This is a great visual reminder of the components of a WordPress Blog Theme.
One of the best tools out there for agents who want to do quick blog posts is Windows Live Writer. Now, I’m very much a Mac user, but I’ll admit that I haven’t found a Mac tool quite as good for desktop blogging as WLW. You can download it for free from Microsoft.com.
Here’s a brief tutorial of the publishing tool:
For awhile I’ve been planning on doing a series on WordPress blogs for Real Estate Agents. I’ve setup many of these over the past few years and hopefully I can keep you from making some of the same mistakes that I have!
For most Agents, I think you should start off on WordPress.com for about three to four months of active blogging. You can export all the posts, comments and users if you decide that Blogging is for you and you like using WordPress. It’s a good primer. You can register your desired web address and forward it to the WordPress.com site so that you start promoting your brand early.
Here’s a video tutorial I did awhile back for WordPress.com
Don’t worry about getting tons of comments or following in the first few months, it often takes some time. However, be sure to promote your posts on Facebook and where ever else you can think of.
What’s the Difference?
I sat down to start this series on using WordPress for your Real Estate Blog and decided that talking about the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org was a good place to start.
No surprise… lots of other people have already done it! So, instead of reinventing the post, I am going to cite from the the WordPress site:
The distinction between WordPress.com and WordPress.org can cause some confusion for people. Let’s clear it up. WordPress.com is brought to you by some of the same folks who work on WordPress, the Open Source blogging software. WordPress.com utilizes the same WordPress software which you can download at WordPress.org. With WordPress.com the hosting and managing of the software is taken care of by the team here at Automattic. With WordPress.org you need to install the software on your own server or with a 3rd party provider.
* It’s free and much easier to setup
* Everything is taken care of: setup, upgrades, spam, backups, security, etc
* Your blog is on hundreds of servers, so it’s highly unlikely it will go down due to traffic
* Your posts are backed up automatically
* You get extra traffic from blogs of the day and tags
* You can find like-minded bloggers using tag and friend surfer
* Your login is secure (SSL) so no one can get into your account if you use wifi
* We provide 100+ themes (and adding more every day) which you can modify and edit the CSS, but you cannot run a custom theme*
* You can’t hack the PHP code behind your blog*
* You can’t upload plugins
* The VIP program on WordPress.com for high-traffic and high-profile sites allows you to run custom themes, custom PHP code, ad code, and WordPress plugins.
* Ability to upload themes
* Ability to upload plugins
* Great community
* Complete control to change code if you’re technically minded
* You need a good web host, which generally costs $7-12 a month, or thousands of dollars per month for a high traffic site
* Requires more technical knowledge to set up and run
* You’re responsible for stopping spam
* You have to handle backups
* You must upgrade the software manually when a new version comes out
* If you get a huge spike in traffic (like Digg or Slashdot) your site will probably go down unless you have a robust hosting setup
WordPress.org is free blogging software. With WordPress.org, you can install themes and plugins, run advertisements, edit the database and even modify the PHP source code. WordPress.org is the home of this software. Anyone can download the software for free but it must be installed on a web server before it will work. Web servers are generally not free. Hosting your own WordPress software can be fun and rewarding; it also places full responsibility on the blogger. If you mismanage your web server, you can lose your entire blog.
For no charge, WordPress.org provides downloadable blog software, community mailing lists, community support forums, documentation, and free themes and plugins.
For no charge, WordPress.com provides web hosting, unlimited database storage with redundancy and backups, automatic software upgrades, community support forums, multi-lingual administration and themes, real-time traffic stats, comment tracking, blog and post rankings and other features not available anywhere else. These features will always be free for blogs started on WordPress.com; if you ever find yourself being charged for these at WordPress.com, pinch yourself and wake up!
WordPress.com is a commercial enterprise owned by Automattic, a company started by the founding developer of WordPress and staffed by full-time developers, designers and support agents. It runs a multi-site version of WordPress. WordPress is also free, Open Source software. Developments sponsored by Automattic are regularly contributed back into WordPress.org so the community can benefit.
WordPress.com offers paid upgrades as a way to provide premium features without forcing bloggers to host their blogs elsewhere. These upgrades are optional. Basic blogs will always be free on WordPress.com and the basic services will continue to be upgraded with better features.
How Do I Setup Self Hosted?
Installing WordPress.org on GoDaddy is really easy. I know that there are better hosting accounts, but I think for most Realtors this is probably the best option, with the most support.
I upgraded to WordPress 3.0 yesterday and it’s pretty cool. The upgrade with Thesis was seamless and super simply. My favorite new feature is the ability to update all plugins with one click.
While looking at my visitor information on Google Analytics, I realized that the number of visitors was way up, but in contrast to Feedburner numbers it didn’t appear that the number of subscribers was increasing at the same rate.
What I realized is that visitors were still subscribing, but were not necessarily using the RSS Subscription which redirects to the Feedburner source.
On many browsers, including Firefox allow you to click the RSS subscription icon in the toolbar to subscribe. I’ve found that occasionally that subscription was going the inherent RSS feed of my WordPress blog, but not always to Feedburner.
I found a WordPress Plugin, called FD Feedburner Plugin, that simply redirects the inherent WP RSS feed to your Feedburner account. It’s very simply to install and configure.
The end result was waking up this morning to seeing a 41% in my overall subscribers when I checked my Feedburner account!