What I’ve Learned in My First Year of Blogging

Tom Horn Real Estate Appraisal BlogTechnically speaking it has been about 18 months since I started blogging but “My First Year” sounded better so that’s what I went with.  If there was one phrase that summarized my experience during this time it would be “slow and steady wins the race”.  It has been a time of learning new things, meeting new people, and radically changing the way I do business.

I first read about blogging, as it relates to real estate appraisal, in the magazine “Working RE”.  The article was titled “Using Blogs to Grow Your Business”.  It was written by Baton Rouge Real Estate Appraiser Bill Cobb and described what he has done to expand the marketing for his business.  He also mentioned Sacramento appraiser Ryan Lundquist, who has become very successful at using social media to get the word out about his business.  These two bloggers as well as others have helped me to get started blogging about my own appraisal business and the real estate market in the Birmingham, Alabama area.  To further my knowledge I have read books such as “Trust Agents” by Chris Brogan and “Pro Blogger” by Darren Rowse.  I have learned a lot but I still have a long way to go.  I wanted to share with you some of the things I have learned in this first “year” of blogging.

The first thing I have learned is that while you may be able to learn and do this stuff by yourself, why would you?  The community of bloggers are very friendly and eager to help each other out.  There are lots of resources online to help you learn in’s and out’s of blogging.  There are usually local groups in your city that get together occasionally to discuss blogging and they are usually very eager to help out beginners.  Many areas have “Wordcamps” each year to help those using this platform.  I attended one in Birmingham last year and blogged about it here.

I also learned that consistency in blogging is very important.  My goal is to blog 2-3 times per week, however this is not always possible, especially if business picks up and I get busy.  I resume blogging as soon as possible because the experts say that the more often you blog the more search engines index your website, and this helps people find you on the internet.  By providing relevant content on a consistent basis your website and name will be getting in front of more people.

Most people do not want to begin blogging until everything is perfect.  Perfection is not a requirement for blogging but being yourself is.  Being able to come up with something that you believe your readers will find interesting and then writing a blog post about it is more important than perfect grammar and an expensive professionally built website.  WordPress makes it possible for you to set up a blog and begin writing immediately.  You can tweak your blog as you go.

Patience is the last thing I wanted to cover here.  Blogging will not give you overnight success.  You will need to be persistent and methodical so that over time your content will be picked up by search engines and consumed by people interested in your topic.  I am just beginning to see regular responses to my blog.  I regularly receive emails and phone calls from readers who either need a question answered or want to order an appraisal.  The fruits of my efforts are beginning to pay off but I will need to keep up the hard work so I continue to see results.

I have only scratched the surface of what I have learned since beginning to blog.  Maybe I will continue this discussion in the near future.  If you have not yet started your blog because you are scared or just don’t know where to start don’t give up.  There is a community of bloggers out there eager to help you and maybe in about twelve months or so YOU will be bogging about everything you have learned.

If you have any real estate appraisal related questions you can call me at 205.243.9304, email me, or connect with me on facebook.




  1. Hi Tom,

    I’m glad you shared this. I think Bill encouraged me to start blogging in earnest as well, and I LOVE Ryan’s Sacramento blog – such a wealth of knowledge and ideas.

    You are right in that new bloggers just need to START. Start writing. Start learning. Each article will get a little easier, and a writing style will develop. Patience is essential because success from blogging will only come over time, over a LONG time, and only with consistent activity and fresh content.

    I do think it is worth it, too. Blogging has led me to the best on-line community I could have hoped for.

    Keep up the good work!


    • Allison, I think Bill and Ryan have probably encouraged many of us. Being able to follow fellow appraisers blog’s has provided motivation for me. Looking at their blogging ideas has helped me in coming up with different posts as well. Your blog is one I follow as well and I espcially enjoy looking at your photography. You keep up the good work too!!

  2. Great post Tom! Thank you for sharing the lessons you’ve learned. I have really enjoyed following appraisal blogs like yours and sharing them with the American Society of Appraisers’ network. As a communication professional, I know the benefits of blogging and hope to encourage and help more appraisal professionals use these tools to their advantage. But it’s actual appraisers like yourself that can really speak to the benefits and provide tips and lessons to help others. I am glad you decided to join the blogging community and thank you for taking the time to share your expertise and add real value to the appraisal profession!

    • Thanks alot for the kind words Rachael. I hope I am able to provide some kind of benefit to others they way Bill and Ryan have done for me. I don’t think blogging is something appraisers thought they would need to do, but as the profession changes I believe it to be a significant method of marketing. Thanks for sharing my blog with your network.

  3. Michael S. Bolton says

    Hey Tom,
    Great post! We are in the same boat; Bill Cobbs article RE also inspired me to start blogging. What Ryan Lundquist has accomplished, and his gracious advice along my journey has been very encouraging. Ryan’s advice still sticks with me, “Fail Forward.”

    I really like your advice “slow and steady.” I’m just hoping that by hanging out with you “Pro’s” that some of your success will rub off on me.

    Look forward to reading more of your blogs.


    • Great to hear from you Michael. Nice to know those guys have inspired others too. I looked at your blog and it looks great, I look forward to keeping up with you by reading it.

    • Way to get out there Michael. I need to subscribe to your blog. Do you have an email subscription through feedburner maybe? I’m not much of an RSS guy. I’ve been missing your posts, and I’d like to stay on top of reading them.

  4. Congratulations on the 12/18 month anniversary. I like how you said, “Perfection is not a requirement for blogging but being yourself is.” It’s so true, Tom. Thanks for the mention too.

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