I started my business blog six years ago last October, but more importantly I kept at it and am fast approaching 2,500 posts. From the very start, my approach to blogging has been different.

When I started the St. Paul Real Estate blog, I had to explain what a blog is.

My idea of blogging for business was not yet embraced by the real estate industry when I began, but it has proven to be an inexpensive and effective way to reach consumers who may already be searching the Internet looking for real estate and real estate agents.

There were experts who told me that the scope of my blog was too narrow because it is a local blog for consumers and not a national blog for the real estate industry.

While some of the popular real estate blogs and websites are written for real estate professionals, my target market is much smaller and closer to home.

The people who read my blog are neighbors, friends, members of the local media, and community leaders. My competitors read it, too, and occasionally swipe content from it.

Here are some of the lessons I have learned after six years of blogging:

1. The most valuable feedback on my blog comes from my readers, and I must always stay focused on who they are and why I write.

2. Part of what makes my blog work is the noncommercial look and feel.

3. People love photographs of real estate and local landmarks, and writing a post without including a picture is unthinkable. Using clip art is worse.

4. Blog traffic is somewhat seasonal just like real estate sales.

5. There is always something new to learn about blogging, and most of it has little to do with technology and more to do with producing content that attracts visitors.

6. There are no instant results from blogging. It isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme.

7. Blogs don’t sell real estate or make us better salespeople.

8. Blogging is a great way to meet people, and I never know who I will meet.

9. We do not have to meet everyone who we do business with face to face to have a successful transaction.

10. Great content gets more traffic than poor content.

11. Writing about the local real estate market helps us become experts on the local market.

12. Traffic to the blog doesn’t always translate into business, but without traffic there is no business.

13. Blogging is not for everyone. It is hard work and not worth the effort for those who don’t love doing it.

14. Just because we can design our own blogs and host them doesn’t mean we should.

15. How we handle comments on our blogs often tells our readers more about who we are than the blog posts do, and they need to be handled with care.

16. The best ideas for blog posts come from listening to clients, neighbors and friends.

17. There is a place for humor and fun in business.

18. There are no shortcuts and there is no way to fake authenticity.

19. There is so much more that I could do with my blogs — I am only scratching the surface.

20. Comments on blog posts are nice, but business from them is even better.

If you want to start your own real estate blog, chances are there is little if any competition in your area. It is an inexpensive way to market, but it takes time and patience and a plan.

The world had changed in the last six years, but the demand for content remains high. More than ever, homebuyers and sellers go to the Internet to look for information about real estate.

They may be using a mobile device instead of a computer, but they are still looking for information that can best be provided by a local expert.

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