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Upping the stakes on real estate listing marketing: A custom weblog on a custom domain . . .

I’m not sure I’m understanding what Jim Kimmons is talking about. He cites an NAR article on building custom web sites on their own domains for listed homes. This we already do, and it knocks the socks off of everyone we deal with. Sockless in the high desert, Jim treads off in a different direction:

I think it’s a great idea, but I do it a bit differently. My custom domain names go to a blog instead of a web site. I’m pretty sure that I, and my clients, gain search engine exposure by using a blog. Also, over time, I can place new posts that will go out as RSS feeds and create new interest and search engine exposure. An interested buyer can subscribe to the blog and watch for price reductions or other announcements.

This is good. This fits nicely with the 4Realization that nothing Googles like a blog. It’s also a nice way to play with graphic ideas until something sings. I don’t love TypePad because of the rassafrassin’ trackbacks, but that’s a detail. I’m going to use WordPress anyway.

The part that I don’t get — and I guess I don’t have to get it — is this: Jim provides a link to an example listing weblog. It’s custom, yes, but the domain name is not property-specific in any way that I can see. I must be missing something.

For my own part, though, I am much enriched even in my bewilderment. There is a WordPress plug-in to make a post sticky — so the introductory matter I would want to stay at the top of the page will stay at the top of the page. A capital-P Page in WordPress is a hybrid construct that can work like a post, like a page full of posts or just like a stand-alone web page. In other words, the idea of WordPress as a Content Management System is easily 4Realized. Setting them up this way is more time-consuming that the procedure Jim describes, but I can leverage the labor from one to the next until I get to something I love. The fact is, I can probably work from one universalized template, just as we now work from one canonical CSS-stylesheet for all of our web sites.

This is cool. All of our newly-created content is already highly modular. A marketing web site for a listing built as a custom weblog on a custom domain would rock…

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Related posts:
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  • Real estate weblogs and the Google Sandbox of Doom . . .
  • Understanding the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org plus a little bit about custom domain names

  • 10 comments

    10 Comments so far

    1. Jay T. August 30th, 2006 10:45 am

      Greg writes: “It’s custom, yes, but the domain name is not property-specific in any way that I can see. I must be missing something.”

      Greg Greg Greg… of course you are missing something.

      I’m sure that the property address is somewhere in this part of the URL: 66af547561af7dfd1540eec44ca9d5bc&s_id=bae8ccb921181adcfaa6cb429367fdcc

      It’s bound to be in there somewhere. You just need a secret decoder ring to extract it. Maybe the address of this listing is 7561 Fadecca? 1540 E. Cadbad?

    2. Terrill...ific! August 30th, 2006 4:09 pm

      I know a number of agents who are using property address sites to market high dollar listings but right now I only see the benefit is for listing property. I’m curious is this is a new marketing vehicle that a bunch of realtors will start doing. I hope not!

    3. Jim Kimmons August 30th, 2006 5:35 pm

      Greg:

      Good point. I don’t believe I was verbose enough. I like the blog better than the site, but I don’t do the custom URL…only point links to it. It’s purely my own bias and lack of listings in my own business, as I prefer buyers. It seems to be mostly a cool feature for the seller to gush over, but I guess it would also make it easier for a drive-by to find on the web if they knew the address.

      I meant only to point out my perception that a blog at the destination of the URL (whatever you use) was better than a site for search engines. I was concentrating on the results for someone searching the web for a “waterfront home on lake xxx”, which will benefit wonderfully from blog posts. My journalist ex-wife always told me that what’s in my head doesn’t come out on the screen/paper. Obviously, since she’s my ex, I didn’t listen carefully enough.

    4. Greg Swann August 30th, 2006 6:46 pm

      > I’m curious is this is a new marketing vehicle that a bunch of realtors will start doing.

      We do it for every house we list, but we really do the job, too. The seller loves it, of course, as do the neighbors. Buyers like the sites before, during and after the sale — before for shopping and remembering, during and after to show off to friends and family. For all of these reasons they are very effective at marketing us — including giving us an excellent chance to re-list the house the next time it sells. We do custom web pages for any home we preview and for many that we show, with those beign hosted on our home domain. All of this gives us immense Long Tail power on certain searches for street addresses. I could go on for hours. The cost is not insignificant and the effort is intense, but the payoff is huge in all directions. Of all the marketing things we do that our competitors don’t, this is the most effective.

    5. Greg Swann August 30th, 2006 6:51 pm

      > I like the blog better than the site, but I don’t do the custom URL…only point links to it.

      I thought that must be it. A great idea. I stole some minutes this afternoon playing with a template I might use.

    6. Greg Swann August 30th, 2006 7:35 pm

      Further notice: Cathy took pictures this afternoon for a house we didn’t list, but for which we’re helping the listing agent with her marketing — including hosting a web site and virtual tour on one of our domains. How many photos? 654.

    7. [...] In an ARMLS listing, I get exactly 680 characters to do this. We give up space for the address of the home’s custom web site, so, ultimately, I get about 100 words, maybe 110. As you may have noticed, I can write more than 110 words. [...]

    8. [...] Free the Drones, a saving and investing weblog I read every day, has a post today discussing our practice of building a custom web site for every home we list. I’m thinking that I should write on that one topic at length, because the strategy is more intricate than it might seem at first glance. For now, I want to address the caveats raised by Free the Drones: When I searched for 1102 West Culver St in Google, the website doesn’t come up in the top 50. In fact, the Bloodhound Realty Blog only comes up at number ten with a mention of the street address in the text. What’s the deal? [...]

    9. [...] More than a month ago, I said that I was going to do the custom web pages for any new listings as WordPress weblogs. Lucky me, since then we’ve sold down our inventory of listings, but we haven’t added any new ones. That changes Thursday, and there are at least two more out there on the near horizon. [...]

    10. AJM December 6th, 2006 10:51 pm

      Blog as a CMS framework is really a nice way to go. I just rebuilt an old site LoanCalc.com on MT and it was fun and really easy to do.

      When you build a site do you allow comments to be posted by the people that tour the home? Can the owner put in content? Those are interesting and easy extensions of using the blog CMS and adding the homeowmner as an author – perhaps they can add more content and they really can’t cause a problem as the blog platform keeps them in a box (literally and figuratively)
      nice work and have fun with it….