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Blog 2.0 - We're Back

By: Darin "Sid" Cameron, CRS
Thu, Sep 8th, 2005 6:31 pm


A few months ago I suspended our blogging activities. Today, it has resumed.

It never ceased to amaze us how many people read our little real estate blog (or how many people were concerned when it stopped). Kimberly even had one person ask her if we were getting a divorce since she hadn't gotten a newsletter or seen a blog post in a while (we're doing just fine, thank you).

The reason we were forced to stop blogging a few months back has everything to do with how we started blogging in the first place.

Kimberly's original website sucked.

Yep, if you don't believe me, you can see the original beta version of it here (Editor's Note: Link no longer available).

Last December I took a few days off from work and set out to build Kimberly a new website. At the time her original website was only getting 3-4 visitors per day, so it really wasn't a large part of her marketing plan or budget. As such, a business decision was made to build the website as cheaply as possible. That's why I choose an Open Source (i.e. free) blogging application.

The original problem was convincing Kimberly to even blog at all. Her argument was that it seemed like a lot of work for a website that averaged 3-4 people a day. At the same time, nobody else was doing it yet (I'm 99% positive we were the first real estate blog in St Louis).

However I won out. Three days after Christmas, Kimberly posted her first blog- a home holiday safety tip. The free blogging software seemed ideal.

THAT WAS THEN...
Within a few months the marketing and website development that I was doing over the weekends became a full time job as Kimberly quickly evolved from a solo act to managing a team of agents- thanks in large part to this website and blog.

By May our website had a Google Page Ranking of 5. (FYI, that’s pretty good for a local site dedicated to real estate).

By June we were pushing 1000 visitors to our site a day.

Unfortunately all of the corners I cut six months earlier to build this website as cheaply as possible had come back to bite me in the rear- and nothing was more frustrating than the free blogging software.

As blogging software quickly matured to offer new features like RSS/Syndication, Pictures, Audio/Video Attachments, Podcasting/Blogcasting, etc., our free blog software was left in the dust. So a decision was made to move the blog to a new software platform. Since I wasn't 100% sure I could migrate our old posts (which were able to do), we decided to stop posting until the new software was up and running.

THAT BRINGS US TO TODAY….
There have been a lot of delays at getting to this point, but we’re finally here. I will discuss some of the great things that have happened to us since June in later posts. But looking forward, this new blog software gives us the ability to:

- Have multiple Blog “Channels" for different topics. One of our biggest challenges was trying to keep the blog on the topic of real estate (when there was something more interesting on our mind to write about that day like a local news story or event). If you’re someone who reads blogs from time to time, you know how frustrating it can be when the blog author you found so compelling the day before is droning on about how cute their cat is in their next posting. Moving forward, this will be the “Real Estate Blog Channel” and a second “St Louis Living Blog Channel" will be created to talk about local events, local dining, etc. Additional Blog Channels will follow in the future.

- Pictures, Graphics, Hyperlinks, etc. It just makes it a more attractive looking site. It also allows us to post photos of homes and real estate developments we visit as well as activities and events that we participate in.

- Video/Audio files. One of the exciting things about podcasting/blogcasting is the ability to syndicate audio/video files around the internet to lots of people. A few months ago we began offering internet video home tours to our listing clients. Moving forward blog syndication will allow us to get more exposure for our client's home listings. We also have some other exciting video projects in the works.

For the time being, let’s just say it’s good to be back. Kimberly and I are looking forward to resuming our old blogging ways.

Thanks
Darin “Sid” Cameron

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