You DON'T want to do that. You want to keep those buyers and sellers on your site.
The only way to do that is to have content on your own personal website. Be sure to include IDX or they'll immediately click off. Buyers want to find completed searches for homes. If your site doesn't provide that, they'll find a site that does.
Now, I know there will be some of you who balk at this. You've gotten lots of business from your ActiveRain blog and you're not about to change things up. But, I would venture to guess, that many of you haven't gotten one lead off ActiveRain. You don't know how to use your ActiveRain blog to increase your business.
I'm not dissing the strength of ActiveRain. Quite the contrary. As a matter of fact, this is exactly what Bob teaches in his Blogging Blueprint webinars on ActiveRain University. He is an expert at how to leverage your AR blog to boost your business. In essence--that's what ActiveRain is all about.
Where should you blog? ActiveRain or your website? Both. Create valuable content on your personal website with an IDX search. Then use your ActiveRain blog posts to drive traffic there.
You will find it's a winning combination.
About Tammie White, Franklin TN REALTOR®
Tammie White is a REALTOR® and Principal Broker/Owner of Franklin Homes Realty LLC in Franklin TN. Tammie works with relocation buyers looking to purchase a home in Franklin and the surrounding Williamson County area. She understands the way buyers search for homes making her an invaluable asset to Franklin home sellers. Tammie's website, www.FranklinHomesRealty.com, has become the premiere search tool for buyers relocating to Franklin TN. She has been writing a real estate blog since 2009 and quoted in various publications including the LA Times, Skype.com, The Tennessean and Williamson Source.