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39 Killer Tips To Start Your Commercial Real Estate Blog

  1. Use WordPress. No other platform is as flexible with all the plug-ins, in my opinion.
  2. If possible, use a custom WordPress theme. I use Woo Themes. It is getting to the point where people can recognize cookie-cutter themes. It is OK to use one, but at least modify it so that you have a unique header design.
  3. Post often. I usually try to post every 3 days. Sometimes more often if something just hits me. If you can do one per day then power to ya.
  4. Use catchy blog post titles. Put yourself in the shoes of a person who is casually surfing the Internet, seeing your post along with hundreds of others. Will your blog headline stand out? Copyblogger is an awesome source for information on writing.
  5. Ask open ended questions. One of the best ways to invite commentary on your posts is to ask for it. Ask your readers questions and tell them to answer in the form of a comment.
  6. Comment on other blogs – often. I actually maintain a separate folder in Google Reader (yes, I still use it!) for relevant blogs I want to follow more closely than others. And, on those blogs, I try to comment regularly if it is relevant or whenever I have something to say.
  7. Use Twitter and LinkedIN. You’ve GOT to be out there. Shhh secret<<< LinkedIn is my number 1 traffic source!
  8. Use Twitterfeed to pipe your latest posts into Twitter. But, don’t ONLY use Twitterfeed. You’ve got to be a real person on Twitter, first and foremost. Twitter should not replace RSS.
  9. Make your RSS feed obvious, above the fold, and preferably use the orange RSS icon.
  10. Use images in your posts. Images communicate on a different level. Flickr is my best FREE source. The pretty colors and eye catching graphics help define your message.
  11. Structure your blog posts for easy scanning. Use header tags, lists, etc. Avoid long sentences and long paragraphs.
  12. Don’t discount Facebook. It is a powerful networking tool and you should take the time to build your network, just as you might on Twitter. Yes, I know I have a certain point of view!
  13. Don’t Be a Me-Too Blogger. You don’t want to become a copy-cat news blog, where you type news-style posts about what is happening in a saturated market. If you can’t think of anything to write get a guest post. Look at this one and this one.  No way do I have the ability to write this great stuff.
  14. Learn to think about your blog as a business. The blog is a promotional and delivery mechanism for your commercial real estate business.
  15. LinkedIN Signal. Hell, just get on there!
  16. When writing your About Page, pay attention to what you write. Don’t just rattle off some dumb, cookie cutter facts. Your About Page should tell a story of who you are and why your blog is worth reading. Mine is simple and to the point.
  17. Link to other, related blog posts regularly in your own posts. Not only your OWN posts, but the posts of others.
  18. Remember, blogging is a SOCIAL business. Be accessible to your readers and proactively get out there and talk with other people in your business.
  19. If you can afford it, travel to blogging conferences. Not only can you learn a lot, but socializing with successful people often breeds so much motivation and success in yourself that is simply beyond words.
  20. Write an e-book, create some videos. The idea is to create something which is of value to your readers.
  21. Don’t Post Low Feedburner Counts. Do not show your RSS subscriber count unless you have a high enough number (at least a few hundred). A low number acts as social proof that your blog has no readers, and that’s not good.
  22. Put relevant keywords into your blog’s title. Use All-In-One SEO to have more control over the titles across your blog.
  23. Use a Photo Gallery. People dig photos, so a photo gallery can be a great component to your blog. If you use Flickr, check out the Flickr Photo Album plug-in for WordPress.
  24. While I am in the middle of this…THERE ARE NO RULES! …just guidelines.
  25. Create an RSS widget for your blog on WidgetBox and make it available for your readers to embed on their own blogs if they so choose.
  26. Spend some time creating some killer posts for your blog, the link to them somewhere so that new arrivals can quickly see your best work. It is your best stuff which is going to sell them into becoming a subscriber.
  27. Make Sharing Easy. Put options on your blog for your readers to share your posts across social media. Sexybookmarks is a great option for this.
  28. Read other blogs often. When starving for ideas to write about, go to your RSS reader and read related blogs. Often, your own post can be a response to a post on another blog. In fact, this is usually a good idea.
  29. When starting a blog, decide on it’s mission. Your posts should, for the most part, center around a specific theme if you want your blog to really take off. If you run a personal diary kind of blog. Stay on topic. If you have no specific topic, that’s fine, but realize your blog is going to be more a hobby than a positive addition to your commercial real estate business at that point.
  30. Don’t overload your blog with javascript widgets. These things slow down the load speed of your site.
  31. Use Analytics. I personally use Google Analytics as well as the WordPress.com Stats plug-in on my blog.
  32. Use Windows Live Writer. The new version is ready for download. It is the best blogging client program out there. Even though it is a Microsoft product and a Windows-only product, it is also better than any Mac blogging client I have tried. And it’s free.
  33. Be yourself.
  34. Don’t write like you’re writing for a grade at school ( works for me!) You want your spelling and grammar to be correct, but be colloquial. Talk to people like you would normally talk to people, not as if you’re writing a PH.D. dissertation.
  35. Link To Your Social Profiles On Your Blog. Link your various social media profiles right on your blog so that your readers can connect with you outside the confines of your blog.
  36. Get Worldwide and Mobil. Use WordPress Translator and WordPress Mobil Pack.
  37. Go where your readers are. Every market is different.  I know most of my readers are pretty adept online and probably hang out in the social media space frequently. Where else are your potential readers?
  38. Equal time reading and writing. You should probably spend just as much time reading and learning as you do writing for your blog. This is how you expand your knowledge, become a better blogger, and get new ideas for your own site. Blogging isn’t all about you.
  39. The Haters. They are going to come from everywhere. Look at mine>> Google search: Asshole commercial real estate brokers. I own that page !! Don’t have the stones?  Then don’t stand on the soapbox!

Well that should be a nice start. Any thoughts, ideas,suggestions,and points of view are always appreciated.

Pic via Flickr:http://www.flickr.com/photos/volk/

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  • Duke,

    Love this post. A lot of great advice. I just started my commercial real estate blog. I am not entering the Columbus market until January, so I have been doing a lot of sharing of other’s articles with their permission. I found that in the short run, sharing articles from all over the web about your local market does get some viewers attention. I have been using simple tools that many don’t even know exist to pull find these articles. My main source of article aggregation has been Google Alerts. It has worked well in giving me consistent content. I am working on a bank of articles so that once I move from .com to .org I can hit my readers with several solid articles.

    My main question for you is how are you using linkedin so successfully? I have struggled to find the value in it just yet?
    Pointers? or maybe even an article?

    Cheers,
    George

    • Goerge,
      THX for the comments. As far a LinkedIN goes…hard work and effort..the old standbys. But maybe an article is a good idea!!

  • I’ll add this #17

    If you do provide links to other blogs or sites, make sure that you have the links open up in new tabs or windows so that visitors still have your site open. Once they leave the odds of them coming back drops significantly. Try to limit that.

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  • Duke,
    Excellent advice! I have already started using many of your suggestions such as LinkedIn Signal and Windows Live Writer. Thank you!

    • Arthur,
      Thanks for the comments. Send me a link to your blog and welcome to the jungle.

  • Great post. I’m already using several of these, but there are some good new ones too. I just started using linkedin recently, and the traffic has dwarfed anything else I’ve tried.

    • Joseph,
      Everyone and I mean everyone keeps telling me that Facebook is king. They tell me that I am “not doing it right.” I on the other hand agree with you. LinkedIN IS where I find the commercial real estate community.

  • Duke this is such a great post! I keep coming back to it to nibble off a bit more to use on my blog. Thanks for all the great stuff.

  • Duke-

    Thanks for the GREAT LIST! I work with many residential realtors and small biz owners every week helping them with their online marketing and social media strategies. Right now I’m helping a very successful Bay Area Commercial RE agent build his blog. I have three questions for you: 1. Would you be interested in participating in a commercial RE blog class where I tie you in as a guest speaker, 2. Do you know how to tie in loopnet into a wordpress blog? I would like to make the serach appear seamless. 3. In your opinion, what are the top attributes to put in to a commercial RE blog? Any comments you have would be greatly appreciated.

    Tim in Palo Alto

  • Kyle Zaylor

    Duke-

    Quality post! You know it’s great when you can get tons of value out of it months/years after it was originally written.

    -Kyle Z

    • Duke Long

      Kyle,
      Oldie but Goodie!

  • dennis douglas

    Fantastic web site! I am loving it!! Will be back later to study some much more. I am using your feeds also