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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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Social Media

Social media is being used for hiring, and no, we’re not talking just LinkedIn

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Social media has evolved from being only community-oriented to career-oriented. See how users are getting jobs by being creative.

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social media, like tiktok, is being used for hiring. here are some examples of tiktok resumes.

Gen Z and Millennials are no doubt the heaviest users of social media, and perhaps the internet in general. But it’s no longer just about catching up with friends and family, posting memes, and hailing yourself as hashtag king – they are using it to get jobs in creative ways.

Kahlil Greene was a student at Yale University hell-bent on educating others about African American social movements and culture. Known as “The Gen Z Historian” on Instagram, TikTok, and LinkedIn, he got to posting about the lesser-known facts and stories of history, amounting to 1.3 million views very quickly, catching the attention of employers. Now with over 500,000 followers across all major platforms, Greene is heading to work in consulting focusing on public education.

“I think that’s the thing that people don’t realize that social media is everywhere, and it’s congruent with every lifestyle you want,” says Greene.

Another TikToker, Emily Zugay, has over 2 million followers on the platform from hilariously redesigning brand logos. Her personality of shooting down brand choices with such a dry delivery is sure to make you giggle. She’s appeared on Ellen, and many brands changed their logos to her suggestions, including McDonald’s, the NFL, Tinder, Doritos, and Nascar. Just announced, Panera Bread is realizing limited holiday cups by Emily Zugay, taking a stab at Starbucks who typically creates the mad rush for holiday cups. Though she hasn’t publicly spoken about taking on a new role due to her wacky design endeavors, she has been approached for many partnership collaborations and markets herself as a content creator on the platform in order to rack in the dough.

Having the perfect one-page resume and perhaps, an inkling of personalization in the cover letter (which no one enjoys writing and barely anyone reads), is no longer the secret to landing jobs. 92% of companies use social media to hire.

“Creating a personal brand doesn’t have to be scary, hard, or time-consuming. You just have to be yourself. Consistent posts, a few follows and some direct messaging can go a long way to open doors.”

TikTok launched a pilot program of applying to the short-form video powerhouse by well, making a TikTok on the platform. Within 48 hours, 800 videos were submitted with #TikTokResumes in their captions. Expanding from internal hiring to external hiring, the program allowed job seekers to apply with their videos to Chipotle, Target, Shopify, and more.

Want to get in on the action but don’t know where to start? Unfortunately, the TikTok submissions have now closed, but you can always follow these tips to start getting creative for your next career move: Embrace the tools on the platform, do your research about the company you’re applying to, make connections on the platform and within the company, show off achievements as you would in a typical resume, and be yourself!

For more cool resume ideas, check out this article on the most creative techie resumes.

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Reactions to Twitter Blue from real subscribers, p.s. its not worth it

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Twitter’s paid subscription service, Twitter Blue, gives more control over tweets and custom UI, but subscriber reception has been lukewarm.

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Twitter Blue Sign Up Page

Twitter Blue, a paid subscription service that gives users increased control over their tweets and the appearance of their interfaces, launched this summer. Subscriber reception has been lukewarm, foreshadowing some resistance to shifts away from advertising-based revenue models for social media platforms.

The allure of Twitter Blue isn’t immediately apparent; beyond a relatively low price tag and increased exclusivity on a platform that emphasizes individuality, the service doesn’t offer much to alter the Twitter experience. Twitter Blue’s main selling point – the ability to preview and alter tweets before sending them – may not be enough to convince users to shell out the requisite three dollars per month.

Other features include the option to change the theme color and icon appearances. Twitter Blue subscribers can also read some ad-supported news articles without having to view ads courtesy of Twitter’s acquisition of Scroll, a company that provides ad-free news browsing.

But even with this variety of small customization options and the promise of more to come, users are skeptical. Android Central’s Shruti Shekar is one such user, beginning her review with, “Right off the bat, this feature isn’t worth the money you’d be spending on it every month.”

Shekar posits that the majority of the features are wasted on long-term users. “I think a lot of my opinions come from a place of using Twitter for so long in a certain way that I’ve gotten used to it, and now I find it challenging to adapt to something that would theoretically make my life easier,” she explains.

One of those adaptations centers on Twitter Blue’s “Undo Tweet” feature – something that belies the notion of proofreading and using common sense before sending thoughts into the nether.

“For me, 95% of the time, I really do pay attention to my tweets before I send them out,” says Shekar.

Twitter Blue checking Tweets before sending.

Shekar does praise Twitter Blue’s “Reader Mode” feature that allows users to view threads as uninterrupted columns but argues that the feature would probably end up being underutilized despite being a cool concept.

The aforementioned color and theme customization was of little interest to Shekar. “I actually found it a bit challenging to get used to the other colors, not because they’re ugly, but again because I am just so used to the classic blue,” she says.

One problem here is that the options to change link and theme colors and put threads in reader mode seem more like accessibility features than premium content. Twitter might do well to make these available to all users, if for no other reason than to avoid criticism about locking quality of life updates behind a subscription paywall.

Shekar’s criticism hits on a crucial point for any social media company looking to emulate Twitter Blue’s subscription model: Even if the subscription price is low, companies have to be prepared to make actual meaningful changes to the user experience if they want satisfied subscribers. That includes building in options that don’t fundamentally alter the basic aspects (or appearance) of the platform.

For more on Twitter Blue, check out their blog post on it here.

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Instagram flaunts new features, including a decked out desktop experience  

(SOCIAL MEDIA) It’s been a time of exciting product and feature announcements for Instagram with additions of Collabs, fundraisers, and desktop posts on deck

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Instagram displayed on a desktop

It’s been a time of exciting product and feature announcements for Instagram on both mobile and desktop.

Collabs Feature

“Collabs” allows up to 2 accounts to co-author a post or Reel, both sharing joint ownership of what is ultimately published. The post or Reel will show up equally on both users’ feeds with the same amount of engagement numbers, but combined, including comments, view numbers, and like counts. This is initiated through the tagging screen and the invited account will have to accept the offer before the collab can be complete.

Examples of adding a co-author in Instagram Collabs feature

Fundraiser & Reel Features

Instagram was quick to jump on the short-form content trends taking the social media world by storm. With the rise of TikTok, the Insta platform that was originally focused on static photos added Reels, along the same wavelength of short 15, 30, or 60-second videos, though the competitor has now expanded with the option of 3 minutes. Even so, Instagram is taking the time to improve music-related features within the Reels section of the app, adding “Superbeat” and “Dynamic.” The first adds effects to the video matching the beat of the chosen song, while the latter offers unique and interesting ways to display the song’s lyrics on screen. In addition, they are beginning to test the option to run fundraisers on a post by clicking the + button in the top right corner of the interface.

Examples of Dynamic for Reels feature

 Desktop Feature

FINALLY! Instagram is now realizing just how many users truly enjoy the desktop experience. If one were to compare the platform on the mobile app vs. desktop, they would see the slew of differences between the two with the desktop interface looking like the 1st year Instagram was even introduced. Functionality is no comparison; they only just added the ability to DM on desktop last year. As one can see, there is an extremely limited experience on desktop, but Instagram is now rolling out the ability for users to post from their browsers. Catch us enjoying posts on the big screen!

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