Are You Plugged In? Part 4: A Blog

In this 21st Century world, being digital and online is a must for growing your business. Yet many of us, who did not grow up “plugged in,” find it difficult to know where to start in generating a presence online. But from customer service to lead generation, the internet is really one of your best resources for building your reputation, name-recognition and ultimately business. Let’s take a look at how you can get started … with a blog.

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WHY A BLOG?

If using technology is relatively new to you, you might wonder what a blog even is. The word is a mashup of two other words: web and log. Blogs began as a type of online journal in which people would write about their lives. They have morphed a bit and now typically focus on a specific subject area. When you post a blog entry, it is added to a queue of all of your posts, and the most recent one will show up first in the queue. The main advantage of creating and maintaining a blog is that it will help search engines to “notice” your site and then redirect customers to your website. As you continue to post entries, the updated content will attract searches through the words you use.

WHERE TO START?

You may start a blog on your own website, you could start a blog on a real estate site such as Trulia (You must join as a professional in order to blog here) or Realtor (You must be a member of the NAR to blog on Realtor.com), or you may use a blog-specific site such as WordPress or Blogger.

Since Trulia and Realtor blogs require membership, if you decide to go that route, you will need to investigate their specific directions for creating a blog there. But we will walk you through setting up a blog on WordPress or Blogger.

WORDPRESS:

WordPress is a blog and website hosting site. When you initially go there, you will need to create a free account. While they do offer paid business accounts with more features, a basic account should suit your needs for now. Next, you will see multiple templates from which you may choose your blog design. Scroll through them, and choose one that catches your eye. You will be able to customize it later. Also notice that some templates are free, while others will cost money.

After you’ve chosen your template, decide how many pages you’d like to have. In addition to the main blog page, perhaps you’d like to have an “About Us” page, or a “Contact Us” page? WordPress has a sidebar of tools you can use to set these up. At the very least, you should add your website link to your blog. You may also personalize the template by adding your logo.

To write your first post, click the pencil icon in the upper right corner of your screen. You may add text and photos to your post. Before you hit “Publish,” take time to add “tags” (in the left-hand menu under “Categories and Tags”) to your post. These are words that come from your post that search engines will use to send traffic to your site. Put a comma between each tag word. In the same left-hand menu under “More Options,” type in an excerpt, which is a summary of what your post is about. Again, this will help search engines to find it.

Finally, hit “publish” … that’s all there is to it! If you’d like to visit our WordPress blog, go to https://americanebuilder.wordpress.com/.

BLOGGER:

Like WordPress, Blogger requires you to have an account, but it is through Google. If you’ve already created a Google account, you can log in and then go to set up your blog. After signing in, click on the box that reads, “New Blog.” This will open a window with various templates you may choose for your design. After you have chosen a template, you get to pick the name of your blog. Try to use something that includes your company name in it.

Next, you will see a left-hand menu with all of your options displayed. You can write a new post, add pages, change your template, tweak the layout, and access settings. When you are ready, write your first post by clicking the pencil icon or clicking on the orange “New post” button.

As with WordPress, you can add tags to your posts, but Blogger calls them “Labels.” Look on the right-hand menu for Post settings. Labels will be directly under that. Again, separate the words with commas. When you are finished, hit the orange “Publish” button in the top right corner of your window. That’s it!

Hopefully, as you get your blog started and updated, you will notice more traffic to your website, and you will also have greater sales volume to match the increased traffic. Happy Blogging!

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