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4 Reasons You Need to Update Your Web Browser Today
How old is your browser? If you are using Firefox or Chrome on your desktop or laptop PC, are you sure you have the latest version? Tech Helpline found that one-in-three callers were using a version of Firefox that was at least seven years old! Why should you need to be concerned about searching the web using an outdated version of any of the popular browsers? Let's look at four reasons that should motivate you to make certain your web browser is updated today:
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How to Create a Powerful Online Reputation
What Is a Powerful Online Reputation? According to NAR's Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, when asked what the deciding factor was in choosing their real estate professional, home sellers prioritized the agent's reputation over other factors. As defined by Merriam Webster, reputation is your "overall quality or character as seen or judged by people in general" and the "recognition by other people of some characteristic or ability," such as being clever or good at problem-solving. In today's world, the impression of your reputation often begins online. Even with personal, word-of-mouth referrals, people are likely to hear good things about you and then go online to validate that impression. So you have to ask yourself: What are the qualities I want to be recognized for and how do I make that part of the impression I give online?
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How to Grab Text from an Image Using Google Keep
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What's the Safest Way to Manage Your Passwords?
It may be the biggest Catch-22 of technology: password protection keeps your data safe. After all, one in five Americans says they have experienced a compromise of an online account. But to be genuinely safe experts recommend using different, highly complex passwords: a mix of random letters, numbers, and characters. However, that approach makes these passwords nearly impossible for most people to remember!
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No Internet? Here's How to Set Up Your Own Hotspot
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19 Real Estate Memes and GIFs that Will Make You Smile
Looking for some fun real estate memes and GIFs to share with your coworkers and clients? Here are 19 animated real estate memes for you to share with your clients. Memes and GIFs travel through social media and are great to break up the listing, closing, and open house posts on Instagram and Facebook. Plus, many of these show the all too common experiences we all share being an agent. You have to have a sense of humor to stay motivated in real estate. You are free to share any GIFs on this page. To download a photo, simply right click on your mouse and select 'Save Image As.' Upload the GIF to Facebook as you would a regular image. Once it's uploaded and published on your page, the GIF will move automatically.
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8 Great Gmail Tips and Tricks
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Beyond CCPA and GDPR: New Digital Privacy Developments that Realtors Need to Know
We recently talked about the new California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and its impact on the real estate industry in the United States. CCPA is the first domestic state regulation after the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and although CCPA isn't as far-reaching as GDPR, it will mean a change in the way real estate agents in the US handle and manage personal identifiable information for their clients and leads. Unlike the GDPR, CCPA is based in this country and, much like GDPR, has inspired other new privacy regulations in other states that are reflective of CCPA and the GDPR.
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Google Flags Websites that Are Not HTTPS as Not Secure
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Top 10 Tips to Finally Conquer Your Email Inbox
At this moment in time, how many emails are in your inbox? Today, one woman said 20,000 emails, and she just ignores most of them. Twenty-thousand may sound extreme, yet many people have thousands of emails in their inbox. We are talking about the number of total emails sitting there, not just the read ones. An attorney I work with is completely up to date with all his emails. His wife had only 22 emails in her inbox. That is a rarity. As business people, and in our personal lives, the number of e-mails we get each day can be daunting. A disorganized inbox can hurt our business and productivity.
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Why Your Internet Browser Choice Matters
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Google Your Way to Saving Time
We most often think of Google as a search engine. But Google has become so much more. Artificial intelligence and machine learning are making Google smarter. These advanced technologies also are giving Google predictive analytical ability. That means Google is starting to anticipate what you want before you may even realize you want it! What all of this can mean to a real estate agent is that Google can save you time. Learning Google search shortcuts alone can save you a lot of time. Learning some of the different shortcuts you can enter into that little blank box under the Google logo should delight you. After all, Google may be the most underrated tech tool on an agent's smartphone or laptop in terms of being a real time saver. Let's look at the most frequently used Google search shortcuts you can enter in the Google search box for speedier answers. Google syntax Just like there are shortcut keystrokes on your keyboard to expedite a command to tell your computer to do something, here are some of the most popular and time-saving shortcut commands for Google search you can enter into that little blank box – or in your browser if Google is your default search engine. 1. Use quote marks (") to search for an exact phrase or sentence. You can limit your search and make it more precise by using quotations. If you are looking for the "best laptop 2018," by using quotes, you will narrow your search to new laptops with the best ratings. 2. Use the words and, or (and, or) to connect search phrases: Adding an additional phrase in quotes with an "and" in the middle will connect the two phrases and yield more precise results. For example, "best laptop 2018" and "compare price" will deliver only content that also provides price comparison. If you add an "or" to two phrases, you can get results that consider similar but not exact words. For example, you could search "best laptop 2018" or "best laptops 2018" to make sure you get results that include both the singular phrase and the plural phrase. 3. Use a minus (-) to ignore a word or website. If you are searching for a video, but don't want to search YouTube, you can search "babies laugh video -YouTube.com" and your results will be YouTube free. 4. Use an at sign (@) to search on social media: If you want to find that viral tweet you have heard about or to find that real estate article someone posted on social media, Google can help you find it faster. If you want to focus on a single social media channel, add that word, i.e. "Facebook" or "Twitter." 5. Use a pound sign (#) to search for hashtag items on social media: If you want to find ways or ideas to improve your hashtag usage, look at what others are doing. Search items such as #tiptuesday, #throwbackthursday, or #selfiesaturday. 6. Use an asterisk (*) for an unknown word search: How do you save time searching for crucial features about your state or city you want to include in a description about your area? Try this search: "largest * in Orlando" or "Most expensive * in Orlando" or "* schools in Orlando." 7. Use two periods (..) to search for a range of numbers: This can come in handy, for example, if you are trying to find a new digital video camera and you have a price range in mind. You can search "video camera $100 .. $250." 8. Use the word info and a colon (info:) to get the lowdown on any website: If there is a company you need to know about, say you are about to use their service or have a client that works for them, or your client has a personal website. Here's a quick way to get all the crucial links about them instantly. Just search "info: TechHelpline.com" and you'll get the key links you need all at once! 9. Use the word related and a colon (related:) to see what others say about a firm: Doing research on a company or product can take time, so this is a great shortcut. Just search with "related: formsimplicity.com" to see what others have said about the firm and the product as links related to the firm will be displayed. 10. Use the word site and a colon (site:) to search solely within that website: The fastest way to search within a single website is to put a site: in front of the terms you want to search. Instead of trying to determine if that website has a search feature – or if it works well – use the power of Google to save time. BONUS: Use the power of Google Advanced Search: This is one link you are going to want to bookmark on your web browser if you haven't already: google.com/advanced_search. It's probably the most significant time saver Google offers in a single link. Here are a few ways you can narrow your searches to save time: Search for a specific type of documents: Look just for PDFs, Excel spreadsheets, Word docs and more Search for content in one particular language, and not only English: Google searches more than 40 specific languages, from Afrikaans to Vietnamese. Search by country/region Search by time: You can limit your search as recent to something that was posted within the last 24 hours, day, week, month or year. Limit your search to where the information you want appears on the page: Google can search only the title of pages, or just the body text or the URL of the page You can mix and match any of these parameters for your searches. You can use any of these parameters, or a mixture of them, to search within a single domain/website! Power of Google As you can see, using Google solely for its search engine capabilities can provide an agent a huge productivity boost when you know how to use it best. Don't forget to review our other Google article from last year, "10 Things You Probably Didn't Know Google Could Do For You" to discover more time-saving tips! To view the original article, visit the Tech Helpline blog.
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How to Connect to a Computer Remotely
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How to Snag Your .realestate Website Domain Before Your Competition
A new website domain extension is set to debut next week, and Realtors looking for a memorable web address with plenty of SEO potential should take notice. Website names with a .realestate domain extension go on pre-sale Tuesday, Sept. 18. That means Realtors will be able to purchase domains like Chattanooga.RealEstate or SmithandBrooks.RealEstate.
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Why Real Estate Agents Need to Think About Cyber Security
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The 5 Tech Tips You Can't Live Without
Let's face it: our lives are now tech centric. Think about this: In 2011, only 35 percent of American households had smartphones, but that number is now 77 percent! And three-in-four Americans ages 50-64 now own smartphones, a jump of 16 percent in just one year. The day in the life of a Realtor® relies upon dependable technology, and dependable technology needs upgrading. So, what are the must-do technology tips that every real estate agent and broker needs to protect themselves and their businesses? We turned to our experts at Florida Realtors® Tech Helpline, the real estate industry's #1 tech support service, created by Realtors® for Realtors®. Collectively, our technical advisors have over 250 years of technical knowledge, and they specialize in supporting real estate brokers and agents. Here are their Top 5 Tech Tips:
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How Worried Should You Be About Internet Cookies?
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How (and Why) Agents Can Use Gmail for Real Estate
Whether you love it or hate it, every business needs email. It's easy to set up your email account and call it done, but, like all technology, email is evolving and changing. The account you set up 20, 10, or even five years ago may no longer meet your business' needs. Check out some of the things Gmail can do below and then ask yourself, "Does my email do this for me?" What is Gmail? Gmail is, very simply, "email by Google." Gmail integrates with your other Google suite tools, making it easy to preview new documents, share photos, accept calendar events, and more. Why use it? In addition to making it easy to send, search for, and check emails, Gmail automatically sorts your email according to subject line and has a highly effective spam filter, user-friendly IM services, 15 GB of free storage, extra storage available at very reasonable rates, and the ability to label, color code, and sort email and contacts. Where can I get it? Android iOS Computer Browser
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Don't Get Caught by the Phishing Hook
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Choosing a Not-Com Domain Name to Set Your Business Apart
In the early days of the internet, IP addresses—long strings of numbers separated by periods—were used to identify websites. As more and more people took to the internet, a simpler, easier method of finding a website was designed: domain names. When the first domain names were released around 1985, website owners could choose from .com, .net, and .org. Since that time, those top-level domain extensions have remained popular, making it hard for new businesses to find great, unclaimed domain names. Luckily, recognizing the continually growing demand for domain names, new possibilities were (and continue to be) introduced. Businesses can now choose one of the original .com, .net, or .org domain extensions or one of the newer ones, which include but aren't limited to, .site, .biz, .blog, .services, .ltd, .online, .town, and (perfect for the real estate industry) .homes. Creating a Domain Strategy With so many domain extensions available, business owners aren't limited to a single domain name. While your primary domain name may be BuyNC.homes, you may decide to purchase a secondary domain name for your investor clients under lucrative.holdings or one for your rental clients under RentAtlantaGA.homes. Creating a domain name for each of your primary niches can boost your appeal to those buyers and sellers. After all, why should someone looking to sell their beach home go to a website whose domain is more buyer-oriented when they could use a site like sellbeach.homes? Each of these names can then be used in various marketing materials and forwarded back to niche-specific pages on your primary website.
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Amateur Move: Are You Making One of These 7 Password Mistakes?
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5 Email Tools to Make Follow-Ups Easier
Do you remember the days when email was in its infancy? Do you remember the days when you spent more time checking your answering machine and fax machine than your inbox? While this may have been a simpler time in some ways, things have changed over the years. In today's world, email remains the number one form of professional communication. It's common to have a love-hate relationship with your inbox. On the plus side, you enjoy the fact that you can communicate in a fast and efficient manner, all without having to jump on the phone or meet in person. Conversely, there's no denying the fact that "inbox overload" is a real thing. Some people become so overwhelmed that it negatively impacts the way they manage their inbox and how they follow-up on important conversations. Fortunately, there are a variety of email tools that can help you get organized and stay organized. Here are several of the top tools that make email follow-up easier. 1. FollowUp.cc If Gmail is your email provider of choice, FollowUp.cc is a feature packed tool that can save you time and keep your inbox organized. Top features include: Schedule follow-up reminders (these cancel automatically if you receive a response before your scheduled reminder). Add notes and tags for any contact. View your conversation history to ensure that you take the right steps in the future. FollowUp.cc is lightweight, easy to use, and powerful.
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How The 'Internet of Things' Affects Real Estate
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NAR Launches Single Sign-On for All Members
NAR launched new a new single sign-on process that became mandatory for all members on Tuesday. The intent of the new process is to simplify the login process for Realtors. With single sign-on, members will be able to access all NAR owned web properties with just one user name and password, eliminating the need to remember login credentials for multiple profiles. To make things even easier, NAR now allows members to link their login information to their Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter accounts. That means Realtors click the social media icon of their choice at login and bypass entering the user name and password altogether. The change in sign-on process isn't the only change at NAR's website. The organization recently changed the address of their site from Realtor.org to NAR.Realtor. You may not have noticed, though--go to any page on Realtor.org and you'll be smoothly redirected to the indentical page on the NAR.Realtor domain at blink-and-you'll-miss-it speed. To learn more about single sign-on, including linking to your social media account, registering, and more, check out the video above.
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Tips for Taming Your Inbox: Setting Up Canned Responses
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Email Etiquette for the Real Estate Professional
We all know emails are now one of the primary ways to communicate. Over the past couple of years, we have seen a gradual increase in electronic mail usage over phone calls or actual meetings. I receive tons of email every year and I saw some stark difference between emails from different people. Some are extremely professional and some are super casual, but what is the best practice? Here are some quick tips on how to improve your email etiquette. 1. Greet It's surprising how many people actually forget to add a cursory greeting at the beginning and end of a message. It's important to start a conversation with pleasantries—a hi, hello and thank you will go a long way. Remember, it's not just a real estate deal, it's a relationship. 2. Know your CC and BCC Always take time before replying to an email. Understand what CC and BCC mean and use these features if necessary. If you are sending a mass email, make sure to use the BCC option in your email—especially when you are sending out newsletters or flyers.
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Best of 2016: Why Agents Should Never Use Personal Email
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Best of 2016: 7 Google Chrome Extensions for Real Estate Agents
We're continuing an annual tradition of counting down our top 10 articles of the year. The following article was originally published back in March and is #2 in our countdown. See #3 here. Want to get more out of your online experience? Put your web browser to work for you! Google's Chrome browser offers thousands of extensions that you can install to boost your productivity. Like apps for your mobile phone, these add-ons range from social media sharing buttons to extensions that block online distractions so that you can better focus on important tasks. Ready to give your productivity a boost? These seven Chrome extensions can help turn you into a web power user! 1. Write Space This extension lets you write and edit text right from your browser. Write Space's design is simple and clean, a lack of clutter that makes it easier to focus on writing rather than outside distractions. (The app's creators suggest turning your browser to full-screen mode to reduce distractions even further!) Our favorite feature of Write Space is how it automatically saves everything as you type, so you never have to worry about accidentally losing your work. It's convenient, too. Rather than booting up Word or another program to write down notes, just open this extension in a new browser tab and start typing! 2. Awesome Screenshot Have you ever needed to take a screenshot of an entire webpage or document--including the parts that you'd have to scroll down to see? Awesome Screenshot to the rescue! This extension lets you easily capture all kinds of screenshots, from the whole page to a small selection. The best part about Awesome Screenshot is that it lets you annotate any of your screenshots with text, shapes, highlights, and more.
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Tips for Taming Your Inbox: Managing Your Notifications
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Forget Inbox Zero. Be an Inbox Hero with Boomerang for Gmail
For most agents, Inbox Zero is unattainable. Between automated listing emails, lead alerts and messages sent from clients, title and mortgage partners and more, you likely receive more emails than you can possibly pay attention to each day. That's where Boomerang comes in. Boomerang's main functionality is to help you put messages in a queue so you can read and respond to them at the right time. But Boomerang doesn't just help you cut through the clutter of email, it also helps you get focused on proper follow-up and makes you more likely to receive replies back. Here are three ways you can leverage Boomerang to get ahead in your real estate business. "Snooze" the emails that you don't need to answer right away There are probably a few times a day — or even a dozen times a day — when you react to the "ding" of your inbox, only to find that it's a general newsletter from your MLS or an invitation to a Chamber of Commerce meeting. What if those "time-insensitive" emails could be programmed to come back to your email at a time when you're more likely to respond? With Boomerang, you can do just that. By simply clicking one button, you can tell the utility to bring a message back to the top of your inbox at a specific time in the future. Get ahead with better inbox management Consider setting up one or two hours a week that are dedicated to managing these less important emails. If your weekly sales meeting is at 9am on a Tuesday, schedule these emails to Boomerang back on Tuesday at 7:45am. Get in a bit early, fire up the coffeemaker and hit reply or delete until you've achieved Inbox Zero on your long-term response messages.
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Gmail Keyboard Shortcuts Are the Key to Speed
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The 6 Best Chrome Extensions for Real Estate Pros
We all love a good time saver, right? And Chrome extensions are often the be-all, end-all when it comes to finding a quick hack during your daily internet browsing or time spent online for work. For those who may not quite be in the know—don't worry, it's nothing you can't remedy in a quick three minutes! Are you using Chrome as your browser? If so, then great, you're on the right track. If not, go ahead and download it. It's Google's excellent Internet browser and probably one of your better options out there. As for the Chrome extensions, think of them as a free little widget that sits at the top of your browser and completely enhances your Internet browsing activities. Currently, my favorite extension is Honey, which finds discount codes for you and automatically tries them out when you go to check out from your online shopping spree. I've saved quite a bit of money through it—and that's just one of the many, many extensions out there. Now, as a real estate agent, your business may not quite benefit from the usage of Honey, but we're sure that there are a few extensions that could, in fact, help your productivity and more throughout your day. Before you head to the Chrome Web Store and go wild with downloading every great extension, take a look through our list and use it to create your personalized, curated web-browsing experience! Check out the 6 best chrome extensions for real estate professionals: We know, there's an epidemic when it comes to how distracted we get throughout the day. Whether we're checking in on social media, or chatting with our colleagues, somedays it feels near impossible to be productive at all. Thirty-one percent of American employees report that online activities like shopping, blogging and checking in on Facebook hinders them from being productive. With the addition of these Chrome extensions, you may be thinking that we're just adding to the clutter of your already very cluttered desktop, but we promise that these will help you completely streamline a lot of your daily tasks, and maybe even improve your grammar as well!
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Should Agents Use Their Lead Routing Email Address in MLS?
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The HTML Guide for Real Estate Agents Over 40
One of my favorite classes back in college was on HTML (hypertext markup language); it was sort of a mashup of an art class and a writing class. I also liked it because it was one of very few classes that didn't require me to purchase a $300 textbook. Everything we covered was (and still is) available for free on w3schools.com. So if you want to master HTML, go check that out. Here, we're just covering the basics that will give you more control over your content. Finding the HTML box: Most websites and blogs will have a button in your edit window that will let you switch to HTML. This button will usually be in one of the corners of your editor. If you have a Homes.com website, your HTML button is on the bottom left. Here's what you need to know: The greater than and less than symbols (also called angle brackets) should enclose your HTML. Without them, your code will show up as text on your website instead of editing your site. Inside the brackets, you put the "tag" for what you want to accomplish. Most of the time, you only need special HTML tags like bold or italics in part of your code rather than on your whole page. To indicate where you want your formatting to end, for most HTML tags you just add a / in front of the tag. For example, this: is the tag for a new paragraph, so you use the following to end a paragraph: Example:
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How Agents Can Protect Themselves from Email Scams
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Why Internet Explorer Should Be Your Old Browser
The real estate industry today is Internet dependent. Agent and company websites, company intranets, MLS access, and back office systems all require agents and brokers to go online to manage these resources. So must the American homebuyer, too, as more than 90 percent of all real estate home searches begin online. Perhaps the most important software tool that enables the Internet is the one that's also taken for granted: your Internet browser. For years, real estate agents' favorite browser has been Internet Explorer from Microsoft. Unless you were a Mac user, when you bought your PC, Internet Explorer was automatically your browser and the vast majority of agents simply never switched. Additionally, many MLSs were only compatible with Internet Explorer, adding to many agents' reliance on IE. Even with the sun setting of support for Internet Explorer's older versions – and IE 11 being replaced by Edge as the Windows 10 default browser – agents have been tentative to switch to a different browser. According to NAR's Realtor Technology Report, while the use of Internet Explorer dropped from 50 percent to 38 percent in the most recent study, it was still the number one browser for agents, with Google's Chrome coming in at 32 percent, Firefox at 16 and Apple's Safari at 9 percent. However, among the American public, Chrome is the most popular browser, according to a 2015 Federal Government report. But the Internet is changing so fast that if you are still using Internet Explorer, especially an older version, you should ask yourself, "Is it time to switch?"
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The Psychology of Using GIFs, Memes, and Emojis in Your Emails
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18 Real Estate Subs to Explore on Reddit
Yesterday, we talked about how to find quality content to share on social media. Our article suggested subscribing to the RSS feeds of reputable blogs and online publications. That's perfectly respectable and tame advice. However, if you feel like venturing deeper into the wilds of the internet, there's another method to consider—exploring Reddit. What is Reddit? Reddit is a massive online public community where users can converse with each other on just about every topic under the sun—including real estate! The site is organized like a forum, and each area of interest has its own message board, or "subreddit." Users subscribe to the subreddits that interest them, and posts from each sub they follow are aggregated on a personalized home page. It's a great way to keep an ear to the ground for the latest buzz on the topics you care about most. But like we said—Reddit is massive. The site is home to around 800,000 subreddits. It can be daunting (but often exhilarating) to find the ones you really like. Don't worry, though—we're not sending you into the Reddit jungle without a map. To help you get your bearings, we've rounded up 18 real estate related subreddits. You can follow them to find interesting content to share, or to find inspiration for future blog posts. Foundation Subreddits Want a solid base of real estate subreddits to start with? Try these five: /r/Realtors - Connect and chat with your fellow agents here. A great place to get advice from your peers. /r/realestate and /r/Real_Estate - These two subreddits are aimed towards consumers. Use them to understand what today's buyers and sellers are thinking, wondering, and worrying about. The questions consumers ask here are wonderful fodder for blog post ideas. Simply find a question you connect with and write an article that answers it. /r/CommercialRealEstate and /r/realestateinvesting/ - If you specialize in working with investors or with commercial properties, try these two subs. You can leverage them in a way similar to the pair above. Both investors and real estate pros frequent these subreddits.
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Why You Need to Google Yourself
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5 Email Security Tips for Real Estate Agents
Real estate agents are good at multi-tasking on the fly! But the fast-paced, mobile nature of your career means that your email security could be at risk. To help you, we're sharing some email security tips from Inc. magazine, along with suggestions of our own! 1. There's no such thing as truly private email. All information stored and sent over email is vulnerable. Avoid sending highly personal information, including financial information and passwords, through email. 2. Public, unsecured Wi-Fi connections are vulnerable to email hackers. Your mobile device may invite you to use such a connection, when you are in a public location with free Wi-Fi. For security reasons, do not use unsecured Wi-Fi when checking your email account, or doing mobile banking or any online transactions. 3. Never open attachments in unfamiliar emails. Email attachments are a common carrier of malware. If you do not know the sender, OR the message seems incongruous with the source, do not open the attachment. 4. The same goes for links embedded in an email; do not click on suspect links. Watch for "counterfeit" link addresses that look like a known company name, but contain alterations in spelling or syntax. Use special caution when the URL link is shortened; if you do not know the sender, or have doubts about the veracity of the message, do not click.
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New .Homes Website Domains Now Available to Real Estate Pros
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7 Google Chrome Extensions for Real Estate Agents
Want to get more out of your online experience? Put your web browser to work for you! Google's Chrome browser offers thousands of extensions that you can install to boost your productivity. Like apps for your mobile phone, these add-ons range from social media sharing buttons to extensions that block online distractions so that you can better focus on important tasks. Ready to give your productivity a boost? These seven Chrome extensions can help turn you into a web power user! 1. Write Space This extension lets you write and edit text right from your browser. Write Space's design is simple and clean, a lack of clutter that makes it easier to focus on writing rather than outside distractions. (The app's creators suggest turning your browser to full-screen mode to reduce distractions even further!) Our favorite feature of Write Space is how it automatically saves everything as you type, so you never have to worry about accidentally losing your work. It's convenient, too. Rather than booting up Word or another program to write down notes, just open this extension in a new browser tab and start typing! 2. Awesome Screenshot Have you ever needed to take a screenshot of an entire webpage or document--including the parts that you'd have to scroll down to see? Awesome Screenshot to the rescue! This extension lets you easily capture all kinds of screenshots, from the whole page to a small selection. The best part about Awesome Screenshot is that it lets you annotate any of your screenshots with text, shapes, highlights, and more.
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Why Agents Should Never Use Personal Email
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Security Alert: It's Time to Stop Using Internet Explorer!
Agents and brokers who are still using Internet Explorer (IE) will need to switch to a new web browser by next Tuesday, when Microsoft drops support for versions 8, 9 and 10 of its flagship browser. Version 11 of the browser will still be supported, however. That means if you run Windows 8.1 or 10, you don't need to worry about upgrading (yet) as IE11 comes pre-installed. Those running Windows 8 or earlier will need to switch to a new browser by next Tuesday to reduce security risks. Sad to see Internet Explorer go? Don't be. Internet Explorer has, for years, presented numerous security flaws that leave computers vulnerable to malicious attacks. The browser has also been the bane of web developers due to its notoriety for not following web standards and incorrectly rendering some web elements. Making the Switch Fortunately, switching browsers is not a painful process. Most modern browsers offer import wizards that make it easy to transfer over your bookmarks and options. The main Internet Explorer alternatives for Windows users are Chrome, Firefox, and Opera. Microsoft launched a new browser, called Edge, with Windows 10 that's intended to replace Internet Explorer. However, recent reports say that Edge is plagued by many of the same security issues as its predecessor, so you may want to stay away from it for now. Until then, making the switch is as easy as downloading the browser of your choice then installing it on your computer.
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Best of 2015: How to Convert a Document to PDF in 3 Easy Steps
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How to Search Smarter and Get Better Results on Google
Struggling to find relevant search results on Google? You may need to re-think what you're asking the search engine. To put a modern twist an old adage, there are no stupid queries...but there are smarter ones. There are several words and phrases you can add to your Google search queries in order to return more relevant results. They're called "search operators" and you can use them to ask better questions and hone in on precisely what you're looking for. Here's how. How to Be a Smooth (Search) Operator 1. Search for an exact phrase - Are you looking for something very specific, maybe a motivational business quote, and want to filter out all of the excess noise? Surround your query in quotation marks, e.g., "Create a sense of demand, rather than waiting to have demand." 2. Exclude a word - If your query is too broad, you can narrow it down by excluding a word from your search. Let's say you want to search for restaurants in Portland, but you keep getting results for the cities in both Maine and Oregon. Narrow it down by using the minus symbol to remove results from the state you don't want: Restaurants in Portland -Maine 3. Search within a site - If you want to return results from only a certain website domain, specify it like this: housing statistics site:realtor.org
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Resources to Maximize Your ROI in 2016
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Are Your Weak Passwords Leaving Clients Vulnerable?
Real estate agents are the gatekeepers of a lot of sensitive client data. While the solutions that store this data (for example, transaction and document management programs) have strict security protocols, client information is most often made vulnerable by the simplest of security missteps, like connecting to unsecured Wi-Fi networks. However, the most common security mistake agents make is in choosing a weak password. Weak passwords are easy for criminals to guess--and once they have your password, they have access to your data. Not sure if your password qualifies as an easy mark? Check out SplashData's most recent annual list of the worst password below. If your password resembles any of the following, it's high time to change it! (We'll share tips for choosing a strong password on the next page). 123456 password 12345 12345678 qwerty 123456789 1234 baseball dragon football 1234567 monkey letmein abc123 111111 mustang access shadow master michael superman 696969 123123 batman trustno1
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How to Drive More Traffic to Your Real Estate Website
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Quick Tip: How to Clear Your Browser Cache and Cookies
All I wanted to do was read about the "No Californians" signs popping up on Oregon listings. But when I clicked through to Realtor.com's shiny new blog to read the post, I received an error message rather than an article: 400 Bad Request, it read. Uh oh. What does that mean? While there are myriad reasons a web surfer may encounter this message, the most common reason is that your browser is storing a corrupt cookie from another website. Fortunately, fixing this issue is as simple as clearing your browser's cache and cookies. Clearing a bloated cache can also benefit you by resolving slow loading pages and instances where you are not seeing the latest updated version of a website. Clearing Your Browser Cache and Cookies First things first: before you clear your cache, be sure you save anything you're working on in the cloud—documents in Google Drive or your electronic signature solution, for example. That's because cloud solutions use browser cookies to keep you logged in. Since we're clearing all of them, that means you'll be automatically logged out of all the websites you frequent (Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, everything). Note that this doesn't affect software installed on your hard drive, only services and sites you access through your browser. Everything saved? Great! Here goes...
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How to Convert a Document to PDF in 3 Easy Steps
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Appraising Your Digital Property: Where Agents Should Be Online
Let's talk about property--digital property. These are virtual "places" like websites, social media and search portal profiles where prospects can find you online. Without a presence in the digital world, today's web savvy consumer will pass you by in favor of the competition. Buyers will never even know you exist. Sellers, on the other hand, will question why they should list with someone who can't even market themselves online. That doesn't mean you have to join every social network you can find, however, or run out and buy single property websites for each of your listings. When it comes to building an effective Internet presence, it's better to leverage a few web properties well. Here's a rundown of which are most important. Profiles on Property Search Portals According to a joint study by NAR and Google, over 90% of consumers start their home search online. Thanks to the way they dominate search results, property search portals like Zillow and Trulia are often the first place those consumers end up. That's why it's crucial that you claim your profile on each of the top three portals. If your brokerage or MLS sends listing data to portals, your name already appears on your listings. In the case of Trulia and Zillow, both display the listing agent's phone number and a link to their portal profile where consumers can see their other listings and read customer reviews. However, it's not uncommon for brokers that aren't meticulous about keeping track of their agents' contact info to send outdated phone numbers with their listing data. Claiming your portal profile will not only ensure that this information is accurate, it allows you to build a robust online property that's attractive to consumers. Be sure to add a recent headshot and solicit past clients for reviews for best results.
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A Look at the Marketing Opportunities .REALTOR Offers
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13 Tips for a Killer Online Reputation that You May Not Have Considered
Eighty-one percent of customers reach out to friends and family on social networking sites for advice before purchasing products (Vocus). What people are saying about you online can make a world of a difference for your business, and social media is where most of this chatter begins and ends. This makes online reputation management a critical factor for growing your business.The good news is that if you have the right tactics, you can feel confident that what people are finding about you is contributing to the success of your business. With that said, here are 13 tips to build a kickin' online reputation! 1. Know Your Strengths Figure out what you do better than anyone else and create your business strategies around those strengths – it will help give you a leg up on the competition. 2. Recognize Your Weaknesses Find out your weaknesses and dedicate the necessary resources to fix them. If you aren't the most social-savvy person out there, search for resources that you can use to improve that aspect of your business. 3. Where Do Your Opportunities and Threats Lie? Your biggest opportunities can be found in areas where people want something, but don't have it. Figure out what they are looking for and find a way to fill that void. Threats can be anything from new agents in the area to new technology innovations. Whatever they may be, find a way to adapt to them.
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Create Your Own Real Estate Memes
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How to Use Google Alerts to Monitor Your Listings Online
Real estate agents invest in a lot of tools that promise to catapult their listings to the top of search results. But how close do your single property websites, virtual tours, IDX listing detail pages, etc. actually get to the top? One way to find out is to set up Google Alerts for each of your active listings. Here's how. Using Google Alerts to Measure SEO You can track anything on Google Alerts--a name, a phrase. When you set an alert up, you're able to monitor, via email or RSS feed, each new online mention of that name or phrase. For monitoring listings, this will be the property address. Try setting up alerts for variations of the address--street, city, state; street and city; street and zip code, etc. Do this as soon as you get a listing--that way, you can see where alerts originate from first. If your broker or MLS syndicates to one of the big portals, their property details page will likely be the first alert you'll receive. Part of that depends on how fast listing data is transmitted. The other part depends on the SEO of those pages. Web pages with poor SEO will take longer to show up--sometimes days or even weeks--or may not show up at all. Let's imagine that you're paying for, say, a virtual tour solution and you're wondering if it's a good investment. Set up a Google alert to measure how long it takes for you to receive a notification of the tour's web or YouTube address. If you receive an alert soon after setting up and publishing a virtual tour, it's safe to say the SEO is good. If it takes longer than a day or two, that's a signal to evaluate whether or not you're getting a good ROI from that solution. When available, use the solution's onboard analytics to deepen your inquiry.
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How to Set up IFTTT for Lead Generation
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3 Outlook Essentials: Attachments, Signatures and AutoArchive
Microsoft Outlook is a useful tool in the life of an active REALTOR®. We receive a lot of calls requesting assistance with some basic tasks. Here are the top three: open or save attachments, add a signature, and set up the AutoArchive function. Let's explore all three briefly. Open or Save Attachments Whether photos or pdf documents, when you receive attachments, you have two options: View them or save them for future use. To View: double-click the attachment. To Save: right-click the attachment, select "Save As," select location and rename as needed. Add Your Signature Adding and customizing your signature in Outlook is simple. Follow these steps: Open Outlook. Select File > Options On the left column select Mail, and on the right hand side, select the gray Signatures button. Select the New button, assign a name to your signature, and select OK. Edit your signature; set them to go out for New Messages or Replies/Forwards, add a logo or personal picture. Select OK.
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11 Ways to Outsmart Security Threats in 2015
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Best of 2014: The Importance of an Email Address For Real Estate Agents
We're continuing an annual tradition of counting down our top 10 articles of the year. The following article was originally published back in February and is #6 in our countdown. See #7 here. There are a lot of things that go into crafting your image as a real estate professional. While you may take care of the bigger stuff like building a website or arranging print materials like business cards, some of the smaller things like picking the right email address might slip through the cracks. While you may think an email address is just a means of communication, it really does speak volumes about you and can serve as a first impression to your potential customers. Avoid Service Provider Email Addresses These are probably the worst kind of emails you can have as far as an outside perception. Whether it be an account from Time Warner, Verizon, Rogers, Bell or any other smaller internet provider, this just sends the wrong message to prospective clients. Email addresses like this work as a beacon to the rest of the world telling them that you probably aren't the most tech savvy person. If your address is from an ISP people could draw the conclusion that you're just a part timer or that you may only have access when you're at home at the end of the day. The biggest issue with these emails is what if you decide to change service providers? Sometimes these changes are unavoidable, maybe you find a great deal with a rival provider that's too good to pass up, or maybe your provider goes out of business. What happens then? The email that you had printed on your business cards and in the Yellow Pages will now be entirely inaccessible to you once you leave that provider. Think of all the hassle of updating all your online services with your new address and getting in touch with all your contacts to update them. In short, it will be a mess. Ideally you don't want real estate leads slipping through the cracks because you decided to save a few bucks on your Internet bill.
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Responding to Client Emails: 3 Tips and Tricks
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Two-thirds of Buyers Are 'Addicted' to Online Property Listings
Online property listings are the new crack. At least, that's what a new poll commissioned by Discover Home Loans suggests. According to the poll, 67 percent of home buyers report feeling addicted to looking at online listings, and 78 percent admit to looking at listings while at work. The revelation of this fairly benign addiction was just one part of the poll that looked more broadly at consumers' use of online technology during the home buying process. Overall, 76 percent of buyers said technology made them smarter home buyers and 69 percent said it made them more confident. Here are a few more interesting results from the poll: 72% of buyers explore a neighborhood using online maps or map apps 55% research a neighborhood using local websites Social media wasn't a big player in the buying process, with only 25% using it to "collect ideas" and just 29% soliciting opinions from friends and family on social networks The Internet played a large role in submitting paperwork, however. 71% of buyers submitted docs to their lenders online, while 68% used the Web to submit documents to their agents Online calculators are an important tool: 70% used them to estimate their monthly mortgage payments, 61% to discover how much home they could afford, and 52% to see if they were financially ready to buy a home A whopping 92% of buyers said technology saved them time, with 93% stating that technology allowed them to do things remotely that they would otherwise have to do in person
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Automate Your Business with zipForm® Plus and Zapier
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Friday Freebie: Get Your .REALTOR Domain Name Before It's Gone!
Realtors, the moment your web presence has been waiting for is finally here! As of Oct. 23, members of NAR and CREA can claim their very own .REALTOR domain name. Even better--if you're one of the first 500,000 NAR members or the first 10,000 CREA members, you'll able to register your first domain name FREE for one year. Here's how. Claim Your .REALTOR Website Domain NAR has made the domain registration process pretty easy. In fact, the most difficult part will probably be deciding what domain name to register (see the guidelines here). Below is the step-by-step process: Go to https://www.claim.realtor/ Enter your name, zip code, and area code number in the pop-up box when prompted Select the domain names(s) that interested you from the generated list of suggestions, and click "Add to cart" If none appeal to you, you can try another is the Search bar at the top of the page Once all of your selections have been added to your cart, click "Proceed to Checkout" From there, you'll be prompted to log-in to your NAR or CREA account and walked through the checkout process. Once you've claimed the domain name(s) you want, you can use them in a few different ways. If you have an existing website, you can redirect visitors who type in your .REALTOR address to your current site. If you'd like to change your existing site's default address to your .REALTOR domain, ask your website company or administrator to change the Domain Name Servers (DNS). You can also claim a FREE realtor.com profile website. This is a great option if you don't have a site currently or just want to take advantage of having an extra spot on the web for consumers to find you. These profile sites let you display your social media streams, client recommendations, listings and more all in one place. You can see an example profile site here. Remember, only the early bird gets a free .REALTOR domain. Claim yours today!
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How to Help Online Buyers Get the Most Out of Their Search (Without Sabotaging Your Business)
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Keep Your Real Estate Clients Safe with These Internet Safety Tips
Hackers are out there and they're coming for your grandparents. Well, not really. But with all the leaked photos, breached data, and credit cart theft on a massive scale—you need to learn how to protect both yourself and your clients. The digital age has brought powerful tools to tech savvy agents to sell homes and manage transactions but you need to protect yourself online. Here are some easy ways to keep your real estate business secure. Lock the door: Password protect every single device you use to handle or store client information. Be it a simple pin or swipe code, this extra level of security will keep most people off your device if it's found or stolen. A laptop was stolen in 2007 from a Home Depot employee that contained the personal information of over 10,000 employees. Thankfully, the data was not the target of the theft (the laptop was) and the system was password protected. Don't take these risks, make sure to password your phones and devices to give your clients an extra layer of security. NOT public domain: Putting passwords on your office Wi-Fi connection goes without saying, but public Wi-Fi can still pose a problem. While getting work done at Starbucks or other public places is normal, hackers can use these public places to steal information. Because public Wi-Fi connections are usually not encrypted, you are at risk for a data breach. The easiest solution is not to use work devices on public, unsecured Wi-Fi. If working at coffee shops is a must, you can download software to protect your information when using unsecured Wi-Fi. Ask your ISP what kind of services they can offer to better protect you in public.
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7 Essential Tricks to Take Control of Your Online Reputation TODAY
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Top 5 Mistakes Real Estate Agents Make Online
1. Equating a social media presence with a social media strategy. Anyone can create a Twitter or Facebook account, but not everyone can use social platforms as a business tool. Before you start posting, take time to hone in on what you want to accomplish overall and on each channel. Set consistent and realistic goals for the three "Ps" (posting, performance, and paid) and then stick with them. It's possible to track performance of social content without using a paid service. Google's Analytics Academy offers free videos that walk you through how to use their tools to track and collect actionable data, as well as how to create reports that evaluate digital marketing performance. It might seem obvious, but many agents treat their professional accounts as though they are personal accounts. Consider the content that you are sharing and how it reflects on your business; sharing political views, off-color humor, or using an poor-quality image as your profile cover are all common mistakes. Connecting with potential clients on social media can be tricky. Requesting to friend a potential client on social media can be off-putting, especially to younger buyers. A recent panel of buyers at the Florida Realtors Conference & Trade Expo revealed that young buyers draw a strict line between professional and social connections. As on participant said, "No Facebook. Your liking a picture of me on the beach with my girlfriend is weird."
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Real Estate Prospect Leaving too Early? Bounce Rates for Your Real Estate Website
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9 IFTTT Recipes For Real Estate Professionals
If This Then That (also known as IFTTT) is a free service that has become the go-to app for automating tasks between various web-based services. Whether it's on the web or through select iOS and Android apps, IFTTT offers nearly infinite ways to get the services you use working together. IFTTT offers channels for up to 124 different services and application, spanning from popular social platforms like Twitter and Facebook, blog platforms like WordPress and Tumblr, Google services like YouTube, Google Drive, Gmail, Google Calendar and more. I know many real estate agents employ a lot of these technologies in their day to day work, so figuring ways to get things to work in tandem is quite handy. The service works on the simple premise that if a certain event triggers on one of the services you've added, then perform a task on a second service--hence, If This Then That. These events are handled by what are called recipes. You can browse the large library of shared recipes, or start dreaming up your own new recipes. To get you started, I've put together nine different recipes that can help you get started with the popular web automation service. iOS IFTTT Recipes For Real Estate When you meet a potential new client, wouldn't it be handy to add an event to your calendar to help recall when you met them? Just set-up a new Google Calendar and hook it up with this recipe.
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Google Trends in Real Estate Digital Marketing
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4 Hacks For Using Gmail Like a Pro
Gmail is one of the most popular and functional tools for managing your email. While Google's service has been around for well over a decade, there are definitely some great features that people aren't leveraging to their best advantage. Here are a few tips on how you can make your inbox more efficient and get Gmail working for you. Combine multiple email inboxes into one place Being able to combine all your mail into one central place is easily the best thing about using Gmail. I personally have 10 different email addresses all flowing into the same inbox. Over the years, you may have signed up for a Hotmail or Yahoo account, or maybe have a work account that you'd like to bring into your inbox. You could have a brokerage email as well as an inbox for your own real estate domain. You should be able to do this with most email setups, it just requires you to be able to forward you existing inbox to your Gmail inbox. Here's a couple resources on how to get that going for you. How to Send and Receive Hotmail from Your Gmail Account How To Merge All Of Your Inboxes Into One Gmail Inbox Get Started With IMAP and POP3 Once you get this setup, you will be able to send and receive email through your Gmail account. Nobody on your email list would even know that you're using Google's service.
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Free .realtor Domains Available To NAR and CREA Members Soon
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Easy Way to Add a Photo to Your Gmail signature
Gmail has a rather complicated way of inserting a photo into email signatures. Perhaps Gmail does not want a lot of data saved within their servers because they request that users store photos on a photo hosting website (which uses a different server), making the process of adding a photo to the signature cumbersome. What I've observed is that although the majority of Tech Helpline users do have small JPEG files for profile pictures, some don't. I have even seen some Gmail users have very high resolution pictures in their email signatures, using over 10MB. Take that storage and multiply it by all the hundreds of thousands of people who use Gmail, and well, the storage levels add up quite a bit. However, we have found a work-around to host your image on a server without the hassle of actually finding a host server. Simply put: make Google host it for you by following a few steps. We found the following information at this website and after testing it a few times, we find that it works. Here is what user FC posted on the website: Issue How to add a picture file stored on my PC to my Gmail signature, without using any third-party service or application. Solution You can't directly upload a picture and use it as signature. Gmail only accepts the URL for the image file (the picture must be stored online). So if you don't want to upload the file to a third party service, this tip is for you.
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What's a DDoS Attack?
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4 Stealthy Ways to Monitor the Competition
Admit it--you've Googled yourself. At some point, most of us have. As a business person, this is actually a great idea. It allows you to monitor your online reputation, gauge the success of your SEO efforts, and even do a little damage control, if necessary. But here's a question--have you Googled your competition? If you haven't, they may rank higher in search engines than you and you won't even know it. (And if that's the case, you can bet consumers are calling them instead of you because they're easier to find.) Search engine rankings are only one way to monitor other agents in your market. All day long, people are tweeting, posting, and sharing things with each other on social media and other places on the web. By "listening" in on your competition, you can get a better idea of who they're doing business with, how they're marketing themselves, and what others are saying about them. If you want to keep your sleuthing on the down low, there are plenty of easy ways to do that. Here are four: 1. Use Facebook Interest Lists Facebook is an important marketing channel, so you'll want to keep an eye on what others are doing in this space. If you don't want others to know whose real estate business pages you're watching, there's an alternative to "liking" a page. Simply create an Interest List and add any pages you want to keep an eye on to that list. Since you're not actually liking the page, it won't show up on your profile. Create an Interest List of any competitors whose pages you want to monitor. Facebook will automatically update you on activity on your list. To view all recent posts from list members, simply click the list's name. You can find it on the left sidebar on Facebook's main page under the subhead "Interests." This is the first of two "undercover" Facebook strategies (see #4 for the other).
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7 Tools For Working With Clients Remotely
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10 Ways Technology Can Save Agents Time and Money
The Web celebrated its 25th birthday last month, according to the Pew Internet Research Project. It's hard to believe, but true. And despite some early skeptics, the web has been saving people time and money ever since its debut. It's easy to think of examples. Email, something we now take for granted, saves people the time and expense of sending letters. Netflix saves its subscribers the hassle of schlepping to the nearest video store--and the monthly cost of unlimited streaming is far less pricey than the per video charge (and late fees!) that Blockbuster once charged. Over the past quarter century, the Web has affected virtually every industry and many aspects of our lives. Real estate has been far from immune. Gone are the days of printed MLS books or of being chained to an office desk and landline. Mobile technology has enabled agents to conduct business from anywhere, and websites, social media, and more have made the Web an affordable and efficient marketing channel. In what other ways can the Web make agents' lives easier? We've rounded up 10 of our favorite examples of how technology can save real estate professionals time and money. 1. Build a DIY Website - Gone are the days when coding knowledge was necessary to build your own website. Today, multiple turnkey website solutions exist. If you're looking to build a site for your business, we highly recommend exploring real estate specific website solutions. They come loaded with features agents need, like a built-in IDX search and specialized templates. Other solutions, like WebsiteBox, offer a wealth of backend tools like an integrated CRM, drip marketing capabilities, Google Analytics, and more. Most can be set up in under 15 minutes.
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Are You a Spammer and Don’t Realize It?
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Heartbleed: How to Make Sure Your Data is Safe—and Keep It That Way!
This post comes to us from the Market Leader blog: You may have heard about the destructive security bug, "Heartbleed," that attacks a vulnerable flaw in major online security systems enabling it to access encrypted data. Warnings about Heartbleed are loud and alarming for good reason. Don't ignore the ever-increasing need for vigilance in protecting your data. The Heartbleed Bug launched about two years ago, and there's no way for you to know what may have been compromised by this vulnerability, including Web, email, instant messaging, and some virtual private networks. So we encourage you to practice good security measures, like remembering to change your online passwords. (Yea, yea, we know—it's like hearing your dental hygienist reminding you to floss—but it's gotta be done!) Here are some excellent tips on protecting yourself and/or your brokerage along with links to more technical details and helpful information to use with your sphere of influence. What can you do to protect yourself from Heartbleed? Change your passwords every few months. Especially passwords on financial accounts (banking, credit cards, etc.) and any site you regularly shop on. Before going to the trouble of changing all 250+ of your passwords, take a peek at the great list Mashable.com put together to prioritize websites where you should consider changing your password. Be a little leery of public Wi-Fi networks. As suggested in NPR's blog post by Elise Hu and Steve Henn, limit your Internet behavior to non-transactional based or using websites that access financial information while on the Wi-Fi at Starbucks or other public places.
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Managing Your Personal Online Presence: A Guide For Real Estate Agents
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Real Estate Domain Extensions
If there's one thing we keep an eye on around here, it's domains (we're an exciting bunch, we know). We had just done a lot of reading on the recent .realtor news when a friend mentioned that .estate is now available. That got us wondering: What other real estate-related domain extensions are coming up for grabs in the near future? As it turns out, quite a few are slated to become available in 2014, including .realestate and .realty. Here's a complete list along with the anticipated release timeline for each: .apartments Q2 2014 .casa Q2 2014 .condos Q2 2014 .estate Currently available .haus December 2014 .home Q2 2014 .homes Q2 2014 .house In sunrise .immobilien In sunrise .land In landrush .lease Q4 2014 .mortgage August 2014 (tell your mortgage broker friends!) .mls Q2 2014 .place Q2 2014 .properties Q2 2014 .property Q2 2014 .realestate Q2 2014 .realty Q2 2014 .reit Q2 2014 .rent Q2 2014 .rentals Q2 2014 .villas Q2 2014
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How to Buy a House – As Told by Memes
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What’s New with Craigslist?
In November, a flurry of articles covered some big changes in the way real estate is represented on Craigslist. It's been a few months, the dust has settled, and it's time to take another look at the reported changes and the current conditions. The Sky Is Falling The changes in Craigslist were greeted with a collective gasp. Many industry commentators called it a major change in the way real estate agents can market properties. The technical explanation is that Craigslist discontinued the use of certain HTML tags used for the creation of enhanced listings. The practical impact is that, if you were using an application that created pretty, branded Craigslist posts (you know, the kind that looked just like a flyer), your ads would now just look like everyone else's. And, just as important, you couldn't include any links. Looking Good I'm not a real estate agent, so I can't regale you with any personal experience. Instead, all I can do is tell you what I see from a consumer's perspective. I visited Craigslist and checked out some listings in my area. Guess what? They still contain all the information I want about a property – including property photos, a map, number of beds/baths, etc. I can copy and paste a URL to search for more information.
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The Importance Of An Email Address For Real Estate Agents
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Are There Too Many Listings?
The real estate industry is obsessed with the Internet and with technology. So much so, that I think there is a bias toward using technology too much. There are hundreds on online real estate publishers, and millions of real estate agent and broker websites. In fact, we have gone so far as to build websites for every property in America. Everything. All of it. It's on the Internet. It's absurd. Every January, WAV Group gets inundated with contacts from agents asking questions about their online marketing. Thank goodness we developed RE Technology as a primer. We explain that technology does not sell real estate. Technology is a tool that automates communication between consumers and property represented by real estate agents. The most destructive statistic that has ever been published about the Internet's role in real estate is that 98% of all consumers use the internet at some point in the transaction. Sure, it's a fact. Our research confirms it. Suffice it to say that if the consumer looked at anything real estate related in an email, on a website, or any other digital format, the Internet was somehow involved. The average consumer looks at 10 properties before buying. Is the Internet really that necessary to identify 10 homes? I believe consumers are much happier when they call a REALTOR® to do the search for them. We did, and we found the right home. Our search criteria was: Maximum 20-minute Commute to Office Ocean View Luxury Price Range
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Best of 2013: 6 Web Properties You Need to Own Now
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It’s the Internet: Do You Know Where Your Listing Is?
With the sharing and exchange of so much listing data online today, agents know that exposure for their listings is normally a great asset when it comes to getting a property sold. Savvy agents also understand that while exposure is great, there may be some security issues to be mindful of when listing property on the Internet. It's a smart move to consistently monitor your listings and to continually track where these listings show up to ensure they are popping up in the right places! Recently, listed properties have been popping up on Craigslist, but not under the listing agent's name or company. Reports have revealed that some listed properties on popular web portals are being hijacked and placed under a bogus name with alternate contact information, thus setting the scenario for fraud and deception. This is not only illegal, but can deceive unsuspecting prospects get involved in a fraudulent transaction and put sellers in a possibly harmful situation. There are several international scams that have been reported that involve scraping information about properties for sale and offering them for lease. Inquiries about these properties are answered with an email that uses a similar name to the listing agent, property owner or sometimes even a former tenant. Scammers have used Craigslist and rental sites to advertise various properties, without the knowledge of the agent or the owners. Vendors are aware of these scams but are unable to determine if a post is legitimate or not unless it is reported to them. That's exactly why agents should consider using Google Alerts to keep the information about their properties monitored and ultimately safe from a hijacking!
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Creating a Powerful Email Signature
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5 Keyword Tips for Agents
This post comes to us from the WebsiteBox blog: Getting found on Google is what every agent with a website cares about. They want home buyers and sellers who are searching for homes in the area they service to find their website, visit it and call them. Hopefully that call turns into a client which evolves into a commission. Before that entire process takes place, there is one very important question that every agent must ask themselves, "What search terms do I want to get found for?" Here are five tips to determine what keywords you need to be aiming for. Tip 1: Location, Location, Location The most important thing to keep in mind when creating the list of keywords that you want to get found for is the neighborhoods, communities and towns that you sell houses in. For example, if you are a real estate agent in Miami, some obvious keywords that you would want to rank for are: Miami homes for sale Buy a house in Miami Sell a house in Miami Miami REALTOR® Miami Real Estate Agent You want to make sure that any keyword that you are attempting to rank for is location based. If the keyword does not include the name of a city, town, neighborhood, community or any location-based word, then you should not include it in your list of keywords to target.
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Are You Easy to Find on the Web?
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RSS for Real Estate
RSS: You've heard of it and seen the icon (that little orange broadcasting symbol to the right), but are you using it for your real estate business? RSS is a form of website syndication that shares content from a blog or webpage with other websites as a way of marketing the site. When a visitor clicks on that icon, they subscribe to the website's feed – meaning they will receive all new updates from the site, whether they visit it or not. RSS is syndication for written content. Similar to what Point2 listing syndication does for your listing data, RSS does for your written content... pushes it out into the world to boost your exposure and increase your online marketing. What is RSS? RSS is essentially a data feed that collects and shares frequently published web content – like blogs, news headlines and wikis – with online users, not altogether unlike the data feed used to share your listings with syndication partner sites. In fact, RSS is commonly referred to as Really Simple Syndication. Why do you NEED it? RSS lets you and the rest of the internet-browsing public keep up with your favorite websites easily, in the format of your choosing. Stay updated on new posts from your favorite online places using an RSS feed reader to subscribe to the feeds of your choice. The reader will check your subscribed feeds for new work, download it and present you with all of that content in an easy, one-stop interface. Instead of visiting every site independently, you get to see everything you're interested in, all in one place! More importantly from an agent's perspective, you can use an RSS feed in combination with your website to collect and display relevant real estate and neighborhood news – it basically 'feeds' your website with fresh content from your choice of sites constantly and automatically.
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SEO Gold VS. Keyword Spam
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Social + SEO: Content Formatting
This is the first article of "Social + SEO," a series of monthly educational blog posts on social media and SEO tools and strategies that real estate agents can use to expand their business. Social + SEO will cover topics and strategies that are easy to learn, simple to implement and, most importantly, will provide you with an immediate return on your time investment. Every Social + SEO post will cover two topics, one on social media and another on search engine optimization. I will describe each topic, demonstrate how you can implement it and then explain how your business will benefit. Review – What is Social Media and SEO? Before we delve into this month's topics, I want to make sure that you know what I mean when I say "social media" and "search engine optimization." Social media, simply put, are the ways people communicate with each other through the Internet. The best examples of social media include social networks like Twitter, Facebook and Google+, but other services, like YouTube, Instagram and even some video games can be put into that category as well. Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the process of increasing the number of times a website, web page or blog post gets clicked in search engine results. This is primarily accomplished by improving the rankings of sites and pages in the search results of Google, Yahoo, Bing and other search engines. Search engine rankings are determined by many different factors; the exact number varies based on the search engine. Google, for example, has more than 200 known factors that play into its search engine ranking process. These include the number and quality of links a piece of content receives, the number of times it is shared on social media, and the average amount of time visitors spend reading the content.
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Forward Extra Domains to Specific Pages on Your Website
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Google Reader is Dead?! 4 Alternatives to Ease the Pain
Google broke sad news to fans of its RSS reader today. The company announced that it would discontinue Google Reader on July 1, leaving users scrambling to find new solutions. Good alternatives will be hard to come by, though. Reader has the benefit of Google's massive data infrastructure behind it and is readily available to anyone with a Google account. Users have the ability to easily +1, star, or share any article to their Google+ circles. Did we mention the web based interface that lets you access your favorite blog and website feeds from any computer, or the mobile app that lets you browse on the go Sigh. While you can count us among Google Reader's many mourners, we're ready, willing, and (dare I say it?) even eager to explore replacements. Since we know that many real estate professionals use Reader to keep up with their favorite industry, news, and local blogs and websites, we've compiled a short list of promising Google Reader alternatives. 1. Feedly The most proactive of the bunch, Feedly saw the writing on the wall when it came to Google Reader's demise. They've announced that they're readying a "seamless transition" that lets Reader users easily transfer their favorite feeds to the service. The application itself is clean and beautifully designed. You can visually display your feeds in multiple ways--mosaic, titles only, magazine style, full articles, and more. With social sharing features and iOs, Android, and web accessibility, Feedly is our top Google Reader replacement.
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Real Estate Tech: Terminology and Definitions
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SEO for Real Estate Takes Time
This post comes to us from BrokerageU: Earlier, we discussed how it's possible to beat sites like REALTOR.com, Trulia, and Zillow. But we wanted to take a minute and make sure you understand that this isn't an overnight process. It takes a long time, and your real estate website won't work unless you work on it. While some vendors can make it sound like they will get you on the top of Google overnight (we've all seen junk emails from these vendors, even some in the real estate industry that lie when they are on the phone with you),  the truth is that this doesn't happen. There is no single magic bullet that will make your site change overnight. Furthermore, those that get you overnight differences in SEO are probably using black-hat SEO methods. They are probably doing just as bad of work as what you can buy on Fiverr – "Get 100 inbound links for $5." I repeat – these low quality purchased links can actually hurt your website. Google even has a tool for you to fess up to having down this before and "disavow" those bad links. These methodologies are against the rules that Google has outlined. It's only a matter of time until the algorithm is changed and the benefits are completely wiped away and, in most cases, you'll actually get a penalty. Are two months of increased rankings worth six months of not being anywhere on Google? It happened to J.C. Penney, and it can happen to you.
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Web 101: Fundamental Dos and Don’ts of Real Estate Websites
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How to Write Engaging Content for Search Engines
While most people understand that writing optimized content will raise their chances of ranking high on search engines, many people make the mistake of creating copy that is jam-packed with keywords or contains less-than-engaging material for their readers. According to Jill Whalen, CEO of High Rankings and co-founder of Search Engine Marketing New England, "Real estate agents should be writing for the searcher at the other end of Google. That person who has a problem or a question or some sort of need that brought them to the search engine in the first place. The idea isn't to try to please the search engine with your content but to provide the searcher with the information that they seek." Writing engaging optimized content is not something that is intuitive or started without any strategy. A clear marketing campaign is essential for both your short- and long-term SEO success. Choosing Keywords When keyword phrases are successfully used, they tell Google what the content or webpage is about so people can find that information. The term "keyword" is somewhat of a misnomer. People actually search for phrases rather than one word. For instance, searching for the word "home" would cause irrelevant websites to pop up. However, searching for the phrase "one-bedroom houses in Austin" will narrow down the list of websites. How does an agent choose keyword phrases? Here is Jill Whalen's advice:
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