“Our business isn’t heavily dependent on Web-based [transactions], but it is a very important aspect,” said Chris Carmen, president-CEO of the 15-year-old company. Instead of sales, Carmen said the company wanted to use to the Web to communicate its industry expertise to its target audience, exclusively small-to midsize buyers or tenants.
Solution: In June, Carmen was contacted by Chris Baggott, CEO and co-founder of Compendium Blogware, to view a demo of his company’s new product. The software streamlines the editing and approval process of blog posts through highlighting key terms and links relevant to a business—tools that ultimately increase a company’s Web site ranking on search engines.
“We had an obvious need, but we hadn’t anticipated solving that need with blogging software,” Carmen said. “When it became clear how the blogging tool could be used for search engine placement … it became much more appealing.” But why pay for blog software with so many free programs out there?
“If I’m using a free platform, I’m in line behind everyone else who’s paying,” said Ali Sales, Compendium president and co-founder. She called technical problems a “hidden cost” that some businesses don’t anticipate when using free software. If a blogger has to fix a technical hiccup himself, he wastes time struggling with unfamiliar jargon, when he or she could be working on something else, Sales said. Most of Compendium’s business customers are first-time bloggers.
Results: “When you’re buying a new product that’s recently been developed, you’re thinking, ‘Gosh, I sure hope this works,’ ” Carmen said. “I’ve really been surprised at how effective it’s been.”
One of Carmen’s three blogs, Indianapolis commercial real estate (http://blog.carmenrealestate.com/blog.php/indianapolis-commercial-real-estate-2), is maintained by the company president.
One of the biggest benefits of the blog platform is measurability, Carmen said. Web analytics means not only tracking who is visiting the blogs and how long they’re staying but knowing how often blogs drive readers to the company’s home page (www.carmenrealestate.com/).
“The results we’re measuring is our Web site traffic,” Carmen said. “There’s almost a direct link to Web site traffic, [and that] creates more client inquiries.” In September, 11% of the company’s Web traffic came from referring sites; now that number is 18%. About 5.5% comes from the blog site.
After working with Compendium for just one month, Carmen Commercial Real Estate Services’ blogs are ranking higher in Google searches for terms such as “Indianapolis Commercial Space,” “Indianapolis Lease Negotiation” and “Indianapolis Relocation Company.” In some cases, the blogs jumped from not appearing in the top 100 to appearing No. 1 in searches.