Real Estate BarCamp D.C. (#rebcdc) took place on Tuesday and it really was an all-star cast. At one point I sat in a session with Daniel Rothamel and three other AgentGenius.com writers (darn, I should have called TMZ)… so the celebrity sizzle was there. Did you miss it?
Seriously, BarCamp was filled with a solid group of people teaching and discussing their passion for the Internet and social media tools. The group shared relevant ideas and concepts, plus engaged in fun social interaction and sometimes outright laughter. Some of my best discussions came between the intense sessions and made me look, yet again, at the work I have done so far on my blog. I personally enjoy having face to face meet-ups because they give me a chance to learn from others, share my experiences, and discuss what people are doing to make their blogs relevant to their intended community.
Real estate agents need to sharpen their focus…
Having a sharp focus is essential in attracting readership and getting recognized by search engines. It seems almost like a game to rank on the first page on Google for a particular term, but since I get calls every week from venders who ask if I want to be on page one for a specific keyword term, I understand that it is no game. The top tier is essential, but if you disappoint a reader then you might as well be on page six.
Getting there, wherever your there may be, requires you to write posts (articles) that relate to the theme or general gist of your blog. Have a purpose when you write! Keep in mind that the people at Google and Bing are fairly smart, so writing a post that says “Annapolis, Maryland luxury homes” in every sentence will send up a flag that you are on the level of a spammer. If you write, then robots will find you.
The first quick adjustment that I made after RE BarCamp DC was hiding my unruly Tag Cloud. Tag clouds were “the rage” way back in January. Between session I spoke with Bobby from Dakno Marketing and MrWilliamsburg (not wearing colonial garb) , and concluded that the tag cloud was taking up valuable real estate on my page and made little sense to “first-time”, unique visitors. Plus, I actually never look at tag clouds on other sites. Do you?
The second action was to gain control of my Blogroll. Over the past year I have added a number of sites to the list, actually too many. Again in a between-session conversation with Ken Montville, it became obvious to me that the Blogroll did not make any sense to my target audience especially those looking at the site for the first time. For example, readers may have assumed that Bill Lublin (who I am talking with in the photo above) worked in my office, and then clicked on his name to see his blog in Philly. Bill’s okay but I want them to stick with me!
A key take-away was to look at the site through a reader’s eyes, be clear and avoid creating confusion.
In another discussion, we talked about a “call-to-action button” so readers can contact you immediately. On my site, they needed to look for that in my pages. My blog uses WordPress and I found a plug-in or widget so I could add an easy to spot button on the right side column, and I plan on refining this feature (ideas anyone?). Again, adding an easy to spot Contact Me button and giving it the headline Have a question? makes for much easier navigation. Again, less confusion.
I almost felt like this gathering was a bit under the radar since we have 25,000+ agents within a two hour drive who could have attended and there were maybe 125 (and not all real estate agents… see photos). Some of those agents are pretty Internet savvy too and would have added to the discussions on hype-local blogging, SEO, using video, short sales, understanding social capital, technology, Inman and things that have been profitable additions to your blog.
To check out the next RE Barcamp, take a look at the schedule.