Image credit Flickr Dmitry Ryzhkov - creative commons
There are many different reasons to write a blog:
- Personal journal and/or place to voice your editorial opinions online.
- Sell a product on your website. Your blog is a marketing tool for your online business.
- Gain an audience large enough to sell advertisements. Your blog generates direct income.
- Gain an audience large enough to become somewhat of a celebrity. Your blog may generate income and/or opportunities you wouldn't otherwise have had.
- Find clients for your offline business. People find your blog, like what they read, and call you to help with whatever service or product you provide.
- Maintain an online professional presence. People you meet in the real world can find your website and confirm (in their own mind) that you are an expert in your field.
All Realtors and Loan Officers should have a blog for that last reason, at the very least. When you give your business card to someone, they are likely to check out your website before deciding whether or not to hire you.
What can you do if you want to have a blog but don't want to write a lot?
Here are 5 tips to make your blog appear bigger than it actually is:
1.) Do not display Date Published on each post
It can be off-putting to a reader to see that your most recent post was from several months ago; it's even worse when there are time lags in-between each post. Regardless of how good your content is, the reader comes away with the impression that your writing is scattered and sporadic.
Better to remove the dates from the articles' headings, and have the reader simply find your high-quality content.
2.) Remove the default Archives links
Let me ask you a question: "how often do you use the Archives links on other bloggers' websites?"
Personally, I rarely use them, and when I do it's more to see how long the author has been writing his blog than it is to try to find a particular post.
As an infrequent blogger, the Archives are more likely to hurt you than help you, as it will point out the lack of consistent new content in great detail.
If you really want to archive your content, create an archive page, and manually add each new post in a list format (again, without the date published). You can then link to this page from your sidebar, and readers can see all the posts you've written without regards to dates.
3.) Display fewer posts on the front page
If you only add a half-dozen posts over the course of a year, why have them all display on the front page? This doesn't give the reader anything further to read when they get to the bottom of the page.
Better to display only a few posts on the front page, and allow the reader to click through to see previous posts.
4.) Avoid seasonal content (or any time-specific content)
Imagine someone visiting your blog in late October or early November, and your home page greets them with a post titled "Surviving the Brutal Summer Heat" which you wrote in August. It might have been a great post at the time, but it doesn't make much sense for the reader a few months later.
What about the person who visits your blog for the first time in January, but they're greeted by a post offering "Tips on Halloween Safety?"
If you don't write often, you'll probably want to keep your content more general in terms. Or, if you do want to reference something specific (like the heat), do it early in the season, so it still makes sense a couple months later.
We've been talking about infrequent posting, but we're still talking about posting. I recommend publishing an article at least once a month, which provides many advantages:
- More content - Over time, this allows for more content, which means more of your advice and opinions. More articles for your future clients to read. More topics for you to expound on. More chances to show your expertise.
- Fresh content - You don't have to worry as much about the front page getting stale, or being out of date, if you're going to replace it with another article after a reasonable amount of time.
- Better content - More writing requires more practice which leads to more improvement and eventually better writing. Your future clients will be even more impressed as they read your articles.
- More cross references - Over time, as you have more published posts to draw from, you'll be able to reference your prior articles.
- Archive page becomes longer and more impressive.
- Tag list (or tag page) becomes more useful.
- Current posts reference to prior articles. (ie: your current posts mentions the SPDS, and the acronym SPDS is a link out to a prior post you've written about the SPDS in depth.)
- Re-purpose content - You can use your published posts to provide information to your prospective buyers and sellers.
- When a seller emails you a question about the SPDS, you can answer their question and also provide a link to your detailed post about the SPDS to give them more information.
- If a first-time buyer says she's getting closer to being ready to look at houses, send her a link to your post about "Important information for first-time homebuyers before making an offer."
- Doing this is a double win - you get customer service points for helping your clients, and you also get professional image points for the appearance of being knowledgeable and sharing your information online.
Unfortunately there isn't a way to write infrequently and yet somehow make your blog an industry leading resource. If you want a big-time blog with big-time traffic, you'll have to write big-time content. A LOT of big-time content.
Luckily you don't need a giant blog and a daily posting schedule to have an impact in the real estate and lending industries. Simply writing a blog, and adding new content with a modest amount of consistency, can increase your leads volume and closing percentages. Especially if you work to maximize the impact from the small amount of content you have available.
- Chris Butterworth