5 Steps to start an appraisal blog

Grow your business with an appraisal blog

starting an appraisal blog As a follow-up to my recent post on the 6 reasons real estate appraisers should have a blog I thought I would discuss what steps you can take to actually get started. If you read the post and liked the idea of becoming more independent of lender and AMC work then starting an appraisal blog is your next step.

As I stated in that post, having an appraisal blog can help to show potential clients your expertise as an appraiser. When people are looking for someone to help them price their home for sale or settle an estate they will most likely do a search on Google.

Having a blog that gets indexed well by Google will help them find you. By providing useful information like market updates or changes in appraisal requirements on a constant basis your name will rise to the top of search results because of the helpful nature of your posts.

So you may be asking yourself “what do I need to do to get started?” It’s not as difficult as you might think. There are numerous resources online to help guide you through the process. Today I thought I would give you the basic steps to get started. This is not meant to be an in-depth tutorial but rather a general outline of what needs to be done. Other online tutorials will help guide you through the process in more detail.

Steps to take when starting an appraisal blog

1) Choose your blogging platform- There are numerous blogging platforms you can use. Some that you may have heard of include Wordpress (the one I use), Blogger, Squarespace, Wix, and Weebly among others. The most popular blogging platform is WordPress due to its flexibility and the support available.

Within WordPress, you have two options available. The first is WordPress.org which is considered a self-hosted platform, which means that you obtain the hosting for it yourself by using companies like Godaddy.

This option allows you more choices to build the blog on your own and it gives you complete control of the process. You have access to endless plugins, which are like mini-apps for your blog that allow you to add tons of features.

There is a slight learning curve to use WordPress but it is very user-friendly. Once you learn how to do it, it will become second nature. Another benefit of WordPress is that it is search engine friendly, which will help Google find your blog. It also allows you to have your own custom domain name.

The second WordPress option is WordPress.com. While this is still WordPress it is not as good of an option as WordPress.org because when you use this one you don’t have as many choices.

With this option, you don’t truly own your blog because it is hosted on their server. WordPress can suspend your account if you violate their terms of service. I only include this version to make you aware of it and to show you how it differs from WordPress.org. Wordpess.org is the best choice because it is powerful, easy to use, affordable, and the most flexible of all the blogging platforms.

WordPress.org is free software but it will require you to purchase a domain name and choose a hosting provider.

2) Pick your blog name and choose your host- I personally use Godaddy to host my blog and you can also purchase your domain name from them too. I personally think it is best to try and get a .com name compared to .info or .org because these are more easily recognized and remembered.

godaddy You can find a lot of articles online about how to choose the best name. You should try to pick a name that is going to do well with search engine optimization. My blog name, Birmingham Appraisal Blog, describes what I do as well as where I do it. You’ll need to make sure that you don’t choose a name that is being used by another company. Domain names ending in .com can be purchased for about $10-$15, and the yearly renewal fee is about the same.

When choosing a hosting company you will want to look into how reliable they are, taking into consideration how good their tech support department is as well as how dependable they are with their uptime. You don’t want a hosting company that is always going down because you could lose readers and customers if they go to your website and it’s consistently down for some reason.

I have used Godaddy to host my blog since beginning in 2010 and have not had a problem. They have always been reasonably priced and the tech support department always responds promptly and helped me to solve any problems or questions I had. Click this link to get a special deal on GoDaddy hosting.

3) Set up the blog- Like I said, I use Godaddy and have never had a problem with them. They will help you get WordPress set up and installed. After you purchase a hosting plan with them they will install WordPress for you. After you have WordPress installed you will be ready to design your blog.

4) Design your blog- After you have WordPress installed you can start designing your blog. As I said previously this post is not meant to give a detailed explanation of how to do this but you should be able to find a lot of different tutorials online explaining in detail how to do this.

After WordPress is installed you should be able to type in your WordPress login URL and then log into the dashboard. If you use StudioPress like I do, they will provide you with a tutorial on how to set up the theme you choose.

You will want to get familiar with the dashboard since this is the control center of your blog. After you are familiar with the dashboard you need to install a theme. The theme will have options to help you design how your blog will look to your visitors.

If you are just starting out you may want to play around with a free theme as there are tons to choose from, however many are limited in features. If on the other hand, you want to dive right in and purchase a better theme with more features, you can definitely find one to meet your needs.

After researching all the different companies available I decided to go with the StudioPress Themes using the Genesis Framework. They have themes to meet any need you have and they are fully customizable.

Something you may want to be aware of that StudioPress now offers are the new StudioPress Sites which is a fully hosted, all-in-one Wordpress website builder with little to no maintenance on your part. They will even update the theme and plugins when they become available.

5) Start creating content- By now you should have a domain name, hosting, have installed WordPress and have your theme installed. The last step to take is to create content. Content creation is the last step you’ll take to officially become a blogger.

This phase of the process is the one that you will continue to be in as long as you are a blogger. The more helpful content you create the more easily the search engines will find you.

You will need to decide how often you want to post, whether that is daily, weekly, or monthly. Make sure you choose the frequency based on what you can be consistent with.

It is better to start with something you can keep up with and then increase your frequency when you have more time rather than the other way around. If you start blogging daily for a week or two and then post only sporadically it will no be as effective.

Just the basics

What I’ve shared here is meant to be a brief introduction to help you get started blogging. If you want to dig in deeper you can Google what you are wanting to learn and you should be able to find more than enough instruction and videos to help you out.

Question

Do you have any other questions about starting an appraisal blog? Leave me a comment below and let’s keep the conversation going. As always, thanks for reading.

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If you decide to make a purchase through my links to GoDaddy or StudioPress, they will pay me a commission for it. This doesn’t cost you anything additional and these commissions help to offset the cost of maintaining my blog, so thank you!

Comments

  1. I’m starting to pick up on your hints. I need to blog 😉

  2. Blogging is such a powerful tool to connect with people. Keep up the great work Tom. I find one of the things that helps me is to write once a week only. For any beginners I might recommend once a month and then figure out a rhythm over time that makes sense for business, clients, etc… I always recommend for people to look in their sent email folder too for questions they’ve already been answering. Sometimes those basic questions can turn into great blog posts. Then again, if nobody is asking you questions, it’s probably a sign you need to get in front of others more often.

    • Thanks, Ryan. I agree, you really need to find the writing frequency that works for you and that helps out your readers the most. I like what you said about nobody asking you questions. It makes sense that you should get in front of more people. The blog and any social media should just be the beginning and should be taken offline so that personal relationships can be made.

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