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The Real Estate Blogsite Myth

Flag_quesitonEvery client we work with has different real estate blog development needs.  Often the concern is, “Do I need to replace the real estate website I already have in order to incorporate a blog into my marketing?”

The answer: “It depends.”

First, a quick look at the difference between the website, blog and blogsite:

Website: Standard online presence; homepage, secondary pages, forms, listings etc.
Blog: Database of articles appearing in reverse chronological order, sortable by category, keyword and date.
Blogsite: The combination of the above.

Let is be known, that I am a fan of the real estate blogsite. 
There are many obvious benefits:

A single root domain (yourrealestateblogsite.com) for the website and blog.
One branded look and feel.
One hosting service.
One development company.

But it needs be explained that dumping your current real estate website to replace it with a real estate blogsite is not always the best option.

Having both a solid real estate website and a fully functional, regularly updated blog is a perfectly sound solution for your needs as a modern real estate agent.

Scenario

Search_traffic_leadsYou already have a great site that has all the standard features your audience is looking for when it comes to online real estate:

MLS Search
Home Value Reports
Featured Listings
Local Resources
Info About You
Mortgage Tools and Info
And more…

Or, even better, you have a complete real estate website that is already a great, natural landing page for relevant search phrases.

Reinventing the wheel to include all of these tools into a brand new blogsite just to add the blogging function is unnecessary.  And in some cases even foolish.

The blog, when leveraged properly, will be an amazing attractor of relevant web traffic.  It will, in most cases, out perform any standard real estate website you have (had).  And, after all, that's the first step in the overall goal: generate relevant traffic, generate interest in your services, generate leads, generate clients.

Blog_search_exampleOnce you have the traffic to the blog, you can inspire them to click on any offering that may be relevant to their needs (read: MLS Search, for example).

The blog and its articles are just a landing pages; a means to the end.  Get an audience to your environment and then in 'one click' have them in a position to engage you for your services.
That 'one click' will send them to any place you like, namely your current, fully functional, real estate website tools (again, read: MLS Search, for example).

Scenario to consider the Real Estate Blogsite as a solution:
You have no website, or you aren't pleased with the success, design and/or functionalities of your current website.  And, you have blogging fever, of course.

In this case, a custom designed, full featured blogsite, that incorporates all the standard real estate website tools with a robust blogging platform, all under one domain, is a perfect solution.

But don’t just take my word for it.

Related Must Reads:
The Business Blog vs. The Real Estate Website
Your Blog Is An Army 
How To Generate Leads Through Blogging
Steal This Blog!

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Comments

Jim,
The timing of your post is amazing. You are talking about a subject I am right in the middle of now. I'm paying a monthly hosting fee right now for a web site that has terrible traffic. My blogsite (thanks to the Tomato)seems to be doing quite well in only a month or so... I'm leaning very strongly to pulling the plug on my standard web site...stay-tuned

Tell you what Jim Bob, I want to see a blog article on the difference between a theme and a template. I know html okay enough to create my own static type page but I can't for the life of me figure out how to intergrate a blog in with the html so I tried downloading Wordpress templates but they don't work when installing as easy as a theme off the codex, etc. I thought my html knowledge would help me coding the templates but blogs are in CSS it seems so I am lost.

By the way Jimmy Bob, you wrote an article a while back about someone who had an army themed real estate blog. I do not think it was a client, but either way, where can I find the link to that article? I can't remember what the article was about but I remember clicking the link and liking that army themed site and how it was designed to a specific demographic - military families, etc.

The real estate blogsite allows you to address more current issues in your community, where the real estate website usually contains more static information. As Jim says, both can use the same MLS searches. I find that the blogsite visitors are looking for different types of information than the visitors to my regular website.

Upgrading from a standard website is a pretty good option. It's not that difficult to take a blogging package like wordpress and skin it to match your website. Then you just add one link to the pages on your starting site, and you're done.

i agree with the timing of this article. i have been thinking the same thing. i recently came across a blogsite that an sgent had created including his listings and using the blog tools as an integrated web publishing platform. whereby you can make changes to posts and categories with your listings, blog topics, events, etc. it's actually a really neat way to keep your clients and prospects coming back for more and getting it all in one place. you can have MLS search within the blogsite and all pertinent personal info as well as community info. it's endless. and the design can be changed easier than with a static site. plus you will get more hits from constant updates to posts and create invidual posts for each property listing and feature listings. i am working on this now and hope to share with you soon.

And i agree with Bryce about the Wordpress skin (theme, template) concept.

Great article, I totally agree. Blogsites are so much more versatile and require a lot less maintenance. They are also very customizable these days, so you can use a lot of the same features you would have on a traditional website anyway.

My 13 yr old, archaic, and poorly designed website was recently replaced with a new blog/website, completely done on wordpress. It is easy to change information, add custom pages, and best of all, easy to blog with. We lost some traffic at first, but it seems to be coming back now, and although not high ranking with google yet, I am working hard to get it there. I am a believer!

Me, being new to the blogosphere, I see this as a needed tool for the real estate professional to keep present clients on the site with current issues, answering questions and making the process totally interactive. New clients, especially the younger computer-saavy generation will embrace this and make the turn-around time for the internet buyer a whole lot faster as they become interactive with the agent. I see this as great tool to show expertise rather than to wait for them to come. When the internet searcher becomes a buyer and the first meeting takes place, the rapport is already built. I know I'll have a lot of fun once I'm fully engaged. I am going to shift one of my sites to a blog/website.

We have been incredibly happy with our new blogsite designed by the guys at Tomato! We also continue to climb Google rankings and our subscribers are growing as well. Check us out at http://maxsell.net

As someone who has several web sites and has just started blogging I can say that this post is right on. In order for web sites to stay relevent you must keep adding value and backlinks. You need to do the same for a blog also. So if you don't like writing neither strategy will work - unless you can pay for articles.

I now have three blogsites:
www.BoiseBlog.com ~ which covers the Boise Region.
www.EagleBlog.com ~ a community blog that targets the community of Eagle, where I live.
www.OurBrookwood.com ~ a subdivision-specific blogsite for my own subdivision, which I also farm with a print newsletter, Just Listed, and Just Sold postcards.
All three have photo galleries, MLS search, etc.
The Brookwood site displays all homes for sale in my subdivision, offers free ads, and even free FSBO ads ~ plus CCRs, community calendar, etc.
I now get more business from these blogsites than I do from my regular website www.BoiseReal.com
I believe the future of real state on the internet will include blogsites when people realize that the boring static real estate websites are dinosaurs.
Question: Why doesn't your platform recognize URLs and create hyperlinks automatically?
And, why do I get 10 blank pages with a green border when I print out a post?

Phil,

The comments section does recognize URLs that start with 'http' such as http://www.tomatoblogs.com

The printing thing is an issue I have with TypePad. I have not found a 'printer friendly' option for articles yet. If anyone out there knows of a hack, that would be great.

i new to blogging used to website and find blogiing hard to write article of your own..any idea or sugesstion how to keep blog refresh with new article?

Jim:

I'm almost a year late to this conversation, but I found the advice to be sound and reasonable. I too have seen a greater shift toward the idea of consolidation of small business web properties into a unified blogsite. It makes really good sense and there are some very positive advantages especially for small business people that really don't have the skills or resources to deal with their content at the HTML level.

At MyST we also define a blogsite differently from a blog or website, but however that definition is made, the idea is clearly something that companies should consider. The "it depends" advice is critical because some businesses define their online marketing strategy between website and blogsite with far different objectives. Many of our customers recognize that the face of the company is ideally communicated with the website and the voice of the company is best achieved with their blogsite.

For some one just starting out it seems that a blogsite would be the natural thing to do combining the Blog & website into a blog site versus having 2 seperate ones. My own personal website generates traffic but I now want to get more into the blogging end of it. Am I better off just starting a new seperate blog or starting working on building a blogsite while keeping my current website.

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