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Which blogging format should a real estate agent choose?

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WordPress & Blogger & TypePad, oh my!

So, you have decided to embark into the addictive world of blogging and have been researching the options for where to host your blog site.

After asking about and doing some Google searches you distill your list of options down to (most probably):

Blogger, WordPress, ActiveRain, TypePad and Posterous

Which is the best format for REALTORS?

Well, that depends on your goals and level of technical acumen. I will cover my point of view of the pros and cons for each, but I really hope to use this post as fuel for informative comments that a new blogger can take as sage advice and questions that experienced bloggers can answer.

Blogger:
The service that brought blogging to the everyman. This service (now serviced by Google) was revolutionary for early adopters in 1999 who wanted a quick and easy service to start their blog.

  • Pros: FREE, super to easy to use at any experience level
  • Cons: Not great for branding, limited templates, widgets can be hard to use, support may be difficult

WordPress:
The most popular blog format today, WordPress is open source CMS blogging software.

  • Pros: FREE, lots of template options, widgets and applications are added daily, flexiblity in hosting options (you can start at www.wordpress.com and convert to a self hosted domain with www.wordpress.org later)
  • Cons: longer learning curve

ActiveRain:
A free social network and marketing platform for real estate professionals. This network helps agents to create business relationships both within the industry and with the consumer.

  • Pros: FREE, super easy to learn to use with WSIWYG editing, great feedback from peers
  • Cons: barely customizable, not easily imported to other blog options, limited interaction with general public

TypePad:
Based on Moveable Type, but intended to be minimal in technology experience needed.

  • Pros: Easy to use interface, built in photo album, ability to add scripts, highly customizable if you have the skills.
  • Cons: NOT free: starts at $8.95 per month, few integrated widgets

Posterous:
Boasts integrated and automatic posting to other social media tools such as Flickr, Twitter, and Facebook, a built-in Google Analytics package, and custom themes.

  • Pros: FREE, great for photo blogging or mobile blogging, very easy to use, can push content to a large number of sites including WordPress.
  • Cons: No disqus commenting, limited themes.

There are so many other venues out there that I haven’t covered because I wanted to focus on the ones I hear most discussed, but I am looking forward to hearing your opinion of the options I reviewed as well as others.

photo by Mike Licht on Flickr

Lesley offers 21 years experience in real estate, public speaking and training. Lesley has a degree in communications and was the recipient of an international award for coordinating media in real estate. In the course of her career Lesley has presented at international real estate conferences and state REALTOR associations, hosted a real estate television program, written articles for trade magazines and created marketing and PR plans for many individuals, companies and non-profits.

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20 Comments

20 Comments

  1. Duke Long

    June 18, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    POSTEROUS
    Drag, drop, e-mail and forget it. You are a blogger!!!

  2. Tavia Ritter

    June 18, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    This article was PERFECT timing as I am currently in the process of learning about all of these. The only thing I have to add from my research is that Active Rain DOES allow exposure to the public IF you pay a fee. So, while the ‘members only’ is FREE, the exposure that gets you the powerful SEO-Cred & consumer interaction will cost you. But…it’s a GREAT place to get started, if only for the peer interaction!

    • LesleyLambert

      June 21, 2010 at 11:07 am

      I agree that Active Rain is great for peer to peer advice and interaction. Without an outside blog (paid) I don’t think it works well for reaching clientele.

      • Tavia Ritter

        June 21, 2010 at 11:12 am

        Honestly, I think if they are just starting out in writting a blog to communicate with clients, then they may be doing it for the wrong reason.
        Will they eventually find an audience (or will the audience find you) sure they will. But the more immediate purpose for a begining blogger would be the search engine optimization that a blog can lend in terms of long-tail searches, key word searches that point back to your blog that will ultimatly land the potential consumer on your website as well. (and hopefully, once there, they register and become a client).

  3. Jonathan Benya

    June 18, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    Posterous is by far easiest, but really, for a great looking site, there’s no better option than wordpress, IMHO

  4. Lani Rosales

    June 18, 2010 at 4:50 pm

    For SEO and licensing purposes, I don’t believe in someone else (like Posterous) owning your content, but that’s just my one cent 😉

    That said, I have a Posterous for my humor blog because it’s simple and it’s for fun. All of our businesses run on WordPress.org with URLs we host and own. Think rent vs. own.

  5. An Bui, DocuSign Social Media

    June 18, 2010 at 6:16 pm

    Lani brings up a good point. However, if the goal of your blog is to drive traffic to your sites, provide context as to who you are / services you provide and you need links…

    Posterous is do-follow. For right now. Posterous is great for a supplemental blog – content you create for link juice to your real blog or site.

    That’s why I love posterous. To riff off Lani – think vacation home vs. primary residence.

  6. Tassia Bezdeka

    June 18, 2010 at 7:45 pm

    Generally I recommend our agents head to Blogger just for the ease of use (which has changed since the release of our new agent websites, with built in blog platforms).

    Also, there’s nothing wrong with outsourcing WordPress design, as that’s really where the learning curve hits heavy. As far as the actual blogging goes, it’s a fairly streamlined system.

  7. Fred Romano

    June 18, 2010 at 10:21 pm

    This is really a “no brainer” answer – WordPress is hands down the best blogging software on the planet. I can’t image using anything else, and to be quite frank, I wouldn’t be in business without it!

    Although I am a geek and not the “typical” Realtor, it’s still easy enough for most to get a great design with minimal learning. Of course if you have someone customize your site (like mine) then it will make a huge difference. I do all my own designing because I am anal and like to control every detail 🙂

  8. Sean Dawes

    June 18, 2010 at 11:58 pm

    Hands down wordpress has the best capability for a blog platform. Self hosted of course not .com version

    @seandawes

  9. Mike Mueller

    June 19, 2010 at 12:41 am

    Blogger: I was actually a Blogger Blogger before it was Blogger (Pyra Labs) it certainly has it’s limitations. Years ago (pre WP) it was my fav.

    WordPress: Hands down winner all the way! Learning curve? If you can write an email you can use WP. I also like to point out that WP is like the iphone in that if some new wiz bang product comes out they’ll make a widget for WP before anything else. I’d also make a distinction between WP.com and WP.org

    ActiveRain: Not free if you want a public post. (I’m assuming the Agent is grandfathered in) That said – pretty easy to use and somewhat limited as to the widgets you can add.

    TypePad: Had potential but I don’t think there are enough developers and widget makers making things for it anymore? Is it the Treo of blogging platforms? Maybe…

    Posterous: Love it for it’s simplicity and ease of use, marvel at it’s conversion technology (you can upload most anything in any format and it somehow figures it out) – but that’s about all.

    Tumblr: Wait! You left off Tumblr! Never mind…

    : )

  10. Brian Wilson

    June 20, 2010 at 7:42 am

    I think Tumblr is the best. WordPress seemed like I was alway upgrading or adding or deconflicting plugins with themes, etc. It was too much work that took away from just writing.

  11. green titled homes for 55+

    June 21, 2010 at 2:32 am

    Great going I was about to start my blog….So you have solved my problem by explaining the pros and cons of all the blogging format….You have really made my work easy…

    Thanks a lot…

  12. Miami Condo Shop

    June 21, 2010 at 6:49 am

    For newbies, Posterous is the best option. For business purposes, I believe WordPress is the finest platform in the planet and the new version (3.0) was recently released. Most of the bugs (more than 1,000) have been fixed and it is now more streamlined for blogging purposes.

  13. Susie Blackmon

    June 21, 2010 at 11:03 am

    WordPress is my favorite. I love Posterous and use it as a lifestream, although recently I’ve been using it maybe too much for posting things to my Horsealicious blog, while I am transitioning from NC to FL, as my time and focus have been someone limited. I have a Tumblr account too but can’t figure out how to best utillize it, so, it languishes.

  14. Anita Koppens

    June 21, 2010 at 11:03 am

    I vote for all of them speaking from an SEO perspective. Whichever option becomes your most beloved (which is hopefully a WordPress.org blog), use the others to develop and support the domain authority of your primary blogsite.

  15. LesleyLambert

    June 21, 2010 at 11:10 am

    I love Posterous for easy posts, especially photo blogging. I didn’t leave off Tumblr…I probably should have mentioned in the body of the post that I was limiting this post to the most obvious and discussed choices. There are, of course, a ton of others available that I didn’t touch on. It seems that the majority is for WordPress.

    Looking forward to hearing from more of you on this!

  16. Jonathan Washburn

    June 21, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    Lesley,

    Great comprehensive and fair review of all the platforms. At ActiveRain we started accepted our members testimonials about how ActiveRain works for their business about a year ago and so far we have received just about 2,500. I don’t think there is any other blogging platform that competes with that!

    You can see the list here: activerain.com/action/testimonials

    We also created a new area of the site this month where members can show themselves holding commission checks from deals they got from blogging on ActiveRain: activerain.com/success

  17. Pamela Scott

    June 22, 2010 at 5:51 am

    Well, I’m just starting to blog. And its blogger. I see not many people here fancy blogger. But I love it instantly. Anyhow, let time and need shape my future decision toward blogging platform.

    Cheers,
    Pam

  18. PioneerTraining

    September 21, 2012 at 6:04 am

    The post talks about the five reasons why real estate agents are needed. Most useful
    https://www.pioneertraining.org/res-course-providercea-approved-real-estate-course

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Facebook’s latest acquisition dives into backend of social media marketing

(SOCIAL MEDIA) This $1 billion dollar acquisition of a CRM shows Facebook diving into the back end of social media for the first time.

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Woman checking social media on her phone on a balcony overlooking city traffic.

A social media giant is stepping into the Customer Relationship Management Realm.

On November 30, Facebook announced that it had acquired the CRM platform Kustomer for a deal valued at a whopping $1 billion. Founded in 2015, Kustomer boasts to be a customer service focused platform that is made to support high volume transactions. In a statement on the company’s website, Kustomer CEO Brad Birnbaum believes that the platform’s complementary relationship with Facebook will create a mutually beneficial relationship.

“With our complementary capabilities, we will be able to help more people benefit from customer service that is faster, richer and available whenever and however they need it–via phone, email, text, web chat or messaging.” Birnbaum said, “In particular, we look forward to enhancing the messaging experience which is one of the fastest-growing ways for people and businesses to engage.”

The move may seem unusual at first. In the past, Facebook has opted to purchase customer-facing applications and software, instead of back-end applications. Such purchases include Spanish cloud video gaming company PlayGiga in 2019, and popular gif catalog service Giphy this past May. These applications are often used to build out new features for Facebook’s core platform and users.

Considering Facebook makes around 99% of its revenue through advertising, however, the acquisition makes sense. Through Kustomer, Facebook hopes to provide better support to companies wishing to use the social media conglomerate as a channel for attracting customers. By providing end-to-end support for these businesses, Facebook hopes to drive revenue and become a core channel used to sell products and services.

Only time will tell if the investment in a CRM platform can help drive companies to use Facebook as a primary sales channel. Ultimately, the end goal for Facebook is to increase its advertising revenue, and one could expect the organization to integrate Kustomer with popular existing applications like Instagram and Whatsapp.

The acquisition will have to pass a regulatory review, however, before Kustomer can officially become part of the Facebook family. While that is likely to go off without a hitch, Facebook needs to handle some bigger regulation issues before it can take advantage of its new CRM software.

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This non-judgmental app can help you switch to a plant-based diet

(SOCIAL MEDIA) There are many reasons people choose plant-based diets. If you’re looking to try it out, this app helps you stay on track.

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No Meat Today, a judgement-free plant-based diet tracking app.

The interest in plant-based proteins continues to grow. Healthline suggests that Americans are shifting toward plant-based meat substitutes because of shortages in the grocery store due to the pandemic, but there are many reasons to make the switch.

Plant-based proteins are considered more sustainable than traditional meat. Nutritionally, plant-based meat alternatives are often healthier. Regardless of the reason, if you’re one of the many Americans who are changing your diet, there’s a new app that can help you stay on track without making you feel judged if or when you do eat meat.

Your companion to eating less meat

No Meat Today is an app available in the App Store. You can get on a waitlist in Google Play. It’s a fun app that asks you, “Did you eat meat today?” You can even define what meat means to you, red meat, fish and seafood, poultry, eggs and/or dairy. As you eat less meat, your “planet” attracts cows. The design is simple, “don’t eat meat, get a cow.” If you eat too much meat, your cows go away. There’s no judgement if you lose a cow.

The creator, Arnaud Joubay says, “I’m not here to tell anyone what they should do, only to offer a friendly app to those who want to do the same.” It’s recommended to look back at your history to decide whether you want to eat meat or not.

Reviews

The app was just released earlier this year. Most of its features are free, but you can pay $4.99 for all the features for one year. There have been some very cute cows released for special days. In the App Store, reviews are positive, but the caveat is that the creator asks you to contact him first if you if your review isn’t 5-stars. It’s a cute app that can motivate you to eat less meat.

Here’s the link to the product page.

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Twitter insights to engage more customers this holiday season

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Twitter wants to help you prep your marketing for the first COVID holiday season by sharing findings on what customers care about.

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Man on laptop open to Twitter, considering his holiday shopping with Christmas tree behind him.

The year 2020 has been a year like no other. None of us expected to be confined to the inside of our homes, but here we are. And now, more than ever, the holiday season is something most of us are looking forward to, even if we have to spend it apart. And social media like Twitter will be a key part of that.

So, to get a sense of what consumers expect this holiday season, Twitter UK has shared some insights to help brands better strategize on their holiday campaigns. Twitter’s official partner, Brandwatch, analyzed tweets from March to September to find out “people’s opinions and biggest concerns.” Here are Twitter’s findings.

Compared to previous years, people have already started asking for and have begun giving gift ideas and recommendations to each other. According to the data, mentions of Christmas started to increase in March. Between March 1 and September 30, there was a 10% increase in mentions compared to last year. So, brands should definitely start kicking off their marketing campaigns sooner than later.

The pandemic has undoubtedly influenced how we spend our money and has altered how we are able to have family time. According to the Brandwatch Twitter data, 59k people are discussing how family gatherings will be impacted by it. So, brands should be mindful of this, and incorporate messaging that reaches out to everyone. Messaging that makes family and friends feel connected, even if they are spending the holidays alone.

Another thing to consider is combining your efforts with local businesses. Making purchases from small and independent businesses is something that has been heavily highlighted since the beginning of the pandemic. With Christmas drawing near, this couldn’t be more important in people’s minds. Twitter has seen a substantial jump in people saying they will be holiday shopping locally. By partnering with a local business, both small and large companies can benefit from sales.

Also, health and safety were and still are at the top of everyone’s minds. A lot of people on Twitter are saying they will do all their shopping early. This will help them avoid the large crowds of last-minute shoppers.

As a result, companies should start preparing themselves to receive early shoppers. Part of preparing is making sure all health and safety measures are in place. Brands should follow all CDC guidelines and make sure they continue to be transparent with customers. Sending out a simple safety message through social media or email will go a long way.

These insights from Twitter are specific to the UK, but should still be considered. No one knew we’d still be where we are now. However, the holiday season is still something people are excited about. And, brands can take these insights to help maximize sales.

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