How to Organize your Real Estate Blog

By: Anne And Eddie Mckechnie

Bloggers like to tinker and constantly update things, which is part of what makes them so fun to watch. If you follow a blog you've probably noticed its look changing over time, and the writer's voice evolving as particular stories and catchphrases shape his or her language. Real estate, in particular, is a well-blogged subject, where new sites appear and old ones change every day. If you have a real estate blog you'll be well aware of the extra effort it takes to stay current in this industry, and ensure your posts are relevant to ever-shifting local and national markets. With so many information resources and competitive voices out there, the challenge in this endeavor is how to target the best content ideas and blog-related features for use on your site.

Since most blogs use a scrolling design dominated by text, there's never a lot of space for third party tools, outbound links, and links to other parts of the blog. Many blogs include a large, well organized block of links at the bottom of the page, underneath the posts. The most important links can go at the top of the page and in the side-nav, but if the text and headlines are minimized too far, readers will start to disappear. Space for advertising is also important to keep in mind - ads can help a blog look more legitimate (and generate revenue), but they can quickly intrude onto the page. Most bloggers stick to just a banner ad at the top and bottom, and maybe a skyscraper next to the side-nav.

Understanding why you blog is perhaps the most important step in organizing your posts and on-page features. If you're blogging mainly for people who have already been to your real estate site, you probably won't need to include as many tools, like maps, market stats displays, and listings - a prominent link back to your site will almost always suffice here. It's best to second-guess including features like these in any case. To track user traffic, and whether or not to tools like these should migrate to your blog, pay close attention to the stats provided by your hosting company, or if your blog isn't hosted (perhaps it's a free blog on blogger.com), you can use a free stats plugin like Google Analytics, or Firestats. More common non-native blog features like social networking links and email feed subscriptions should be always be considered, but used in moderation. For example, you should only have links to social networking sites you know and use on a regular basis.

By default, your blog will probably have links in the sidebar for things like Blogroll (links to other blogs), Categories, About, Archive, and Recent Comments. Even these should be minimized (usually easy within the blog's control panel) to avoid redundancy, and keep the blog from looking formulaic.

As your blog design and features become more focused, you might find that your content follows suit. By this point you'll have a better idea what your blog is for, and where each story fits in, or not. The latest real estate web application mashup might fall off your radar screen, or become the story of the day - either way, you won't spend as much time wondering and making unnecessary posts, and your readers will appreciate it.

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