Oct
18

REBlogWorld 2010 History

Author Dave Smith    Category reblogworld     Tags
Las Vegas Skyline

It's not Disney World

REBlogWorld is now “History”, “In the Can”, Over, but not done.  The sessions provided access to all kinds of knowledge sources.  I learned more about shooting video from an iPhone, which I’ll never own, but I know how to shot and edit video on one :)

The Real Estate Blog isn’t dead but it is being remade.  The “experts” often prove they are only experts in their own minds.  I’m not talking about the panelists, I’m talking about all the Real Estate Blog Experts that have never written a post on a real estate blog in their lives, yet persist in telling everyone else “How to Do it”.

I gleaned some valuable information on WordPress Custom Post Types and Taxonomies in the WP 3 session.  It was nice to see and be with bloggers and geeks in the same venue.

BlogWorld Expo

One of the things I really like about blogworld is the exposure to bloggers and media content people outside of Real Estate.  The Travel blog track on Friday was really interesting.  There was a Sport blog track on Saturday, which was my road trip home to Tucson day.  But since I don’t watch or follow any sports . . .

The BlogWorld Venue

The venue at the Mandalay Bay Conference center was better than the Convention Center of years past.  The readily available Starbucks (even at $3.20 for a Vente) was nice.  Food of many types in walking distance all inside.  I didn’t go outside for 3 days.  I think they like it like that.  I went from the Luxor to the Excalibur,  and through the Mandalay Place shopping center to the Mandalay Bay Resort all inside.

First day Keynote

The conference session rooms were great.  Many of them available with lots of track sessions going on all day every day.  UnMarketing started off the first day keynote with some of the best and most unconventional advice I’ve ever heard at a conference on blogging.

A time to Connect and ReConnect

I saw a lot of friends from past Blogworld conferences and met some new ones.  The first thing back the question is usually “Was it worth it?”  Yes, it was worth it.

Oct
12
Comments Off

Social Media Clutter

Author Dave Smith    Category RE Blog Tips     Tags

You see that green button to the right with “TWEET” in it, and the one for f Share.  Sure you see those, right there at the top of this post and every post.

I HATE THOSE THINGS!   Why?

Because they get in the road of a well formatted blog post.  Take for instance, the post I did yesterday on Updating your site.  You can barely read the text on the image, But I can’t make it bigger because of the Social Media buttons.  If I do make it bigger it throws the whole post formatting out of whack.  (Yes whack is a technical CSS3 term)

SM Buttons should never take a priority over your content.

What do I suggest?  Glad you asked.

Right now my favorite colorful solution is Sexybookmarks.

They add color, and more than just a single SM way to share.

  1. It appears after the post content and doesn’t interfere with the post formatting.
  2. And the thing I like best, when I setup the options for sexybookmarks I turn on the do-follow tag.
  3. So my links get followed from where ever anyone shares.

Try sexybookmarks, it is a win/win.

Oct
11

Does Your Site need “Updating”?

The Latest News from Lake WobegoneWe all have had sellers that we had to kindly tell them to put away the clutter and tidy up the house so it doesn’t look so . . .

The same is true for your Real Estate website.  It doesn’t matter if it is on a blog platform or static html.  If the latest “stuff” you have showing on your site is a couple of years old on a page it is time to:

  1. Update the content on the page.
  2. Or take it down.

Nothing speaks louder to potential clients than coming to your site, clicking on the “Current Newletters” button and finding nothing new added since 2008.

Take a look at every page and report on your site.  Is there out of date content clutter?

Exciting Things to Learn at REBlogWorld

You are going to learn how to put a new coat of paint on the outside of your site (Our Session on CSS and Tweaking your site)

You are going to learn even more on content, blogging, structure, trends, etc.

You are going to head home all fired up to get it all going.  But wait!

You don’t just paint a house inside or out without some prep work.

Now is the time to do some updating of your site content; then when you get home, or back to your room, you are ready to start applying the new paint inside and out.

Don’t Wait! Update! (Yeah, I;ve always wanted to say that)

Oct
9
Comments Off

Dead Battery 4 Days to Go Yikes!

Author Dave Smith    Category REBW Advice     Tags

The counter on the home pages says there are just 4 days to go till REBlogWorld.  I’m making final preparations for my part of the presentation Kelley (Housechick) Koehler and I are doing on the Geekier side of blogging.

This morning I open my Dell Laptop and it is dead.  I plug it in and the battery indicator light is flashing orange and if I could hear it I think it is saying something like “Danger Will Robinson” or “Hehehe your scre. . .ed”

Oh yeah, no battery on  a laptop.  Plug gets pulled and instant shut-off.

For months now I’ve been watching the reviews come in on Amazon for the Acer Aspire TimelineX AS5820T-5951 15.6-Inch laptop.

Thin, light, up to 8 hrs. battery life.  All the things I want in a laptop for REBlogWorld.  But my steady trusty Latitude D620 has seen me through 2 previous REBlogWorld conferences so I figured it would see me through this one and I’d check my enthusiasm for this newer lighter longer lasting (did I mention bigger screen and full size keyboard with numberic keypad).

Why Don’t you Get  a Mac?

I know someone is thinking this.  Two reasons,

  1. I don’t have that kind of money
  2. I’m not smart enough to use one.  (Where is the backspace key, What do you mean there isn’t one?)

So the Mac issue is a non-starter.

So Im guessing it will be a quick order for a new battery and the Dell and I will once again make the trip to Vegas this year.  Not a good idea to try and break in a new laptop, new operating system (Windows 7) and load all your software on a machine you get just 24 hrs. before an event.

Are You Ready For REBlogWorld

Don’t forget to bring those things along (tech toys and tools) that you want to make this conference special.  Pack those chargers, extra batteries, camera etc. so you have what you need to take those notes, make those memories, and if you must make those facebook postings.

Now I guess I better find that battery replacement and get it ordered.

ARE YOU READY?

(UPDATE:  Monday morning my new battery arrived from Amazon via FedX)  No holiday on Monday for “Business”.

Sep
29

Backing Up Your Blog – An Essential Plugin

Author Jason Berman    Category RE Blog Tips     Tags , ,

There are two kinds of people in the world – those who have had a hard drive failure, and those who will.

Let’s face it, backing up is a boring task. Often ignored until too late, it’s easy to delay figuring out a system to makes it happen simply and automatically. Naturally, this extends to all areas of computing including the blog. However, not backing up the content on your website is asking for trouble down the road. Backing up your stuff is a good habit to develop.

There are plugins for WordPress that can handle this task and make your life easier. Some plugins add value by aesthetically enhancing your site, others add functionality. But none are more important than the behind-the-scenes backup plugin.

We strongly recommend installing WordPress Database Backup on your blog. Thanks to WordPress’s built-in cron, this popular plugin allows users to schedule automatic database backups. The plugin creates backups of your core WordPress tables as well as other tables of your choice in the same database.

Here’s the really nice feature of this plugin. Once you install it you can set it up to send you an email daily or weekly with your WP database backup attached. In Gmail, I have a filter that dumps the backups into a folder. This keeps the emails out of my Inbox and makes them easy to find if and when I need them.

REBlogWorld 2010 has a session this year on plugins. Ricardo Bueno & Stacey Harmon are teaming up to show you the best-of-the-best; what the real innovators in Real Estate blogging are doing to show off their creative skills & style.

Do you have a cool plugin that you absolutely love? Leave a comment here or head over to the discussion taking place on our Facebook page.

Sep
28

REBlogWorld Can Save Your Blog & You

Why do I say this? Because in the last week I’ve been on the admin panel of half a dozen blogs. While in there fixing something or adding a plugin I’ve discovered a multitude of things that can literally kill an RE Blog.

Eye Candy vs Code

Dead weeds

Don't spray Roundup instead of fertilizer

It seems that many of the RE Bloggers have an aversion to READING, especially if it is reading of instructions or HOW TO do something.

Many seem to prefer to start clicking, typing and previewing to see if it “Looks” right.Just because you can make something “Look” right doesn’t mean it “Is Right”.

Here are a few of the things I ran into this week.  (There are a lot more)

Iframes

These things have been around since the dark ages of the web.  And I’m still finding them all over the RE Blogosphere.  Especially when it comes to annoying things like Facebook widgets.    But even worse when they appear in a post or page because it is the only way the blogger could figure out how to get the content on their page.  Well it isn’t really on your page if it is Iframed into the site.  And they can really slow down the load time on your blog.

Video

Just because you can upload a video to your media library and get it to play on your blog doesn’t mean you should do it.  And if you do and then have 3 blog posts in a row with self-hosted video you can watch you site load time come to a crawl that even a turtle could beat.  Not to mention the load you are putting on your hosting bandwidth.  Upload those videos to YouTube, Viddler, etc.  and embed them on your blog.

Reverse SEO

It doesn’t matter what SEO plugin in used.  All-in-One-SEO, Headspace, Tags in the Head, etc.  If you don’t know what you are doing you can really screw up your site in the search engine organic searches.  This past week I saw Headspace configured so it was writing the exact same title tag for every page and post on a blog.  No wonder the search traffic dropped like a rock.

At the same time I saw All in One SEO used to over-write blog post title tags.  The issue?  The post title was great for SEO, the re-written title wasn’t.  The author tried to turn the title into a category tag with post title in the manual re-write and missed the Best SEO title tag for a mediocre title tag.  If you don’t know how to fix it, don’t fix it.  Especially if it isn’t broken.

Using the Blockquote tag is for . . .  Block quotes.  Don’t use it like some kind of magic way to indent text.

Post Tags

Using post tags can really help add “hooks in the water” for search engines.  I recommend you put 4 keyword rich tags on each post.  But putting 20 to 30 tags on a post is really spammy.

Categories

Most posts should be in ONE primary category.  There are few posts that need to be in more than one category.  Ex.  You write a post about Water Harvesting.  If you have a category for “Your City Water” and one on “Xeroscaping”  You might want ot post it in both categories.  But usually one is the best.  No you won’t get hit with a duplicate content penalty for having a post in Two categories.

This week I saw a post in 25 categories.  TWENTY FIVE.

Typos in the Titles

I have occasionally used a typo in a permalink for SEO purposes.  But not in the title tag.  Things like:

  • Blog writennt by
  • What to do Durring Fall wather
  • etc.

A few typos are normal, I’m sure there are several in this post.  Do I proof read?  Kinda, I look for the squiggly red lines under the words.  Does that count?  But really check those title tags and header tags.  Yes, h3 tags are your friend, do you know how to use them?

NAR and MLS Violations

  1. Don’t use MLS in your links or title in any way that is a rules violation for your local MLS.  You don’t want to draw attention to yourself in this way.
  2. Don’t put the word REALTOR anywhere in a title tag or domain name other than after your name.  Cincinnati Realtor is a huge violation and again attracting that kind of attention to your blog by NAR isn’t what you want.
  3. Best Seattle Neighborhoods.  Best, is best not used unless you want to be hit with a Fair Housing Violation for Steering.  And attracting the Feds is even worse than NAR (though some might argue the point.)
  4. Not Clearly identifying your Brokerage (Above the Fold and Prominent)  Don’ t know what above the fold is?

(the violations mentioned are no longer so don’t waste time looking for them unless on your own site.  The cities mentioned random and coincidental if actual)  (CYA)

That’s enough.  This post is almost a session in itself.  There are more, many more things that can ruin or kill your site in search engines.  THE ALL POWERFUL GOOGLE is one thing you don’t want to screw with, at all.

When you come to REBlogWorld you get to ask question and learn from some of the best.  Take advantage of all the knowledge available at the conference and ask questions.  This will be my third REBlogWorld conference.  I get to “shoot fish in a barrel” so to speak.  A weath of knowledge in a single location.

Now go check your site.  And it isn’t too late to make your reservation.  Remember the old Fram commercial?  “You can pay me now or pay me later”

I’d rather pay to be in Las Vegas; than to have to hire someone to Fix what I screwed up because I didn’t know what I was doing.

Sep
24

The Real Estate Blog is Dead

by Teresa Boardman

grave yardThe real estate blog is dead and the real estate industry killed it. Some real estate blogs are advertisements for listings and others are the wacky blogs that have nothing to do with real estate written by agents who think that not writing about real estate is the ticket to winning business. The real estate blogs with the most readers are those that are written for real estate professionals.

The idea of the real estate blog was a simple one but very few people are able to execute it. There are a bevy of experts who create lists and proclaim that one blog or another is the best real estate blog ever. Sadly they have little in common with the target audience which should be people who are interested in buying or selling real estate.

Much of the blogging education in the industry misses the point of blogging. Blogging is more of an art than a science and it was never about technology. The technology makes to possible and is a valuable tool but nothing more. Once the art is taken away there isn’t much there for humans to look at. Google enjoys a good keyword but will never become a paying client.

Blogs designed specifically for Realtors are often uninspired or they look like giant retro advertisements complete with pictures of sold signs and shiny keys or smiling couples and that one photo of the huge new generic house that maybe two percent of the population can afford and is not available in every part of the country. The 1980’s and 1990’s have both called and they want their marketing back and they want it where it belongs on that nice template web site.

The real estate blog deserves to die and it needed to die. It has no value and for most practitioners it just sucks time away that could be put to better use. There are maybe five or six successful real estate blogs that will probably live on but they are exceptions to the rule and most every rule has exceptions.

Blogging isn’t dead and I never said that it was. It is alive and well. If not for blogs where would people get links to share on their Facebook wall or via twitter? Where would they write about the death of the real estate blog?

I am looking forward to the panel discussion about the Real Estate Blog at REBlogWorld. I have more to say on the topic of the death of the real estate blog but I am going to save it for October 14.

Teresa Boardman

Teresa Boardman @tboard

Teresa Boardman Realtor/Broker with St. Paul Home Realty. Serial blogger, writer and photographer and founder of the award winning St. Paul Real Estate Blog in 2005. Her blog started as an experiment in online marketing and is used today as an example of the best practices in real estate blogging. Boardman also writes a weekly column for Inman News and is the author of the St. Paul Photo Blog.

Sep
21

When it Comes To Search Engine Placement

There really is only one page in search engine placement – PAGE 1

We talk about the SERPs and what page we are on for certain search terms.  But we all know there is really only one page and that is PAGE 1.

To refine it even further, Page 1 top 5 listings.  (Above the fold)  That’s where most people click to get their search results.

The Reality of Page One

It is very, very, hard to rank for main keyword searches in Real Estate.  Therefore, what should we do?

  1. First, face the realty.
  2. Second, got over it.
  3. Third, move on.

Can you do this?  Honestly, most don’t.  Most keep trying and trying and trying.  Few ever succeed and if they do make it for a while the All Seeing Eye of Google will change the algo and you will disappear once again banished from Page 1.  So you fight some more, build back-links.  Write keyword rich posts going after than one search result.

Forget The Highlander

There can be only One.  Well in a way that is true, but there is more than one, One.

Some call it the Long Tail Search.   Meaning.  Go after a bunch of vertical markets you work and not just the main search term itself.

It is much easier to get a top page 1 organic ranking for sub-divisions, surrounding communities and areas.

What demographic is key to your area?  Seniors?  Gated Communities? Golf?  Target these searches.

Types of construction in your area are another way to rank high and increase traffic.

Find those strategic keywords and go after them.  They will bring you traffic.

Broaden your thinking about your community and the area you serve.  Think about the types of people who come to your area, the events that draw them, the reasons people want to move where you serve.  Target these searches and garner high search engine placement.

Sep
20

Analytics: Only 1 in 5 Browsers Visiting REBlogWorld Use Internet Explorer

Author Jason Berman    Category Speakers     Tags ,

Web Browser Stats for last 30 days on REBlogWorld.com

The simplest definition of analytics is “the science of analysis”. Learning how to track the progress of your web marketing efforts will allow you to more effectively reach an audience.

What can you learn from reading your traffic metrics? On the left is an example. The pie-chart shows the browser statistics for the last 30 days on REBlogWorld. It’s interesting to note that less than 1 in 5 of our visitors use Internet Explorer. While this is a basic metric, it does indicate our audience is comfortable with open-source browsers. That would support the notion that our audience is more technically inclined than the average real estate professional.

So analytics … Gahlord Dewald is a web analytics expert. Last year one of the only solo presentations we hosted at REBlogWorld was Gahlord Dewald’s analytics session. He was so good, we asked him to come back this year. Out of all the REBlogWorld sessions in 2009, Gahlord’s drew the most attention outside the REBW community. His sessions typically offer advice on basic usage for the beginner as well as advanced topics like tracking campaigns and A/B split testing for the experienced.

Here is a brief interview we did with Gahord last year. Catch his “Using Analytics to Listen to Your Customers” session on October 14th from 9:45am – 10:45am.

Sep
20

A New Home for REBlogWorld: Mandalay Bay

Author Jason Berman    Category Las Vegas     Tags

Mandalay Bay

One of the most noticeable differences between the 2009 & 2010 BlogWorld Convention will be our location. The Las Vegas Convention Center was the home for BlogWorlds 2007-2009. However, BlogWorld wanted to elevate the attendee experience this year and moving the conference to the South end of Las Vegas Blvd. is a clear win for everyone.

BlogWorld has taken it’s place amongst the top conferences for bloggers & social media stalwarts to hone their craft and step up their game. Each year the event grows and matures through the efforts of the many people vested in it’s success. This year none of the changes will be more visible than the new home for the conference, Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino.

Mandalay Bay is one of the top destination hotels in Las Vegas. It’s restaurants, bars & nightclubs, & the pool will make BlogWorld attendee time in Las Vegas more comfortable and fun. Mandalay Bay is also in a better location of the Strip with close proximity to many other hotels. Finding a reasonable rate for REBlogWorld on October 13th & 14th will be much easier than years past.

We look forward to the new location for REBlogWorld. We look forward to seeing you at Mandalay Bay on October 14th, 2010.