One more proof that I was right in yesterday's post about SEO being a rip-off and is not necessary if you use modern tools like Drupal and create compelling content constantly. Compared to getting ripped off by SEO companies, the money commitment of a blog is small. And yes it takes time, but if again if you want to be part of the growing 'conversation of influentials' (for those who don't get it :-), bloggers are *the* web influentials) on the web, the time commitment is crucial and becoming more crucial every day.
Fraser Beach, a real estate broker in the Toronto suburb of Ajax, is lamenting the overbuilding of condos in the market. "To an optimist, Toronto's glass is half-full; but when it comes to condos, the city seems more than half-full," he writes in an article on his popular blog, Toronto at Home. (Blogs, short for "web logs," are an informal diary or forum on a website.) Beach's blog is the only marketing tool he uses for his company, Select Plan Real Estate. He spends one to three hours per day writing articles on real estate, keeping his blog (http://toreal.blogs.com) at the top of listings in search engines, which reward frequent updates.
This huge time commitment pays off: even though Beach doesn't promote his blog, he says it draws from 1,500 to 3,000 visits per day from people searching, say, for "real estate" plus "Toronto" or specific topics that match its articles. The blog yields at least three good sales leads per month.
"I've never been the kind of real estate broker who goes out and bugs people," says Beach. "I've always done things that bring people to me, and this is an effective way to do that. I find the blog way more effective than putting flyers on people's doors or sending out advertising through the mail."
Beach is among a growing number of entrepreneurs using blogs for business. Besides marketing, they can be a cost-effective tool for internal communications — just the kind of thing underfunded, growing companies love to put to use. But, depending on their application, blogs can be less technology than art form, which can spell trouble for eager but not particularly eloquent authors. Furthermore, writing impactful blog entries takes longer than many expect. When no one can commit the time or energy to keep a blog fresh and compelling, it will run out of gas — and readers.