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					To Blog or not to blog!
What is a Blog?
• The simple definition:
• A “web log” of chronological entries (most recent first)
• Can be a “verb” meaning to maintain or add to a blog
• Might combine text, images, links to other blogs or web sites,
  and related media
• Interactive
• Searchable
• As of December 2007, blog search engine Technorati was
  tracking more than 112 million blogs
What is a blog?
• Even though a blog can be more interactive
  than most web sites, and allow for user
  feedback in the form of comments, it is still
  just a website.

• So, if it’s just a website, what is the big deal?
What is the big deal?
• Most importantly, a blog is easy to update
• A blog will also have a feedback mechanism,
  often added as a way for readers to add
  comments to posts.
• Blog posts are written in a more
  conversational style than is used for formal
  web sites.
Blogging is communicating
• Blogs are two way communication channels
  – This is a fundamental feature of blogs.
• Given that blogs are two way communication
  tools there needs to be a mechanism to
  communicate back to the blogger.
• There are two basic ways to do that
Feedback Mechanisms
• Most blogs allow readers to leave feedback
  via comments
  – Comments can be moderated or
    un-moderated
     • Moderated allows you to read comments
       before they appear on the blog
  – The comments can be seen by all of the blogs
    visitors and become part of the blog’s content
Feedback Mechanisms
• Trackbacks are the second method of reader
  feedback.
• Trackbacks are generated by other bloggers
  on their blogs.
• They allow the reader to comment on your
  blog by doing so on their blogs.
• Trackbacks allow the online conversation to
  spread throughout the “blogosphere”
Feedback Mechanisms
• Trackbacks can only be generated by other
  bloggers
• This is a shortcoming compared to
  comments, which can be left by bloggers
  and non-bloggers alike
• Both are useful to you
Persistent
• Blogs are persistent
• Unlike phone calls or face to face
  communications, blogs leave a record
• You can see what the topics were, and the
  related comments going back in time
• This is a double edged sword!
How do you create a blog?
• There are two basic ways:
  – A blogging Platform
  – Blogging Software
• Blogging platforms are hosted by the hosting
  company on their servers
• Blogging software needs to be downloaded
  and installed on your server
  – Could be on your existing website or on
    another web server
Blogging Software
• Popular among advanced bloggers
• Requires more technical expertise, but
  provides more flexibility and functionality
• The two most popular are MovableType and
  WordPress
• Due to the complex nature of blogging
  software we will concentrate on blogging
  platforms
Blogging Platforms
• Someone else maintains the software
• You go to their website and create an
  account, you then go to their website and log
  in to accomplish changes
• No technical knowledge is needed… if you
  can send an email, you can blog
• Usually cheap or free
• You can start a basic blog in minutes
Blogging Platforms
• One of the downsides is that you have
  limited choices on appearances and
  functionality
• Another is that the URL’s often contain the
  name of the host and do not do a good job of
  branding you
Popular Blogging platforms
• Blogger – free from Google
  – www.blogger.com
• WordPress – also free
  – www.WordPress.com
• TypePad – also free
  – www.TypePad.com
• RealTown Blogs – also free:
  – www.RealTownBlogs.com
The Value of Blogging
• Why should you consider blogging?
  – It’s a great way to position yourself as
    someone who has timely information about
    real estate … an expert
  – It builds community by allowing you to
    interact with your readers
  – It can serve as a gateway to your website
      • Builds traffic to your website
  – Another method of branding you
Successful Business Blogging
• Learn to write well
  – Writing skills are important again
• Be Yourself
  – Let people get to know you
• Don’t just listen…comment and post as well
• Be patient and give it time
Successful Business Blogging
• A business blog should have the comments
  turned on, but moderated
• Market research is important…what are your
  readers interested in? Find out, don’t
  assume that you know.
• Track the search terms that people use to
  find you
• Engage your reader by providing valuable
  content
      Common Sense
• Blogging is a conversation and the normal rules of
  conversation apply
• Think before you hit publish
• Remember that websites (and blogs) can live
  forever
• Even if you delete a post, it may already have been
  archived by Google or other search engines.
• It’s usually not possible to delete posts that you
  have left on someone else's blog
Legal Issues
• Don’t put copyrighted material on your blog!
• It is ok to excerpt a small bit from another
  source, but you do need to give an
  attribution to the copyright holder
• Blogs are basically another form of electronic
  communication, and as such existing laws
  will apply
Blog Technology
•   Twitter- Twitter is a service for friends, family, and co–workers
    to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick,
    frequent answers.
•   Windows Word Press- the leading open source blogging engine on
    the internet
•   Technorati- real time search engine for blogs
•   Google Alerts- perfect to find out when and where people talk about
    you or your blog
•   Meebo.com- Instant messenger widget that can be used as a
    “contact me now” on your blog
•   Statscounter.com- free yet reliable invisible web tracker, highly
    configurable hit counter and real-time detailed web stats.
•   Widgets- small software applications containing HTML code
•   RSS Feeds-a standardized format that allows users to subscibe to
    your Blog to see the latest updates and read your latest posts.
             Getting Started
1.   Get informed- Read blogs online and see what they have to
     offer
2.   Interact with other bloggers- Take your first steps into a
     new online community
3.   Research tools for your blog- Become knowledgeable
     about which tools and widgets you want to include
4.   Identify your message, your unique content, and your
     “angle”
5.   Decide on a Blogging Platform
6.   Develop a set time to write or update
7.   Begin to write content and update your blog
8.   Market your blog
How do I gain traction?
• Generally speaking, it takes 4-6 months to
  gain traction with your blog.
• You need to work on your blog 1-2 hours a
  day 2-3 times per week. At minimum, this is
  a 2-6 hour a week commitment.
• Once you have 25-30 blog entries, you will
  begin to see the increase in traffic and
  interaction.
Ongoing Tasks
•   Promote your blog
•   Encourage “audience” participation
•   Make it easy to find
•   Organize your Archives
•   Track your readership
Summary
• Starting a blog can increase your visibility in
  the market
• Increased visibility can lead to more
  transactions
• Blogging is an inexpensive way to increase
  your website traffic
• Don’t quit 5 minutes before the miracle!
Successful Real Estate Blogs
 Raincityguide.com
 4realz.net
 Miamism.com
 Realcentralva.com
 Blogbythebay.com

				
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posted:10/6/2011
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