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Saturday, November 3, 2007

My first year as a real estate blogger

headroomToday marks the first anniversary of my blogging adventure. I'd like to take a moment to thank our subscribers and frequent readers for their interest and support. It has been a lot of work, but the feed back from the public and my professional colleagues has made it really worthwhile. Web traffic analytics show that I'm being read in 103 countries globally and visitors click through and read an average of over 2 stories on each visit. I'm encouraged by that broad based, quality readership. Comitini.com soft launched on November 3rd, 2006 with this post. There were at the time just a few others written in the queue to test the process while the home page was out of public view. I formally announced the site in January of 2007, after I'd had a chance to write more content, and get blogging time worked into my routine. After a year, I feel like I'm just catching my stride now. It has been a busy one with my overall practice growing, including my largest exclusive to date.

"Seems Mr. Comitini's got himself one of these here blogs—hey, it's one of the better designed broker blogs we've yet come across. His disembodied head? Nice touch."

The site has been well received by the blogging and real estate communities. The blog has gotten us interest from the press and been cited on Curbed.com, SmartMoney.com, The New York Sun, and in Robb Report publications among many places. I've been included in the Carnival of Real Estate's weekly competition of the best blogging seven times over the past year (that's every time I've submitted). One of my articles is even being excerpted and included in the textbook for the NYS licensing exam New York Real Estate for Brokers by Marcia D. Spada. The "voice" here continues to develop, and I think that there is much room to improve and innovate.

My goals this year include a greater focus on the relationship between new technologies and real estate marketing, growing the subscriber base, and encouraging more reader participation in comments on the blog. The blog has grown more focused exclusively on real estate, and has been defined as much by what has been dropped, as by what has been added. When launched, the site was proudly described as "luxury real estate and design"— I've since dropped the design label. While it is a passion of mine, it is too big a topic and probably best done on its own, rather than mixed in with the more business oriented stuff. I'm extremely meticulous about all aspects of graphic design and writing throughout every communication which my practice generates; I hope that readers find the site's writing, art direction and functionality to be well considered. I'm letting the design muse speak through the site in a more subtle way. I also removed the ill conceived, separately syndicated, AskComitini.com blog and widget from the right column, and folded it into the main blog as the questions & answers topic. That right column has gotten enhanced content and a new look with the redesign of my personally edited reading list in newsreal recently. It has more descriptive bookmarks and newsfeeds that highlight real estate and New York City in online news media. I also launched the real estate book shop, which is an ongoing, project supporting Corcoran Cares, that I'll be expanding in the near future.

From a business point of view, the blog has accomplished a few things:

  • Gotten press for my client's listings and my real estate practice
  • Created leads for new business
  • Helped build my personal brand
  • Visibly demonstrates the unique mix of marketing and graphic design services I offer.
  • Raised visibility for client listings and myself among the NYC co-brokerage community

It has taken up a fair amount of my attention over the past year. It has indeed been a learning experience in time management, and an ongoing process that pushes me to be on top of my game. I read voraciously on many aspects of real estate and development, and document it on newsreal. I use the center column for original writing and have developed content relationships with The Wharton School of Business, Barbara Corcoran Ink, the Wall Street Journal's Real Estate Journal, and a few others on an ad hoc basis like Open House NY. I continue to look for more excellent content relationships that will bring various points of view to readers. Thanks again to all of you for making this a great experience! I pledge to continue to listen to your suggestions, develop and deliver the best real estate site possible.