What Kills Your Real Estate Blog?

Grim Reaper

Most of the time we focus on the positive here at the Tomato; what works, paths to success, tips and tricks, etc.  Well it’s time to help the audience stop making the mistakes that can kill their blog.

The most obvious cause of a dead blog is not writing to it.  But what usually happens before that is one fails to see results for their effort and therefor abandons the commitment.

So really, this article is about common causes for a lack of success with one’s blogging effort.

The Simple Answer: You’re Focusing on the Wrong Things.

Stop Worrying About Comments

Comments are nice.  They let you know that someone is reading.  They keep a post alive.  They give you a chance to learn from the audience and defend your opinions.  They are the pat on the back that makes you feel like the effort is worth it.

But the funny thing about comments is that with business blogs, like the real estate blog, the commenter is not your next client.  Often it is the friendly agent stopping by to offer his accordance, or to point out a detail you may have overlooked.  At times it may be a real question, from a real person looking for some direction… only to never hear from them again.  But it is rarely, if ever, your next client.

Your next client is going to email you directly, or call you.  And, this is exactly what you want them to do.

Your job as the blogging real estate agent is to be seen as the expert.  You want to be seen as someone who knows your real estate inside-and-out and who loves the community that you share with your readers.  It is not to start a discussion based on your opinions on topics that drive a chatty crew to your comment box.  Leave that to the political over-sharers.

Stop Worrying About SEO and SERPs Rank

Salespeople use the following words:

SEO, Optimized, PageRank, Metatag, Metadata, Keywords, SERPs, Authority, Inbound Links, etc.

You just need to stick with publishing as many words as you can about your niche in real estate and the area you love.  Once you fall for the need to make it ‘better for the search engines’ you will have a hard time ever overcoming the lure of the snake oil.

– Writing Your Real Estate Blog Primarily to Google is a Squandered Opportunity
– All You Ever Needed To Know About Blogging SEO, But Were Afraid To Say So
– Why Worrying About SEO Is Detrimental to Your Real Estate Blog
– Dichotomy of the Real Estate Blog – Do You Please the Readers or Search Engines?
– Three Letters I Don’t Think About When Writing A Post For My Real Estate Blog
– SEO Can Be Snake Oil – Part 1

Stop Writing About Your Interests Instead of the Interests of Your Reader.
Or, Stop Trying To Be Interesting Instead of Interested.

These two are so similar that I felt it would be easy enough to pair them together.

The goal of business blogging is to create an audience that will in turn want to do business with you.  The goal is not to entertain yourself.  It becomes entertaining once it starts working.  Until then, you’ll need to simply consider exactly what your target audience is searching for online (regarding real estate and the community).  Now work to get yourself in front of them for these exact reasons.

I guess there is a loop hole.  If your ideal audience is just-like-you… well then keep on writing about what interests you.  But then again, that’s how you end up with an audience of peers instead of clients.

Stop Trying to Cover Too Many Topics or Too Broad a Geographic Area.

Building a website that covers your wide range of expertise and capacity, coupled with the range of ground that you are willing to travel takes more time than you’ll ever be able to dedicate.

With 10 fingers and only so many hours to invest in developing an effective web presence, you need to approach your content development strategy with targeted focus.

More often than not, the result is a website that is thin on content, and provides sound counsel in nothing.

Consider this: Starting a website is not going to define your real estate career and capacity, it is going to supplement it.  Once you have earned an audience you need to continue to feed it with resourceful content targeting their needs.  Once you are confident that you are engaging that audience effectively, you can choose to expand your target to include a broader area and/or new audience.

Instead, what I see happen so frequently is that in an effort to not appear limited, a real estate website is set up to be a resource for a broad range of audiences and areas.  More often than not, the result is a website that is thin on content, and provides sound counsel in nothing.

Stop Worrying About Including Bells and Whistles

Yes, including features where your audience can tweet, bookmark or share your articles is a good idea.  However, for the fledgling blog, the frequency with which your content will be shared is depressingly low.  So low in fact, that you’ll forget that you even have these features on your site well before anyone will actually take advantage of them.

Other shiny objects meant to take up space on your sidebar(s) do nothing more than just that.

Consider what needs your audience has and only provide the tools that satisfy.  The rest of the plugins, widgets, chiclets, icons, badges, and flash will not make your site any better for them.

You’re Not Measuring Your Actions and Results

Want to lose more than 10 lbs?
Follow a healthy diet and RECORD everything you eat, every bit of (or lack of) exercise, your daily weight, and weekly body fat percentage.  I guarantee this vigilance and data recording will keep you focused and encouraged enough to meet your goal.

Want to run your first marathon?
Start running almost everyday, and religiously record your times, distances and heart-rate… knowing your goal is to reach marathon distance.  With determination, your distances, pace and stamina will increase to the point where you’ll finally cover 26.21875 miles.

Want to generate new clients from your blog this year?
Create an environment resourceful* to your ideal reader, schedule and track your posting frequency (min of 3 posts a week),  track the traffic and corresponding data (keyword effectiveness) to your articles.  If you write to them, they will come, and want to do business with the expert (you).

Warning: do not get too deep into the analytics.  Paralyzation by analyzation is very real.  Write first, track later.

*hopefully you understand what I mean by this now.  If not, give us a call =)

You Are Failing To Market Your Content

Don’t rely on your articles to get in front of your potential clients on their own.

Sure, the SEs will pick up and display your content in relevant inquiries, but you can greatly increase your traffic numbers with a few simple actions.

In an earlier post I mentioned this basic list of effective, after publishing efforts:
-Social Media Status Updates
-Social Bookmarking
-Email Database Blast
-Ping Your Articles
-Make It Easy for Others to Share You Content
-Add a Feed of Your Headlines to Your Email Signature

I realize that some of the above contradicts the advice above about being distracted by bells and whistles.  The idea is that once you are making the efforts that lead to a successful site, focusing on how to grow your audience with these techniques can be beneficial.

You Write Terrible Headlines

An ineffective headline will render your articles invisible.

Online, your articles are simply headlines before they are seen in their full context.  Therefore the headline is your only opportunity to influence your audience to click.  If you can’t impress in this instant, you will never earn readership and your site will fail.

We define a strong headline as one that has at least 3 of these 4 aspects.

Emotion – Get my attention.
Call To Action – Tell me why it is worth my click.
Keywords – Help yourself be found, SEs give weight to words in the headline.
Descriptiveness – Don’t make me guess what is behind the link.

For examples: What Copyblogger Hasn’t Told You About Writing Real Estate Blog Headlines

Your Poor Formatting is Unenjoyable To Read

If your articles look like homework, your audience will not stick around to read them.

Learn to format your content with the proper use of Headings, Images, Links, Short Paragraphs, Pull-Quotes, etc.

7 Crucial Tips for Writing Blog Content That Gets Read.

Stop Trying To Be Your Own Web Designer

There are 1000s of downloadable designs for the WordPress platform.   In my opinion, most of them are garbage (weak sense of aesthetics coupled with poor coding structure).  The frustrating part is that it you can spend dozens of hours trying to tweak the design for your tastes and needs, only to end up disappointed and embarrassed with your results.

To ensure your satisfaction with a design that enhances your content, and gives you the professional look that you deserve, you will need to hire a designer.

First impressions in this business are incredibly important.  Foregoing the expense of having a custom design developed will certainly put you at a disadvantage.

Stop Trying To Be Your Own Host/Webmaster

The commitment it entails to ride the road to blogging success is significant, no doubt.

Adding the responsibility of learning the following will certainly eat into the time that it takes be maintain a successful real estate career:

Hosting accounts
Installation of WordPress
Management of theme files
Technical SEO (sitemap creation/robots file)
3rd party plugin installation/management
Platform upgrades
Spam protection
FTP familiarity
Basic coding knowledge (CSS/HTML/PHP)

All this just to save a few bucks a month on hosting fees.  For most, this is a penny-wise-pound-foolish scenario.

Stop Looking for a Finish Line

Thinking of blogging as a finite marketing task is going to end badly.

A blogger is something that you call yourself when you are committed to creating content regularly.  Thinking of it as a finite marketing task is going to end badly.

When I am asked, “How long do I need to blog before I start generating business?” I always fear that what they are really asking is “How long do I have to commit to this for?”  The challenge with this attitude is that they are considering the mountain, not the journey.

All sorts of bad ideas arise when one looks at the task as a burden: ghost authors, copying content, automated blog posts and the loss of desire to develop the proper skills.

Once you stop looking for the finish line, and embrace each post as an opportunity to feed the audience that needs to hear from you, the whole task will be that much more attractive and easier.

If you want to master these techniques alongside a personal trainer, contact us right away to schedule a session.