15 Years of LoCo Stories
Fifteen years ago today, LoCoMusings.com was ‘born’ as a modest little corner of the internet to share my thoughts about life and real estate in Loudoun County. Long before agents were able to use social media to reach their clients, before Zillow’s home search and Zestimates were mainstream, I was a former journalist/public relations person starting a real estate business, trying to figure out how to build a brand and following. At the time, I had 4 children under 10 years old, and a limited amount of time to leave the house for networking and business building. So I turned to writing about Loudoun, making myself and LoCoMusings an unofficial ambassador to the beautiful place I live.
When the site first began, it was pretty bare bones (as you can see from that December 2007 image, courtesy of Wayback Machine.) Along the way, there were three pretty big redesigns and expansions, adding home search, neighborhood and town pages, market reports, and home buying and selling information. As of today, there are more than 500 blog posts, just shy of 1000 comments, and 60 local area guide pages. We have visitors from around the world and in all 50 states who stop by to read about what it’s like to live here and search for homes and real estate information. Since the site started gaining readership, I was named an original LinkedIn Influencer, have been quoted in Forbes, have written for the Washington Post, and had the incredible opportunity to teach and speak about blogging and content marketing at conferences across the country.
Some Favorite Moments From Across the Years
- The Cole Farm Barn debacle: in 2011, as what remained of Cole Farm was being redeveloped into a shopping center, the historic barn – that was supposed to be preserved- was accidentally knocked down. I happened to be passing by, took a photo, and broke the news. Work was halted, and choppers from the DC media soon descended as the community was outraged. The barn was saved, and the developer that had to take the heat on it later turned into a very close friend of our family. (He wasn’t amused with me at the time, however!)
- Changes Afoot in 2011: After working for nearly 20 years as a PGA golf professional, most recently as the head pro and teaching instructor at the now-defunct Westpark Golf Club in Leesburg, my husband Michael was finally lured into working with me in real estate. Cue the many golf related blog posts, including player-style reviews of the courses in the Loudoun County area.
- Builders Faltering, Pulling Back in Loudoun: Back in 2009, after noticing a builder had blacked out the information on their community entrance signs at the Highlands at Round Hill, I did some digging and shared that Equity Homes had “ceased business operations” in the mid-Atlantic. This was unfortunately news to some homeowners that were under contract for new builds. Local news outlets stepped in to report on this in more detail afterwards.
- Most Expensive Homes Sold in Loudoun series: Our annual post on the performance of the luxury market in Loudoun has been a consistent crowd pleaser, and was featured repeatedly in the Washington Post’s Where We Live blog. After a decade of writing about it, we are amazed at how the luxury market in Loudoun has been redefined in recent years. Stay tuned for the 2022 edition!.
- 2015 site relaunch: while we didn’t publish a post to point it out, we completed a massive redesign and expansion in February 2015, when we chose a new site vendor. I can’t understate how instrumental the team at Boomtown has been in helping LoCoMusings grow. Thank you to the team there for your ongoing support and guidance!
The most read blog post across all of the content we’ve written over the years? Our post on commuting options between Loudoun and Washington DC. We keep it updated for current options, prices, and challenges, and new readers visit it every week. The second most visited post is the decade edition of our annual most expensive homes sold post. Given what the prices have been doing, the 2022 wrap up should be pretty interesting!
The most visited neighborhood pages? Beacon Hill, Belmont Country Club, Grenata, Willowsford, and Leesburg Country Club. Most of those were published a decade ago, but the Willowsford page is fairly new and was quickly a popular neighborhood for readers to research.
When I started growing an audience online, branching out into supporting social channels, there weren’t a ton of agents or brokerages (or listing portals) sharing real estate content and/or local expertise on the web. I have a handful of writing buddies across the country that I shared ideas with. Now, with listing information available on a million different sites online, the number of agents writing about their local area still remains small- turns out good, informative writing isn’t necessarily easy for agents to do. So we’re still kind of an outlier, plugging away at educating consumers and shining a light on the area we serve.
Thanks for coming along for the ride. Whether you’ve been a regular reader across the years or are just finding your way to us now, we appreciate every one of you. We love sharing information and stories about Loudoun County. The promise that we made to our readership and our clients back in 2012 still stands. Please stay tuned, our work here isn’t quite done.