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2007-02-14 12:00:00

Building a Blog is Easy as 1 - 2 - 3

The following is a step-by-step tutorial to build a new RealTown Blog. This article is the first in a series about building, publishing, and distributing blogs at RealTown.

If you do not already have an account at http://RealTown.com, please sign up (it’s free!) to become a RealTown member! You will need a RealTown account to create a Blog at RealTown.com.
 

Step 1: Sign In to My RealTown



Go to http://RealTown.com and click the ‘Member Log In’ link in the upper right corner of the screen.
 


Log In by inserting your Username or E-mail Address and Password, then click ‘Login Now’.
 


Once logged in, you will be brought to My RealTown, your RealTown.com Home Page. If for some reason you are not brought to My RealTown, click the 'My RealTown' link in the upper right corner of the screen.
 

 

Step 2: Creating Your Blog



Click the ‘Create a Blog’ button on the left side of the screen.
 


Input the 'Title’ of your blog and the ‘Description’, then click ‘Create Blog’. Fill out this information after giving it a little thought. The words that you choose for these fields will offer important "clues" to the search engines about what your blog is about. You can always change this information later, but you could be penalized by search engines if you change this information once they start finding your blog.
 


You will receive confirmation that your blog has been created. On that confirmation screen, click the ‘click here’ link to access your new blog.
 

 

Step 3: Blog Manager Entry Screen



By default, you are brought to the Blog Manager ‘View Entries’ screen which has default settings for writing a new blog post. We are not going to post an entry yet, however, since we want to choose some of your blogging preferences first.
 

 

Step 4: General Weblog Settings



Go to the menu on the left, under ‘Configure’, click ‘General Settings
 


This is where you will configure major settings for your new blog.
 



Weblog Status: Select 'Private' until you are ready to publish your blog. Come back to General Setting later to mark this field 'Public' when you are ready for the world to view your blog.

Meta Keywords: This is a very important tool that will help you achieve good rankings "organically" in the search engines. Choose words that are used as keywords by web surfers and words that apply to your market. (For best results, do not exceed 500 characters.) For example: real estate, realtor, buyer, seller, home, property, denver, mls, mortgage, lender, inspection.

Meta Description: Choose your words carefully here also when you describe your site. This is the little descriptive paragraph that search engines pick up when they find your blog in a search. (For best results, do not exceed 500 characters.)

Entries Per Page: If you are going to write short blog posts, a larger number is a good idea; long blog articles lend themselves to fewer entries for an optimal blog reader experience.

Recent Entries: There is a place on a side column in most templates with title links to the most recent blog entries. You may want to experiment with the number as your blog evolves.

Entry Preview Default: When your blog is viewed on RealTown.com, people will see your entire entry, part of your entry, or a description of the entry based on what you choose here. ‘Teaser Text’ is a part of your entry that you can specify from the 'Add New Entry' screen. ‘Meta Description’ is just a short description of what the entry is about. This is also text you can specify from the 'Add New Entry' screen. You can also opt for the reader to see the entire entry from the Blog home page by selecting ‘Complete Entry’. Teaser Text or Meta Description look better to search engines, but you may prefer that a reader can see the entire entry without having to click the title to read more.

Timezone: Select your time zone.

Date Format: Select a date format that you like.

Time Format: Select a time format that you like.

Show Title Field?: Most blog posts have titles. Titles are weighted heavily in search engines. There are some blogs, however, that are written as journals and other constructs that do not lend themselves to titles. Use of titles in optional in RealTown Blogs.

The rest of the page is about inserting Links and selecting Sticky Icons.
 


We will learn how to insert links in a few moments.
A Sticky Icon is an icon that denotes an important blog post. When you assign a Sticky to a blog post, that blog entry is placed at the top of the blog and will remain at the top of the blog until it is removed. Newer blog posts will always appear below a sticky. Some blog publishers like to denote a Sticky with an icon and some blog publishers like to apply a sticky without using an icon.

There are just two more little things to do on this page.
 



Content Default for New Entries: This is text that will appear on e-mail messages that accompany new posts to people you place on an e-mail list. It might say something as simple as, "Please read my latest blog entry." At RealTown Blogs, the choice is yours.

Email to Blog: RealTown Blogs has a special tool that lets you e-mail blog entries right from your e-mail platform. You can enable that feature here. There is additional information about this online and we will feature additional information at RealTown soon.

When you have selected your settings, make sure you click ‘Save Changes’.

 

Step 5: Add a Link to Your Blog



You can add as many links as you like. Link to your web site. Link to your "other" blog. Link to other resources that your readers will find useful. You can assign a name to the link and the URL address will be hidden from view.
To do this, go back to the ‘General Settings’ page, scroll down to the ‘Favorite Links’ section, and click the ‘click here to add a new favorite link’ link.
 


Input the ‘Link Name’ and ‘URL’ of where you want the link to go, then click ‘Add Link’.
 


After adding your link, you will be brought back to the ‘General Settings’ screen. Scroll down and make sure that the name of the link is spelled correctly and that the URL is correct. There are links to edit or delete at the right of the screen. You can repeat the process as many times as you like.
 

 

Step 6: Comment Settings



Go back to the vertical menu bar at the left and click Comment Settings.
 



Enable comment settings that are most appropriate for you personally. RealTown Blogs offers a great variety of choice in applying interactive comment technology. You can choose whether or not you want to be e-mailed when a new comment is posted to your blog and manage permissions for blog readers who post comments. After making comment selections, click ‘Save Changes’.
 

 

Step 7: Site Feed (RSS)



Next, click the ‘Site Feed (RSS)’ button.
 



This is an option that lets readers "subscribe" to your blog using an RSS reader. Generally, a "Yes" here is a good idea unless you are publishing a blog with very limited or personal application. To read more about RSS, click here.
 



After making RSS selections, click ‘Save Changes’.
 

Step 8: Categories



Return to the vertical menu bar and click 'Categories'.
 



Category links enable your readers to click a link and read blog posts with the same topic. This is another area that is heavily weighted in search engines, so choose your topics carefully. City names, neighborhoods, real estate "activity" words (inspection, staging, MLS) are some choices for real estate blogs. Visit other blogs and see what other bloggers are using and make careful choices. RealTown Blogs offer a great feature -- you can assign multiple categories to any post!

Click the ‘Click here’ link to create a new category.
 



Assign a name to the category and insert that name (or a more specific name) into the URL field so that the system creates a URL that the search engines will gobble up! Please note that readers can elect to get RSS feed from a single category or your entire blog.
 



You can move categories up or down in the vertical menu of your blog by using the commands that appear at the right of the screen. RealTown Blogs are highly customizable.
 

 

Step 9: Send Pings



Click ‘Send Pings’ any time you publish a blog entry.
 



"Pings" will alert various search engines that there is new content on the World Wide Web. The search engines will send their spiders, index your site, and make this content available for on-line searches.
 

 

Step 10: Add New Entry



Click the ‘Add New Entry’ button on the left.
 



Choose an 'Entry Title' and an 'Entry URL'. Let the on-screen text guide you.
 



Enter text in the ‘Entry Editor’ now, and create a blog post.
 



Format text and graphics using the icons that appear at the top of the Entry Editor. The RealTown Blogs Entry Editor has some wonderful features. Each of the features is more fully explained in mouse-over text. Point your mouse at each icon to learn the function that an ensuing "click" will invite.
 



Be sure to go through the rest of the options and input text as necessary. Entry Time/Date function lets you put your post on a time release. This feature lets you write blog posts and post-date them for publication. You can assign an hour on a Monday to write blog posts for a whole week and let the system operate on auto-pilot for the rest of the week.
 



Assign a single category or multiple categories to each new blog entry. Choose whether you want to publish the blog post now or save it to draft. Don't forget to check General Weblog Settings to change "private" to "public" when you are ready to show your blog to the world.
 

 

WELCOME to RealTown’s Special Corner in the Blogosphere!!!


RealTown Blogs is evolving as the blog platform of choice for serious real estate bloggers. Keep your browser pointed at http://RealTown.com to learn about new developments at the Web’s premier real estate blog community.

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