Real estate blogs are now a must have for serious real estate agents. Fortunately, they couldn't be easier to set up, and they're free! Many agents now use their blog as their main real estate site, saving them hundreds of dollars a year and avoiding the hassle of maintaining both a website and a blog.

Step 1: Plan it out. What areas and topics do you want your blog to cover? What would you like to name your blog? You want your blog to cover broad enough topics that you can reach new clients. But you don't want to be overly broad or you'll be competing against larger, more entrenched blogs. Also, the more you focus on a smaller area the more of a local expert you will appear.

For most small towns, consider a blog covering your entire region. If you are in a larger city, you may want to focus on that city only. It's not recommended to focus your blog on just one neighborhood, as it may be hard to consistently write new content if there is not that much news to report for that neighborhood.

Step 2: Sign up for an account at one of the major free blog providers, such as wordpress, blogger, or posterous. They're all very easy to set up, usually it is only a 2-3 step process where you enter you username and email address, then pick a name for your blog. And, of course, it's all free.

Step 3: Set up your blog. Before writing your first post, you should click on the "pages" section and edit your "about" page. You can also add additional pages, for example if you want to include a testimonials page or a local resources page. "Pages" are different from "posts", because a page is a permanent page that is linked right from you homepage, just as you see with regular real estate websites.

"Posts" are what you write every 1-2 days, which slowly move down the page as your write more. Posts are great for day to day news, and pages are great for permanent important information you want your visitors to see.

Step 3: Check out your competition. Type your area (ex "Boston real estate" or "Boston real estate blog") into Google, and read the top blogs that you find. That should help give you an idea of the type of content readers are looking for, Take your time on this step and really get a feel for the style of writing (short - lots of dashes - lots of line breaks) that people like on the internet.

Also see which posts get the most comments, and that will give you an idea of what topics readers care most about.

Step 4: Start writing! Blogs only work if you write several blog posts a week, at least 2-3. You won't see much response at first, but if you consistently write for 3-4 months you should start to see a few comments from visitors, and then it's only a matter of time until you generate your first lead from your blog!

Michael is an active real estate broker, and has both a California state salesperson's license and a California state broker's license. Michael is also the founder of My Single Property Websites, a simple, inexpensive marketing tool for real estate agents and writes on his real estate marketing blog.

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