Giving cool real estate products, tools and news a Big Encore

Setting up a blog in order to help promote your business (and connect with your clients) is important. However, deciding which blog platform to use can be crucial and is one of the biggest decisions that you’ll have to make, as far as blogging is concerned. Finding a user-friendly platform is just the first step. Here are some details on the top four blog platforms, plus some pros and cons on each:

WordPress.com – This is the beginner version of WordPress. It’s easy to set up a blog on this platform — all that you need to do is create an account and name your blog. You then pick out which template you want to use and then choose your widgets. The downfall to this site is that your choice of templates is limited, since the site won’t allow you to program your own or mess with the HTML. Your blog is also hosted by WordPress, so there are limitations as far as uploaded media space is concerned, although you can purchase upgrades.

 

WordPress.org – This version of WordPress requires you buy your own domain name and hosting service. There is no limit to the number of add-ons available (the all-in-one SEO pack is a great example of this) and you can customize just about every aspect. This version is a bit pricier, since you do have to pay for hosting and server storage space, but you can use any template that you want. The main set up can be a bit confusing if you don’t go with one of WordPress’ recommended blog hosts, but once your blog is set up, the sky’s the limit.

 

Typepad – This blog host is the proverbial black sheep of the blogging world. Although it’s easy to set up your blog using Typepad, for some reason it doesn’t get the accolades it deserves.  You can set up your own domain name and customize the template of your choice, but your blog will always be hosted on Typepad’s servers. There are two different options available: a free account, with your blog name as part of your your-blog-name.typepad.com address, or you can purchase a hosting account directly through them for so much per month. With the free version, you’re limited to their templates, but with the paid hosting you get your own domain name and mapping, and you can upload and use any template that you want.

Blogger – Blogger was one of the first web log (blog) platforms. It’s integrated with Google, making it easy to submit to search engines. Basic hosting of your blog is free, and your main templates are limited, but can be customized, and you can always upload one of your choice. Also, you can purchase a domain name through them or from a different provider and set up free mapping on your blog. It’s fairly easy to set up a blog through blogger, but it is difficult to wade through the many help desk options if you end up getting stuck.

1. SocialPilot

SocialPilot Free Social Media Training Videos

Social Pilot is a great free social media marketing tool. On Social Pilot you can watch free videos on the basics of what to do online to build your Social Media campaign. You can search videos by categories like “trust building” or search by platform like “Facebook”. If you are just learning how to use Social Media, or even are an expert in it, then SocialPilot is the place for you.

It’s free and it’s a great resource.

2. HootSuite

HootSuite

Do you use Twitter? If you answer yes, then make sure you sign up for HootSuite. HootSuite is free and is a great twitter management tool. You can track keywords and @mentions easily using HootSuite. We think HootSuite is the missing link to Twitter.

3. Google Alerts

Google Alerts

Google Alerts lets you monitor the web for interesting and useful information on the web. You can even monitor what people are saying about you. This is a great tool for keeping track of your what your community is saying online and your brand image.

4. WordPress / Blogger

Blogger

We know blogging is not a new idea, but we are constantly surprised by how many Realtors have not set up a blog. If you are serious about social media and you want to see result, setting up a blog is a great first step. Using either WordPress or Blogger is completely free and very easy to set up.

5. Google Links

Google Links

Google Links is one of the coolest tricks you can do on a Google search and it is very useful to Social Media. Using Google links you can search all the websites that are linking back to your website. If there are any links you can always thank the person who added the link or link back. It’s a great tool to see who is interested in what you are doing.

Type link:www.yourdomainname.com in the Google Search bar to see any results.

5. Google Profile

Google Profile

Setting up a Google profile takes 5 minutes. It is rumored that you will be indexed #1 on Google search for your name within an hour of setting up a Google profile.

4. Blog

Wordpress and Blogger

It takes a few hours to create, but you can get started in minutes. Using either WordPress or Blogger is free and easy to set up.

3. Facebook Page

Facebook Page

It’s completely free to set up a FaceBook page. It’s amazing how many stories I have heard from Realtors where their customers have found them on Facebook. Canada is ranked #1 fro Facebook usage worldwide.

2. Real Sign

Real Sign

With RealSign you never need to print documents again. It costs $119 but when you consider the time it will save with your contracts, the price is very affordable.

1. Mobile Marketing

Street Text

Of the 5 must have’s for 2011, nothing stops the heart like StreetText. At the 2011 Western Connection in Banff their booth was a tornado of activity. Make all your listings textable. Buyers receive instant information on the property and you as the Realtor get the buyers contact information. At only $15 per/month it is a very exciting tool that every Realtor must have.