304 North Cardinal St.
Dorchester Center, MA 02124
Step 1: Get a real estate license.
Step 2: Start a blog
Step 3: Profit!
When I started in our real estate industry, it was just assumed that you must have a blog. It wasn’t even a question.
Every agent in the office had a website and at least a couple 300-word “articles” in the tab marked “Blog”.
Most of them don’t earn a dime from their blog. Or even their entire website. There are just as many reasons to not have a blog as there are reasons to. Before you waste your time attempting a blog, make sure it is right for you, your business, your personal style, and your goals.
Here’s what to weigh before deciding on blogging as your lead generation strategy of choice.
If these don’t appeal to you or your style, consider and compare it to other lead generation strategies.
Before starting a blog, you need to build your house on the
Your foundation is your website.
How to choose and set up a website is beyond the scope of this guide. But it’s important to do an inventory of what website you are using and ensuring it is going to work for blogging, SEO, and get you to your desired destination.
It does you no good to build traffic to a website that you are going to lose if you switch providers, or they change their terms, or you change brokers.
As a general rule, I recommend using sites that are built on WordPress for blogging. Or, you can build your own WordPress site reasonably easily without any technical knowledge at all!
There are three exceptions to the WordPress rule however. I’ve seen the following three website providers get good SEO results for the real estate professionals that use them and are worthy of consideration depending on your budget:
Sites I generally don’t recommend using to blog include many of the big platforms, many of which are focused on conversion, buyer search, and your funnel, and not so much ranking on Google for organic traffic.
So you have a new blog! Here are some important steps to consider in order to start getting traction:
SEO stands for “search engine optimization”. It is the study and execution of the best practices that will get your website to show up on Google searches. The Google algorithm is a closely guarded secret, and there is an entire SEO industry whose sole purpose is to guess at what it is and optimize their sites for it.
So, how does one get on the first page of Google? Zillow, Realtor.com, and Coldwell Banker already have all those spots taken, right?
Sure, for the tougher keywords like “[your city] homes for sale” (though I’ve seen agents break onto page 1 for that keyword, too).
Instead, you’ll want to target lower volume long tail keywords. Fortunately, these make up most searches. Over 90% of search terms have fewer than 10 searches a month.
I wrote a post on keywords I have successfully ranked in the top of Google for in the past. Keyword categories include:
Between those 10 alone there are over 1000 articles and pages I could easily write, each one of which would likely deliver a few visitors to my site every month.
Measuring your progress is free! Linking up your site onto Google Analytics is a necessary step on day 1 of your new website. There, you will be able to monitor a tremendous amount of information, tracking your most popular pages, traffic sources, and more. You can even set up conversion tracking.
I personally track organic unique users, though I probably should set up conversion tracking. I look at my most popular pages and ensure those pages are optimized and look good.
If you are super nerdy, there is a great channel on YouTube called MeasureSchool. It has lots of tips on how to geek out in Google Analytics, split test, optimize, and do all sorts of stuff if you want to overthink your website.
My recommendation is to not overthink it. Google’s goal is to reward good content. You already are naturally in a niche because you are writing about hyperlocal real estate. Your competition (for long-tail keywords, at least) is not major branded publishers and SEO powerhouses. Build good content and the audience will come.
Mor Zucker is a real estate agent in Denver, Colorado, and has fully embraced the “content site” concept. Their top-performing page at this moment is an article about jazz clubs!
The Denver Ear is all about Denver, the community, things to do, and more. It is separate from her real estate website which is focused on real estate services, but prominently includes a link in the header to point people in that direction.
They have a clever headline trick of including “psst” at the
beginning of each article, playing on the idea that they are sharing the rumors
and inside scoops of a true Denver local. Mor has given interviews about her content marketing successes, honored by RIS Media, and has spent time on stage presenting at Inman
Bill Gassett is the grandmaster of real estate blogging. It
seems his name comes up just about everywhere if you spend more than five
minutes researching real estate blogging online.
He is a moderator on the Facebook group Real Estate Bloggers
– A Group Designed To Help Promote Helpful RE Content!
I’d argue one of Bill’s top strengths is in guest posting. You will find nuggets of wisdom, interviews, and articles from him all over the web (and every one with a backlink pointing back to his website).
His site itself is a little bit dated, with an aesthetic
that is still firmly grounded in the late 2000s of web design. But that is just
further proof that blogging works. You don’t need a fancy website to make to
work. Great content is enough.
The founder of the aforementioned real estate blogging group
on Facebook is Kyle Hiscock, owner of the Rochester Real Estate Blog.
Their blog features a strong smattering of articles that
rank for national audiences and also hyperlocal content catering to his local
community (and with likely a higher commercial value).
Their Easy Agent Pro website is crisp and fun and chock full of blog content. I like the flat design that makes for easy reading, and the bold call-to-actions that is the hallmark of “EAP” websites.
RubyHome.com is the content site for Tony Mariotti, a Los
Angeles agent who got his start in the tech world.
Tony owns two other sites at Luxury Homes Los Angeles and Great Vancouver Homes, both of which also get 5 digits worth of organic monthly traffic. He is a team with another agent in Vancouver. Tony does the website and marketing, the other agent shows and sells homes!
Tony apparently loves writing and content generation and his
family of websites is definitely worth diving into!
Remember, here at Hooquest, I believe in spending as little money as possible. I don’t recommend purchasing coaching, training, or advertising until your business is already working. Especially with blogging, you can easily trade time for money and get far with minimal investment. But it can cost a lot if you outsource the content, often without and proven results.
If you’re diving into content marketing and SEO, I recommend getting started by consuming content from the following online sources:
If you are interested in content marketing and blogging, I recommend checking out the podcasts at:
The following are some podcast episodes featuring Realtors talking about their blogging tips and tricks in our industry.
There is obviously an infinite number of tools and software related to building a website, including forms, WordPress plugins, hosting, IDX, page builders, and more. There are also countless website providers.
Below are just a couple of handpicked tools I’ve used or use that can get the most out of your blogging efforts.
$29+/mo. BrightLocal has a variety of marketing tools targeting local SEO for small business professionals. Their flagship product includes citation building, Google My Business audits, and reputation management.
$99+/mo. SEMRush is an all-in-one website tool, including tools like a keyword planner, on-page SEO tool, competition research, backlink tracker, and more.
Zapier is an integration service that allows different apps, software, and websites to talk to all your other apps, software, and websites. You can set it up to route leads to your CRM, email, and text you, for example. It is an indispensable tool to connecting your entire tech stack.
OptinMonster is a website add-on that creates elegant pop-ups and forms for capturing leads. Less intrusive than forced registration, they also offer “exit intent” popups and have very flexible rules to conform to how you want to integrate it into your site.
The list of software and tools to help run your blog and website is literally endless.
If you are an enterprise looking for a managed social media presence, there are social media management companies that can take this all off your plate.
Below are a few companies that offer a variety of content options, ranging from professional writers to generic content that you can post to your channels.
There are few things sweeter than getting emails from buyers and sellers you’ve never met before who want to use you as their agent because they’ve been following your blog for months or years.
If you are patient, consistent, and enjoy writing quality information that people can use, blogging is a great long-term strategy to build your real estate business foundation.