by Bill Janovitz | April 9, 2012 8:00 am
We are deep in the blog era. Just a few short years ago, the word “blog” made some people wince, envisioning an online teenager’s journal, or the life and times of a cat lady. But now the word is almost synonymous with websites with dynamic, updated content. The old, staid HTML pages that get updated a few times a year are as stale looking as pre-Myspace AOL. They are so increasingly rare that they open up as a somewhat depressing shock, like emerging from a tunnel into an Internet ghetto, pages that seem like once-happy homes now simply remnants standing like vacant buildings.
Real estate agents can be among the worst offenders, with websites that are treated like billboards and resumes, and are usually packed with a bunch of distracting junk, weather widgets, mortgage calculators, cheesy head shots, and yet another Multiple Listing Service search engine.
With that in mind, here’s a cherry-picked round-up of some of the best Boston-area real estate-related blogs:
Boston Realty Advisors has been running a collection of loft-style listings at bostonlofts.com for a number of years. It includes listings from other brokers, not just their own exclusive listings. But the main page is a bit frustrating, with too-small photos and a busy interface. Their blog is much more pleasing and fun to gawk at.
Speaking of gawking, that’s the specialty of Curbed Boston, a recent addition to the national Curbed site, of which I’ve been a fan for a while. The site is energetic, relentlessly updated, a bit gossipy, and fun. A recent post under the subject of “Red Carpet Real Estate” asks: “What’s the Oldest Boston Listing Over $10M Now?”
Another national blog with a local outpost, Apartment Therapy is consistently great-looking, with excellent photography and a clean interface. The posts concentrate on smaller spaces, mainly apartments of readers, as the name suggests. But there are house tours as well. It is more about design than actual real estate, but the living space is the thing here.
Be warned: the look of this one will probably bum you out after scrolling through the nicer-looking blogs above. But I include this one because it is filled with rich, expert content from two well-known Boston-area real estate attorneys. Blogs with stock photos usually send me clicking away instantly, but as an agent, I find the content compelling and valuable. Here is a great one on legal issues surrounding bidding wars (which are back, baby!)
I honestly tried to find some more interesting and well-designed blogs from real estate agents. But most blogs by agents are some combination of outdated (last post: 2009), generic, ugly, unoriginal, and slightly more dynamic version of their old website — perhaps with some cut-and-paste copy from an outside source, or word or two about a listing they previewed before yelling, “choose me! I am an expert.” And listen, I am the first to cop to shameless self-promotion. I mean, that’s what you have to do sometimes to be a real estate agent. But you have to bring something to the table — at least some lovely photos. Check out this great blog from Boston Design Guide. It could have been just another web ad for their print publication. Instead, it stands on its own as a compelling site and resource. It draws the eye and keeps you there with interesting and updated posts.
I long ago updated my site to a blog format with a clean-looking interface, which allows the content to be constantly and easily updated while showing off gorgeous photos of our listings and discussing topics like architectural style, market trends, and general real estate issues. Real estate is ready-made for this format.
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