[photopress:ardell_mlsphoto.jpg,full,alignright]There is only one Ardell. She’s a top-notch blogger that shows up all over the place in the blogging world. In addition to RCG, she keeps up an ActiveRain blog and her solo blog at Searching Seattle. And while it might seem somewhat self-serving to interview one of our own contributors, I couldn’t resist the curiosity to unleash this interview on Ardell! 🙂
However, before I begin the interview, I have a HUGE announcement! Today marks Ardell’s one year anniversary as a Rain City Guide contributor. Her first words may have been “be gentle” but she has been much more disruptive than gentle on the real estate blogging world! Let me be the first to say thank for for giving us such a fabulous, fun, and fantastic year!
What inspired you to start blogging?
I wouldn’t call it an inspiration. I honestly was just doing my “good deed for the day”. A Microsoft employee named Noor, explained to me in his Toastmaster’s International speech at our club in Redmond/Bellevue, that a blog was a personal online journal, a web log, a log on the web. So when John Reilly of Internet Crusade emailed me on 1/1/07 and asked me to be one of the people to test their blog product, I had a basic idea of what he was asking. I said yes and just started typing away. I wasn’t really realizing others would read it, except John. I look back at those first articles and wonder why I chose to write on those topics. I mean, who is sitting around on New Year’s Day writing on such intense topics? I’m not a techie geek for sure, as you can tell by my huge print, color text, etc. But I am a real estate nerd.
Unlike other people who decided to blog, or who had an urge to be a writer, I was just typing out whatever I was thinking about. Just turned out to be TMI about real estate 🙂
Are there any special topics or issues that you enjoy covering?
I like to talk about the real estate process, real estate commissions especially the buyer agent fee, and how people and agents interact differently using technology and why that will make things easier and cheaper. I think people want to know a whole lot more about what they are getting themselves into. They may still want to hire someone to do “it” for them, but they want to know a whole lot more about what that “it” is, and why it costs so much and does it have to cost so much. I think talking about these things angers a lot of people, so I mix up other things in between. If I could, I’d only talk about those three things.
What have you done to personalize your blog?
Personalize my blog? LOL That’s an oxymoron…I’m all over it. To read me is to know me. I think I need to learn how to DE-personalize it 🙂
[photopress:ardell_at_computer_small.jpg,full,alignright]Do you have any favorite posts?
I loved this post and I especially loved when the client commented. It totally surprised me. This was my favorite, but it just slid by. I must have been the only one who liked it…oh, and my sister loved it. Most people, like “Jack” in that first linked article, came to me from this one. So I’d have to say that is one of my favorites as well.
What are some of your favorite blogs (real estate or otherwise)?
My first instinct in answering this question would be to link to the Who’s Who of the Blogosphere and the Usual Suspects, but honestly I don’t like blogs…I like people. To me Sellsius is Joe and Rudy, Urban Digs is Noah, Urbnlivn is Matt and Property Monger is Jon. I like those people via their blog. The only blog I used to read regularly was Bloodhound, but it has gotten too confusing for me. Too many people with too many different viewpoints. If I could click on Kris and read all her stuff in sequence, and then click on Greg, etc , the way RainCityGuide functions when you click our pictures, I’d still read it. But I can’t keep up with all the people, and I like the people, not the blogs. If I read the blog and don’t like the person…I leave. If the blog doesn’t have a personality, I don’t read it.
How does blogging fit into the overall marketing of your business?
It’s turned it upside down, as you know. Most of my clients come from my writings now. It’s nice that they already “know me” when we first meet and there doesn’t seem to be much difference from “me on blog” to “me in person”. I like when they say “Oh, now I know what Dustin meant when he said he can see your hands moving in your writings”. I think Glenn Kelman was one of the ones who said that when we met. I am in person as I am on the blog…one of the benefits of “stream of consciousness” blogging.
What plans do you have to improve your blog over this next year?
I added the podcast. Other than mispronouncing my name and calling me Ardle, I like it. I also want to make it easier for people to find specific topics of interest. More like an encyclopedia of real estate topics. Oops I mean wiki 😉 Right now you have to go to the archives, but I think that is one of the problems with a blog. The older it is the more you bury what people want to read. I indexed it last year, but I changed my categories so I have to get the index back up and linked. It’s a lot of work.
What is the one tool or feature that you wish your site had?
I actually like it the way it is. I’ve tried a lot of different platforms to test them. My Bloglines went caput the other day and I lost my entire Family Blog. It’s still there but it’s totally blank, so I’m never writing there again. Blogger is OK, but it bores me for some reason. I’ve tried it two or three times and can’t seem to be consistent there. I like having both WordPress and RealTown blogs. Word Press for Rain City Guide is THE best, but that’s because of what you, Dustin, have done to it. My other Word Press blog is not nearly as easy as this one. So best is Word Press after Dustin modifies it!
What do you think real estate blogging will look like 3 years from now?
I think you will see some lawsuits, actually. A lot of people are writing like they are 12 year olds on My Space and ranting about things that border on slander. Making negative comments about competitors, badmouthing those who “discount”, some even say nasty things about their own clients. Of course after a law suit or two the blogs will become less colorful and will be “bought” from news sources. So enjoy reading the colorful ones while you still can!
Thank you Ardell for taking the time to answer these questions!
Interviews, interviews interviews:
- Drew Meyers of the Zillow Blog
- Joel Burslem of the Future of Real Estate Marketing
- Michael Simonsen of the Altos Research Blog
- Glenn Kelman of the Redfin Blog
- Joe and Rudy of the Sellsius Blog
- Jim Cronin of the Real Estate Tomato
- Greg and the Bloodhounds of the Bloodhound Blog
- Jonathan Miller of Matrix
- Jim Duncan of the Real Central VA blog
- Noah Rosenblatt of UrbanDigs
- Andy Kaufman of MyEastBayAgent
- Property Grunt of the Property Grunt blog
- Tim O’Keefe of the Real Estate Marketing Blog
- David Smith of the Affordable Housing Institute
- Merv Forney of the Northern Virginia Real Estate Guide
- Todd Carpenter of Lenderama
- Alex Stenbeck of Behind the Mortgage
- Fraser Beach of Toronto at Home
- John Mudd of Inside Real Estate (deceased)
- Fran of The Real Estate Blog