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BloodhoundBlog Unchained Recap - Sunday May 18, 2008

Pre-Conference day at the BloodhoundBlog Unchained conference in Phoenix proved to be chock full of nuggets and solid content.  In fact, I have already implemented many and made changes to my blog as a result of what I have learned today. Here's a recap of the key points for me:

Mary McKnight of RSS Pieces covered a lot of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tips and lead generation strategies:

  • Use SEO tools to analyze the effectiveness of your blog:

SEOBOOK
WebsiteGrader
SEOCentro

  • Use a call to action on your blog - a button with "Search 20,000 listings"; "What is my home worth?"
  • Make it easy for someone to contact  you - use a contact form and/or include your phone, email on the front page
  • Register your domain name for 5 or more years
  • Use a Google-Friendly sitemap on your blog to make it easier for the your blog to be crawled
  • Try to get indexed in DMOZ.org - very selective. 
  • 128 links or less on your blog home page for optimal SEO (Matt Cutts from Google).  Some ideas on how to get there if  you discover you are way over this number as I was (using the SEO tools above):
    • Limit your categories to 10-15 (I'm down to 23 from 30 and still working on it)
    • Change the number of posts on your homepage to 5
    • Put your blogroll on an interior page
    • Limit the widgets on your sidebar
  • Your domain name URL and title tags are key to search engine rankings - research the keyword search tools to find out what people are searching for and how often.  Then set up categories and title posts based on your research as it relates to your target market and purpose.

Ron Cates of ConstantContact.com discussed the Power of Email Marketing

  • 91% of Internet users age 18-64 send or read email - higher % for the over 65 group
  • Return on Investment (ROI) is better than direct mail - $57.25 for every dollar spent
  • Use blog content for an email newsletter
  • Include a sign up for Free newsletter on your blog and in your email signature block
  • It takes 7 touches before a sale occurs
  • Always have an unsubscribe or opt-out link
  • #1 reason people unsubscribe is "over-communication"
  • 25% of email addresses change annually
  • Write for web readers - scanable content - upper left corner is where most eyes start their scan
  • Limit required fields in a contact form to 4 for best return
  • Tuesday & Wednesday then Thursday are best days with 10 am to 3pm being the best times to send email according to ConstantContact stats
  • 60% of consumers use the "From" line to decide to open or delete the email; 30% decide by the "Subject" line
  • Subject line tips:
    • Keep it simple and short
    • 5-8 words; 30-40 characters
    • Your have 3 seconds for the impression
    • Incorporate a specific benefit
    • Check spelling, punctuation, capitalization

Laurie Manny shared her success stories and techniques from her Long Beach blog and website.   She focuses on key SEO techniques - many taught by Mary McKnight (Laurie's blog is on the RSS pieces platform). Laurie demonstrated how she uses the SEO tool for Firefox to stay on top of her blog rankings and track (then crush) competitors.   She uses Picasa (photo tool from Google) and Slide.com effectively on her blogs. Laurie blogs about 80% on the real estate keywords for her niche market and 20% on the community.  She recently started adding more market statistics with good results.  She also is using an impressive lead generation, IDX solution and back office system with 1ParkPlace.

Russell Shaw contributed some great tips on marketing and becoming a better listing agent.  Check out his sites for more details and useful information:

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