When you blog, you should always give serious thought to the headline.
After all, many RSS feeds will only pick up your headline for the
initial display. People browsing your blog won’t make it past a
headline that leaves them cold. And, from a search engine perspective,
the keywords in a headline are “weighted” much heavier than simple body
- Keep your headlines snappy (brief and interesting) for your readers
- Use keywords, but don’t overuse them – this is the opportunity for
you to use a variety of terms that relate to your specialty or your
real estate niche as used in that particular blog entry
- Capture the eye of searchers who may otherwise miss your primary keywords.
- Be bold
As an example, I recently did a blog on using custom stamps. My title
was: Snazzy Snail Mail: Direct Marketing Tips for Real Estate Agents
and Small Business Owners. This title used a term I don’t normally use
“snail mail.” I used the term because it differentiated this from an
“email how to” and it also used alliteration “snazzy snail” to capture
the eye. (I go on alliteration kicks sometimes – and my hit ratio on
those stories tends to be a bit higher than similar titles without the
repetitive leading letter.)
And, yes, I do pay attention to these things. I want to be sure my
blogs are something that my readers need and/or want to read. Once you
are a regular blogger, you will watch these type of things too!
I also made sure my target audiences and their business types were in that title… Real Estate Agents, Real Estate, Small Business Owners and Small Business. The topic was a tip for direct marketing, and since that’s a common search term for this information, I included it.
I didn’t want the headline to get lengthy. Too-long headlines often lose a reader’s interest.
Blog Story IDs
Aside from headlines, you will also want to consider the filenames of your stories. Most blogging platforms use a dynamic file naming system. These will automatically assign a unique number for each new blog entry as a filename.
A tremendous marketing advantages of Geeklog as a blog engine is that the ability to reassign these random numbers to something more useful. Most of the other engines don’t permit this renaming convention. If you are using Geeklog and you are lazy enough to let the blog application do this for you, you are losing a great opportunity. Let me tell you why…
When you click on a blog entry to read the entire entry, the URL changes to reflect the story. If that story has “009874598” as your ID number, then that’s what appears in your URL would end with something like “….com/article.php?story=009874598.” That doesn’t help your search engine optimization at all.
Using the stamp example from above, I named my story something that describes the entry to get the added search engine optimization of a keyword rich and well-targeted name. For example, the URL for this particular story is: http://www.wickedblog.com/article.php?story=Direct-Mail-Marketing-on-a-Low-Budget.
Since the search engines weight words in the URL heavily (as compared to body text and even headlines), this is not an opportunity you will want to miss.
Do remember that your URL for each blog entry must be unique. (Which is why many of these blog engines won’t allow users to define them.)
Blog Feed Placement
If you have your blog as part of your primary site, but it’s not on your index page, you need to use a feed to place the headlines in a block on the index page. Ask your webmaster to add one. You will want to limit the number of entries to prevent clutter and to keep your blog entries looking fresh and new.
If your blog isn’t located on your primary site, it’s still important that you use a feed to showcase your blog entries and to keep constantly updated information on your website. You may want to use a simple RSS feed (like I do) or you may want to have a headline and synopsis or headline and the first X number of words of the entry showing on the index page.
Talk with your web host or custom programmer to find the solution that works best for you.
If you only plan to blog two or three times a week, then I’d recommend you have no more than five entries showing. Personally, I only show the most recent three of each of my RSS feeds. That keeps me on my toes to keep fresh content online.
Where to Submit Blogs
There are literally thousands of blog indexes, directories and lists these days. It would be possible to make a full-time job of submitting and writing your daily blog. As a real estate professional, you also have a few other daily responsibilities – so you want to be sure you get the most for your blog with the least investment of time and effort.
Once you make a dozen or so blog entries on your new blog, you should submit it to a few directories and indexes. I’ve collected a list of ten here to get you started:
http://www.blogwise.com/ (Update 4/2011 – this link is defunct.)
http://blogs.feedster.com/add.php (Update 4/2011 – this link is defunct.)
You should also “ping” the blog lists that permit that functionality. In Geeklog, you can enter the ping locations and then simply hit a single button whenever you post a new blog. Geeklog will then automatically “ping” each of those on your list to say “Hey, lookie here, new content for ya!” Many of the other blog engines also offer an automated ping option. Look for it.
Once you have your blog working and have submitted to at least those venues listed above, I recommend that you continue to submit to new sites several times a week. It usually doesn’t take more than a couple minutes, and it really pays. [You can even write up on a cheat-sheet (URL/description/category) and have your assistant do the submissions for you!]
Blogs are usually well-spidered by Google, so if you have to choose between submitting your blog on a particular day or writing in your blog…write. No question. But, my recommended method of keeping this going is to submit to a single new index or directory every time you post to your blog. That’s a quick and painless way to get regularly expanding coverage for your blog.
You can Google “Blog Submission Sites” for enough submission options to keep you busy for several months.
Best wishes as you blog your way to business success!