Editor’s note: We are pleased to bring you the seventy-eighth in our regular weekly series of PowerBlog Reviews of business weblogs. This week’s review is being guest-blogged by Lynne Meyer. Lynne Meyer, APR, is president of A Way with Words.
By Lynne Meyer
Frances Flynn Thorsen will not be silenced. The marketing director and realtor for Realty World Benchmark Realty in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA started her blog — The REALTYGram Blogger — to voice her opinions when she experienced censorship through the existing local real estate venue.
“Late last year I was unceremoniously dropped from a list server sponsored by the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania, Association of Realtors. My posts and opinions often do not reflect the party line and political posture of the National Association of Realtors. I decided to look for another venue that was less restrictive, and a blog is the perfect vehicle for me.”
Frances, who established her blog in January 2005, explains:
“My blog contains practical knowledge important in a real estate transaction, as well as an unfiltered look at legislative initiatives, with links to such things as forms, contracts, inspection issues and document viewers. I blog without the hyperbole that’s attached to so many issues, such as the National Association of Realtors category, fair housing and predatory lending.”
Lest you think she’s a rebel without a cause, I assure you that her blog is very informative and educational, covering a tremendous range of topics. Content is king here, with postings about the secrets of real estate internet advertising, making sure a listing is legal, having a productive open house, and realtors’ commissions and brokers’ fees.
A blog provides a wonderful opportunity to raise questions about and scrutinize issues in your field. Frances is clearly not afraid of ruffling feathers by questioning some of the practices in her profession. She poses two questions we may have all wondered about: “Why is the realtor’s portrait often larger and more prominent than the photo of the houses in the ad? Why is the text describing the real estate agent large and easy-to-read while information about the house requires a magnifying glass?”
To review a blog, it’s important to look at a variety of postings from when the site first began. It was gratifying to see how this blog began to blossom a few months in when Frances started doing two things: 1) adding colorful photos and graphics to postings, and 2) writing more catchy titles. How’s this for a catchy posting title: “Noisy Lovesick Frogs Disrupt Hawaiian Real Estate Market”? The graphics open up the blog, and the catchy post titles draw the reader in deeper.
Another thing she has done is set up a number of specific post categories, using words and phrases that consumers are likely to search by. For instance, there are categories for radon, commercial real estate, lead paint, home inspections and so on. This makes searching for information easy and older posts very accessible (and probably adds nicely to page views, also).
She also has assembled a targeted blogroll of real esate related blogs. She also links to other real estate websites regularly in postings — all in all, she strives to make the blog a rich resource.
If, after reading The REALTYGram Blogger you have a hankering for more about the industry with “location, location, location” as its mantra, you’re in luck. In her July 13, 2005 posting, Frances reports that both NBC and ABC are planning to release new television series about real estate agents. (Can “Who Wants To Be a Millionaire Realtor on a Desert Island Awaiting an Extreme Makeover” be far behind?)