There have been many blog posts, and interesting conversations online and offline, about the real estate blog. Some say that the real estate blog is dead. Interestingly, there will be a panel discussion on the subject at the REBlogworld conference this fall.
I am inclined to agree. The real estate blog is largely dead. It had to die. Those agents who post every listing they have, and nothing else, helped kill the real estate blog.
The blog-type sites that have headlines from sites like this and others, and a lot of advertising, have been dead for years but they take almost no effort to maintain so their owners keep them going.
Many of the real estate blogs that are all about local events died before they were born. That space is increasingly occupied by local newspapers and magazines, which have taken to the Internet to survive.
The newspapers and magazines are facing stiff competition from local television stations and radio stations as the go-to places for local events. Those real estate bloggers never had a chance.
Real estate blogs that focus on local businesses mostly died out three or more years ago. Sites like Yelp and others have taken over that space. There must be 50 sites out there with local business reviews and information written by people in all occupations. I can understand why the blogs died — the competition is fierce.
The custom, professionally made real estate blogs with the must-have features didn’t make it, either. They look too commercial, and although agents are willing to fork over some big bucks for a design (that will ultimately hurt them more than help them), they are not willing to write blog posts.
In general the designs are not special. They keep using that same clip-art house image. I smile when I see it on a Minnesota blog because the architectural style is distinctly Western and there are few, if any, homes in the area that look like that one.
Some real estate blogs are written for Realtors. I don’t think those blogs will die. Realtors love to read and comment on real estate blogs, and the authors of the blogs become popular.
The bloggers get a lot of enjoyment out of writing them, and Realtors have a constant and long-term interest in real estate. Consumers are interested, but not to the degree Realtors are, or for as long.
The typical real estate blog has been dead for some time, but few are willing to make the proclamation. The Internet is littered with real estate blogs that get little traffic or that were abandoned years ago — often within three or four months of their launch.
Part of what killed them was the expert advice about content. There is no one-size-fits-all, cookie-cutter approach for a real estate blog.
Agents read a success story about a blog and try to replicate it, failing to realize that each area has its own culture, and that Realtors have their own personality and voice.
I talk to consumers who are seeking information about home prices in a particular neighborhood. They are doing research as they get ready to buy or sell.
They want to know how much their home is worth and how long it will take to sell. And sometimes they want to know if they should sell now or wait. They are looking for information they can trust, in a sea of generic information.
Buyers want to understand the homebuying process. Last spring I had a buyer who read a book on how to buy a home. He learned things that do not apply to Minnesota, and nothing about buying a home in St. Paul.
The book was written by a writer who bought one home in another state and had a rough time doing so. My buyer brought up potential pitfalls based on what he had read, and I couldn’t even make sense out of them.
Buyers and sellers are looking for a knowledgeable Realtor who they can trust. They are looking for information that isn’t being published anywhere — the kind of information and knowledge that only a local Realtor with some experience has.
They look for information on average home prices in a neighborhood, or average days on market for homes in that neighborhood, or how to get financing for a condo in a particular building.
The real estate blog is dead because most blogs did not provide much if any real estate content, or they posted information that can easily be found on a number of other sites.
The idea that a Realtor should be a local real estate market expert died in favor of the idea that a Realtor should make friends on the Internet and those friends will become clients.
At the same time, consumers are looking for information about local real estate and will often contact the first knowledgeable professional they can find.
Some blogs died because their owners spent more time building and tweaking the blog than they did generating content. It is easier to build a blog than it is to write one.
It is easier to learn the technical aspects of the blog platform than it is to find a voice and use it to write about local real estate several times a week.
I am not sure what has replaced the real estate blog, but I am sure someone will tell me soon, and they will be right there to collect money from me if I decide to learn about it or buy it. There is always the next big thing — until the newer, bigger thing comes along and replaces it.
Often the last big thing didn’t work out, but we don’t think about that when we jump to the next big thing. We just keep moving along.