Bay Area Real Estate Trends Authors’ Guide

Table of Contents

  1. Vision and Goals
  1. The Bay Area Needs Our Help
  2. Philosophy Behind the Site
  3. Who Contributes? Meet Our Bloggers
  1. The Dashboard
  1. How to Login
  2. How to Edit Your Profile
  3. How to Add a Post
  4. Categories, Tags, and Locations
  5. Links and How to Use Them
  6. Inserting Images, and Videos
  1. Promoting Yourself and BARET

1. Vision and Goals

The goal of Bay Area Real Estate Trends are to become the most popular, respected, and essential resource for anyone interested in the Bay Area housing market.

The Bay Area Needs Our Help

Simply put, there is nowhere else to go for good information on our local markets. Bay Area buyers, sellers, owners, and renters would benefit hugely from intelligent, local analysis and opinions. The other main resources all have significant drawbacks:

We have an opportunity to be THE go-to resource for millions of Bay Area residents. We can provide national and global news, as well as clearly show them what’s happening in their areas (and more importantly, why it’s happening). As the local real estate experts, we have the vehicle to prove our expertise and earn business while actually helping people in need.


Philosophies Behind Bay Area Real Estate Trends

This is not my site. Or yours. It’s OURS. Each contributor is invited to adopt Bay Area Real Estate Trends as their own blog - promoting it to their friends, neighbors, and clients.

There are no editorial limitations, short of the obvious offensive material. If you have reasons to be bullish or bearish or anything in between, feel free to share them.

Ideally, we would like to have agents from all over the Bay Area contributing, without too much overlap. We don’t want too many direct competitors writing about the same neighborhoods. This means that you can happily encourage all of your own clients to read everything on the site without worrying that they will decide to work with another agent-blogger instead. This also makes for a  convenient referral network.

Moreover, we can each benefit from each other’s success. For example, I residents of Sonoma might find the site through an article I wrote. Once there, they would see that Tom lives and works in the area and are likely to contact him when they are ready to make a move.

Again, this is YOUR site, designed to help you help people in the areas where you live and work. The more we all embrace this philosophy, the more successful we will all be.

There are no limitations. Real Estate is a large umbrella of topics - covering global-economic finance and local gardening trends.

My recommendation to all of us is to write from a local perspective. If you are going to write about “Big Picture” issues - that’s fine - but try and add a “so what” explanation of how those issues will impact your local market. Explaining why bigger things matter on a local level (if they even do at all) is a great way to show your expertise.

One of the simplest ways you can be valuable to your readers and clients is as a filter. Every day, they will read news articles, blogs, and press releases about housing or the economy. Or they will watch them on the nightly news. Or overhear conversations at the gym or office.

This is where you, as a filter, can help make sense of the madness by sharing and explaining whatever it is that they actually need to know.

Who Contributes?

Currently, our bloggers are a mix of local agents, active civilians, and people with their own other blogs who occasionally contribute.

Ideally, we would have agents representing every corner of the Bay Area, as well as a bunch more local civilian contributors. But it is in all of our best interests to have quality rather than quantity. Check out Becoming a Contributor.

So far, we don’t have any commercial agents - but it would be great to have one or two. We don’t have any builders or investors, but it would be cool if we did.

Please be on the lookout for new voices to contribute to our site.

Any feedback would be greatly-appreciated.

2. The Dashboard

The Dashboard is the “back-office” of the website. This is where you will edit your profile and add new blog posts.

To login, simply click the “LOGIN” link at the bottom of the page.

Your Profile

Your Profile is displayed at the top of your Author Page (here’s mine) and at the bottom of all of your posts. Your Profile contains your short Bio, as well as all of your contact information and social media links.

To edit your Profile, login to the Dashboard and click the “Profile” tab on the left-hand sidebar.

Then, start filling in the fields. You can add or change your picture at the very bottom of the page.

Available fields so far are:

Please fill everything out and then go take a look at the changes on your page. I would recommend keeping the Bio not too long. Also, test the links to make sure everything works right.

Adding a Post

Start by hovering your cursor over “Posts” and click “Add New” in the pop-up menu.

If you’ve ever used a Microsoft Work or Apple’s Pages, or Gmail, then you can figure out the quirks of Wordpress’s text-editor.

Please take a few minutes to look at the picture below. It will answer 99% of your questions.

Categories, Tags, and Locations

I cannot stress this enough...         PLEASE ADD PROPER CATEGORIES, TAGS, AND LOCATIONS TO YOUR POSTS. ;)

Proper use of categories and tags will make your posts easier to find and generate a lot more traffic. The easiest way to think about them is that categories are like a table of contents. Tags are what you would find in an index in the back of a book. Please be sure to put your posts in the appropriate categories and add appropriate tags. Please don’t start adding categories, but do feel free to add new tags (but see what’s already there first).

Tags allow you to be a little more creative. You can see the “tag cloud” of most popular tags in the sidebar.

Tags are good for SEO - but don’t abuse them by getting spammy and adding too many. Clear and simple navigation for readers should be the highest priority.

Readers can “Browse By Topic” to read posts by Category. (I’ve also put some of the most popular Tags in this menu.

The available Categories are:

Locations are a way to help readers easily find your content by Town or County. Please be sure to click the names of any towns or counties that you mention in your posts. Then, when a reader clicks on that Town, your post will show up.

For example, here is the link for the page for Danville.

When a reader clicks on the categories or tags (either displayed on your post or in the sidebar), they are taken to a “archive” page that shows all post with that attribute.

Links and How to Use Them

Inserting hyperlinks into your posts is a great way to keep readers engaged. It’s also great for SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Here is how to do it.

First, highlight the text that you want to turn into a link. Then click the “link” icon (it looks like a chain-link).

Then copy and paste the address into the “URL” window. In this example, I’m linking to another post from the site. Then click “Add Link.”

Note: For links to external websites, you probably want to check the box to “Open link in a new window/tab.”

Things you may want to link too:

It is good practice to try and have at least one link in your blog post, preferably 2-3.

Inserting Images and Videos

Images

First, put your cursor on the line of your post that you want the image to appear. Then click the “add media” button above the entry box.

Next click “Upload Files” near the top of the window that pops up. Once the image is uploaded, you can edit the size and justification before clicking “Insert Into Post”

Videos

Adding video is very easy, especially from YouTube or Vimeo. For those services, you simply copy the website address for the video you want to share, and paste it right into your post. For example:

http://youtu.be/JaNH56Vpg-A

or

http://vimeo.com/240975

looks like this in your post entry box:

For trouble or to see how it works with other services, visit  http://en.support.wordpress.com/videos/

3. Promoting Yourself and BARET

We are giving you the tools to build your own personal brand and business, as well as ways to help the entire BARET ecosystem be more successful.

Your Author Page Is YOUR BLOG

Think about it. Your Author Page contains your pic, bio, and all contact information. And, it contains all of your blog posts. This really is your personal blog. Personally, this is my one and only real estate website. I send all of my clients, sphere, and prospective new clients to this page.

Social Media Promotion

We can all benefit by using social media to promote BARET and each others’ posts. There are three general ways to do this...

First, all of your articles are automatically posted to our Facebook Page and Twitter Page. Please like BARET on Facebook and invite your friends and sphere to like it as well. Each of your should be set up as a “Content Creator,” meaning you can share articles and updates directly on our Facebook page. Please do your best to promote our page to your entire network.

Then, be sure to follow us on twitter and encourage all of your twitter followers to follow us as well.

Second, take advantage of the sharing options beneath each post.

It only takes a minute to set up profiles on Digg, Reddit, and StumbleUpon - all of which you can sign in with your Facebook profile. It’s not uncommon to see pretty big visitor bumps when posts are shared on these networks. Also here are Facebook (where you can share a post with your friends), Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn.

I would definitely encourage all of you to share BARET content - not just your own posts - through these social networks. If each of us contributors simply took an extra 3-5 minutes per day to help build awareness of our site, the results would be enormous.

Third, each of us can work to build traffic and awareness by linking back to BARET or to individual posts from other popular forums and websites. Some of us already participate in real estate discussions on Patrick.net and Calculated Risk. Andrew promotes us on Minyanville. Most other blogs or newspapers allow for comments. If I am going to reference a blog or article, I will commonly leave a comment on it with a link to my new post.

Along these same lines, be sure to comment and participate on BARET - especially by responding when other people leave comments on your posts.

Old Fashioned Self-Promotion

Some old-school legwork can go a long way. Remember... this is YOUR site. Consider taking the following steps:

Greg Fielding

J. Rockcliff Realtors

925.212.2908

Follow me @gregpfielding

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