When I first started on Active Rain earlier this year, I had no clue how much I would learn in such a short time. The first thing I remember noticing about Active Rain was that there was vast amounts of knowledge, and so many wonderful people here. I wanted to learn all about Blogging, the benefits, the value, and why anyone in our industry would want to consider Blogging. I needed to know so I could share with my clients if this were something they should invest their time in doing.
I was spending hours just reading and learning from all the members here on Active Rain. As I started to get comfortable with navigating my way around, I decided to start inviting other Industry Professionals from my areas. Before I knew it, I was accumulating hundreds of points, and even started feeling confident that maybe it was time for me to start writing and posting myself.
I tried a little bit of everything. Promoting my company, sharing marketing ideas, exposing technology, sharing secrets to Internet strategies, writing "How-To" posts, and even sharing personal experiences with some motivational and inspirational tid-bits! All this was in an attempt to discover who was my audience, what was my voice, and what worked best. Posting was also helping me to better my writing and of course my typing skills. LOL!
As I started connecting with other members, and building relationships, I realized that there was so much more to Blogging than just putting up some posts and replying to others comments. Getting points and moving up the ranks was cool and even somewhat addicting, but getting to meet others, learning about them and their business really was becoming the addiction.
Sometime in May this year, I wondered how many members or consumers were actually reading my Blog. I wanted a way to track who was reading my posts, and what topics I was writing about that created interest to readers inside and out of the rain. I wanted to know where they were coming from, what posts they liked most, how they found me, what browser and computer were they using, and how many a day were actually visiting me, and for how long?
Here are a couple tools I have used to help guide me and give me information about my Blog, my topics, the readers and so much more. They have really helped me learn what works and what doesn't for my particular writing style. I am in no way claiming to be an expert at this stuff, but having the right tools and the right people to help, makes all the difference in the world.
Starting with Google Analytics, this allowed me to see more graphs and charts about my Blog than I could ever imagine. There are more pies than Marie Calendars there. You can find out what browsers people use, what page they came in on and what page they left, numbers of hits and views, unique visitors vs repeat visitors, search engine referrals, bounce rates, even keyword searches that brought them to my Blog. This was just the beginning...
Then I added a Site Meter, just to get a daily count of hits to compare to Google and see how accurate the numbers were. Site meter will also give you statistics, daily hits and times people viewed specific pages, and it even gives the domain and ip address of each visitor. This is a great little tool to add to your Blog or Website.
My favorite one has to be Clustermaps. OMG - this little freebie shows you the map from where the servers are located of users from all over the world. I thought that the only people reading my posts were the members here, and maybe an occasional lookie lou or consumer. Well I have to tell you, I am currently averaging around 8000 hits per month with over 15,000 pages viewed from all over the world. How can this be? I guess just write and they will read!
Since March, I have converted/referred several listings to Agents in my areas, picked up a few investors that work with my REO Agents who specialize in those properties, and I have met numerous Agents in and out of my area that I am now working with. I am also getting emails and phone calls on a regular basis from consumers who need assistance with their Real Estate. Who's reading our Blogs anyway? I just came to AR because I wanted to learn what this was all about! I wanted to be able to help my clients and friends. I had no idea it would ever be like this.
Don't take for granted all the POWER that lies beneath the surface here in the rain. Use whatever tools you need to get the most out of your Blogging experience. I have tried to create posts that will be helpful to you. I have a passion and desire to share in these successes. Tracking is a key part of making your Blog the best it can be. I just had someone from South Africa "poke" me today. She found my profile here, and now I have made another friend far across the land. South Africa? I never would have thought....
Referring clients to other members is as good as it gets! As I grow, learn and progress here, this is my way of giving back. I still am not sure where I am going or what I am doing, but it sure has been fun and rewarding for me, and for those I'm able to refer business. Keep writing, keep experimenting, keep trying, it takes time and most of all, it takes a commitment! You will start seeing the rewards from your efforts here, but you will only get out of the rain, what you put into the rain.
Thanks for letting me be a part of this wonderful network, for sharing so generously your comments and ideas, and for letting me find my voice and my purpose here. You can only learn by doing, and many times, only by failing! The rewards in the end are worth all the time and challenges in the beginning! Keep writing because someone is always going to be reading. I love the Active Rain Network, it's members, the readers, and the results! :-)