Category Archives: blogging

What Kristal Kraft, Teresa Boardman & Hugh Hefner taught me about blogging.

Can you imagine Playboy magazine without pictures? The same would apply to National Geographic, or a more relevant choice like Metropolitan Home, but where’s the fun in associating Kristal and Teresa with them? 😛

People like pictures. I think this point is lost on many RE bloggers. Some are even of the opinion that pictures are somehow a less worthy substitute for substantive discourse. Curbed is often labeled by other RE bloggers as “real estate porn”. In reading that, my thought was, “I don’t subscribe to Islands Magazine for the articles”. Pictures are a good thing.

Median home value charts and monthly sales trends all have their place, especially to the long tail visitor who finds your site through Google. But blogs aren’t just a SEO vehicle for capturing leads. A regular readership should be the goal for any blog. For a local real estate blogger, a reference from a local reader is far more powerful than anything Google has to say. Being remarkable is the key to attracting regular readers. I knew from a review of my own ability as a word smith that I wasn’t a remarkable writer. I’d need to do something else to attract regular readers to my local real estate blog.

While revamping Den-Mod, I looked at home & garden focused magazines and web sites. Pictures dominate the pages. I also reviewed what successful local bloggers like Kristal Kraft and Teresa Boardman were doing. Pictures, pictures, pictures. Sure, their blogs are full of relevant news, charts, and opinions, but the photography plays a central role. Kristal even admits to photography being a crutch for writer’s block.

My conclusion was that people must like real estate porn. One only needs to look at successful real estate smut peddlers like Kristal and Teresa to realize it. Last Fall, I took about 2000 pictures of modern structures in Denver. Whenever I don’t have a new listing or subject to post about, I publish a new gallery. The next time you’re at a loss for words, or just want to add some eye candy for your readers, make like Hugh and take some pretty pictures.

My Resolutions for 2007

I find that I’m more successful in keeping my resolutions if I keep them secret for the year. Here’s the list I made last year. Honest.

Get named on some fancy schmancy list of big shots

Start an anonymous blog

Take Friday’s off

Join 42,674 social networks. (I fell short on this one, but I gave it my best effort)

Get a massive infection in my leg.

Go to Vegas without gambling a dime

Get interviewed

Talk like a pirate

Create a widget.

Introduce you to my messed up family

Make Teresa Boardman laugh, then make her cry

Meet iJustine

Learn to be a better listener

Improve my skills at being a smart ass.

Become popular by throwing a party with free tacos

Travel 900 miles to sign a poster.

Drink beer on Zillow’s dime, then drink beer on Trulia’s dime.

Meet Odis Jack Gillard

Use the term, “disintermediation” in a blog post

That’s it. Wait until you see what I’ve thought up for 2008!

REMBEX – My social network

I’ve conveyed my opinion of Facebook. I like LinkedIn better. Some feel MyBlogLog is social networking porn. But then, I like real estate porn, so maybe that’s why I like MyBlogLog. All of the social networks I’ve tried have some value, but none of them hold a candle my own personal effort to create a social network. For nearly as long as I’ve had a blog about the mortgage industry, I’ve had a social networking blog running along side of it. Here’s a 5 minute history of REMBEX

On Feb 07 of 2005, just days after turning lenderama into a blog, I find Hanin Levin’s list of real estate blogs on grow-a-brain and requested to be added to the list. In 2005, RE.net was more like a band of brothers. It seemed logical to me to reach out to other professionals forging this new path.

On March 12, 2005 I launched RE blogs. It was a simple Blogger powered blog that listed all the RE.net blogs I could find. The list gained traction in Google, and before I knew it, new bloggers started contacting me before I ever had to seek them out. My social network was growing.

As time progressed, I tried a few tools like a web ring, and some linking projects. None really harnessed this network I was building the way I wanted them to. Then Google gave me the gift of Custom Search Engines.

On February 15 of this year, I launched the REMBEX search engine. It was not only a list of all the blogs I had found, but a tool for visitors to search those blogs. Now I had not only a network, but a widget that other bloggers soon adopted. You can find the REMBEX search engine on Bloodhound, RealCentralVA, The Phoenix Real Estate Guy, The Carnival of Real Estate, The Mortgage Porter, Phoenix Area Real Estate, 3 Oceans, and The Real Estate Blog Lab.

The next logical step was to take my online contacts off line. Blog Fiesta was originally created to promote this event. But nearly as fast as I got it up and running, it occurred to me that I had something much bigger on my hands. I started interviewing local bloggers who would be attending the event and realized this was an excellent way to create further connectivity between other bloggers and myself.

So here we are, the REMBEX social network is alive and kicking. I wanted to tell you about my social networking effort to get you to think about your own. Ask yourself:

How many of your “connections” in LinkedIn are stronger than the relationships I’ve forged in interviewing other bloggers?

What is more effective way to reach out to another blogger? Throwing a sheep at them, or to encourage one of my interviewees to list and link to that blogger as one of their favorites?

What can you do on somebody else’s social network that I can’t on my own blog?

The most important social networking platform you belong to is your own blog. Not Active Rain. Not Facebook. You. If you think of blogging as an SEO tool, you don’t get it. If you think of blogging as a way to express yourself online, that’s great, but you’re under-leveraging what you have. If you think blogging is a way to increase your sphere of influence, and want to learn more… Stay tuned.