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Neighborhood Sites: Biting Off More Than You Can Chew

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I was recently speaking with an agent in my area that wanted to set up a series of neighborhood-specific websites. He plans on setting up about 3-5 neighborhood sites with the hopes that they will drive qualified traffic back to his main site so he can get more leads. Sounds like a great idea… but my question was: How do you plan on writing all those articles while simultaneously building backlinks to each one? It seems easy, but its not.

Optimizing and building links for a single website can quickly become a full-time job depending on how ambitious you are. I cant imagine a full-time agent trying to launch and manage over 3 blogs at the same time when he/she doesn’t even have one going. Although local search is blowing up, and blogging is the new “thing” for all agents to get into. Sometimes you need to take baby-steps to get off the ground.

This isn’t the only agent I know that quickly made an ambitious plan to start a series of sites all at once. I can understand how, as an internet rookie, you can read an article or hear a seminar about blogging and feel like you have to become the master of your area overnight. You can do it, but not overnight.

Start with one site, and make categories for each subdivision if you want. Try to build your empire under one domain to start with. Every article you write will be just as likely to rank for your chosen neighborhood keywords as a “special URL” you set up… and it will help you FOCUS your SEO efforts on ONE site. Not five.

Don’t start a junk blog for every subdivision in your town thinking that you will eventually “find” people who want to write for your blog for dirt cheap. And don’t think you can drive traffic or get leads from a keyword-stuffed splog, because it does nothing but waste valuable time you could be using to write a good relevant article on your main site.

Writer for national real estate opinion column AgentGenius.com, focusing on the improvement of the real estate industry by educating peers about technology, real estate legislation, ethics, practices and brokerage with the end result being that consumers have a better experience.

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Benn Rosales

    November 11, 2007 at 8:12 pm

    Carson, I am so glad you made this point. Many have asked me why we arent doing what you described and I’ve said basically the same thing.

    Also, I would point out that real manage (hoa managment company) here in Austin has already put together neighborhood sites and are marketing it as a service directly to them. It seems more effective to partnership market on these sites and get the same outcome.

  2. Carson Coots

    November 11, 2007 at 9:29 pm

    Exactly.

    As another alternative, I would recommend spending all of that extra effort on using a good mix of social networks to channel the content through… or at least blurbs/feeds that funnel into the main site.

    I think the ability to harness feeds by breaking them up and feeding them to specific sites will make maintaining 10 neighborhood sites with limited resources feasible.

    Or you can go with the multi-author approach, by teaming up with some local professionals who would mutually benefit with a neighborhood site. But wow, that would require some serious coordination.

  3. Chris Johnson

    November 12, 2007 at 3:42 am

    Nice thinking–but isn’t it better to specialize in one specific niche? If we’re going to be a “neighborhood” blog, why not be one fairly specific category? A thought.

    Oh, and as always, NOW IS A GREAT TIME TO BUY REAL ESTATE IN NORTH AMERICA.

  4. Ryan Hukill

    November 15, 2007 at 3:32 pm

    Carson, it’s funny, I had some of these same thoughts about a year ago and decided then that it was far too overwhelming to take on individual sites for specific individual communities. Besides that, most folks looking in one community are also looking in others, so why not have all the info in one place in an easy to navigate format for all to see?

    I think of it like farming. There’s no way I could effectively farm 20 different neighborhoods, so instead I focus on 3-4 I can manage efficiently and grow from there.

    Same concept with neighborhood blogging. Blog hard about 3-4 and add more later if you can handle it.

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Business Marketing

Bite-sized retail: Macy’s plans to move out of malls

(BUSINESS MARKETING) While Macy’s shares have recently climbed, the department store chain is making a change in regards to big retail shopping malls.

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Macy's retail storefront, which may look different as they scale to smaller stores.

I was recently listening to a podcast on Barstool Sports, and was surprised to hear that their presenting sponsor was Macy’s. This struck me as odd considering the demographic for the show is women in their twenties to thirties, and Macy’s typically doesn’t cater to that crowd. Furthermore, department retail stores are becoming a bit antiquated as is.

The sponsorship made more sense once I learned that Macy’s is restructuring their operation, and now allowing their brand to go the way of the ghost. They feel that while malls will remain in operation, only the best (AKA the malls with the most foot traffic) will stand the test of changes in the shopping experience.

As we’ve seen a gigantic rise this year in online shopping, stores like Macy’s and JC Penney are working hard to keep themselves afloat. There is so much changing in brick and mortar retail that major shifts need to be made.

So, what is Macy’s proposing to do?

The upscale department store chain is going to be testing smaller stores in locations outside of major shopping malls. Bloomingdale’s stores will be doing the same. “We continue to believe that the best malls in the country will thrive,” CEO Jeff Gennette told CNBC analysts. “However, we also know that Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s have high potential [off]-mall and in smaller formats.”

While the pandemic assuredly plays a role in this, the need for change came even before the hit in March. Macy’s had announced in February their plans to close 125 stores in the next three years. This is in conjunction with Macy’s expansion of Macy’s Backstage, which offers more affordable options.

Gennette also stated that while those original plans are still in place, Macy’s has been closely monitoring the competition in the event that they need to adjust the store closure timeline. At the end of the second quarter, Macy’s had 771 stores, including Bloomingdale’s and Bluemercury.

Last week, Macy’s shares climbed 3 percent, after the retailer reported a more narrow loss than originally expected, along with stronger sales due to an uptick in their online business. So they’re already doing well in that regard. But will smaller stores be the change they need to survive?

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Business Marketing

Why you must nix MLM experience from your resume

(BUSINESS MARKETING) MLMs prey on people without much choice, but once you try to switch to something more stable, don’t use the MLM as experience.

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Discussing including MLM experience on a resume.

MLM experience… Is it worth keeping on your resume?

Are you or someone you know looking for a job after a stint in an MLM? Well, first off, congratulations for pursuing a real job that will provide a steady salary! But I also know that transition can be hard. The job market is already tight and if you don’t have much other work experience on your resume, is it worth trying to leverage your MLM experience?

The short answer? Heck no.

As Ask the Manager puts it, there’s a “strong stigma against [MLMs],” meaning your work experience might very well put a bad taste in the mouth of anyone looking through resumes. And looking past the sketchy products many offer, when nearly half of people in MLMs lose money and another quarter barely break even, it sure doesn’t paint you in a good light to be involved.

(Not to mention, many who do turn a profit only do so by recruiting more people, not actually by selling many products.)

“But I wouldn’t say I worked for an MLM,” you or your friend might say, “I was a small business owner!”

It’s a common selling point for MLMs, that often throw around pseudo-feminist feel good slang like “Boss Babe” or a “Momtrepreneur,” to tell women joining that they’re now business women! Except, as you might have guessed, that’s not actually the case, unless by “Boss Babe” you mean “Babe Who Goes Bankrupt or Tries to Bankrupt Her Friends.”

A more accurate title for the job you did at an MLM would be Sales Rep, because you have no stake in the creation of the product, or setting the prices, or any of the myriad of tasks that a real entrepreneur has to face.

Okay, that doesn’t sound nearly as impressive as “small business owner.” And I know it’s tempting to talk up your experience on a resume, but that can fall apart pretty quickly if you can’t actually speak to actual entrepreneur experience. It makes you look like you don’t know what you’re talking about…which is also not a good look for the job hunt.

That said… Depending on your situation, it might be difficult to leave any potential work experience off your resume. I get it. MLMs often target people who don’t have options for other work opportunities – and it’s possible you’re one of the unlucky ones who doesn’t have much else to put on paper.

In this case, you’ll want to do it carefully. Use the sales representative title (or something similar) and, if you’re like the roughly 50% of people who lose money from MLMs, highlight your soft skills. Did you do cold calls? Tailor events to the people who would be attending? Get creative, just make sure to do it within reason.

It’s not ideal to use your MLM experience on a resume, but sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures. Still, congratulations to you, or anyone you know, who has decided to pursue something that will actually help pay the bills.

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Business Marketing

This smart card manages employee spending with ease

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Clever credit cards make it easier for companies to set spending policies and help alleviate expense problems for both them and their employees.

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Spendesk showing off its company credit cards.

Company credit cards are a wonderful solution to managing business expenses. They work almost exactly like debit cards, which we all know how to use, am I right? It is the twenty-first century after all. Simply swipe, dip, or tap, and a transaction is complete.

However, keeping up with invoices and receipts is a nightmare. I know I’ve had my fair share of hunting down wrinkled pieces of paper after organizing work events. Filling out endless expense reports is tedious. Plus, the back and forth communication with the finance team to justify purchases can cause a headache on both ends.

Company credit cards make it easier for companies to keep track of who’s spending money and how much. However, they aren’t able to see final numbers until expense reports are submitted. This makes monitoring spending a challenge. Also, reviewing all the paperwork to reimburse employees is time-consuming.

But Spendesk is here to combat those downsides! This all-in-one corporate expense and spend management service provides a promising alternative to internal management. The French startup “combines spend approvals, company cards, and automated accounting into one refreshingly easy spend management solution.”

Their clever company cards are what companies and employees have all been waiting for! With increasing remote workforces, this new form of payment comes at just the right moment to help companies simplify their expenditures.

These smart cards remove limitations regular company cards have today. Spendesk’s employee debit cards offer companies options to monitor budgets, customize settings, and set specific authorizations. For instance, companies can set predefined budgets and spending category limitations on flights, hotels, restaurants, etc. Then they don’t have to worry about an employee taking advantage of their card by booking a first-class flight or eating at a high-end steakhouse.

All transactions are tracked in real time so finance and accounting can see purchases right as they happen. Increasing visibility is important, especially when your employee is working remotely.

And for employees, this new form of payment is more convenient and easier on the pocket. “These are smart employee company cards with built-in spending policies. Employees can pay for business expenses when they need to without ever having to spend their own money,” the company demonstrated in a company video.

Not having to dip into your checking account is a plus in my book! And for remote employees who just need to make a single purchase, Spendesk has single-use virtual debit cards, too.

Now, that’s a smart card!

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