Why You Should Host Your Real Estate Blog on Your Own Domain

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Last week, we announced that we’d start focusing on how people can use technology to help their real estate businesses. I think one of the most important ways for both real estate investors and professionals (Realtors, lenders, etc) to begin to market their businesses is by creating a blog.

What Exactly is a Blog?

There are many ways to define what a blog is? Darren Rowse over at Problogger has a great post introducing some of the various “definitions,” and then takes a deep look at the main features of a blog. This is a great read from one of the most famous bloggers on earth. Frankly, I think Daniel Scocco at DailyBlogTips has the most clear and concise look at what a blog is:

A blog is basically a type of website, like a forum or a social bookmarking site. As such it is defined by the technical aspects and features around it, and not by the content published inside it.

The features that make blogs different from other websites are:

* content is published in a chronological fashion
* content is updated regularly
* readers have the possibility to leave comments
* other blog authors can interact via trackbacks and pingbacks
* content is syndicated via RSS feeds

Keep in mind that it is the bundle of those features that should define a blog. An online forum could also offer an RSS feed for example, but that would not make it a blog.

Now that we’ve got a clear idea of what these entities are, its time to get going with the main goal of this post — to start looking at the mistakes new (and many experienced) blogger make in terms of their domain and hosting.

Why Blog About Real Estate?

I’m only going to glance-by this topic, but the short answer is that blogs are, IMO, the easiest type of website to build and spread the word about your business, thanks to the genius of RSS feeds and trackbacks. Blogs have features (described above) that allow your content to easily be spread across the web, which simply put, makes it easier for others (including the search engines) to find you.

If people are reading your blog and see that you’re an expert — be it in your neighborhood (Realtors, service people & Investors), your field (lenders & others), etc. — they are more likely to remember and trust you. With that trust & recognition comes new business!

There is obviously more to it, but like I said before, I just want to briefly talk about this here and now.

Top Mistakes Made By Real Estate Bloggers in their Domain and Hosting

Last year on my personal website, I wrote about the top 77 mistakes that new bloggers make, and I’d like to use that list as a base to start helping all of you with your own blogging.

Real Estate Blogging Mistake #1 – Not Hosting Your Own Blog

One of the most important things about growing your real estate business is to build your own identity or brand. This is why Realtors use their headshots in their cards (personal branding) or why Coke spends countless billions of dollars on marketing their logo across the world (business branding).

The simple fact is that it is difficult to build a brand on a hosted blog (a blog hosted at another domain, such as WordPress, or even a BiggerPockets Blog). That’s not to say that you shouldn’t explore hosted blogs, but it is difficult to build a brand using one.

The key to this branding is in registering a great domain name. There are many theories about picking a memorable domain name, but you want to be sure that your domain name is not only memorable, but also good for your brand (we’ll get into this in a later post).

Think about it . . . do you think people will find you more easily at denverlandlord.wordpress.com or DenverLandlord.com? There’s simply no question that the latter is easier to remember and to get to.

Additionally, when you’re running a hosted blog, you often times have many more restrictions on personalization of your blog. Simply put, you’ve got more options available to you when you establish your own domain and host your blog there.

Hosted Blogs are Great for Beginners!

I think it is a great idea to establish a hosted blog if you’re just getting started in real estate blogging. Frankly, most real estate blogs are awful; they lack in focus and purpose. Simply put, it is NOT easy to blog. Not everyone is built to write.

What a hosted blog does is give you the opportunity to try blogging out. It lets you see if you like blogging, or if you’re any good at it, without incurring yet another business expense for hosting and domain registration.

Conclusion
I hope we’ve given you some reasons why you need to start looking into blogging on your own domain. If you’ve got any questions about hosting, blogging, domains, or anything else pertaining to websites for your real estate business, please don’t hesitate to post your comments below.

About Author

Joshua Dorkin

Joshua Dorkin (@jrdorkin, Google+) founded BiggerPockets.com when he saw a need for free, trustworthy information about real estate investing online. Over the past 12 years, Josh has grown the site from self-funded hobby to full-time job and passion. Today, BiggerPockets brings together over 600,000 members, housing the world’s largest library of real estate content, iTunes’ #1 real estate podcast, and an array of analysis tools, all geared toward helping users succeed.

27 Comments

  1. Great post Josh!
    I would say that my blog has been the single best thing I have done for my real estate finance business–well that and of course hooking up with Bigger Pockets 🙂 I recently ported my blog over to a hosted site vs. my old blog being hosted by a proprietary blog service. There is much greater freedom and control. Hosting my own blog makes it much easier to do this. I hope everyone had a great thanksgiving!

    Steve

  2. I’m speaking at the National Association of Realtors conference next year about some of what you mentioned above and a lot more.

    You should own your domain name anyways, no matter if you’re in business or not. It’s for protection purposes as well, especially in a world where many people share the same name. It ranks high in Google and when you build a site around it, people will find out.

    • Hey Florida, what constitutes spammers?

      Part of the blogging experience is engaging in a conversation. How could you and I have a conversation if I’m talking to someone called “Florida Homes for Sale”?

      If I were you, I’d start by worrying less about making money from your website (your site was impossible to read due to ads and style issues) and put more time into producing top quality content.

      Once you do that and start engaging people on their blogs, use your real name. That’s the way to build a relationship.

      Good luck to you!

  3. Florida Homes,

    I can’t tell if that’s a real estate site, and Adsense site, or golf products site..

    Obviously since you’re posting comments with a name of “Florida Homes For Sale” you’re going for real estate site, but here’s a tip…

    Comment name hyperlinks are “nofollow” by default on WordPress blogs…so all that went to waste.

    And as Josh said, pretty hard to have a conversation with anchor text keywords.

    • Hey Rob . . . we actually went do-follow for like 5 minutes. WHAT A MISTAKE! Suddenly we were on these lists and slews of link whores (I’m not insinuating that Florida is one of these people, but his/her post isn’t exactly what I’d call relevant) started posting crap comments on the blog. To this day, I delete handfulls of these comments daily.

  4. Josh

    Off topic a little, besides saying this was an excellent post and a primer for anyone starting out, but the deleting comments is something that I have struggled with.

    What I am now doing is editing the ones that have links in their posts that have no purpose. Many real estate agents have learned to leave a comment with 3 links back to their site, and think this will be kosher with me.

    If it is solely self serving, gone. If there is merit to the comment, links get cleaned out.

    Oh, and my bet is that it will increase as the marginal agents will think of joining the conversation only to benefit themselves. They do not understand that in this world, you get by giving. Greed is very obvious.

    • Hey Tom. I’m torn any time I edit or delete a comment. That said, if the post has nothing to add to the conversation and is merely designed to promote some link, I’ll remove it. I’ve been to some blogs that leave these, but I no longer even try reading comments, as they are mostly worthless.

      I look at it the same way we look at moderating our forums. Hijack the conversation for your own evil purposes, and you’ll lose the privilege. This philosophy has pissed off the SPAMMERS on our site, and has made our forums the top around. Our users now regularly tackle these guys on their own, and have made it no fun for any of these folks.

      BTW – Thanks for the thoughts on the post itself, too!

  5. I have my own domain names and blogs, but would still recommend that people starting out take part in one of the larger real estate blog communities. One simple reason: Google.
    I am fortunate to understand search engine optimization so I can write with keywords and titles that are done properly, but nothing can compare with the power that collective blogs yield. If I want to make sure of getting a new post indexed and noticed by Google, I write about it on one of my collective blog sites.
    Of course, I also include a couple of links to my own blog where I write a companion post with different images and details. The combination of personal and group blogs has worked well for me and I encourage people to both create their own blog and join a larger site.
    BTW, I think the definition of a blog at the start of the article is almost opaque to newcomers to the field. I don’t have a definition of my own, but I would think emphasizing the ongoing, frequently updated nature of the site and the desirability of using your own voice to share who you are with your readesr is at least as important as trackback, rss, and ping…

  6. A blog is a website where entries are made in journal style and displayed in a reverse chronological order. Blogs often provide commentary or news on a particular subject, such as food, politics, or local news; some function as more personal online diaries. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, web pages, and other media related to its topic.In my perspective every website has to keep its blog because its necessary to keep the things going and for your website also.

    • The irony is that Myrtle Beach hasn’t read any of the discussion in this post or any our kind requests to act human, posted right above the “ADD COMMENT” link. Please NOTE: “Blog comments exist so readers can engage in conversation. We kindly ask that you use your real name instead of some keywords for your name. Not doing so may result in your comment being removed. ”

      I’ll not remove your comment because I can use your post as an example. While your comment is certainly relevant, how can anyone take you seriously if you’re not willing to personalize it and use your name or at least a pseudonym. All you’re doing is looking for some free link love, which you’re sadly not going to get because this site is a NO-Follow site.

      Sorry.

      Can we all start acting like humans here? It would have been much easier, and would be better for you in the long run to just post as Jerry Pinkas (the name found on your website) OR Jerry From Myrtle Beach RE.

      I wish this conversation were more about your words, but I can’t let this slide . . . it is getting ridiculous already.

      At least I have the topic of my next post . . .

  7. Josh,

    I am disappointed that your blog is no longer do follow. I find that the Akismet plugin takes care of most of the spam. However I understand that you have a much bigger spam problem than my little site.

    Personally I don’t mind someone using good anchor text in the name field. What’s the point of giving a do follow link if all it does is help them rank for their name? As long as the comment is valid, I’ll approve it. If it is a lousy comment like a couple above, I report it as spam, name or no name.

    When I do use anchor text myself in the name field I make sure to sign my real name in the body of the post.

    Ned Carey

  8. Samuel Awosolu on

    Joshua,

    Blogging is the best kept secret if you understand the full potential it. I know people have been told to outsource their content or have other people write for them. Then you lose your brand identity and the ability to connect to your readers.

    Your right not everyone is a writer but there are TONS of resources out there to improve your writing style for blogging. If all else fells. Podcast your thoughts and post it. No one does this! You can even do video. I have tried the shortcut to blogging and it doesn’t work. I have spent time working on building my content and I know over time my writing style will evolve into something palpable for my readers 🙂

  9. I definitely agree with you that self hosting is the way to go. The value of owning your own content is huge especially when you consider the appreciating value of an aged domain, aged content, and aged backlinks.

  10. I have to admit Branding is everything in business, but without any means of strategic marketing be it online or offline, your brand still would draw less customers.

    I’ve known this site brandmelive.com that helps and guides and individual or startup company on how to create your own unique brand that stands out from the rest. In less than a month, I assure you, you will start to experience great amount of success on your brand or business with the efforts you put in. Believe me, I’m one of the million that benefited from that site.

  11. Man, this post was the best that I have read all day! My website (really a blog) is one of the greatest marketing tools that I own for my real estate business. I provide lots of value for people in the real estate industry, thus creating tons of loyal readers. Plus I host it myself. Joshua is definitely on to something here.

  12. I am new to blogging. I am a Realtor in Houston and I have a website … I would like to know how I can start a blog and link it to my website. Please let me know.

    Thank you
    Vicky

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