Active Rain's New Outside Blogs -- Oh How Easy and Awesome They Are

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Team Jodi Realty

I wanted to share my experience in setting up my new outside blog.  First, I want to say that as soon as I learned about the new outside blogs, I was very excited.  Having the right type of outside blog that has built in search engine optimization is very powerful.  Having Active Rain behind our outside blogs is even better.

I was thrilled when I saw Brad Andersohn's featured post on The 10 Easy Steps to Creating an Outside Blog.  This is a great how to.  Wouldn't it also be great if I could read!  I was so excited about getting this going that I missed a very important feature to the outside blogs -- THEY COME WITH A FREE URL.

Missing this key point, I immediatly bought a great url from Go Daddy (ok, so I wasted $10).  I followed the directions and pointed the url to the Active Rain name servers.  This should have worked but, guess what, it did not.  The powers that be at Active Rain worked with me on trouble shooting this problem but we just could not get this to work.

Being the Type A person that I am, I decided to try a slightly different url in the outside blog's domain search feature.  It was amazing.  In about 5 seconds, my new and improved domain name was up and running and my outside blog was alive and kicking. 

Here is what you do:

1.  In the box labled Choose a Domain Name, type in the domain name you want. 

2.  Click Check Availability.  If the Claim Domain box is highlighted and there is a green circle over the domain name, it is all yours!  If you get a red box, this means the domain name is taken and you need to try another url.

3.  Once you get your green circle, click Claim Domain and you will be off to the races! 

Please learn from my mistake -- it is far easier to use the Active Rain domain creation feature.  We all love GoDaddy, but given that Active Rain is providing the url at no additional cost and it is unbelieveably easy to use, what more could you ask for?

I can't stop here, however,  I have to ditto Bill Gassett -- Yes! Active Rain Outside Blogs Will Rock The House With Google Juice!  As soon as I created my outside blog (Chapel Hill - Durham Real Estate News), I could not believe what I saw in the side bar.  I have been working hard at posting information to Localism on neighbhroods throughout Chapel Hill and Durham, all of which were immediately indexed.  Google is going to love this.

I can't say this any better than Bill Gassett did,

"Listen up folks....the members who are wise enough to jump on board are going to be reaping the benefits of having a stand alone blog that is found locally in the serps!

For example, when you write a post about one of the neighborhoods in your area it will be broken down from the state level, to the town, to the specific neighborhood.

Consumers will be able to easily find what they are looking for because it will all be laid out in front of them."

I am looking forward to Active Rain rolling out new features and widgets to help make these outside blogs even better.

Thank You Active Rain!

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Rainmaker
60,594
Jodi Bakst
Team Jodi Realty - Chapel Hill, NC
Team Jodi - Chapel Hill Real Estate, Durham Real E

Lanre,

My outside blog www.chapelhillrealestatenews.com

Gary,

You have asked good questions about the url.  I will let the Active Rain gurus answer them.  Regarding where you put your blog posts, the beauty of this new system is that you enter your blog posts just as you used to.  You then identify where you want it to show up.  You may have posts that show up internal to Active Rain, on Active Rain and your outside blog, or just on your outside blog.  It is very easy.

It is important to realize that the old outside blogs had a url with active rain in it.  Now, although the outside blog is coming from Active Rain, it will only show your new url.  In the background, however, your outside blog will have the power of active rain behind you.

Eleanor -- Thank You!

Paul,

The cost of the outside blog is $19/month.  I think this is inexpensive.  I have been paying alot more for another outside blog and getting alot less for it.  The thing I am confident of is that Active Rain is going to keep adding goodies to this tool to make it better and better.  My money is on Active Rain.

Kris and Leslie,

I have two blogs.  If you read information from the blogging and SEO gurus, there seems to be a big debate on whether a blog interior to your web site or exterior to your web site is better.  To be covered, I have both.  I have www.TeamJodi.com/blog and now I am switching my outside blog from another platform to Active Rain.  I would rather have all my bases covered.  The reason to have an inside blog is that Google likes them because of all the fresh content.  A big reason for the outside blog is to have lots of high quality links back to your web site.  I hope this make sense.  Let me know if you have other questions.

Jan 25, 2009 07:57 AM #33
Rainer
42,481
Alex Mordas
EarthSTEPS - Tallahassee, FL
Green Building Consultant

Thanks for the post... I have been benefitting from blogging for some time on AR, but am only now looking into setting up another outside blog. Glad to hear it is working for you!

Jan 25, 2009 09:18 AM #34
Rainmaker
204,197
Everard Korthals
---Preferred Lifestyle Advisors--- - Lancaster, PA
Mountain Realty

We haven't noticed any differences with our outside blog yet but perhaps in time. It's not indexed yet by google.

Jan 25, 2009 10:17 AM #35
Rainmaker
486,929
TIM MONCRIEF
Keller Williams Realty - Austin, TX
Over 2,000 homes sold…..

Thanks....just been difficult to swallow the cost verus the unknown reward. Cheers.

Jan 25, 2009 10:42 AM #36
Rainmaker
131,217
Mike Henderson
Your complete source for buying HUD homes - Littleton, CO
HUD Home Hub - 303-949-5848

Another fascinating post about this great feature.  I need to learn to walk before I can run.  Still trying to master the free stuff.

Jan 25, 2009 11:17 AM #37
Rainmaker
60,594
Jodi Bakst
Team Jodi Realty - Chapel Hill, NC
Team Jodi - Chapel Hill Real Estate, Durham Real E

Nathan and Everard,

If you are using an outside blog you want it indexed by Google.  You shoud find out why it is not?  You can be sure that if you use Active Rain's it will be.

I think that blogging is hard and it takes time to get better and better.  It is a top priority for me this year to see results.

Have an awesome 2009.

Jan 25, 2009 12:21 PM #38
Rainmaker
32,281
Craig & Sue Guffin
Coldwell Banker Monsees Realty - Sedalia, MO
Sedalia Mo Real Estate

Looks good! I need to get up to par with all this. Change happens so fast. Thanks for the post.

Jan 25, 2009 01:01 PM #39
Rainer
179,139
Mark MacKenzie
Phoenix, AZ

Jodi,

I'm still not sure what to make of the outside blog.

I have looked at it and looked at it, and don't know if it makes sense for my business.

Keep us in the loop with the results. :)

Jan 25, 2009 01:11 PM #40
Rainmaker
66,268
Heather Goodwin
Licensed by the Louisiana Real Estate Commission - Shreveport, LA
GoodWin Team Realty

Okay, okay.  I've finally heard enough, and my Wordpress blog is giving me headaches!  I'm in!

Jan 25, 2009 02:25 PM #41
Ambassador
237,889
Lisa Udy
Platinum Real Estate Group - Logan, UT
Logan Utah Realtor

Wow I had no idea there was so much good that can come from blogging. I started blogging only a few days ago and this is really great information to know. Thanks for the tips and keep them coming!

Jan 25, 2009 04:54 PM #42
Rainmaker
135,600
Paul Francis
Francis Group Real Estate - Las Vegas, NV
Las Vegas Real Estate Agent - Summerlin Homes

Jodi,

HMMM... $18 a year for the custom domain on WP vs. $228 a year for AR... I don't know about your market but my WP blog does really, really good.... for about $210 less a year. Well over 15,000 visitors on my WP blog for 2008 at www.LasVegasRealEstate4u.com...

Still want to put your money on it??

Jan 25, 2009 06:58 PM #43
Rainmaker
60,594
Jodi Bakst
Team Jodi Realty - Chapel Hill, NC
Team Jodi - Chapel Hill Real Estate, Durham Real E

Paul,

It sounds like you don't need the outside blog it you have something that is working for you.  I was not happy with my outside blog.  I am very happy with my inside blog but I also want a very robust outside blog and I am really happy to be doing this through Active Rain.

It sounds like you have a good thing going with what you have and you don't need to add this.

All the best and have an awesome 2009!

Jan 26, 2009 12:02 AM #44
Rainmaker
821,076
Sheila Newton Team Anderson & Greenville SC
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - C. Dan Joyner - Anderson, SC
Selling the Upstate since 1989

Austin Ellis.... thanks for the info on your sites.. i will check them out.. i have been specializing in reo property for over 19 years now and have a team to assit me.. i am very interested in the Fliplocator.com site.. thanks again.... have a wonderful week.

Jan 26, 2009 02:17 AM #45
Rainer
334,430
Tom Davis
Harrington ERA,DE Homes For Sale, $$ Save $$ Buy Today ! - Dover, DE
FREE Delaware Homes Search!, $$ Save $$ - Find Homes! Delaware Realtor

Hi Jodi,

Thanks for the tips and information ,

Keep up the great work on your postings!

Thanks

Tom Davis

DE REALTOR (R)

Jan 26, 2009 04:00 PM #46
Ambassador
794,068
Brad Andersohn
Director of Education & Industry Outreach at eXp Realty & RE Tech Campus - Fairfield, CA
ActiveBrad - 707.646.1876

Paul - there's a few things you've missed that are included in with Jodi's Blog.  One scenario: Let's say she is worth at least 200.00 per hour, (i know that's a bit conservative because it's Jodi, but just for the sake of argument) it could take her 4 hours to figure out WP's CSS, formats, widget options, etc. etc. Not to mention starting her Blog from scratch on WP could and would take days.  That's 800.00 lost her first day and in just 4 hours. 

I think she wants to focus on her leads and business selling Real Estate and not just building Blogs on multiple platforms.  How long was your learning curve on WP?  Everyone has different skill levels, and how many months/years did you say it took you to get 15,000 visitors?  That was a year?  Some of our members Blogs on AR already exceed 500 visitors per day. Just yesterday, we had close to 100,000 visitors to AR in a single day.  But wait, there's more.....

There really is much more that is included with this fee than you are probably aware.  There's a couple great posts on AR if you want to find out more about the differences.  Besides all that, she gets me and the rest of our AR team in her corner. (I'm 500.00 an hour) Have you ever tried to get any WP support? exactly....

So Back off!!  lol~

Seriously though, I guess you can you tell how passionate I am about our members?!?  Forget about the Blogs!! 

This'll be fun, let's place a little wager on your WP Blog vs Jodi's personal domain and new Blog.  Give her 30 days with her new Blog and then let's see who gets more visitors and closes more transactions from their Blogs in say 30 days.  What shall we wager???..... If you win, I'll pay for your Blog, if I win, you pay for Jodi's Blog! Deal?  Just shake hands in the next comment and you're on.  :-))  

I love this job!!

Jan 27, 2009 05:00 PM #47
Rainer
26,108
Gary Ward
Advantage Chatuge - Hayesville, NC

Yeah Brad, How does my wife get a job at Active Rain?  She loves this sort of stuff. And very good at SEO too.

Also could you answer my questions asked above?

if you stop paying the blog goes away of course but what about the domain name then? Is Active rain actually registering it all in your name?  If so where will it be held? does it need to be paid for after that? and to whom? Plus who owns the content of the blog? If I create one and move it somewhere else in 3 years do I own my content or do you? I realize the links would be gone but what about the content? I think $19 a month is reasonable for some reason I thought it was $79.  But even at $19 if things get tough who knows what choices people make when it comes to cutting cost.

And my last question, will you work as hard promoting my blog as Jodi's?   I mean if you wager to get her traffic seems like you would find a way to send traffic to her. How do I get that deal?

Jan 29, 2009 03:07 AM #48
Ambassador
794,068
Brad Andersohn
Director of Education & Industry Outreach at eXp Realty & RE Tech Campus - Fairfield, CA
ActiveBrad - 707.646.1876

Gary - you own the domain name regardless.  The name can be pointed or hosted any way you like.  Your Blog, your domain name and your content is YOURS!  Regarding your last question, I am not doing anything to promote Jodi's Blog, but as a member here, I will do all within my power and that of this network to SUPPORT her efforts and her Blog.  Yes, I would do the same for you.  :-)) 

Just To clarify:  The 19.00 is for individual outside Blogs and the 79.00 is for a group/team Blog.

Jan 29, 2009 03:34 AM #49
Rainer
26,108
Gary Ward
Advantage Chatuge - Hayesville, NC

Okay Great Thanks for clearing that up Brad. I'll look into when I get a chance!

 

What about that job for my wife ?  ;>)

Jan 29, 2009 04:39 AM #50
Rainer
32,772
Alisa Stone Herring
Stone Real Estate Group, LLC - Panama City Beach, FL
CRS, GRI

Thanks for your post. It has been one of the eaiser ones for me to understand on this whole new blogging thing I am trying.

 

I am still trying to understand. Why do you need 3 blogs? Why would you not just use the "inside" active rain blog?

I understand that you would like your own domain name and that you would want to own it- so why not link all of them to the same blog?

 

I am not being a pain, I am really dumb to all of all this and trying to undertand how all of this works and what is best.

See right now, I am having a hard enough time wrting posts for my "inside" AR blog....and i am also trying to see if all of this time is really worth it....or if I should be on the phone and hitting the streets prospecting.

 

Thanks for your help in adavnce. i wish you the best of 2009 also!

 

~Alisa

www.TheBeachPeach.com

Feb 18, 2009 02:36 PM #51
Rainmaker
175,957
Maya Thomas LLC, Broker
Key West, Key Haven, Geiger, Sugarloaf, Cudjoe, Summerland - Key West, FL
Key West FL Historic Old Town Estates, Bungalows

Jodi, You ROCK!  Your writing is AWESOME!  It wouldn't have occurred to me to write a blog so kudos for being so generous and thoughful.  THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR SHARING!  I love your logo!

Mar 11, 2009 05:18 AM #52
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Rainmaker
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Jodi Bakst

Team Jodi - Chapel Hill Real Estate, Durham Real E
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