Marketing I've been talking for a while about the value of using a blog to promote a vacation rental property, in place of a static web site. I wanted to demonstrate this from the beginning so have decided to use my own property as the guinea pig, and my ever patient husband as the guinea pig keeper. Phil has spent all his working life keeping the skies clear for democracy and after 35 years in the military was hoping for some quiet time, but no such luck. He's in for the the long haul here! A Florida Villa and a Gite in Brittany Some owners are already seeing the benefit of developing a blog to market their rental property. Brittany Family Gite is Derek Arkwright's site that advertises his French property but has a second purpose of helping owners explore the possibility of buying in France creating additional income from retning. There's some interesting posts on building web sites too. Alison Meacham's blog on her Windsor Palms home is a wonderful example of using expertise on a particular area to provide great content to market both her Florida villa, and the Disney experience. Domain Name Registering the domain name for our blog is the first step. We are going to be using WordPress which is known as a ‘blog platform'. This is just a swanky way of describing the programme that provides all the features you need to create your own web site. You might also have heard of Blogger or Typepad which are similar, but WordPress which I will call WP from now on, is probably the most user friendly and since it's the one I am most familiar with. More on WP later this week. There's two ways of using WordPress – one is the totally free way by having it hosted at WP; the other is the way we're going… to have a nice domain name that is all ours, and pay a company to host it. This means we'll have a name like www.ospreycottage.com rather than www.ospreycottage.wordpress.com. See the difference? This will cost around $8 for domain registration, and $10 per month for hosting. There are other options such as having the WP domain point to your existing web site if are already set up There's plenty of places to register a domain name. You may have heard of www.godaddy.com which is a popular domain registration site. I use www.cheekydomains.com and have over a dozen domain names ‘parked' there. Tomorrow we'll go through the process of finding and registering a domain name.