Tag Archives: Blogging

Glory Hole

What Blog Content Works

What Type of Blog Content Works? Great question with no right or wrong answer.

Over the past 10 years I have written more than 1000 articles here. My intention was to simply create a library of content, a place where I could archive all my discoveries and knowledge regarding technology, social media, apps, websites, and online tools etc. The sole purpose of this site was to share my findings with others.

At one point I was using this site as my own resource so I could find and recall all the different things I had discovered. I still do to this day and it’s been a huge value for that reason alone. When I look back and ask myself if creating a website and blog was worth it, the answer is definitely “YES” without a doubt and with no regrets.

TrafficOne never knows when creating a site like this what will become of it?  What will people find when searching the web? What will they like, what will they not like, what will they share and what will keep them coming back? The answer will  remain a mystery until you actually do it, track it, break it down, analyze it and see for yourself?

These are the top articles in the “most viewed” and “most shared” categories.

Coolest Websites and Online Tools 2012

A compilation of the best free websites and online tools and services available on the Internet.  Started January 1st and ended on December 31st 2012. A guaranteed pleaser and a little something for everyone.

The Glory Hole in Lake Berryessa

The ONLY recorded video and story of the amazing Morning Glory (known as the Glory Hole) in Lake Berryessa located in Napa County California. Seeing the video is nothing like seeing it in real life!

Glory HoleTop Mobile Picks for 2013

Nearly every human that walks the earth now owns a mobile device. While many of these links and apps are directed to the iUser, you’ll find them or a comparable app for your specific device as well. Worth a peek for sure.

FREE Image & Graphic Generators

The most socially shared and best resource for accessing and using free images, graphics, and online generators to create the best images, logos, buttons, and graphics etc for your websites and blogs.

Top 50 Google Tools for Business

The title completely covers the reason this one made Top 10. Google has a plethora of tools and services they offer for free that cover a variety of Business and personal needs. Go ahead and count them if in doubt.

Coolest500 Ways To Say Happy Birthday

There are so many ways to say Happy Birthday, Hallmark cards has proved that for sure. This is 500+ people who wished someone happy birthday over a popular social network and still gets the most views today.

Creating Hotspot Links on Pictures

Creating a link or hotspot on a graphic or image may seem very technical and challenging but in this article you’ll see how simple it is and even get instructions to create your own. It’s not as hard as you may think.

Best Websites and Online Tools 2013

Just like the 2012 article above, this one shares all new Free sites and services along the same lines but for 2013.  There’s many great sites, services and tools online today, this is just a smidgen of what’s out there.

Mobile 100Free Photo & Graphic Editing Sites

Fixing photos, images, and editing graphics etc doesn’t take a degree in design or cost a fortune buying software.  You won’t even need to take a class or go to night school to use these free sites.

Enter Contest To Win a FREE House

This article obviously received a ton of attention, views, shares etc. Who wouldn’t want a new house… for FREE? While the contest and sweepstake is now over, this article is still one of the most visited on the site.

So at the end of the day, what type of blogging content works?

As you can see from above, there are a variety of articles covering many different topics. They have excelled beyond the others here based entirely on people’s choices. They have risen to the creme of the crop due to the crowd-sourcing power provided by the Internet.

Whatever you’re truly passionate about writing and sharing with others is great content! It will work and resonate with others but ONLY with those who have similar interests. Now if they decide to go beyond reading and commenting on your stuff, that’s the power.  It’s the sharing, linking to, and others promoting your content etc. that indicates your articles and posts are working! 🙂

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If You Build It, They Will Come

Some infamous words from a movie spoken by many but not to be taken lightly, at least not in my opinion.  It’s easy to say “If you build, they will come” but much more challenging and difficult to actually do it and really have it happen.

There are more than 11 Billion maps
currently being served up on Clustermaps.com, a FREE site that offers a visitor tracking widget for website and blog owners.  Clustermaps just received the 2011 “Best Free Webtool Award” from Edublog Awards.

Thanks to all of you, this site was ranked on New Years Day 2012 in the Top 500 Most Viewed Clustermap sites across the globe.  This is a HUGE accomplishment and we have no one to thank but YOU for helping us make it happen.  We’re not only celebrating a start to a great New Year, but we are humbled and honored to receive the Top 1000 award once again from Clustermaps.

#467 out of 11 Billion isn’t bad, so we’re proposing a toast and a cheer to a very Happy New Year.

I want to personally thank all our followers, family, fans, and friends for helping us receive this great honor and humbling award.  Our reward for all the time and effort that has been put into this site isn’t really the rank on Clustermaps so to speak, it’s the trust and rapport we’ve established with our readers and supporters just like you.

Though you may appear as a simple red dot on the map below, it’s more important that you know and understand that you are the most important part of this site and our existence.  Without you, there would be no domain, no map, no traffic, no ranking, and no audience for our content.

If We Build, They Will Come!

and you did!

It is truly an amazing honor and privilege to be able to say… “It Worked!”
“Thank you to ALL our friends, we appreciate you and love you very much!”

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Should Real Estate Professionals Blog

This is a question that has been around the block many times and depending who you ask, I believe you’ll get a unique and different answer every time. Here’s my personal take and answer to this age-old blogging question.

I think blogging is like farming the land. Each blog post is like throwing a seed out the window into the dirt that runs along the super-information Internet highway. While it can and does deliver great results for some/few, it does require and consume a massive amount of time and effort.

Planting seeds does not always produce crops. It requires a ton of hard work! You have to water, weed, fertilize, spray etc. Blogging is not for everyone and it is definitely not a sprint to the win… It can be a marathon to the victory though.

As long has you have the key skills, tools, and components in place that allow you to create and build community via awesome content, cultivate and capture quality leads from your efforts, and the talent/gifts and ability to convert those online contacts to clients, then I say Blog away my friends.

Now if you’re just wanting to capture and convert contacts to clients, I’d highly suggest checking out Zillow.com and become a Premier Agent on the site. You’ll still need the skills and ability to convert, but harvesting is much easier and funner than farming!

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Blogging for the Business Blogger

Content Accumulated over time for the Blogging Business Blogger

Here’s 21 Blogging articles over a 4 year period of time with more than 3580 Real Estate Industry Professional comments for your reading, learning, and reviewing pleasure. 

Disclaimer: Many of these articles and blog posts were written during my ActiveRain employment period and may reflect proprietary content and information as a result.

SEO and Blogging – The Importance of Visibility and Placement– 02/07/11 09:55 AM  (66 comments)
Blogging and Time Management– 12/08/09 02:11 AM (120 comments)
Real Estate Blogging – The Steps & Cycle For Success – 09/28/09 07:27 PM  (95 comments)
Common Mistakes A Blogger Makes– 09/06/09 08:10 PM  (162 comments)
ActiveRain Sets A New Network and Community Record– 08/08/09 12:19 AM  (105 comments)
How to Create a Blog Post for Customers and Search Engines– 07/25/09 09:46 AM  (375 comments)
3 Ways To Reach Your Audience – Blogging Just Isn’t Enough– 09/17/08 10:42 PM  (107 comments)
ActiveRain “Live Talk Show” on BlogTalkRadio– 09/02/08 03:14 AM  (91 comments)
ActiveRain Launches Outside Blogs – How Do You Get Yours? – 06/26/08 11:31 PM  (860 comments)
Mama Says “NO BLOGGING!” – 04/26/08 09:27 PM  (77 comments)
An ActiveRain Video Invitation – 03/27/08 03:59 AM  (61 comments)
Making A Point – The Power Point Way! – 03/13/08 10:50 AM  (152 comments)
Real Estate 2.0 – Does Blogging Really Work – Letter To The Skeptics – 03/09/08 07:17 PM  (59 comments)
Your Blog – Is it Unwritten? – 02/17/08 01:53 PM  (75 comments)
Do You Want Visitors Searching Your Blog? – 12/07/07 04:41 PM  (271 comments)
Marketing and Farming Your Blog – 11/17/07 07:22 PM  (241 comments)
3 Ways To Find Out Who’s Reading Your Blog – 11/10/07 04:35 AM  (368 comments)
How Are You Promoting Your Blog Out in the REAL World – 09/28/07 07:32 AM  (99 comments)
The Climb to the Bottom, or the Fall to the Top! – 08/20/07 08:59 PM  (118 comments)
Successful Blogging in the Real Estate Industry – 08/08/07 11:35 PM  (82 comments)

Related Articles:

WordPress Blog Training Videos

Delivering Blog Content & Growing Traffic

Nobody Clicks On Page Two… SEO?

How To Export and Import XML Files

Top Real Estate Bloggers in Their Field

Delivering Blog Content & Growing Traffic

Email Blogging Delivers Content and Grows Traffic

There was a time where a post like this would start off with, “Do You Have A Blog?”  It’s no longer a question as to whether you should have one or not but how good is your content and how are you marketing it?  Are you delivering great content with useful information to your target audience and readers?  Of course you are!  Now take it one-step further.

Don’t wait to be found on the web, or for the search engines to index you, email your relavent content regularly to your database.  This will help ensure that your content is getting in front of the most important people in your sphere, and at the same time driving traffic back to your blog. This helps with SEO, link-backs, traffic, and reaches beyond your sphere.

DIYThemes sends me occasional blog articles via email that I find very useful and the information is generally something I can apply to my blogging or social media endeavors.  It also allows me to pass on the knowledge to my sphere and others which I’m sure is their intention to begin with?  It’s easy to do and I know for a fact it works.

The Example: How does Facebook drive traffic back to their site using email?  They send you an email message that says, “You’ve Been Tagged In A Photo on Facebook!”  You know the drill, you can’t possibly resist the temtation to click on the link, and there you are on a Facebook page with a photo you instantly determine whether you like or not.  Then you either comment, or you untag yourself from the photo depending on if you like the way you look or not.

The Secret: It’s all about you!

Make your content all about them, then email it to them, and leave them with the burning desire (or temptation) to want to click on the link back to your site and comment.  Even if they don’t, it’s ok because your content has been delivered to someone who may have never seen or even known it existed.  Then they may want to share it with their sphere, just like I’m doing here. This is why you created content to begin with right?  It just make cents!

Here’s how DIYThemes does it.  They send me/you an article/blog post via email.

1. They capture you with a great title – “How To Hold an Audience Captive with No Handcuffs Required

2. Then they use great key bullet points to draw the target audience in:

  • Good Captivity, Bad Captivity
  • One Man’s Hotel is another Man’s Prison
  • So Who is Your Audience, Anyway?
  • Escalating Commitments
  • Don’t Abuse the Prisoners!

3. Then at the bottom of the email article/post, they add this:

Try this proactive approach to using old school email, your great content, with links back to your articles and see if it doesn’t increase your readership, the sharing of your content, drive more traffic to your site, and hopefully grow your sphere and client base so you can reach out and do more business.  Thanks for reading, it’s my priviledge and an honor to have had you here.

Nobody Clicks On Page Two… SEO?

My favorite title so far this year!!  It’s a blatantly obvious term and title, but one I think many overlook when creating their web presence for their profile or their business.  The point of  “Search Engine Optimization” is to be found via the results from someone else’s search terms, words, or phrases in the search engines like Google, Yahoo, MSN, AOL, Bing etc.

How many cLicks does it take to get to the center of a Google Roll Pop?
The world may never know…till now…

The first click: is to show up on page one of the paid or organic search results.  The upper portion of the page is always preferred because the likely-hood of searchers scrolling down becomes less of a reality based on today’s value of time.  If they do scroll down to find you, being on page one is crucial to your discovery because NOBODY CLICKS ON PAGE 2 of the SEARCH RESULTS!  Period.

The second click: is having the right sentence and content show up under that title link (the description) so searchers are encouraged, fascinated, or extremely motivated and inspired to click on the link since it’s dead on exactly what they’re looking for.  What are the chances of that? Hmm…

The third click: is to have the ability with your content and your site (once they’re there) to build trust, establish a rapport, create a relationship, capture them, convert them, and make them a client for life.  Turning them into a viral walking billboard to send you referral business for the rest of their days is another post and story all together.

SEO… how are you planning on doing these three things with your site, your blogs, your splash pages and internet presence?

Trust me when I tell you that this is not an easy task to accomplish.  All three steps take time, hard work, months of study, research and education, and most of all, the technical and people skills to pull it all off.  I’m not trying to discourage you from attempting this feat, I’m just being real with you about the journey I’ve been on, and that I’ve also witnessed others take.

SEO… what’s my advice?   I just gave it to you.  🙂

The internet, blogging, and social media etc. is NOT a sprint to the win, it IS a marathon to the victory!  Connecting with people using the available online tools is a fantastic idea and can certainly produce results, but the key to having folks find you and then be able to connect with you is to be on PAGE ONE of those search engine results, not page two. There are two types of people in the world; those that know you, and those that don’t. The ones that don’t are looking for your content on the Internet!

Learn How to create a Blog post for SEO and Consumers

The Blogging Success Cycle

The Blogging Success Cycle – Today we are talking about the key ingredients for a successful Blog.  If you’re looking to create a Successful Blogging Cycle, you’ve come to the right spot for some ideas, tips, tricks and techniques that have been proven over time to work for many individuals and businesses.

Before You Begin: Some things to consider…

  • Know your niche and target audience
  • Plan your content – Have value-added content
  • Use Passion when Selecting your Niche
  • Don’t sell, deliver experience, wisdom, and information

The Blogging Success Cycle: Sample Scenario

What is a successful Blog?
* It’s a blog or site that attracts attention and visitors from the content.
* It is cosmetically appealing yet ranks high in the search engine results.
* It captivates and provides value enough to inspire and motivate return visits.
* It must have the ability to capture visitors information for follow-up and conversion.

8 Personal Tips for Success:
Great Title – SEO and Draws attention to your post
Awesome Awesome Content – Who you are Transparency
Anchor Text links – go to the BIG DOGS  Don’t Use CLICK HERE!
Keyword/Phrases placement and Tags
Add images, photos and graphics
Mix it up with video, audio, and podcasts
Distribution Advertising and Marketing
Variety of Content – Local, Community, Personal, News, How To, and musings!

5 Top Ingredients:

1. Community Content 2. Cultivate 3. Connect and Convince 4. Capture 5. Convert

SEO and Google Juice?
How well do WordPress and Blogger Blogs Rank? Search these terms to see:

Real Estate Financial Goals
Real Estate Video Blog
SF Bay Area Real Estate Info
Real Estate Tech World

Remember: Blogging is NOT a sprint to the win, it IS a marathon to the victory!


Building Blocks for Better Blogs and Business

While it was with every intention I planned on sharing this presentation at the RainStorm this past weekend, somehow my final decision to do so was influenced by the environment, the ambiance, and the folks I was fortunate to be surrounded by at the Ultra Heat Lounge in Anaheim.  There was a great line-up of speakers and topics, but at the end when it was my turn to present, I felt moved to share something a bit different.

So for those of you who came to “RainStorm” to hear the presentation about “Building Blocks for Better Blogs” and didn’t get to, I decided to share it here instead, where there is likely to be less distraction and excitement from all the real life and in person social networking that was taking place in the nite-club style environment.  To those of you who couldn’t or didn’t make it, it was a great turn out and spectacular event.

Building Blocks for a Better Blog

Tips and Take-Away Overview

1. Make your Blog title, description, and URL Count.  Be descriptive, direct, and short as possible.
2. K.I.S.S. – Keeping It Simple Sells – Less really can be more in many cases.
3. Be There. Allow Questions, Chat, and Live interaction.  This is the best way to Capture contacts.
4. Content is always king. Give the greatest value possible to your readers and audience. Period.
5. Make sure you have some form of contact capture or what is the point of Blogging for Business.
6. Use a good CRM or contact mgmt program. To rely on your memory alone will cost you business.
7. Implement Inter-active value-added tools and widgets that update themselves and deliver content.
8. You’re a consumer, so when building your Blog for Business, ask yourself what works best on you.
9. Some ideas and tools to provide a consumer that might be interested in buying or selling include:
     (Various Samples of FREE widgets, tools, and content to consider)

     a. Demographics and Local Real Estate data and information
     b. All the newest listings in the neighborhood or community
     c. Share the most expensive homes allowing your audience to dream
     d. Provide all the recently sold homes keeping it real for your buyers and sellers
     e. Give them tools to compare stats and areas, after-all they’re going to live there
     f.  Let your readers search your area for “All homes for sale”
     g. Let them search other areas too so they don’t leave your Blog to do so
     h. Using home value estimation tools will create digital handshakes and opportunity
     i. A virtual walk through the neighborhood with a “walk-score” makes an impression
     j. Providing Loan and payment data with the ability to compare is valuable and useful
     k. Provide a stream or feed of live and local news and your Blog will really kick butt

There’s a sample Blog you can review at SFBayAreaBlog.com if you’d like to try these tools live and see how they work.  You can create and do the same here on ActiveRain, WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, Posterous, etc.  The best part is that everything I’ve shared here is FREE and easy to do if you have the resources and knowledge.  Now you have the knowledge, and you’ll always have me as a resource. 🙂

My presentation at RainStorm was very short and simple.  All things are simply tools and a means to an end. Social media, the Internet, mobile technology, almost everything in your life online and off are just tools to help you cultivate and create relationships and build rapport and trust with people.  The greatest and most memorable moments in your life are built on emotions, passions, and connections. You can always use tools with people, but never use people as tools.

Celebrating Four Years On ActiveRain

It was February of 2007 when I wrote my first Blog post here on ActiveRain.  Hardly seems like four years could have gone by this quickly.  I realized today that all the time and information I have contributed here is pale in comparison to all that I have learned and the relationships I have made.  As I looked at the numbers, reviewed the stats, counted subscribers and analyzed traffic, it really hit me.  Even after all the posts and thousands of hours I’ve spent here, it all boils down to one really important thing for me…

ActiveRain Is ALL about creating and building relationships. The points are great and the business is wonderful too, but what keeps most of us coming back is the deep rooted, sincere and meaningful relationships that get established from our time and efforts here.  Sure the SEO is great, and the referrals rock, but no other blogging platform out there has a community culture quite like ActiveRain.  You’ll get much more out of it than you’ll ever put into it.

Some of the greatest people I’ve ever met with masterminds in Real Estate are right here.

(if you don’t see yourself in the above photo, it’s only because all 200,000+ wouldn’t fit on this page)

The make-up of the ActiveRain community is unique in so many ways.  The relationships here are very real.  There are so many very special people on this network.  They’re not just sharing information, not just blogging, not just commenting on posts, they are out meeting each other in person, supporting and encouraging others, people helping one another all across the country.  It’s really all about people here.

As I look back on my ActiveRain journey, there are so many wonderful memories that I cherish.  Not just from the Blogging, the comments, even some of the crazy stuff that goes on around here either.  I’m talking about the memories from my travels, meeting people I’ve communicated with for years online and then finally getting to meet them in person for the first time.  It’s the hugs, the handshakes, the gifts and all the sharing.  There is really nothing that compares to all I’ve seen and been part of in my four years on ActiveRain.

So this anniversary, instead of reflecting on and sharing accomplishments and successes, or survivals and achievements, I want to just say “THANK YOU!” to all my friends here on ActiveRain and all around the globe.  Over these past years it has been YOU that kept me coming back, YOU that I was reaching out to, YOU that ultimately I want to connect with, and it has always been YOU that has made this place what it is for me today.  Sincerely, I thank you.

Without YOU, there would be no ActiveRain…

Without YOU, there would be no reason to return…

Without YOU, there would really be no me…

May our journeys be amazing, may our missions be worthy, and may our paths cross IRL one day.  In our pursuit of happiness, may we live a life that is full of rich and meaningful purpose.  It is with nothing that we start in this world, and we leave with only one thing, that which is most valuable… our relationships.   Nothing else really matters in the end.  We’ll take no goods or merchandise with us when it’s time to go, but the relationships we create and carry through life are really the most valued commodities in this world.

Build your castles and mansions on “people” and relationships for they are the strongest foundations on earth.

It’s been a truly amazing and incredible four year journey and adventure, thank you for sharing it with me.

SEO Bloggers – Visibility and Placement

SEO and Blogging – The beauty is in the “Eyes” of the beholder

Last week we did a class called “Are You Invisible” and had a great turnout with guest speaker Gary Clayberg from WA.  One of the topics during the SEO and Blogging discussion was about heat maps that show and reveal how the “eyes” of your traffic and visitors see your site and the search engine results. It’s absolutely fascinating when you think about it, and it most definitely should be thought about after you read this.

Think of how long you spend reading a blog post vs skimming, or how much time you spend on that Google Search results page.  Do you scroll down?  Do you go to page two or three when there are seven million pages returned?  No. If you do, then you are unique and have way too much time on your hands. lol~  Take a look at these visual heat maps and then look at your own SEO results and your sites and Blogs.

The research and results I’m sharing below apply to search engine optimization and your marketing efforts so I hope this helps.  How important is page positioning and rank in both Organic and Pay-per-click search results for visibility and click through in Google?  The new Eyetools Eye-Tracking Study verifies it’s very important.  Notice the areas below the red-line and to the right of the page on the search example below.

Image source: Eyetools.com

(PRWEB) — A joint eye tracking study conducted by eye tracking firm Eyetools and search marketing firms Enquiro and Did-it.com has shown that the vast majority of eye tracking activity during a search happens in a triangle at the top of the search results page indicating that the areas of maximum interest create a “golden triangle.” Snippet courtesy of PRWEB

There’s a theory that the cosmetic appeal and placement of content on your Blog or site does make a difference.  It can and will have an impact on the results you’re getting from your SEO and Blogging efforts.  It’s not just content that is King, but where it’s most “visible” and most viewed can truly help build your kingdom.  Are you like me and saving the punchline or important quotes for the wrong spot? :-O

Image source: Eyetools.com

Researching this was an “eye” opener for me. (pun intended)  I’m warning all readers that this information may require you to do some rearranging and house-cleaning on your sites for the eyes that you’re trying to reach too.

Here’s the part that most readers and viewers will miss according to the heat map image above: “No idea is so outlandish that it should not be considered with a searching but at the same time a steady eye.” Winston Churchill “The way to see by Faith is to shut the Eye of Reason.” Benjamin Franklin “That old law about ‘an eye for an eye’ leaves everybody blind.  The time is always right to do the right thing.” Martin Luther King, Jr.