Friday, April 18, 2008

The Challenges of Being A Blogger Pt 1

This is about my journey and development as a blogger and what hoops I've gone through in the process to get where I'm not yet, .. known.


How it All Started

It all started in 1999 when I wrote a newsletter to the employees of my company that addressed computer usage and how the user can be smarter about the things they do. It really boiled down to the fact that when my users opened attachments for the "I Love You" virus, I felt that some folk had no common sense about things and I decided to take action.

After I left that company, I felt an obligation to those who said they enjoyed my information so I started an email campaign that initially carried an attachment with it, that later evolved into a PDF newsletter hosted at one of my personal websites, then through matters of streamlining, ease of use, thinking about the end user and what they might have to do to go through seeing the hosted PDF file, I created a blog of sorts on my own website.


How I Started A Second Blog

In 2004, I started a second blog that was real estate related because I was stupid enough to follow someone's advice (Who was probably part of a pyramid scheme) and I came on board with the premise of a real estate career.

My first love, the computer blog on my site was fairly stagnate, growing ever so slowly with maybe 100 readers from the original 10, but my real estate blog took off.

Potential clients ate up the free information and statistics that I put together and my blog went from a few hundred to a few thousand visits a week over a period of 6 months or so and I started getting more calls. I'd find out later that because of the (sometimes much deserved) reputation of real estate agents, many out there look to drain you of info and run.. but my blog was getting me noticed and my site was first in search engine results for the keywords I was interested in ... my idea was a success and I was sure my marketing would net me many clients. Oh yea, I was on my way.

Or not.

Some Days, My Timing is Impeccable
As soon as my blog took off, the real estate market started it's nose dive as sellers started demanding that agents list their homes at or over the comparable prices while buyers were getting tired of paying those prices, and then the first wave of cheater loans started coming due. I already had issues with some lenders and their sneaky tactics messing up half my contracts.. yep, you read right, half, but now they've ruined the entire industry I was hoping to make a living in, and now, it seems, the economy. Thanks guys!


Learning to Market My Blog and Get Traffic

My real estate blog is what motivated me to learn about some simple marketing tricks, website SEO strategies, maintenance and relevance of a blog. What I mean by relevance is that you just can't slap a post on a site, and walk away. The blog needs nurturing and as I've come to find out, visitors would like to see that you actually care about the subject matter at heart.

With my real estate blog no longer needed, I slowed down the posting frequency but kept it going because I had information to share about the industry itself and I was eager for the day my license would expire, because then I was not actively beholden to the ethical responsibilities that the NAR supposedly holds the membership to. (Trust me, it's a tenuous leash, and as one peer has put it recently, it's gotten more "sharky" since the market took a turn.)

Next Week, Part 2: With the real reason for blogging having come and gone, Why?

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Hi - sorry for the confirmation but I need to weed out the noise from the well intended comments. Thanks for leaving a note... - Bruce