When did this real estate blog start?
My first modern blog post was January 6th, 2009, but I originally started the web site way back in 1999. DougFrancis.com was born after attending a seminar at a NVAR Convention in Tysons Corner, Virginia led by Saul Kline of InternetCrusade who basically told us to leave the room and register our names. That old “web site” was okay then, but showed its age in 2008 and it was really time to evolve to a WordPress blog in 2008.
Always open to change, in March 2012 this blog went through (yet) another evolution when it was upgraded to use StudioPress & Genesis from CopyBlogger Media to help it perform better on your PC, phone or iPad. All of the original content is still here and it may look pretty much the same, but it really is different. Changes are going to happen because technology has changed so much. For example, when I started this “new” WordPress blog Apple hadn’t even introduced the iPad yet!
What is the blog about?
Basically… Northern Virginia real estate. I understand that is casting a wide net but it is about real estate activity that I personally see or experience, feel is noteworthy, or impacts real estate buyers, sellers, investors and those who work in the business like agents, mortgage people, settlement companies, termite inspectors, home inspectors or anyone making a living in Northern Virginia.
Why are you authoring dougfrancis.com ?
After talking with some of my clients (high-tech folks), it seemed like a good transformation for my web site (circa 1999). The response has been positive and a good way for current clients to understand real estate and me. Overall, real estate is a fun business with plenty of emotion, characters, and strange encounters… and I like to share that element of fun with a bit of humor.
I also feel like there is a lot of real estate information out there, but most of it sounds like the same old real estate pitch. Or, it was written by someone in the PR department who is focused on Keywords for Google, rather than what you can expect looking for a home in Northern Virginia. In essence, I enjoy creating content that is helpful.
What software runs the blog?
This is a WordPress (version 3.5.1) blog. WordPress is a free software platform which I have customized using the Streamline Theme 2.0 as of 3/2012 (not free) from StudioPress built upon the Genesis framework from CopyBlogger Media. WordPress is a bit complicated to start out with and I have to continually update the version and have added many plugins (plugins are additional mini programs).
I originally had it hosted at a budget outfit for financially broke bloggers, then hosted at GoDaddy for better speed using their 4GH Hosting. As of June 2012, dougfrancis.com began hosting on Synthesis which is part of the vast CopyBlogger Media empire. The objective was to find a dedicated WordPress host, increase speed and expertise. So far it is working better than expected.
Because so many of you use mobile devices such as the iPhones and iPad, the new version of Streamline (2.0) is designed to recognize mobile devices to make it easier to read. They call it Mobile Responsive.
Can I link to you? Add you to my blogroll or exchange links?
Sure, you can link to me as long as you are not something that I object to like an obvious spammer (yes, I get Google Alerts just so you know). Links are good and can get added easily when you leave a comment, and my CommentLuv plugin will pay you back without having to do much work. Blogrolls are fine… but you will have to ask me about any “link exchange” strategy.
Listen, leaving comments on blogs is the way to create links organically… so leave something that adds value to the conversation here and elsewhere!
Can I copy your posts?
What do you think? Would you be happy is someone copied you? No. Let’s talk if you want permission.
I am fine if one of my posts gives you an idea for a post to write on your blog. All I ask is that you refer back to my post with a link which is a great strategy for getting link back to your blog. Most bloggers I know are givers, so if you give a good link then it will pop up (in an alert) and open up an opportunity to link back.
Who takes the photographs?
Many of the blog post photos are from Flickr.com or other resources and credit is given. The Zemanta plug-in will analyze my text and give me suggestions of appropriate photos… once selected it will add the image and the proper credit.
I like to take my own photos of listings which are seen on every IDX site, and are posted to Google Picassa. As of December 2011, I am using a Canon DSLR EOS Rebel T2i and Panasonic LUMIX DMC-ZS7 camera which has a 25mm lens, GPS, and 12x Optical Zoom Lens. Both are very impressive cameras.
Who taught you how to blog and do all this tech stuff?
I need to give credit to Chris Carlson and Allyson Cain who helped me get started with this here blog… because they were willing to help me when I polled past clients for some input. (Yes, they were clients and are still good friends.
Brad and Bobby Carroll who are the Dakno Marketing guys provided insight and guidance. If you are a REALTOR then send me an e-mail and we can discuss my experience with the Dakno guys, photography experts like Steve Pacinelli at Tech Savvy Agent , and Chris Smith.
But I have been on my own to create content that is original. And real estate changes every day because each house in unique as are the customers and clients. There really isn’t any “normal” in the real estate agent business because it can almost always be… funny. Yes, there are plenty of serious moments, don’t get me wrong, but there is an ever growing source of material to blog about every day (if I had the time). If you are thinking about writing a blog then feel free to touch base with me, but first take some time to read through CopyBlogger Media which is a very helpful site that will help you work on your writing skills.
Blogging = Writing
Believe it or not, the Internet is full of blogging training on YouTube. Keep in mind that a lot of real estate agents across the country (and Canada) also were helpful to me.
Another forum has been RE BarCamps which are informal get togethers of real estate “tech” nerds interested in sharing their knowledge. Great low-key forums take place across the U.S. thanks to volunteers and without sales presentations. Thanks everyone!
To get great information in 2013, I suggest tracking down Inman News Agent Reboot right now.
Who is the “admin” or designer for this site?
That will be me, and
I am responsible for the content unless specifically ID’ed as a post from a guest writer. If I don’t like something or feedback shows my thoughts were unclear, I will edit a post at any time without notice so it is beneficial to the readership. Get it?
Can you help me set up or fix my blog?
Sure, within reason. Last summer I totally screwed up this blog messing around with stuff non tech people should not mess around with. To make a long story short, an agent in San Diego with the same StudioPress Theme sent me a copy of the “Footer Code” and voila, I was working normally.
So, I am not tech support but will share my experience if you have a question.
Yes, I don’t share your e-mail address with anyone. WordPress 3.4 is very secure against spammers and I will delete those that infrequently get through with a “comment”. There are some “cookies” and I use Google Analytics… those folks know a heck of a lot about you so i ain’t the problem.
By using the site then you consent to this policy which may be updated at any time. Just know that I am not going to sell you out!
Do you have a Comment Policy?
Yes. Please be civil and use proper language for this venue. If I conclude that any comment is malicious, violates anything to do with Fair Housing, then I reserve the right to remove that comment. Otherwise, JOIN IN!
How much time have you put into this site?
Many hours have gone into this site from planning it set up and editorial calender, creating original content, fixing problems or just checking in to make sure it is loading properly. So, probably a few hundred hours of work…
Are you familiar with NAR’s Policy for Implementing A Social Media Marketing Plan?
I have read it and feel that I am in compliance (and more!) It must appear clearly that I am a licensed real estate agent since 1991 in Virginia, and I am affiliated with RE/MAX Presidential as an “independent contractor”. Yes, I am a member of the National Association of REALTORS and my local association is the Northern Virginia Association of REALTORS in Fairfax, Virginia.
Please feel free to send me your questions: firstname.lastname@example.org