Real estate blogging – loved, hated, promoted, ridiculed. Nevertheless, I just read an article about real estate blogging “do’s and don’ts,” that was the absolute epitome of why we have to be careful from whom we take advice.
Blogging best practices include – typically at the top of the list – breaking up long paragraphs so that they are no longer than five sentences in length.
The aforementioned post about what not to do when real estate blogging started out with a paragraph that is TEN sentences long.
Further into the article there is a paragraph that is EIGHTEEN sentences in length
What happens when a reader is met with a huge block of text?
Most won’t bother reading it.
What else can you learn from sucky real estate blogs? Even better, how can you use these tips to become better at real estate blogging? Read on!
1. Ignoring blog structure best practices
Those overly-long paragraphs? Those are just the beginning of some of the structure blunders we see on many real estate blogs.
And, they go hand-in-hand with the term “whitespace.” You need as much of that as possible in each post.
Break up your posts into sections, using headers, sub-headers, block quotes and bulleted lists. Regardless of the length of your post, these “tricks” help the reader assume that it’s a quick read.
Consider incorporating photos, infographics, charts and other visuals. Get additional tips on blog structure at globalyogi.com.
2. Not understanding why blogging is critical to your business
Blogging consistently offers several valuable paybacks. For the real estate agent who does it right, blogging helps establish authority. It also builds the volume of indexed pages on your site, which is good for SEO.
And, lest you don’t believe us, check out the stats:
- U.S. internet users spend three times more time on blogs and social networks than they do on email, according to Hubspot.
- Statista.com finds that nearly 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies have a public blog.
- “Businesses that blog witness their monthly leads rise by 126% more than those who don’t,” according to a Hubspot
- Companies that blog get 55 percent more visitors
Want organic traffic visiting your site? Want site visitors to ‘discover’ you instead of having to be hit hard by your ads or direct mail? Want to be known as a resource to your community? Real estate blogging can give you all of this and more. A lot more, in fact.
3. Not taking the time to learn blog content best practices of real estate blogging
It’s not enough to sit down at the computer and start dashing off your witty words of wisdom, though. Even the most brilliant blog posts run the risk of sinking into obscurity if they’re not formatted correctly or if they’re riddled with mistakes.
Blog topics should be, above all else, of value to your reader.
“For each post, I made sure to identify what my readers want to read and to define the problem that they want to solve,” explains Neil Patel, who can legitimately boast of receiving more than 262,000 website visitors in one month.
No, your latest listing isn’t all that compelling – at least not to the vast majority of readers. Choose your topics carefully and, when you come up with one, your job has only just begun.
Find a way to differentiate that topic from the millions of others out there. For example,
There are 154 million Google results for “How to buy a house”
Choose any of those results at random and you’ll find that most say the same things.
“How to buy a house in [your city]” is probably just as saturated. But, “How to buy a home with a view in [your city] isn’t.
Not only are you working with a long-tail, hyper-local search term by niching down your topics, you can reuse the topic repeatedly just by plugging in a different niche, such as “luxury home,” “condo,” “a home with a well and septic.”
You’ll also need a compelling title. According to Copyblogger, on average, 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the actual article or blog post.
“Essentially, your blog title has the ability to make or break the success of the whole post.”
according to Carly Stec, Hubspot’s senior content strategist. She mentions some takeaways from research performed by Takipi’s co-founder, Iris Shoor – words to consider using in your titles to help generate more shares of your blog posts.
They’re surprising and worth a read.
For more on the nuts and bolts process of writing a blog post, refer to Patel’s Ultimate Guide to Writing Blog Posts that Rank in Google’s Top 10.
4. Selling instead of informing
While it’s perfectly fine to occasionally post information about a new listing or let folks know about an open house (although social media is a far better vehicle for this), avoid over-posting these items. Few people go to a blog to be sold to; most want to learn something.
Offering content that is relevant to the reader is the only way to do this
As well, don’t go overboard on your calls-to-action. We’ve seen some that are longer than the post. A call-to-action, by the way, shouldn’t read like a bio.
In fact, it is just what it says it is – it directs the reader to what you want him or her to do next. If you are using your blog to build community, for instance, you’ll probably want readers to share your posts and/or leave a comment.
Your call-to-action in this case would be to ask a question. “Do you have an autumn home maintenance routine? Feel free to share it with us in the comments.”
Posts about home selling might direct your reader to your free market analysis page and those buyer-focused posts should take the readers to some of those amazing buyer posts you’ve written.
Save the blatant self-promotion for other pages on your site.
5. Not leading the reader to more of your content
“The longer someone stays on your website, the more they’ll get to know you and your business,” says Curaytor’s Kristi Hines. And, she’s correct. It’s the reason you’ll find links to other, similar articles at the end some of the industry’s best blog posts.
“Strategic internal linking is an SEO power technique,” according to Elliot Ross, writing at kissmetrics.com. How?
Links send signals to both search engine spiders and to readers that the content linked to is exceptionally important and relevant. This is something both search engines and readers want, according to Ross.
6. Not proofreading before publishing
This is a biggie. We recently read a blog post from a Florida agent who apparently wrote notes to his writer in the post and then forgot to remove those notes when he published the finished product.
Throughout the post, the reader is treated to gems such as “I CANNOT UNDERSTAND YOUR WRITING!” and “WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY THIS?”
Then, there are the agents who hire writers who don’t know the first thing about real estate. What happens is they end up with posts full of misinformation, like this one, from a paragraph about being mindful during the final walkthrough:
“Realtors will only pay for something that is broken so make it a mission to inspect closely.”
Since this particular beauty was published in an agent’s newspaper, sent to thousands of people in his farm, wouldn’t you love to be a fly on the wall when one of his buyers demands that he pay for damage found during the walkthrough because, after all, he said in his newspaper that “Realtors” do that?
Whether you hire a ghostwriter or write your own posts, it’s important to proof carefully, several times, before publishing them on your site. Look not only for factual errors but grammar, punctuation and spelling errors as well.
7. Not promoting your blog posts
So, you’ve just published the world’s most compelling real estate blog post. Now you need to share it.
Not only does sharing help drive traffic back to your site, but “Blog content also helps keep your social media presence going,” according to Hubspot.
Publish that post to your LinkedIn Groups (as long as they allow this), Facebook, of course, and any other social media platform you use.
If you mention a local business in your post, let them know you mentioned them and ask them to link to your post. Now, each of their followers will see the post and, hopefully, many of them will end up on your website.
Real estate blogging isn’t for the feint at heart. It’s a big job but offers a spectacular return on the time and/or money you invest in it. Learn from the worst, so you can be the best.