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You’re Insignifcant and You Don’t Even Know It

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Perspective is a terrible thing to lose.

This morning I was talking to someone about the number of real estate bloggers there are here in the Phoenix area. We have one of the higher concentrations of real estate bloggers in the country, as best I can tell. And at the end of the day, we amount to less than one percent of the overall real estate population.

To my mind, we’re on the bleeding edge of the changes in the real estate industry. We’re the early adopters, the leaders of the 2.0 movement … and still, we’re in such a minority we barely count as a blip on the radar.

Your Sidebar Widgets Are Sirens

They seduce you and deceive you simultaneously into believing you’re more important than you really are. I’m as guilty as anyone of watching to see traffic patterns on my home blog, but they don’t impact what I’m writing to any large degree. I know that traffic in and of itself is worthless.

This was proven this week by the “SEO experiment” where traffic was driven to one blog using the name of Governor Spitzer’s favored prostitute.

How does this help you sell homes? What does this have to do with marketing real estate?

Absolutely nothing. The traffic generated was absolutely worthless. If you’re trying to earn a living from your blog, you need focused traffic not traffic for its own sake.

Technorati rankings? Alexa traffic ranks? Please let me know what St. Peter has to say about these some day. They’re irrelevant. Those clinging to them are desperate souls looking for any affirmation of their self-worth that they can find.

Don’t be seduced by the false god that is unfocused traffic.

Big Fish, Incredibly Small Pond

The notion of who has the most important real estate blog is far less relevant that the notion that it doesn’t matter in the slightest. You’re in a minority writing for a minority. It’s almost sad to see people lose sight of their insignificance.

Most of us write for the public to one degree or another. Most of us are attempting to generate business while simultaneously pleasing the Google monster. Some of us have more success than others.

Want to impress me? Tell me how many closings you have as a direct result of your blog. Tell me about the clients who read your extended resume and chose you from amongst all of the others. Many of the writers here can do that with ease. Some of the best and the brightest in the real estate blogosphere also can do so. Except you don’t see them telling everyone how important they are every other day – the role of a rank vendor or salesman on a me-first static site, not a real estate blogger in the 2.0 world.

Don’t tell me about your traffic numbers. They mean nothing. Because when you take a few million steps back to get the proper perspective, you’re residing on the same dot as me. And there’s nary an ounce of difference between us.

Jonathan Dalton is a Realtor with RE/MAX Desert Showcase in Peoria, Arizona and is the author of the All Phoenix Real Estate blog as well as a half-dozen neighborhood sites. His partner, Tobey, is a somewhat rotund beagle who sleeps 21 hours a day.

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16 Comments

16 Comments

  1. Missy Caulk

    March 17, 2008 at 5:52 pm

    Tell it like it is Jonathan, love the graphic. I don’t really know why I have that bloglog on my site, I never look at it. LOL

  2. Ryan Hukill

    March 17, 2008 at 6:09 pm

    Jonathan, way to bring us all back down to earth. You’re right, it’s REALLY easy to get caught up in traffic and rankings, while losing sight of the real indicator of our online success… the mighty pocketbook.

  3. Benjamin Bach

    March 17, 2008 at 9:43 pm

    AWESOME post
    This afternoon I just wrote my third deal with an investor who started reading my blog in November. About $690,000 in volume. Yesterday I wrote my second deal with an investor who found me on my blog; I have 2 additional pending sales from clients who found me on my blog… 3 closings in the past two month from clients from my blog . . . .

    WAY cooler than a six digit technoranking

    BenjaminBach.com

  4. Jay Thompson

    March 18, 2008 at 1:01 am

    A freaking men!

  5. Charleston real estate blog

    March 18, 2008 at 5:07 am

    Jonathan, you are absolutely on target. Here’s an example of the benefit of letting people get to know you through your blog. “Howard, I’ll be moving to Charleston to begin a new job on 8/20. Being a first time home buyer, I’m interested in finding a trustworthy buyer’s agent. I’ve spent some time reading your blog and would like to discuss your services in more detail.” The sale closed last September.

  6. florida remax realty

    March 18, 2008 at 5:23 am

    I have learned alot from blogging and am new at it and try hard to be part of different blogs and have my voice be heard. It has really taken me outside my local area and comfort zone and I see what is happening all over US right now and that helps me better do my job.

  7. Mack in Atlanta

    March 18, 2008 at 7:36 am

    Dead On Jonathan. The ROI from an informative targeted blog post is huge. The best success that I have is posting about my First Time Buyer Seminar-Workshop. While the attendance is generally less that 10 buyers, I always get 1 or 2 transactions from them.

  8. Mike Farmer

    March 18, 2008 at 11:50 am

    I’m not sold on the insignificance angle – the whole “the universe is infinite and we’re insignificant thing. Everyone has influence within their sphere. Here at agentgenius I often here praise of the sites’ members as being an influential group in the RE web 2.0, and deservedly so if I judge by the comments — it seems to reaching and helping quite a few professionals.

    I know an elderly lady who cares for her granddaughter who was dumped by the mother. The elderly lady will tell you with pride, at every opportunity, how she is raising the daughter and teaching her valuable life lessons. Preach on, I tell her. In the great big universe, I say she’s rather large on the importance scale.

    We all need to blow a horn every once in awhile, just like the members here do with each other, when we think we are doing good. Saints are humble, we’re just regular people, proud of our accomplishments, big in various, unique ways.

  9. Mike Farmer

    March 18, 2008 at 11:51 am

    hear praise

    seems to be

    That’s only two I caught.

  10. Mike Farmer

    March 18, 2008 at 11:55 am

    often hear

    seems to be

    That’s just two I caught.

  11. Tom

    March 18, 2008 at 4:25 pm

    Great post, but there are alway caveats. Sometimes people write for other purposes. For guys and gals that write about real estate that are not agents there can be some upside still for writing these sites.

    Mine pays the mortgage every month for a couple of hours a day. Not bad work if you can get it. Not to mention the fun that I have doing it.

  12. Elaine Reese

    March 18, 2008 at 6:13 pm

    I do so agree with you! It’s about getting showings for our listings, getting listings, getting buyers … and getting paychecks. Those are the numbers important to me.

  13. Lani Anglin-Rosales

    March 18, 2008 at 7:00 pm

    Karen (Comment #6) brings up a great point that puts a pretty red bow on Jonathan’s article… we’re all insignificant as self-important individuals (so what if I’m guilty?) but the greatest side effect of blogging is more than ego stroking, it is a learning and teaching environment that makes our business practices better.

    Vicki and I were talking on the phone the other day and we’ve both had the experience of someone in the office telling us about a hot real estate news story with great excitement and our mental response is “are you kidding? not only did i read about that last quarter, i wrote a series of articles about it and spoke at a conference on a panel about that…” while we say out loud, “oh yeah, I heard about that, isn’t it cool?” Blogging may not make us significant (although like Jonathan said, it can lull us into that feeling), but it makes us better informed and keeps us on our toes! 🙂

  14. Cyndee Haydon

    March 19, 2008 at 7:50 am

    Jonathan – I have experienced this when I’ve ranked well for “real estate” keywords and generated new client contacts and requests and then in other instances had the same traffic for non-real estate related words and seen my leads plummet. I think traffic is not a good measure – the kind of traffic is. I can tell by how many home searches consumers are doing what my ROI will be like. Learning this definitely has helped me stay more focused with my blogging too.

  15. Eric Bouler

    March 19, 2008 at 2:48 pm

    The local niche in New Orleans Condos is even smaller. I happen to be one of the few fish in a small pond. its get don to being much more local. That is where the big companies cannot go with content that is worth a hoot. I am not a great blogger but it works for me since its content and photos of the niche that I work in. It is also compatiable with my other website.

  16. Dru Bloomfield

    March 23, 2008 at 6:30 am

    Jonathan, I love it when you tell it like it is and crack me up at the same time. For me, blogging has been an experiment, a chance to educate, and has open doors that I never knew existed. You, sir, are one of those who shows me the way. Thank you.

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Business Marketing

Amazon attracts advertisers from Facebook after Apple privacy alterations

(MARKETING) After Apple’s privacy features unveil, Amazon adapts by taking a unique approach to targeting, disrupting revenue for the ad giant Facebook.

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Two African American women work at their desks, one viewing Amazon's advertising landing page.

As a de facto search engine of its own persuasion, Amazon has been poaching ad revenue from Google for some time. However, disrupting the revenue stream from their most recent victim – Facebook – is going to turn some heads.

According to Bloomberg, Apple’s recent privacy additions to products such as iPhones are largely responsible for the shift in ad spending. While platforms like Facebook and Instagram were originally goldmines for advertisers, these privacy features prevent tracking for targeting – a crucial aspect in any marketing campaign.

Internet privacy has been featured heavily in tech conversations for the last several years, and with Chrome phasing out third-party cookies, along with Safari and Firefox introducing roughly analogous policies, social media advertising is bound to become less useful as tracking strategies struggle to keep up with the aforementioned changes.

However, Amazon’s wide user base and separate categorization from social media companies makes it a clear alternative to the Facebook family, which is perhaps why Facebook advertisers are starting to jump ship in an effort to preserve their profits.

This is the premise behind the decision to reduce the Facebook ad spending of Vanity Planet by 22%, a home spa vendor, while facilitating a transition to Amazon. “We have inventory…and the biggest place we are growing is Amazon,” says Alex Dastmalchi, the entrepreneur who runs Vanity Planet.

That gap will only widen with Apple’s new privacy features. Bloomberg reports that when asked in June if they would consent to having their internet activity tracked, only one in four iPhone users did so; this makes it substantially harder for the ad campaigns unique to Facebook to target prospective buyers.

It also means that Amazon, having demonstrated a profound effectiveness in targeting individuals both pre- and post-purchase, stands to gain more than its fair share of sellers flocking to promote their products.

Jens Nicolaysen, co-founder of Shinesty (an eccentric underwear company), affirms the value that Amazon holds for sellers while acknowledging that it isn’t a perfect substitute for social media. While Nicolaysen laments the loss of the somewhat random introduction charm inherent on Instagram, he also believes in the power of brand loyalty, especially on a platform as high-profile as Amazon. “The bigger you are, the more you lose by not having any presence on Amazon,” he explains.

As privacy restrictions continue to ramp up in the coming months, it will be interesting to see how social media advertising evolves to keep up with this trend; it seems naive to assume that Amazon will replace Facebook’s ads entirely, tracking or no tracking.

Apple's privacy landing page showing iPhone users ability to shut off location services and a desktop image of a user's ability to control how their data is managed.

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Business Marketing

How many hours of the work week are actually efficient?

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Working more for that paycheck, more hours each week, on the weekends, on holidays can actually hurt productivity. So don’t do that, stay efficient.

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Clock pointed to 5:50 on a plain white wall, well tracked during the week.

Social media is always flooded with promises to get in shape, eat healthier and… hustle?

In hustle culture, it seems as though there’s no such thing as too much work. Nights, weekends and holidays are really just more time to be pushing towards your dreams and hobbies are just side hustles waiting to be monetized. Plus, with freelancing on the rise, there really is nothing stopping someone from making the most out of their 24 hours.

Hustle culture will have you believe that a full-time job isn’t enough. Is that true?

Although it’s a bit outdated, Gallup’s 2014 report on full-time US workers gives us an alarming glimpse into the effects of the hustle. For starters, 50% of full-time workers reported working over 40 hours a week – in fact, the average weekly hours for salaried employees was up to 49 hours.

So, what’s the deal with 40 hours anyway? The 40 hour work-week actually started with labor rights activists in the 1800s pushing for an 8 hour workday. In 1817, Robert Owen, a Welsh activist, reasoned this workday provided: “eight hours labor, eight hours recreation, eight hours rest.”

If you do the math, that’s a whopping 66% of the day devoted to personal needs, rather than labor!

Of course, it’s only natural to be skeptical of logic from two centuries ago coloring the way we do business in the 21st century. For starters, there’s plenty of labor to be done outside of the labor you’re paid to do. Meal prep, house cleaning, child care… that’s all work that needs to be done. It’s also all work that some of your favorite influencers are paying to get done while they pursue the “hustle.” For the average human, that would all be additional work to fall in the ‘recreation’ category.

But I digress. Is 40 hours a week really enough in the modern age? After all, average hours in the United States have increased.

Well… probably not. In fact, when hours are reduced (France, for instance, limited maximum hours to 35 hours a week, instead of 40), workers are not only more likely to be healthier and happier, but more efficient and less likely to miss work!

So, instead of following through with the goal to work more this year, maybe consider slowing the hustle. It might actually be more effective in the long run!

This story was first published in January 2020.

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Business Marketing

Jack of all trades vs. specialized expert – which are you?

(BUSINESS MARKETING) It may feel tough to decide if you want to be a jack of all trades or have an area of expertise at work. There are reasons to decide either route.

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jack of all trades learning

When mulling over your career trajectory, you might ask yourself if you should be a jack of all trades or a specific expert. Well, it’s important to think about where you started. When you were eight years old, what did you want to be when you grew up? Teacher? Doctor? Lawyer? Video Game Developer? Those are common answers when you are eight years old as they are based on professionals that you probably interact with regularly (ok, maybe not lawyers but you may have watched LA Law, Law & Order or Suits and maybe played some video games – nod to Atari, Nintendo and Sega).

We eventually chose what areas of work to gain skills in and/or what major to pursue in college. To shed some light on what has changed in the last couple of decades:

Business, Engineering, Healthcare and Technology job titles have grown immensely in the last 20 years. For example, here are 9 job titles that didn’t exist 20 years ago in Business:

  1. Online Community Manager
  2. Virtual Assistant
  3. Digital Marketing Expert
  4. SEO Specialist
  5. App Developer
  6. Web Analyst
  7. Blogger
  8. Social Media Manager
  9. UX Designer

We know that job opportunities have grown to include new technologies, Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality, consumer-generated content, instant gratification, gig economy and freelance, as well as many super-secret products and services that may be focused on the B2B market, government and/or military that we average consumers may not know about.

According to the 2019 Bureau of Labor Statistics after doing a survey of baby boomers, the average number of jobs in a lifetime is 12. That number is likely on the rise with generations after the Baby Boomers. Many people are moving away from hometowns and cousins they have grown up with.

The Balance Careers suggests that our careers and number of jobs we hold also vary throughout our lifetimes and our race is even a factor. “A worker’s age impacted the number of jobs that they held in any period. Workers held an average of 5.7 jobs during the six-year period when they were 18 to 24 years old. However, the number of jobs held declined with age. Workers had an average of 4.5 jobs when they were 25 to 34 years old, and 2.9 jobs when they were 35 to 44 years old. During the most established phase of many workers’ careers, ages 45 to 52, they held only an average of 1.9 jobs.”

In order to decide what you want to be, may we suggest asking yourself these questions:

  • Should you work to be an expert or a jack of all trades?
  • Where are you are at in your career and how have your skills progressed?
  • Are you happy focusing in on one area or do you find yourself bored easily?
  • What are your largest priorities today (Work? Family? Health? Caring for an aging parent or young children?)

If you take the Gallup CliftonStrengths test and are able to read the details about your top five strengths, Gallup suggests that it’s better to double down and grown your strengths versus trying to overcompensate on your weaknesses.

The thing is, usually if you work at a startup, small business or new division, you are often wearing many hats and it can force you to be a jack of all trades. If you are at a larger organization which equals more resources, there may be clearer lines of your job roles and responsibilities versus “the other departments”. This is where it seems there are skills that none of us can avoid. According to LinkedIn Learning, the top five soft skills in demand from 2020 are:

  1. Creativity
  2. Persuasion
  3. Collaboration
  4. Adaptability
  5. Emotional Intelligence

The top 10 hard skills are:

  1. Blockchain
  2. Cloud Computing
  3. Analytical Reasoning
  4. Artificial Intelligence
  5. UX Design
  6. Business Analysis
  7. Affiliate Marketing
  8. Sales
  9. Scientific Computing
  10. Video Production

There will be some folks that dive deep into certain areas that are super fascinating to them and they want to know everything about – as well as the excitement of becoming an “expert”. There are some folks that like to constantly evolve and try new things but not dig too deep and have a brief awareness of more areas. It looks safe to say that we all need to be flexible and adaptable.

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