Hawaii Life Blog Center
Pro Blogging Tips
- Write Timely Content
- Optimize for Search Engines
- Localize Great Ideas
- About The Author
- Inverted Pyramid Style
- Spelling & Grammar Check
- Don’t Go It Alone
- Get It On The Page
- Google Search Terms
- Link to HL Content
- Keep it Social
- Write Evergreen Content
- Interlink Your Blogs
- Keep It In Context
- Correct Your Title Case
You’re the feet on the street, so if something newsy (and we by this, we mean brand new!) happens near you, be the first to write about it. Beat Maui No Ka Oi and Honolulu Magazine, the Star-Advertiser, and the Garden Isle newspaper to the punch! Get your story in the Google rankings first. Post about a new restaurant, business, or happening in your town. Cover an appealing upcoming event (or attend it and take video for the blog, then post it that same day). Lifestyle content shows readers that you’re an active member of your community with a vibrant Hawaii Life outside of your job. You may just attract clients who have similar interests to yours – from wine tasting events to polo matches, from book festivals to music concerts. We are selling a lifestyle as well as real estate.
Search engines like Google index your content based on a few key features. When buyers and sellers search for Hawaii real estate terms, Google provides them with a list of options based on this index. Make your blog posts easy to find by sending them to the very top of those Google rankings. Keep these Top 5 SEO tips in mind to improve your blog post’s visibility and exposure.
Top 5 SEO Tips:
- Use headings and subheadings. Headings help Google to index the primary topics of your posts. Making these clear and concise can help your post’s Google rankings.
- Use keywords judiciously throughout your posts, including in the title, headings and subheadings, and in your captivating introductory sentence and your closing paragraph.
- Use hyperlinks to other websites judiciously. It’s good etiquette to reference your sources and helpful to provide readers with links to important information, while not sending readers away from Hawaii Life with too many of these.
- Use anchor text that includes keywords – that is, lines of text that link to other related blogs on the Hawaii Life website.
- Optimize your images. Include keywords in the file name, description, caption, and alternative text fields of the images you add to your blog. FYI, the alternative text field is a description used by the sight impaired.
Never underestimate the power of what’s already published. If the readers of websites with a national audience find the subject fascinating, chances are that your Hawaii following will, too. Look for inspiration in other real estate, architecture or home improvement publications online, then find a way to write a localized or statewide take on the subject. Are there national market trends that you could track stats for here in Hawaii? Are people on the mainland eagerly buying up a particular style of home? Take that national title “Finding the Right School District - 5 Tips for Parents” and rewrite it for a Hawaii audience. The goal is to dip into a well and get some fresh ideas when yours have run dry.
Having trouble organizing your thoughts? Journalism students are taught to write using the inverted pyramid, which consists of the “LEAD”, the “BODY” and the “TAIL” of their story. When you’re stuck getting your ideas on the page, try following this fail-proof tool. At the top of the inverted pyramid is the lead, which often contains a provocative hook to draw readers in, and tells them what your post is about. It’s the “just the facts, Jack” section of one paragraph in length. It answers the questions Who? Where? What? When? Why? And How? Next comes the body of your story, where you expand on your idea with evidence, photos, issues, discussion, proof, quotes or support for what you’re trying to convey. Finally, the tail may include interesting or related items, context, and above all, your assessment of what you’ve just discussed.
There’s nothing like a glaring spelling error to diminish all your hard work in the eyes of a reader. There are plenty of tools on the market to help your writing look polished and professional. Grammarly is a web browser tool with both a free and paid version. Even the free version is pretty useful. It will correct your spelling, as well as some grammar and punctuation errors. You can add this tool to your web browser at grammarly.com. You’ll be glad you did. If you want to spring for the pro version, it’s $139/year. That’s less than $13 a month to make sure all your emails and blogs are free of spelling and grammatical errors. It even suggests new vocabulary words to use and flags tired adjectives you use too often.
On occasion, even professional writers need helpful tools to make their writing more impactful, engaging and smart. We recommend that you toggle between dictionary.com and thesaurus.com (two tabs in the same website) to expand your vocabulary and make your blogs more colorful, using exciting new verbs and adjectives. Keep these open in a browser tab next to Wordpress. Even pro writers use this on the regular! Once you’ve finished writing a blog, comb through it and copy and paste some of the verbs and adjectives you’ve chosen into the Thesaurus to find some new options. It’ll liven up your writing! We promise.
“Perfect is the enemy of good” is an aphorism to live by when it comes to writing. At least for your first draft. Get out of your head and don’t overthink the structure, voice or final outcome. We recommend you just write it, write it quickly, don’t worry about spelling, and then walk away from it for a day. When you come back, edit it. Walk away for a few hours more. Re-read it and edit it again. Find a “first reader” – someone who knows you well – to read your blog and make sure it makes sense, the content is clear to a layperson, and that it flows. Above all – ask them to verify that it showcases you, conveys your knowledge and strengths, and shines a light on your sparkling personality!
Search Engine Optimization is the art and science of getting your content to appear on the first page of Google Rankings so that when readers seek out info on a topic, your blog pops up on the first page of options. Here’s where HawaiiLife.com has the market advantage over every other brokerage in the state. But you can help this along by including some Google Keywords in your post. It’s a balance between writing organically about your topic of interest and making those keywords sounds natural and part of the flow. What would readers type into the Google search box when researching your topic? We recommend “Hawaii real estate” or “[Your island] real estate”. These are essential keywords you’ll want to include in your posts.
Our website sees more than 3 million unique visitors per year, but what keeps them spending time there is relevant, engaging content from you. Your ability to hold their attention boosts the efforts of every agent at Hawaii Life – sort of like a rising tide, you’re raising all boats. Other agents are raising yours, too. Build upon the content that’s already on the site, as well as on the precious hours you’ve already invested in creating killer blog posts. Write shorter, related blog posts around a lengthy, detailed article and interlink them one to another through your writing. Use phrases like: “Want to know more about this topic? Please click here for Hawaii Life’s recent post about lending for military families” or “To learn more about Honolulu’s new construction boom, read my recent blog post “Ward Village Has a High-Rise To Suit Every Taste and Budget.”
Social media is one of the primary means by which people communicate these days. Love it or hate it, it’s here to stay. So when you’re writing blog posts, think about the elements that will really add the WOW! factor on Facebook. Would the addition of a 30-second video of your favorite sunset, surf spot or hike grab social media users' attention, while also being relevant to your blog content? Then get out there and start shooting! Would some stunning images of the view from your listing at sunrise show readers its very best feature? Then take the time to get the right shot. Also, take advantage of the immediacy, reach and exposure of social media by sharing not just your own content, but the shares from Hawaii Life’s social media pages. If each of our 250+ agents shared just one post per day to 200 friends and followers, that would result in more than 18 million social impressions per year. Help drive the Hawaii Life buzz!
Posting about your listings is great, but once the property sells, your blog post is a bit obsolete. If you write content that endures and stays relevant over time, your blog contributions will have a longer shelf life. Posts with the highest traffic on our website are often how-to articles for an audience looking to move to Hawaii, or existing residents seeking to buy a home. What are the questions you’d have if planning a move to Hawaii? What are the steps in the process of purchasing a home, condo or piece of land? Build your reputation as a Subject Matter Expert and make your blog posts the “go-to” source of information for readers. Teach readers how to accomplish something they already want to do or are trying to figure out, and they'll remember you.
Create a "hub' or central topic and branch out into a number of related sub-topics. Include a list of links in the primary blog post. Check out this well-trafficked post that details the complex steps required to move a pet to Hawaii.
To keep readers engaged, break topics or related information into a grouping of short, digestible blog posts and interlink them through the copy, as in these examples:
Zero Down Options for the Cash-Strapped Home Buyer
Is an FHA or USDA Rural Home Loan Right for You?
So You’re Buying Your First Home
Five Good Reasons to Get a Pre-Approved Mortgage
What Qualifies for a VA Loan?
LEED CERTIFICATION BLOGS
Our more than 3 million online visitors come to our website from across the state and around the world! When crafting your content, keep in mind that they may not be privy to the same information or have the same frame of reference as you do. Always ensure that you provide context for your blog. Readers want to tap into your expertise! Always assume that they don't live on your island and aren't necessarily familiar with the locale or our industry. While you don't have to provide the entire backstory, it's important to approach your story like a reporter, filling in the missing pieces (who, what, when, where, why and how) and framing your content in context so your blog post will be clearly understood.
Your high school English teacher was right about the value of an attention-grabbing title. You need to hook your reader, but also, you need to make sure it's grammatically correct, or else you'll lose some readers right from the start. Even the best of writers use little tools to help them along (and to save time). One favorite is the Title Case Converter – a smart tool for capitalizing headlines and titles. You just copy & paste your title into their box, click convert, then copy & paste your corrected grammar into your blog. All Your Titles Will Be Properly Capitalized! Save this browser link and you'll always have it at your fingertips: titlecaseconverter.com