Like sex, “blogs are natural, blogs are fun,” and they can also lead to enhanced real estate business, as the luminous, uncluttered and quirky Grow-a-Brain, part of Riverside, Calif.-based The Champion Company’s Web site, attests.
The Champion Company’s site, at http://www.growabrain.net/, offers visitors the choice to visit the real estate site or the blog. Hanan Levin, a Realtor and partner of the Champion Company, launched the blog in April 2003.
“I sell very specific and niche things. I specialize in apartment buildings in Southern California,” said Levin. “Recently I put up a page on my blog that was nothing but photos of apartment buildings. Three days after I put the page up, I got two calls from potential investors.”
The page is consistent with the offbeat approach of many blogs. It consists of 56 small photos of Riverside apartment buildings with no copy other than a cryptic heading, “growabrain.typepad.com > Riverside Apartment buildings.”
“They (clients) had to be smart enough to find me just from that,” said Levin. “Most people clicked and looked for a pitch and there isn’t one there.” However, at least three potential investors were able to track down Levin from the page, he said. “They told me they found me on the Internet,” Levin said.
Though he’s pleased to have made these connections through Grow-a-Brain, most bloggers shouldn’t expect to get such immediate results from their offerings, Levin cautioned. The idea is more to draw traffic and distinguish the company by its blog offerings, he said.
“I get about 5,000 visitors to the blog a day and as many as 11,000 when a popular blog links to me,” Levin claimed. “I started it to help with the real estate business and it took on a life of its own.”
The Champion Company home page is divided in half, with one side linking to the company site and the other to the blog. A woman named “Taz,” a Web site designer based in Greece, designed the site.
“Just as some agents distinguish themselves as ‘the lady with the hat’ or ‘the agent with the funny car,’ a blog can help you stand out,” Levin said. “You need to provide something unique or worthwhile.”
The Grow-a-Brain blog offers mortgage and loan calculators along with a wealth of other information and links on a wide-ranging list of subjects. According to Levin, the section on insects is the most popular. But it isn’t necessary to go to that much trouble in order to have a successful blog, Levin said.
“People don’t have to go as broad as I do. They can just find three, four or five Web sites that are applicable to their interests and pull two or three links from there or a bit of commentary,” he said.
Most real estate blogs focus on the industry, and Levin thinks that’s as it should be.
“It’s so easy to publish today. People who want to be creative can make an impact,” Levin said.
In addition to real estate, some of Grow-a-Brain’s categories include celebrities, books and literature, cars, cinema, digital art, comedians, blog of the day, do something with your life, extreme sports, photography, politics, radio and things to do before you die.
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