Growing Rain City Guide…

Russian GenealogyI noticed yesterday that this site has started to get hits from google on the search term “real estate”. I did a little more digging and found that Rain City Guide still doesn’t rank that high on standard google searches, but on Google’s Blogsearch, I’m now one of the top five sites that it returns for “real estate

This reminded me of a post I put together last march (before Rain City Guide existed!) on Anna’s first real estate blog. Back then I was still trying to figure out What does it take to be a successful real estate blogger?” I just reread the article for the first time in months and I’m amazed at how much that article set the stage for everything that has become Seattle’s Rain City Real Estate Guide. I thought I’ve give my thoughts on how this site has evolved, but first I’m going to take us back to my initial thoughts on a real estate blog:

What does it take to be a successful real estate blogger?
What does it mean to be a successful real estate blogger?

I’ve been asking myself these questions a lot lately as I try to figure out where I should take this site. Where does one start? Google, or course! So I searched “Real Estate Blog”:
Google Search: real estate blog

Of course, generating traffic is of the highest priority, so I want my site to rank high in google searches… So what are:
Southern California Real Estate Blog and Toronto at Home doing “right” so that they rank so high?

1) The highest ranking site, the S. Cal. blog, is using blogger technology. (They have a ***.blogspot address, just like me.) Neither of the top two sites hosts their own site under their own domain (such as, which makes me think that I should be content and satisfied with my site location. In addition, the S. Cal site has the poster’s names in it highlighting the fact that the domain doesn’t really matter (in other words, the domain doesn’t have to say “seattle” or “real estate” in order to rank high. The content of, and links to, likely matters much more.
2) Both of the top two sites add a blog entry at least every other day.
3) The top site has been blogging since Aug 2003 (1 1/2 years), the second site only since Nov 2004 (5 months) (at least that is as far as the archives go back.
4) Both place links to other real estate bloggers in prominent places on their website.
5) S. Cal blog is chatty with general updates (spring cleaning, flipping real estate, etc.), while Toronto’s site is loaded with longer articles that would be right at home in a Realtor magazine.
6) Toronto’s blog is particularly slick and is loaded with links to good information!!! The clean photo of the blogger at his laptop sets the mood for the entire site.
7) Each entry on Toronto’s blog is categorized by type of information. This is quite nifty and very easy to use.
8) Both sites are very well integrated with a website (lots of links back and forth). My preference is to not keep up a traditional website, but instead, just find a way to host files that I can link to… I’ll have to think on that one.

In summary, I think the Toronto blog looks a lot better, and I imagine with time, it will surpass the S. Cal Blog in google searches simply because it offers more and better information.
Did I answer the question of what it takes to be a real estate blogger? Definitely not completely, but I’m getting some ideas…

So what’s changed since I did my research 9 months ago? And why did this post affected the development of Rain City Guide? I’ll follow up on each of the numbered points:

  1. Shortly after writing this first comment, I splurged and bought a domain name ( and a hosting service. While I still believe I could have had a very successful blog using blogger, I really wanted some additional features (like the ability to address comment #7) that simply are not available on the Blogger platform!
  2. I learned that a blog needs to be fed regularly, and I think I’ve been pretty good about that…
  3. Rain City Guide has been up for 8 months and is only now starting to rank high in google searches.
  4. I’ve added links to my favorite bloggers. I’m pretty good about trading links with any relevant site that has good content to offer users!
  5. I’d like to think that I’ve learned from both sites. We try to keep things relatively informal (chatty?) on Rain City Guide while remembering that every once in a while, you have to provide some good meat to chew on!
  6. More than anything, I learned that I really wanted to personalize the site. Knowing that I would be using lots of photos from Wendy Baker’s digital photo library, I added four “Seattle-only” photos to the title bar.
  7. I really wanted the ability to add categories (and photo libraries, calendars, etc), so I moved Anna’s original blog from Blogger to WordPress. I’ve really enjoyed exploring all the options available with WordPress, so I’m glad I made the move early on.
  8. As you may have noticed, I haven’t even bothered putting together a regular website for Anna. If I end up getting a really good home search tool built for this site (I’m working at it very slowly), then I may throw up a more generic site… but I’m not even sure that will be necessary.

Interestingly, my prediction that the Toronto blog would pass up the S. Cal Blog (now simply called “The Real Estate Blog”) on Google searches turned out to be correct. Toronto at Home has moved to #1, while The Real Estate Blog has dropped to #4. Nonetheless, they are both great sites, and I’ve learned a ton from both of them!

Do you have any comments on the direction of Rain City Guide? Would you like to see us cover a different part of the real estate scene in Seattle? You should always feel free to email us or leave a comment on any of the postings!

8 thoughts on “Growing Rain City Guide…

  1. Keep up the great work.

    You’re site inspires me to keep improving every day. Too bad practicing Real Estate keeps getting in the way of my prolific blogging 😉

    I’m looking forward to meeting you two in person someday.

  2. Keep up the great work.

    You’re site inspires me to keep improving every day. Too bad practicing Real Estate keeps getting in the way of my prolific blogging 😉

    I’m looking forward to meeting you two in person someday.

  3. Pingback: Seattle’s Rain City Real Estate Guide » Interview with Fran of The Real Estate Blog

  4. Pingback: Seattle’s Rain City Real Estate Guide » Interview with Fraser Beach of Toronto at Home

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