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Blogging can be a tremendous long-term marketing strategy for real estate agents since over 90% of home buyers and sellers start their home search online.
Below are a few of my favourite blogging tools that I use in my business and you can use when starting your real estate website.
Blogging is not a fast strategy, and it is time-consuming, but when done right, you’ll begin to see the rewards for all your hard work! It’s a long-term strategy but I continue to receive leads from potential home buyers and sellers.
Self-hosted WordPress: If you want to start a blog as part of your real estate business, I recommend using a self-hosted WordPress site (www.wordpress.org) instead of (www.wordpress.com).
Don’t worry about the .org since it’s not your actual domain name, and you can still have a .ca or .com website. I use WordPress for the blog portion of my real estate website.
There are a ton of different platforms like Squarespace, and Wix, but I would recommend starting on a self-hosted WordPress because then you own your site.
With self-hosted WordPress, you have more flexibility with your site design, the potential for monetization, and overall more control of your website’s features. It also looks more professional!
WordPress Theme: The theme you select determines what your website is going to look like. In today’s online world, it’s essential to have a website that looks professional.
Themes don’t have to be expensive, and when you’re just starting there’s no need to spend thousands of dollars on a custom website.
There are amazing themes that you can search for and download on Etsy. Or, another favourite site with great WordPress themes is 17th Avenue Designs. They even have an option to set up the theme for you in WordPress, or they’ll give you exact instructions on how to set up your theme on your own.
Hosting: You’ll need a host for your WordPress blog. Your host is like your home for your website. Included in the Showit subscription is the host WP Engine (pricing and services adjust based on how many visitors per month you get to your website).
But, if you’re looking for another option, then a popular managed hosting company is Bigscoots. When you’re just getting started it’s good to start on the basic plan. Then, you can always upgrade your hosting as you grow your website and it continues to get more traffic!
Showit: Showit is a drag-and-drop website platform where you can create a custom website without learning any code. Your Showit subscription includes hosting for both your site and blog. I created this website using Showit!
It can be a bit intimidating to understand at first, but once you get the hang of it, Showit is easy to use and gives you so much creative freedom without having to spend a lot of money on a custom website.
Plus, their customer service is amazing, and when you have questions, they always have someone that gets back to you right away! I probably message them once a day.
Tonic Site Shop: Tonic is where I bought the theme that I use for my WordPress site. Tonic’s themes are beautiful, functional, and powered with SEO in mind.
Depending on your brand style, there are so many templates to choose from. Tonic Site Shop themes work exclusively with Showit and WordPress.
Grammarly: Grammarly is a second set of eyes for your emails, blog posts, and marketing materials. You can confidently hit publish knowing that what you’ve written is free of spelling or punctuation errors. Grammarly quickly edits all your writing and provides helpful suggestions to make your writing clearer to your audience.
You can add Grammarly as a browser extension so that it shows up automatically, or you can copy and paste your writing into a Grammarly document to edit and make changes. I always check every blog post in Grammarly before I hit publish!
Google Analytics: It’s a good idea to install google analytics when you first start your website so that you can track your top pages, see how many visitors go to your site, and how they’re finding you (organic search, social, or direct search).
From there, you can adjust your posting and marketing strategy based on what is and isn’t working!
Rank IQ: Brandon Gaille from the Blogging Millionaire Podcast released Rank IQ in the spring of 2021. It’s an AI-powered blogging tool to help you write optimized content that will rank on the first page of Google.
SEO is so important for your blog posts to be found online, so I go into more detail about the power of Rank IQ further down in this blog post! I’m a huge believer in learning from other successful bloggers and their strategies to see how they get traffic to their websites.
It saves so much time instead of wasting months on Google trying to figure things out by myself or wondering if the keyword I chose will rank.
All the keywords in Rank IQ’s keyword library are hand-picked by Brandon and it shows you the keyword difficulty score, visits per year (traffic), and time to rank for the selected keyword.
Pinterest: Why is Pinterest helpful for real estate agents? Pinterest is a search engine, and real estate is very visual, so Pinterest is an ideal platform for real estate agents looking to bring social traffic to their websites.
Pinterest will by far get traffic to your website the fastest. The catch is, that you have to be pinning to see those results constantly. Whereas SEO is more long-term but once you’ve ranked in the number one spot on Google, your post can remain at the top for years.
Unlike other social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook, active Pinterest users are looking for information and will leave Pinterest to click on a new site to find it. Similar to SEO, Pinterest users type keywords into the search bar to find exactly what they’re looking for.
As a real estate agent, you can target those keywords on your Pinterest pins to bring new clients to your website!
Pinterest acts as a referral traffic source since a pin you published a year ago can still bring traffic to your website today. When first starting my blog, I knew nothing about Pinterest. I maybe went on it once a year.
But, after joining By Sophia Lee’s Perfecting Pinterest course, I understand the value of how Pinterest can bring so much traffic faster than only relying on SEO.
Her course goes into so much detail and I love that she has videos for each module. She always updates the course as soon as she changes her Pinterest strategy which is so helpful.
She gets over 600,000 visitors to her website each month from Pinterest and shows you her exact strategy. The course is amazing but as with anything you actually have to do the work and stay consistent with your own Pinterest schedule to get results.
It’s important to diversify your traffic sources, and I’m a huge believer in taking courses from other successful bloggers. It saves so much time learning and implementing their strategies instead of spending months piecing together Pinterest strategies from Google.
Tailwind: Tailwind is a time-saving tool you’ll need to execute your Pinterest strategy. Tailwind shows you the best time to schedule your pins so that they will get the most views. Plus, you can set your Tailwind schedule for weeks in advance and automatically post up to 100 pins a month.
Pinterest heavily favours consistency, and Tailwind helps you achieve that without having to spend hours manually pinning multiple times a day. Pinterest just released its own Pinterest scheduler so I’ll be refreshing By Sophia Lee’s Perfecting Pinterest course to see her strategies and how to use the Pinterest scheduler.
Canva: I use Canva for creating all of my Pinterest pins, buyer and seller guides, checklists, and mailouts. Canva has super easy-to-use templates and so many design options. I love how you can easily convert files into a .jpg, .png or .pdf!
Jilly Presets: I use Jillian Harris’ presets and the Lightroom app to edit photos on my phone. Real estate is so visual, so it’s great to have a tool on your phone where you can quickly edit pictures.
Social Squares: Social squares is your monthly membership to insta-worthy stock photos! I use photos from Social Squares throughout my website and for Pinterest pins.
There is no limit to how many images you can download, and the team at Social Squares is always coming out with new photo content. The photos are beautiful, and there are so many options to find one that perfectly fits your post, message, or pin!
Flodesk: Flodesk is an email marketing software solution for small business owners looking to grow their email list! Flodesk is a tool where you can create beautiful emails and email marketing campaigns.
For example, you can easily embed a piece of code into your blog posts or homepage to capture visitors’ email addresses. Email marketing is a highly effective digital marketing strategy for sending emails to prospects and customers. I go into a lot of detail about the benefits of Flodesk below, so keep reading!
Flodesk is the perfect email marketing software for creative entrepreneurs, small business owners, and large businesses. You can easily edit Flodesk’s email templates with your brand colours and custom fonts, and it only takes a few minutes to set up!
As a result, Flodesk allows you to quickly and consistently communicate to your ideal clients as often or as little as you’d like with just a few clicks. In addition, the simple interface allows you to save time and create gorgeous emails that will impress your new subscribers.
Unlike Mailchimp and Convertkit, Flodesk does not increase in price based on the number of subscribers on your email list, which is why it’s the perfect email marketing tool for content creators, small businesses, or big brands!
One of my favourite features is the ability to separate your customers into different segments so that you can stay on top of your marketing strategy and write content tailored to each specific segment. For instance, a few of my customer segments include buyers, sellers, and first-time home buyers.
The best part is that the investment is a monthly flat rate (it doesn’t go up in price!), and you get instant access to unlimited emails, email statistics like open rates, Flodesk’s templates, superior customer service, and an intuitive email builder.
Want to grow your email marketing strategy? You can lock in today for 50% off for the first year of your Flodesk subscription.
In addition, Flodesk allows you to invest your time in growing your email subscribers without worrying about being penalized as your subscribers grow.
So whether you’re just starting with a few family and friends or you’re looking to build an email marketing empire, you pay the same monthly price with Flodesk. One monthly fee and unlimited subscribers!
Flodesk has a variety of ready-made templates available to use. They are stunning and perfect for busy entrepreneurs who don’t have time (or want to) to learn how to code. Just fill in the text boxes, drag and drop your brand photos, and customize the fonts to match your brand’s unique look and feel.
You can also quickly preview how your emails will look on mobile and desktop so that your email displays seamlessly across all devices.
To get you started, Flodesk has a library of gorgeous templates to help you welcome, nurture, and convert your subscribers into clients!
You can create custom sequences that start with a welcome email, tailored subject lines, time delay and if/when sequences that automate your entire process.
Easily add your Instagram feed to your emails which automatically updates as you post new social media content on your Instagram. Easily integrate your Instagram account into outgoing emails to showcase your most recent posts.
If you don’t have a website or blog set up yet (that’s ok!), you can easily add the Flodesk landing page to your social media accounts where buyers and sellers can get to know you and subscribe to your list.
One of the most powerful capabilities of Flodesk is how user-friendly it is to view the statistics from your email marketing strategy. From these statistics, you’re able to adjust your welcome sequence, lead magnet or email marketing strategy to target your potential clients better.
Flodesk is an excellent option if you’re looking to grow your mailing list and reach customers who will be excited to get your emails!
SEO stands for search engine optimization, and it is important to learn if you ever want anyone to find your content online! However, understanding SEO has honestly been a huge learning curve, and there is still so much I don’t know.
But, what I do know is that I have posts ranking in the top spot on Google because of the Blogging Millionaire podcast and Rank IQ.
Getting ranked on the first page of Google does not happen overnight (it usually takes at least three to six months for a blog post to even rank on Google), but organic search is the best way to get consistent and growing traffic to your website over time. And with Rank IQ some of my posts rank on the first page of Google in just weeks.
I luckily stumbled upon Brandon Gaille’s Blogging Millionaire podcast only about a month after starting my real estate blog. It’s so much easier to learn from successful bloggers and their strategies instead of spending months and months learning on your own.
At first, I found Brandon’s podcast a little boring compared to the entertainment-style podcasts I listened to. BUT, I’m so grateful that I gave it another chance, and now I’ve listened to every episode and some multiple times!
I would not know anything about SEO if it wasn’t for his podcast and course, which ultimately led me to Rank IQ. Since starting my blog, 87.2% of my traffic comes from organic Google searches. Most websites don’t get any Google search traffic so I know what he teaches really works.
His podcast episodes are short and to the point, most of them only around 10-15 minutes long. However, the Blogging Millionaire podcast is still full of actionable information. I would highly recommend anyone starting a blog listen to as many episodes as possible before setting up your website.
It will save you so much time and money starting on the right foot without having to go back and make many adjustments or wasting time on strategies that aren’t getting you results.
I’ve implemented a lot of what I’ve learned through Brandon’s podcast, and once I felt like I was ready to take the next SEO step, I invested in his SEO course, The Blog Millionaire.
His course is all about finding the right keywords so that your posts rank on the first page of Google. A keyword is an exact phrase that someone types into Google or Pinterest.
Like anything, it was super challenging in the beginning, learning new terms and software (I use Ahrefs for most of my keyword research), but you slowly start to feel more confident searching for keywords, and the process can be fun!
While I did learn a lot in Brandon’s course that helped me so much during the first year of my blog, early in 2021, he released Rank IQ, and it has honestly been the most helpful tool in getting my posts to rank on the first page of Google.
I’ve now gone back to posts that I first published and optimized them using Rank IQ.
I don’t know if it’s because I know now how hard it is to search through hundreds (or thousands!) of keywords to find one that you think you have a chance to rank for, that I appreciate how simplified, powerful, and easy to use Rank IQ is when writing blog posts.
In Rank IQ’s keyword library, Brandon has hand-picked low competition, high traffic keyword phrases for over 200 niches. With these powerful, ready-to-use keywords, you have a better chance to rank on the first page of Google.
He has included the annual search volume, keyword difficulty, and time to rank for each keyword.
Keyword difficulty in Rank IQ is known as competition, and it shows how hard it is to rank on Google when using that specific keyword. The competition is a score from 0 to 100 with a competition of 0 being the easiest and 100 being the hardest.
From these keywords, you can pick the ones that fit your niche and your marketing strategy.
RankIQ is the SEO tool that saves me hours on keyword research.
Another important factor for how well your posts rank on Google is LSI’s (Latent Semantic Indexing). Why do LSI’s matter for SEO? These are words that are closely related to your primary keyword and blog post topic.
Your LSI’s let Google know what your post topic is all about. And writing a comprehensive blog post where you cover the topic better than anyone else will help you rank higher on Google.
As a result, Google will rank a more comprehensive post higher than a post that doesn’t cover a topic in as much detail. For instance, say you were trying to rank for the keyword “chicken soup.” You should include a few LSI’s such as cooked chicken, fresh herbs, lemon juice, and a large pot.
The LSI’s are listed under “Topics to Include” in the Rank IQ content optimizer so that they’re always visible when you’re writing or editing your blog post.
With Rank IQ, you can copy and paste your blog post into the content optimizer, and it will give you a letter grade and recommended word count to help you rank on the first page of Google. While I did learn a lot from Brandon’s course, I would recommend listening to his podcast first and then investing in Rank IQ.
The most significant advantage of his course is having access to his Facebook group, but now you can also get access to his Facebook Group when you sign up for Rank IQ.
Being part of the Blogging Millionaire and Rank IQ Facebook group has by far been the most helpful because I can ask questions directly to Brandon. He usually responds in less than 24 hours and his feedback is always great!
Another advantage of the Facebook Group is that you can learn from other bloggers who are trying to grow their websites and discuss their SEO strategies.
Google loves fresh content, and since Rank IQ reduces the amount of time spent on keyword research, you can spend that time writing your blog posts and know with more certainty that your blog posts will rank on Google (instead of spending hours on keyword research hoping that you’ve picked the right one).
And the more you write, the better chance you have to rank for long-tail keywords as well. Also, average time on a page is a high indicator of page rank, so if you’re readers come to your site and there isn’t any new content, they will likely exit out (known as a bounce rate).
A high bounce rate isn’t great for SEO because it tells Google that users didn’t find what they’re searching for on your site.
The primary goal of Google is to bring your attention to exactly what you’re searching for and show you the most comprehensive content on that topic. Rank IQ is the solution.
I think it’s important to focus on one traffic source until you feel confident with your strategy. The learning curve is steep in blogging, so it’s best to simplify and focus on one task at a time.
Easier said than done as I usually have ten browser tabs open, but it’s essential, and SEO Is one of the traffic sources I focused on almost exclusively during my first year of blogging.
Blogging can be a great addition to your real estate marketing strategy. These are the blogging tools I wish I knew about when I first started my real estate blog. With the right mindset, tools, and strategies, your website traffic will skyrocket!
*Disclaimer: The topics of discussion, content and resources on this website are general information that may not be the right solution or advice for you specifically. Not intended to solicit buyers or sellers currently under contract with a brokerage.
*Stock images from Social Squares
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November 3, 2021