You are viewing our site as an Agent, switch your view below:

Agent | Broker     Reset Filters to Default
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!
MORE >
No Internet? Here's How to Set Up Your Own Hotspot
Real estate agents know better than most that sometimes it's just easier to accomplish specific tasks on your laptop than attempt to do the work on your phone. But sometimes those tasks require an internet connection. If you are always on the go, and you don't have a nearby Wi-Fi connection, how can you get instant internet service? Use your smartphone and create your own internet connection for your laptop. Here's how.
MORE >
19 Real Estate Memes and GIFs that Will Make You Smile
MORE >
8 Great Gmail Tips and Tricks
Gmail by Google is the world's most popular email program: 1.4 billion users. It's robust, simple to set up, easy to use, wickedly fast to search, and for most people, free. No wonder it's wildly popular among real estate agents. Gmail has many unknown and little-used features that can be hugely helpful. But like the secret menu at the West Coast chain In-N-Out Burger, most people don't know what's available. Here's your guide to some great Gmail tips and tricks to help boost your business:
MORE >
Beyond CCPA and GDPR: New Digital Privacy Developments that Realtors Need to Know
MORE >
Google Flags Websites that Are Not HTTPS as Not Secure
It's for your clients. It's for your security. It's for Google. Our team heard "rumblings" as early as two years ago from Google strongly "advocating" website owners move to HTTPS encryption to make the Internet secure and protect the privacy of your users. If you have not yet acquired an SSL certificate, you may have already noticed Google has flagged your website as "Not Secure" in Chrome.
MORE >
Top 10 Tips to Finally Conquer Your Email Inbox
MORE >
Why Your Internet Browser Choice Matters
The internet is a wonderful thing. It does a lot of good in our everyday lives: it helps us connect with friends, it helps us work, and it gives us all the information we could ever need, right at our fingertips. But it can also be a troublesome thing if it isn't handled with care.
MORE >
Google Your Way to Saving Time
MORE >
How to Connect to a Computer Remotely
If you ever find yourself needing to access a computer remotely--either attempting to connect to a desktop computer at work or need to assist someone with their computer from afar--this primer is for you. Whether you have a Microsoft Windows PC or an Apple Mac, let's take a look at the basics you'll need to know.
MORE >
How to Snag Your .realestate Website Domain Before Your Competition
MORE >
Why Real Estate Agents Need to Think About Cyber Security
In a former life, Jason Frazier was an information security professional. Today, as the CIO of Mason McDuffie Mortgage and the @RealEstateCIO, he still takes it very seriously. He contributed this post after an exchange on a Facebook Group. I did a training class last year for Realtors on cyber cecurity. The subject was the wire fraud scam. This happens quite a bit in the mortgage industry, and it absolutely does not need to happen. I just read a post in another Facebook group where an agent's client lost $72k. In this scam, it is almost always the agent's email that is hacked or spoofed. Best Practices
MORE >
The 5 Tech Tips You Can't Live Without
MORE >
How Worried Should You Be About Internet Cookies?
In this article, we review what cookies are in the computer realm, their purpose and how to manage them. What Is a Cookie? A cookie is what we call a small text file that a website stores on your computer’s hard drive or in your mobile devices. Origin / First-party cookies The original purpose of cookies was to provide you with a better browsing experience. Here is how it works: when you visit a website, its web server (the computer where the web content is stored) creates a small text file and transmits it to the web browser you are using (the software that retrieves and displays the web page). The web browser stores that small text file on your computer. The file contains your website preferences, such as language, layouts, configuration, or items in your shopping cart. It serves as memory, so that the next time you visit that website, the web browser ‘remembers’ what your preferences are by pulling the stored file from your computer and applying those settings to the website automatically. For example, if you went to a website and placed items in its shopping cart, but didn’t buy them right away, the cookie would save the items you placed in the shopping cart on a cookie in your computer and in your future visit to that website, the cookie would automatically bring them back up into your shopping cart– you wouldn’t have to go search for those items again.
MORE >
How (and Why) Agents Can Use Gmail for Real Estate
MORE >
Don't Get Caught by the Phishing Hook
It's spring home buying season, but that also means it's phishing season, and not the kind that puts fresh trout on the dinner table. "Phishing" is an attempt to try to trick you to give up financial or other confidential information, such as your user ID or password, by sending you a communication that looks as if it is from a legitimate organization. The communication typically is from scammer who is using the name and likeness of a financial institution or other trustworthy organization. It contains a call to action or link to a fake website that can look identical to the real one and usually features a web address that is nearly identical. As home sales activity heats up this spring, real estate agents and brokers also need to ramp up their alert levels and be increasingly aware of these scams. Scammers are increasing their focus on real estate because they know that there are millions of transactions totaling billions of dollars each year, and our industry relies heavily on email and texting to coordinate communications for these transactions. We all get busy, yet we need to be particularly cautious and keenly aware of any communications that ask for confidential information, no matter how trustworthy the source may appear. A good example occurred in Florida earlier this year. A fake organization calling itself the "Florida Board of Realtors" sent out invoices to real estate professionals throughout the state, sending them a "Final Notice" bill. The attached letter suggested that their real estate licenses were in jeopardy unless they paid the annual $225 fee. The invoice even cites a Florida Statute in an attempt to establish legitimacy. This highly sophisticated scam even included links to a very professional looking website. However, if you dug a little deeper, you would discover that most of the links on the website were broken – they did not work – and the blog content was very outdated. Fortunately, Florida Realtors were notified immediately by members and sent out a statewide alert to members. But how do you protect yourself from something like this, and other scams?
MORE >
Choosing a Not-Com Domain Name to Set Your Business Apart
MORE >
Amateur Move: Are You Making One of These 7 Password Mistakes?
Did you know that "password" was one of the top 10 most used, well, passwords in 2016? What a time to be alive! It's a time when developers have created better (and easier!) ways of staying secure online, but people still muck it up by making rookie password mistakes. Don't be a rookie. And don't make the amateur move of endangering your clients' sensitive personal information by using weak passwords that can easily be cracked. Not sure about the effectiveness of your password? Your password may be vulnerable if you're making one of these seven mistakes: 1. Your password is less than 12 characters long. In the early days of the web, passwords were typically eight characters long. Today, eight characters are fairly simple to crack, and security experts recommend that 12 should be now be the absolute minimum. While it may be harder to remember, longer passwords are also much harder to crack. 2. Your password has just one word. If you're looking to make your passwords longer and stronger, using a pass phrase rather than a single word is an easy way to do it. By using an entire phrase, your password is longer and more difficult to guess. Don't pick a well known quote or phrase—instead, use something obscure that has meaning to you. Add in random capitalization, characters, substitute a few letters for numbers and you're well on your way to a stronger password. 3. You use simple keyboard patterns. Long passwords made of out of simple keyboard patterns may seem like an easy path to security, but they're extremely common and therefore easy to guess. Sure, 1q2w3e4r5t6y looks like a difficult password, but upon closer examination, it's obvious that this password is just the first few numbers alternating with the first few letters on the keyboard. Stay away from this method to stay safe.
MORE >
5 Email Tools to Make Follow-Ups Easier
MORE >
How The 'Internet of Things' Affects Real Estate
Growing interest in Wi-Fi connected gadgets inspired us to write this article about Internet of Things (IoT). So today we cover IoT: what it is, how it affects real estate, and what to look for in the future. What is the Internet of Things (IoT)? The English Oxford dictionary defines the Internet of Things (IoT) as "the interconnection via the Internet of computing devices embedded in everyday objects, enabling them to send and receive data." For example, lights that can connect to your smartphone via internet so that you can turn them on or off wherever you are, even if not at home, wearable devices to track your sleeping habits, or self-driving cars. These everyday objects with internet connectivity aim to provide convenience and efficiency to the user by sensing, tracking and transmitting data. And because the growth in the industry has made such devices very affordable, they are proliferating. All these devices, regardless of who makes them, are categorized into the IoT concept. How It Affects Real Estate IoT gadgets for the home lead to smart homes. Did you get a Wemo Switch this year as a holiday gift? Or perhaps an Alexa-controlled Echo speaker? If you did, you are probably on your way to transitioning your home to a smart home. Smart homes are homes "equipped with network-connected products." Perhaps you already started noticing clients who are more excited when they tour properties with "smart home technology." In these homes, devices communicate with each other – from the alarm clock to smart thermostats, fire alarms and security cameras. READ: Prep Agents with 6 Smart Home Facts
MORE >
NAR Launches Single Sign-On for All Members
MORE >
Tips for Taming Your Inbox: Setting Up Canned Responses
According to a survey by Adobe Systems Inc., U.S. workers spend 6.3 hours a day checking email. That's a significant portion of your workday! Much of that time is spent crafting the perfect response. However, often you're responding to similar requests from your clients and colleagues. Today, we'll help you create efficiency by using canned responses to set up email templates you can use over and over again. With these readily available templates you will save time (and avoid typos!) for email messages you frequently send. Follow the simple steps below. Setting up Canned Responses Many email services have options to create email templates, or canned responses, that can be saved and inserted into new emails. Below are step by step instructions to set this up for Gmail or Outlook. Gmail 1. Click the gear icon in the upper right-hand corner of Gmail, then choose Settings. 2. Click the Labs tab, find Canned Responses, click the Enable radio button to enable Canned Responses, scroll down and click Save Changes.
MORE >
Email Etiquette for the Real Estate Professional
MORE >
Best of 2016: Why Agents Should Never Use Personal Email
Here it is—our top article of the year! This article was originally published back in February and is the most read article of 2016. See #2 here, or read the full list of our Top 10 articles from 2016 here. I saw a news article recently about why real estate agents should use their personal email addresses. The article talked about the 10,000 selfish reasons why it benefits the Realtor®. It was a grand display of the underbelly of self-centered real estate professionals. I am here to tell you that using a personal email for real estate business is STUPID and perhaps illegal. The communications between a real estate agent and a consumer are subject to the real estate laws in your state. They are communications that happen under the supervision of the agent’s real estate broker. They are covered by the insurances held by the real estate broker. They are subject to the Realtor Code of Ethics if you are a Realtor. Last year, there were multiple instances of emails getting hacked. In many cases, consumer information was compromised. In some cases, earnest money instructions were hijacked and in once case, $250,000 was stolen. Guess what? If you are a real estate agent who got hacked or had earnest money stolen, you are in deep ****. You probably violated the broker’s independent contractor policy that you signed. If you did, your broker does not need to help you. In fact, if your actions cause harm to the brokerage brand, and you could be liable for those damages.
MORE >
Best of 2016: 7 Google Chrome Extensions for Real Estate Agents
MORE >
Tips for Taming Your Inbox: Managing Your Notifications
Researchers at the University of California, Irvine, found that the average office worker is interrupted or changes tasks, on average, every three minutes and five seconds. As a result of interruptions or multitasking, it can take 23 minutes and 15 seconds just to get back to where they left off. That adds up to a lot of wasted time in the day! Email can easily be one of those distractions if not properly managed. Over the next few months, we will share some useful tips to help you tame your inbox in order to be more productive and minimize distractions that take you away from the real business of real estate. Manage Notifications Today, we have all kinds of notifications interrupting us throughout the day – email, alerts, Facebook, chats, etc. One way to minimize email distractions is to eliminate email notifications. Not every email is important and requires an immediate response. For emails that are truly urgent or require immediate attention, you can enable selective notifications to be alerted when you receive emails from VIP senders. How to Set Up VIPs on Your iOS Device iPhone users using the native mail app can denote any email sender as a VIP. When you receive an email from a VIP, you will receive a pop up notification on your phone. Launch the Mail app from the Home screen of your iPhone or iPad. Tap Mailboxes in the upper left corner of your screen. Tap the VIP inbox directly underneath your regular inbox. Tap Add VIP. Tap on the name of the contact you'd like to add to VIP. If a contact is grayed out, it means you're missing their email address and can't add them until you enter it. After you tap on their name, they'll be automatically added to your VIP inbox.
MORE >
Forget Inbox Zero. Be an Inbox Hero with Boomerang for Gmail
MORE >
Gmail Keyboard Shortcuts Are the Key to Speed
Between open houses, following up with your client database and focusing on your marketing efforts (not to mention your personal life), it's no surprise that your time is stretched thin. To help you maximize your time, we're going to review some of the must-known keyboard shortcuts for Gmail. Many industry professionals rely daily on keyboard shortcuts to save time. A keyboard shortcut is a combination of keys that, when pressed simultaneously, perform some task that ordinarily requires a mouse or other input device. Many of you are probably familiar with the "Ctrl+S" to save a document. In his article, The 25 Gmail Keyboard Shortcuts That Save Me 60 Hours Per Year, Scott Tousley of Hubspot explains that he invested two minutes into learning Gmail shortcuts, and he suspects it has saved him about 60 hours in the past year. It's clear that utilizing Gmail keyboard shortcuts is a must for any time management ninja. Getting started To begin using Gmail shortcuts, you must first turn 'keyboard shortcuts' on in your Gmail settings, under the 'General' tab:
MORE >
The 6 Best Chrome Extensions for Real Estate Pros
MORE >
Should Agents Use Their Lead Routing Email Address in MLS?
Real estate agents have a crazy number of email addresses. They have their personal email address at aol.com, their vanity email at MyAgentWebsite.com, their corporate email address at MyBrokerEmail.com and, of course, that mysterious lead routing email address. Lead routing email addresses are pretty common in real estate. Perhaps the most common is the email address assigned to every agent member of the REALOGY franchise group. It reads something like 8789398976293578(at)leadrouter.com. The benefit of each agent's LeadRouter® email address is that it follows business rules and provides certain alerts. An example of business rules would be a use case whereby a team would all get the notification of the email. This is especially important in terms of response time. With LeadRouter, agents may receive a text message or other alert when an inquiry comes in. The is a particularly valuable alert in terms of managing responsiveness. Another key feature of using a lead routing email address is that inquiries are naturally added to an agent's CRM solution. From there, the agent can assign an appropriate response and track that response in either the lead routing system or assign tasks or drip campaigns, or whatever might be the right action. Surely, even inquiries from other agents or notifications from the MLS would be well served from an attention to rapid response or follow up plans.
MORE >
The HTML Guide for Real Estate Agents Over 40
MORE >
How Agents Can Protect Themselves from Email Scams
Members of the San Francisco Association of REALTORS® (SFAR) were the targets of a phishing attack last week. Agents received an email that, at first glance, appeared to be from the association and prompted recipients to download a malicious file disguised as an invoice. The message was the latest in a string of phishing attempts aimed at real estate professionals. In fact, just last year, NAR issued a warning against an email scam that attempted to get buyers to wire money to a fraudulent bank account. The Federal Trade Commission and the Better Business Bureau have issued similar warnings recently, as well, and the message is clear: agents need to be alert and on guard. How to Spot a Fake Email Even if you're technologically savvy, that doesn't mean you're immune to falling for a phishing attack or email scam. The SFAR email, for example, was a convincing fake, going so far as to "spoof" or make the email appear like it came from the association's servers, thus making it more likely that trusting Realtors would download the malicious file. So if email scams today are growing increasingly sophisticated, how can agents discern which are real and which are fake? Well, while the SFAR email looked like a convincing fake, there were a couple of "tells" that gave the spammers away. Let's break down what the SFAR phishers did wrong so we can better learn how to spot fake messages in the future.
MORE >
Why Internet Explorer Should Be Your Old Browser
MORE >
The Psychology of Using GIFs, Memes, and Emojis in Your Emails
If you've been anywhere near the Internet or used your mobile device recently, you've probably noticed a few trends in the form of emojis, memes, and gifs. As they multiply and proliferate across every screen, website, and even into your own correspondence, we're faced with the predicament of if and when to utilize them in business situations. Is there an appropriate way to implement a gif when you email your broker or a new client? How about emojis? It feels like you can't send or receive an text message these days without expressing your emotions with several emojis. First, if you're feeling completely lost, don't worry. We'll break down the differences of all the Internet trends for you. Then we'll prove that there's some psychology to it all, and why utilizing an emoji or meme may be a great choice for the next business email you send out. Get gif-ing... Before we start, we'll share our definitions and examples of our Internet trends and sensations so we're all on the same page, here. GIF stands for graphics interchange format, and it's generally a short video that's captured from a TV show, movie, or pop culture that repeats...endlessly. Generally, they're short clips and you may even see them utilized as an animation on a website that directs you how to do something.
MORE >
18 Real Estate Subs to Explore on Reddit
MORE >
Why You Need to Google Yourself
It's no secret: Long before new clients or referrals pick up the phone to call you, they research you online. They Google you, look at social media, read online reviews... But here's what you might not know: Today, 88% of people trust online reviews more than personal recommendations from friends, family, or colleagues. Not too long ago, the referral process was much different! You'd work with a customer, they'd be happy, they'd refer someone, and that person would call you. Now they Google you long before they contact you. They want to make sure that what their friend said about them is, in fact, true. Do you know what your online identity is and what it says about you? You have an online identity whether you've taken the time to create a purposeful one or not. To find out, Google yourself! What do the results say about you? Chances are, if you haven't taken the time to shape what comes up on Google, the results will misrepresent you in one or another. So what can you do about it?
MORE >
5 Email Security Tips for Real Estate Agents
MORE >
New .Homes Website Domains Now Available to Real Estate Pros
Is the .com domain name you really want already taken? Never fear, there's a new domain extension in town, and it's full of SEO potential for real estate practitioners. The sunrise registration period opened just last Monday for the new .Homes top-level domain. "Sunrise" registration is a limited window of time that allows trademark holders to purchase .Homes domains that match their marks before registration is opened to the general public. That means if you've trademarked the name of your real estate team or practice--Central Coast Realty™, for example--you can now reserve CentralCoastRealty.Homes so that your company's name isn't taken by somebody else. The Sunrise period runs through May 6. You can learn more here. However, the domain names with the highest SEO potential are up for grabs on May 12, when open registration starts. Because registration will then no longer be restricted to trademark holders, agents and brokers can buy names that reflect their area, like Boston.Homes. The reason a domain like this has so much SEO potential is because it matches the phrases that consumers are likely to search for, e.g. Boston homes or Boston homes for sale. .Homes domain names are only available to professionals who serve the residential real estate industry. This includes agents, brokers, mortgage professionals, appraisers, property managers, builders, home insurers, MLSs, and associations. Dominion Enterprises, the operator of Homes.com, is the exclusive registrar of .Homes domain names. To learn more, visit domains.homes.
MORE >
7 Google Chrome Extensions for Real Estate Agents
MORE >
Why Agents Should Never Use Personal Email
I saw a news article recently about why real estate agents should use their personal email addresses. The article talked about the 10,000 selfish reasons why it benefits the Realtor®. It was a grand display of the underbelly of self-centered real estate professionals. I am here to tell you that using a personal email for real estate business is STUPID and perhaps illegal. The communications between a real estate agent and a consumer are subject to the real estate laws in your state. They are communications that happen under the supervision of the agent’s real estate broker. They are covered by the insurances held by the real estate broker. They are subject to the Realtor Code of Ethics if you are a Realtor. Last year, there were multiple instances of emails getting hacked. In many cases, consumer information was compromised. In some cases, earnest money instructions were hijacked and in once case, $250,000 was stolen. Guess what? If you are a real estate agent who got hacked or had earnest money stolen, you are in deep ****. You probably violated the broker’s independent contractor policy that you signed. If you did, your broker does not need to help you. In fact, if your actions cause harm to the brokerage brand, and you could be liable for those damages.
MORE >
Security Alert: It's Time to Stop Using Internet Explorer!
MORE >
Best of 2015: How to Convert a Document to PDF in 3 Easy Steps
We're continuing an annual tradition of counting down our top 10 articles of the year. The following article was originally published back in August and is #4 in our countdown. See #5 here. Need a quick, easy way to turn a document into a .PDF without having to pay for conversion software? You're in luck! If you have a Google account, you already have access to a free online tool that makes it a snap to change files to the format you need. (If you don't have an account, you can sign-up here.) One of the most underappreciated features of Google Drive is how it lets you convert documents to different file formats like rich text, plain text, Open Office, PDF, Microsoft Word, and more. It's a simple hack that anyone can do in just a couple of minutes. Here's how. Step #1: Upload a File for Conversion First, upload the document that you want to convert to Google Drive. To do this, click the orange New button and select File upload. Then browse to the file on your hard drive you want to convert and hit Open.
MORE >
How to Search Smarter and Get Better Results on Google
MORE >
Resources to Maximize Your ROI in 2016
In his appearance on a recent Secrets of Top Selling Agents webinar, Jimmy Mackin, co-founder of Curaytor.com, shared these great sites you can use to grow your business in 2016. Check out the best of team management, lead gathering, and branding ideas below! BestAboutPages.com has examples of some of the best "about" pages on the internet. Everyone in real estate is saying the same thing on their about page – take a look at these to get inspiration on how you can infuse your about page with personality to help it stand out. Theknot.com, a hub of wedding planning, may seem like a strange place to go for real estate, but here you can search for professional photographers. Mackin suggests that you "get professional photography of your team, get professional photography of your area. You will reuse it over, and over, and over, and over again." Slack.com is a team communication and messaging app. To help minimize the time lapse in business communication that can turn what should be a quick communication into hours of back and forth texting and calling. Mackin uses Slack because "it allows you to set up a very simple portal where you can communicate with your entire team in real time." Upwork.com and thehiredpens.com are two sites you can use to outsource your copywriting. Mackin recommends you start by getting a professional bio and 'about' page made.
MORE >
Are Your Weak Passwords Leaving Clients Vulnerable?
MORE >
How to Drive More Traffic to Your Real Estate Website
Converting leads in the online environment is not an easy thing to achieve. It is not just a matter of bringing people to your website and letting things run their course, although that is the place where you must start. Ok, let's assume that you have a decent real estate website as far as functionality and the visual side are concerned. If you are experiencing low traffic to your website, it means that you haven't taken enough time and made a good enough effort to reach people and get them interested in what you have to offer. Today we are going to discuss what are some of the right steps (and some of the wrong ones as well) to pulling in a satisfactory number of people to your real estate website. Identifying the Ideal Traffic When it comes to website traffic, you have to think ahead. Getting the numbers up is no big deal. You can pay for traffic and bring your stats to a satisfactory level. However, if you want to achieve something more than just having numbers for show, you will need to focus on finding the right traffic. Identifying parameters like age group, vocations, geographical area and other relevant factors will help you focus on getting traffic that will have a better chance of converting to paying customers later on.
MORE >
Quick Tip: How to Clear Your Browser Cache and Cookies
MORE >
How to Convert a Document to PDF in 3 Easy Steps
Need a quick, easy way to turn a document into a .PDF without having to pay for conversion software? You're in luck! If you have a Google account, you already have access to a free online tool that makes it a snap to change files to the format you need. (If you don't have an account, you can sign-up here.) One of the most underappreciated features of Google Drive is how it lets you convert documents to different file formats like rich text, plain text, Open Office, PDF, Microsoft Word, and more. It's a simple hack that anyone can do in just a couple of minutes. Here's how. Step #1: Upload a File for Conversion First, upload the document that you want to convert to Google Drive. To do this, click the orange New button and select File upload. Then browse to the file on your hard drive you want to convert and hit Open.
MORE >
Appraising Your Digital Property: Where Agents Should Be Online
MORE >
A Look at the Marketing Opportunities .REALTOR Offers
In the early days of the internet, there were just seven top-level-domains (TLDs); .com, .org, .edu, .net., .int, .gov and .mil. These were put in place to provide some distinction between the types of websites a user was visiting (e.g., commercial, organization, education, etc.). Now, in 2015, there are more than 1,300 TLDs, including the new .REALTOR domain, which brings a unique and a powerful marketing opportunity to REALTORS®. Technical Background: In 2014, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) released the .REALTOR domain to NAR. Today, NAR is in good company with hundreds of major brands and categories that have also received approval for a top-level domain, like .tv, .bank, .Google, .Canon, .Honda, .Marriott, and .MLB. View the latest list of delegated TLDs. Like other major brands and professions that are unleashing hidden branding potential with new TLDs, REALTORS® are differentiating themselves from other real estate professionals online. .REALTOR is a short, distinctive domain with a focused extension that lets consumers instantly know they've found a trusted source for real estate. The Marketing Opportunity: As a REALTOR®, it's imperative to know how TLDs will impact your web presence and online marketing. As more TLDs become mainstream, the Internet is being divided into categories. This makes it easier for consumers to navigate the online world and locate exactly what they need. Sooner than we think, the widely recognized .com domain will be viewed as dated and generic.
MORE >
13 Tips for a Killer Online Reputation that You May Not Have Considered
MORE >
Create Your Own Real Estate Memes
Love them or hate them, real estate memes are great for engagement. Whether you work at a fun, family-oriented real estate agency or a high-end property management company, carefully selected memes can be a lighthearted way to interact with clients, colleagues and referral partners. You may choose to share them on your website, on social media channels, in an email or even via text. Of course, finding just the right thing for the right audience can be tough. The good news is that it's very easy to create your own real estate memes! How to create your own memes It's simple! You can either start from scratch or use an existing, recognized meme and add your own text. Starting from scratch: If you want to create a meme using your own image, perhaps of life at your office or a funny home detail, it's as easy as snapping a pic with your phone and opening an app. There are many free, meme-creating apps out there you can download right onto your smartphone or tablet. Then you can use any photo in your gallery to create your perfect meme. We like Meme Generator for Android devices and MeMatic for iOS.
MORE >
How to Use Google Alerts to Monitor Your Listings Online
MORE >
How to Set up IFTTT for Lead Generation
Have you checked out If This Then That (IFTTT) to use as real estate technology? Basically you can create automatic actions to be performed over pretty much anything you could want or think of. Want to save all those houses in a Google doc automatically? Check. Want an email every time someone tweets about you? Check. You can even program it to open the garage door every time you get home without pressing any buttons. How about getting an email every time someone is moving to your city? Or getting alerts sent straight to your phone when a certain type of home pops up for sale in your area? Can we say sign me up for more home sales? This is lead generation FOR FREE. This is some pretty handy real estate technology. IFTTT will save you a lot of time while actually giving you legitimate leads you can follow up on. Here is your step-by-step guide to more home sales: 1. Download IFTTT It's available on Android, iOS, and your computer. 2. Sign up for your free account. 3. Open it up Browse "recipes" that are already made. They have a LOT you can choose from.
MORE >
3 Outlook Essentials: Attachments, Signatures and AutoArchive
MORE >
11 Ways to Outsmart Security Threats in 2015
If last year is any indication, security will be continue to be a big topic in 2015. For real estate, the biggest story of the year was undoubtedly the tragic death of Realtor Beverly Carter, which ignited concerns about personal safety across the industry. Other incidents, like the cyber attack that took down Realtor.com's website for several days, underscored the increased level of threats witnessed in 2014. It's not all doom and gloom, though, and there are plenty of ways you can educate and protect yourself in the year ahead. To give you a leg up, we've compiled a list of resources to keep you and your data safe in 2015. Smart Web Surfing I'm going start this with a plea: If you're using Internet Explorer, please stop. Stop now. Not only is IE subject to security vulnerabilities and frequent attacks, it also offers an inferior browsing experience. Honestly, the best thing you can do for your online safety is to consider switching to an alternative like Chrome or FireFox. Be sure to stay current with all application updates, too! Once you've got your browser squared away, these tips point the way to safer surfing: 10 Social Media Safety Tips Keep Your Real Estate Clients Safe with These Internet Safety Tips
MORE >
Best of 2014: The Importance of an Email Address For Real Estate Agents
MORE >
Responding to Client Emails: 3 Tips and Tricks
Email: we all have it, and most of us could use a little help when it comes to controlling our inboxes. After all, the catch about email is that it works around the clock, even when we don't. The good news is that clients and contacts have a place to send messages 24/7. The bad news is that keeping up with all those emails can feel like an epic undertaking. (Sometimes we just wish our email would take a few days off.) In an effort to help make your workday easier, here are our top three tips and tricks for responding to client emails. 1. Create a cheat sheet for faster responses. One of the biggest complaints the industry hears from real estate consumers is that they just aren't getting the responsiveness they want from the agents they are reaching out to. While we think this perception can be skewed by a number of factors, it doesn't hurt to try to be the agent that does respond in a timely fashion. To that end, we recommend developing a handful of standard replies or one-liners you can easily copy and paste from when you're in a hurry. You'll find it extra helpful when you're at a loss for words, and it really cuts down on your proofreading. Many agents get the same type of emails over and over again – inquiries, charity and event invitations, referral requests, etc. Think about the top 10 or so emails that you seem to write over and over again and create a Word doc with prepared responses that you can edit slightly or use as is. You can often pull examples from your sent folder.
MORE >
Two-thirds of Buyers Are 'Addicted' to Online Property Listings
MORE >
Automate Your Business with zipForm® Plus and Zapier
Most people have heard the devil is in the details, and to achieve success, the goal is to eliminate that devil. For real estate professionals, these smaller details--like keeping address books synchronized--can become a large nuisance. To help with this, zipForm® Plus has integrated with Zapier. Zapier specializes in connecting web applications using 'If This, Then That' automation. This enables anyone with basic knowledge of multiple applications to easily connect them by defining a trigger. Currently, 360+ of the most common applications are available to connect immediately in ways that can make you a champion of multi-tasking. zipForm® Plus has joined the large group of web applications that is ready to connect within a few steps. Some of the applications that are sure to be the staples of real estate professionals are LinkedIn, Twitter, Office 360, Gmail and Exchange. Just imagine the ability to add a contact to your Gmail account, then have that information delivered to your zipForm® Plus address book only saving it once. Each connection created is called a 'Zap' and creating these connections is simple. See some of the following 'Zaps' are waiting for you in Zapier today: If a new contact is added to zipForm® Plus, Then an invite is sent to connect on LinkedIn If a new contact is added to zipForm® Plus, Then add that contact to Contactually If a new contact is added to Gmail contacts, Then add the contact to the zipForm® Plus address book If a new contact is added to zipForm® Plus, Then create a Evernote note for that contact
MORE >
Friday Freebie: Get Your .REALTOR Domain Name Before It's Gone!
MORE >
How to Help Online Buyers Get the Most Out of Their Search (Without Sabotaging Your Business)
Real estate agents by nature don't deal well with change. When it comes to teaching our clients about how to do an online search for real estate, we feel like crawling under a rock and getting in the fetal position because it's scary to think they could look up a house on their own. You mean they don't need us to see what's on the market any more? It's 2014, folks. Let's teach our clients the right way to search for homes online and it might actually make our job easier. Don't worry; they'll still need you for many other things like, oh, I don't know, unlocking the front door so they can actually see it. The Challenge of Selling to Millennials One of the biggest hurdles companies are trying to figure out, no matter what they sell, is how to appeal to Gen Y. Gen Y, also referred to as the "Millennials," is defined as anyone born between 1982 and 1993 and is typically (and falsely) categorized as a generation that prefers renting over owning. According to a recent article on Inc.com, "Gen Y's annual spending will amount to approximately $2.45 trillion, escalating to $3.39 trillion by 2018—significantly eclipsing Baby Boomers in spending power." Now do you understand why companies are competing for their attention? Millennials understand the power of computers and they don't want/need to rely on a business or, in this case, a real estate agent, for everything. This is why they often look on their own at first, and when it's convenient for them, we step in. Should we cater to this as agents? Hint: The answer is YES.
MORE >
Keep Your Real Estate Clients Safe with These Internet Safety Tips
MORE >
7 Essential Tricks to Take Control of Your Online Reputation TODAY
Whether you like it or not, your real estate business has an online reputation. Surveys have found that trustworthiness and reputation are the two most important factors when homebuyers and sellers are looking for an agent. If your online reputation isn't perfect, you will lose business. Here are 7 simple tricks to ensure that your online reputation is helping you attract customers: 1. Audit Your Search Results 90% of home purchases start online and 93% of online research starts with a search engine. See what potential customers see by searching for your name and business on Google. If you don't show up in the search results, you'll need to create more content. If you find bad reviews, you'll need to address them. You can optimize your online presence but you have to start by finding out what needs to be fixed. 2. Set Up Google Alerts You should only have to audit yourself once. Set up Google Alerts for your name, business, and any other search query for which you want to show up in the results. Google Alerts will send you an email every time there is a new result for your chosen keywords.
MORE >
Top 5 Mistakes Real Estate Agents Make Online
MORE >
Real Estate Prospect Leaving too Early? Bounce Rates for Your Real Estate Website
Let's Talk About Bounce Rate Do users make it to your Home Page and not use it all? Do they click on any of your listed properties or use your property search? Do users click on your About Us link in your email signature and leave your About US page immediately without browsing your real estate website? Do users go to your Realtor Profile page from your social media profile and leave immediately without contacting you? In our last Real Estate Digital Marketing post, I wrote of the importance of linking your Google Analytics Accounts with their respective AdWords accounts in the wake of Google rolling out their new Bulk Importing feature that makes it easier to link multiple accounts. In doing so, I touched on a few of the important metrics that are pulled into AdWords after linking: Bounce Rate, Pages per Visit, Average Visit Duration, and Percent of New Visits. These metrics allow you to see how users are interacting with your website and are therefore worth going over individually. The time, effort and dollars associated with getting potential buyers and seller to visit your real estate website is all for nothing if visitors aren't actually using your webpage! Bounce Rate Defined Google defines it as the "percentage of single-page sessions." The lower the better!
MORE >
9 IFTTT Recipes For Real Estate Professionals
MORE >
Google Trends in Real Estate Digital Marketing
What is Google Trends? Even many digital marketers aren't too familiar with Google Trends. Google Trends, formerly "Google Insights for Search," allows users to see the latest and hottest topics that people are currently searching for. Additionally, and more importantly for the advertiser, Google provides access to historical search data collected since 2004! Google Trends is a free tool for any user available at http://www.google.com/trends/. At the moment of writing this article, the Google Trends homepage shows me that the Galaxy S5 and The Voice are "Trending Now" and what states search for LeBron James the most. While that may be interesting to some, how does this help the advertiser? In a recent Google Partner discussion from February 12, 2014, Google showcased some of Google Trends' "cool little features," with more forthcoming. We can see that information presented by Google Trends may be amusing or "cool," but does Google Trends have any use for the advertiser or real estate digital marketing analyst? It certainly does! Application for The Real Estate Agent The most beneficial feature for the advertiser is the Search Term Comparison Tool, in which one can see the interest over time in a search term. Let's explore how this is useful for the real estate agent and digital marketing analyst using a sample search term of "Atlanta Homes for Sale."
MORE >
4 Hacks For Using Gmail Like a Pro
MORE >
Free .realtor Domains Available To NAR and CREA Members Soon
If you're a member of NAR, you will soon have the option of grabbing a free .realtor website domain from the organization. These new addresses should be available to members by the end of September. Back in 2012, the trade group applied to ICANN (Internet Corporation For Assigned Names and Numbers) to create and manage the .realtor top level domain. Now NAR has officially signed the contract that will enable them to launch signups for the new domains. They expect to be able to start offering their members access to these new domains by the end of the current quarter, which ends September 30th. NAR is offering an introductory deal for its members--a free .realtor domain for one year to the first 500,000 people who register. NAR's Canadian counterpart CREA will be offering 10,000 free .realtor domains to their members, as well. Single year registration will regularly cost $39.95 with discounts for registering for multiple years. GTLD Domains Are New Territory These new domains will definitely be of interest to agents looking to brand themselves in the online world as a Realtor. It will do a pretty good job of telling your prospective clients what you do just from reading your URL, though it will take some time. Generic Top Level Domains are a new concept for the public, so to a certain point it will take a bit of getting used to for the average user. In time they'll understand that all these URLs, like .coffee, .technology, .email or .photography will work just the same as the tried and true .com, .ca and .net, but there will be an adjustment period of these domains become more common.
MORE >
Easy Way to Add a Photo to Your Gmail signature
MORE >
What's a DDoS Attack?
Realtor.com's website has been down since midday Tuesday (update: the site is back online), along with other Move services like Top Producer. In a statement, the company identified a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack as the reason for the outage. The attack against Move's web properties is the latest in a string of recent DDoS attacks across the Internet. Ancestry.com was also down Wednesday. The World Cup website, along with RSS reader Feedly and Realtor-favorite Evernote were targets of DDoS attacks last week. Attack of the Zombie Computers! So what is a DDoS attack, anyway? It's a tactic that malicious hackers use to take down a website or network by overwhelming it with a high volume of traffic. Think of it as a mass stampede of thousands or millions of computers all trying to access a site at the same time. It's called a Distributed Denial of Service attack because the intent is to deny legitimate users from accessing a website, therefore crippling a business for the duration of the attack. Banks, media, and other major sites are frequent targets of DDoS takedowns. Hackers use something called a "botnet" to execute DDoS attacks. A botnet is a network of linked computers that are used collectively to pummel a target's server. These computers often belong to regular home or business users, but have been infected by a virus or malware. Once infected, hackers can control these computers remotely and use them to attack a website.
MORE >
4 Stealthy Ways to Monitor the Competition
MORE >
7 Tools For Working With Clients Remotely
Have you ever had to work with an out-of-town client? If you have, no doubt you've thanked your lucky stars for digital tools like digital signatures and transaction management software. Sometimes, however, your buyer or seller may need a more personal touch. So what's a far-away agent to do? Consider looking into web meeting applications. Most solutions will let you share your computer screen with clients, or chat face-to-face using a webcam. You can use these programs to review documents in real-time with clients, or simply to add a human touch that remote digital transactions can sometimes lack. There are a variety of different web meeting apps on the market, both free and paid. We've rounded up a few of our favorites below. To Download or Not to Download? That is the question and, next to price, it's probably the biggest consideration when choosing the right meeting app for you. Web meeting apps come in two flavors: those that require you to download and install software before joining or hosting a meeting, and those that work right in your browser, no installation required. Those that require installation typically offer more robust features, like the ability to record a session. However, if those features are not important to you, browser-based apps may be the way to go. GoToMeeting - If you've ever attended one of RE Technology's webinars (or most of these), you're already familiar with this program. GoToMeeting is one of the most widely used online collaboration tools. It offers desktop sharing, high-def video conferencing, the ability to record sessions, and more. The program requires software installation and a monthly subscription fee. However, there is a new free version with fewer features and no installation required. This version only works in Google Chrome for up to three participants.
MORE >
10 Ways Technology Can Save Agents Time and Money
MORE >
Are You a Spammer and Don’t Realize It?
When someone mentions email spammers, do you picture sleazy con artists selling Viagra, get-rich-quick schemes and match-making services? You certainly don't picture yourself, do you? But if you're not careful about the marketing emails you send out, you could end up being labeled a spammer. All it takes to be pegged as a spammer is a single person who responds to your marketing newsletter by clicking the "spam" button in their email menu. At best, a "spam" click dumps all future emails from you into the person's trash can. At worst, you collect enough spam reports to inspire an Internet Service Provider (think Yahoo, Gmail or Comcast) to block emails from you to their customers. To avoid picking up a reputation as a spammer, follow these five tips: 1. Make it easy to opt-out of your e-newsletter Yes, you read that right. You want it to be just as easy to leave your email list as it is to click the "spam" button. If your clients aren't enjoying your e-newsletter, you need to find one they do like. At HomeActions, we include an unsubscribe button at the end of every email. The unsubscribe button isn't just good marketing, it's also legally required by the federal CAN-SPAM law for most commercial emails.
MORE >
Heartbleed: How to Make Sure Your Data is Safe—and Keep It That Way!
MORE >
Managing Your Personal Online Presence: A Guide For Real Estate Agents
As a real estate professional, how you present yourself is paramount to your success in the industry. While you often hear about employers doing background checks on potential job applicants, your real estate clients are doing the same to you. They want to know that you’re a good person to do business with and are doing their homework on who you are, using search engines. When someone looks you up online, do you know what they will find? Spring Cleaning For Your Online Presence Google Yourself Try running a simple search in Google and Bing search engines and see what shows up. Maybe you’re fortunate and have a unique name that makes it easy to find you. If you’re like me and have a really common name use a search query, like Jane Jones + Columbus OH or Jane Jones + Awesome Realty + Columbus OH to specifically target you and your real estate business. Do you get search results that pertain to you? If you do have a common name, you may find there there are online twins that share your name and live in the same area as you. Take Notes Make a spreadsheet of what you find, categorizing the Good (leave as is), Neutral (ignore or not worth bothering with) and Bad (action required), among the search results you find. The goal here is to create an actionable list to address any blemishes you might find when you search your name.
MORE >
Real Estate Domain Extensions
MORE >
How to Buy a House – As Told by Memes
This post comes to us from the Market Leader blog: Having trouble connecting with Millennial homebuyers? This graphic may be just the thing you need to get your marketing efforts on their level. "I Can Haz Real Estate" gives Millennials and other aspiring homebuyers who are Internet-savvy a highly simplified version of the home-buying process. The vehicle this infographic uses to explain this frequently convoluted process is a "meme." If you're wondering what exactly memes are, they have been described as "virally-transmitted cultural symbols or social ideas" or cultural elements like jokes and turns of phrase that are created and disseminated by individuals. The memes contained in this infographic are simple images with text imposed over them. This type of meme uses standardized images with defined voices and contexts in which they should be used. (For example, the fist-pumping baby near the top of the graphic is known as "Success Kid" and is used to express happiness about a victory or success.) As most Millennials and Internet-savvy people can tell you, memes are commonly shared on social networks like Facebook and websites like Reddit.
MORE >
What’s New with Craigslist?
MORE >
The Importance Of An Email Address For Real Estate Agents
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.
MORE >
Are There Too Many Listings?
MORE >
Best of 2013: 6 Web Properties You Need to Own Now
We're continuing an annual tradition of counting down the most popular articles of the year. This article was posted back in January and is #7 in our countdown. See #8 here. You know all about real estate, but what do you know about digital property? When it comes to building an effective internet presence, there are a handful of online "places" that you must leverage. Your "web properties" are online points of contact, like websites, blogs, and social media profiles. In our overview below, we list the different types of property you need, according to their importance. CRITICAL The following web properties are absolutely crucial to your online success. If you don't have them, you could seriously be hurting your business. Website - Don't have an agent website? Stop. Red light. Without one, you're making yourself invisible to the 90% of homebuyers who use the internet during their home buying search. At minimum, your site should have IDX property search capabilities, neighborhood information, contact info, your listings, and links to your other digital properties. Explore real estate website providers here. Facebook - Surprised to see Facebook on the "Critical" list? Don't be. With over 500 million active Facebook users, if you're not on this social network, you're invisible to potential clients. Agents with a weak (or no) website can use a strong Facebook presence to fill the gap by adding listing information, photos, open house announcements, and posting updates on local events.
MORE >
It’s the Internet: Do You Know Where Your Listing Is?
MORE >
Creating a Powerful Email Signature
This post comes to us from BrokerageU: Saving the perfect email signature will limit the amount that you have to spend typing when you bring an email to a close. For your leads and clients, it can make an easy way for them to locate your contact information and website. However, when used incorrectly, an email signature can be quite a disaster. You want to be as concise as possible. Don't scare off your recipient at the very end of a wonderful email because you included a signature equally as long as the original email itself. What should be included? Add who you are, where you work, and how someone can contact you. Short, and to the point. Ideally, you can showcase all of that in about four lines or less. The key here is simplicity. Adding paragraphs of bulky info may help the reader get to know you the first time you communicate with them by email, but if you correspond frequently it is likely to get very redundant. Here's one good example: —– John Smith, Realtor® Premier Brokerage of California (123) 456-7890 | [email protected] Search for Homes: www.myhomesearch.com
MORE >
5 Keyword Tips for Agents
MORE >
Are You Easy to Find on the Web?
One of the key ingredients of successful referral and repeat marketing is making sure you are easy to find. You want to make sure that when a client or referral source recommends you to a real estate lead... they'll have no trouble contacting you. Increasingly, the way potential clients are finding agents is through the internet. They expect that your web site will contain all the information they will need to learn about your services, and to contact you via phone and e-mail. Quick Tip: Be sure your real estate contact management software has an automated website lead capture capability so leads can contact you via your website and be automatically flowed into your database! So having a domain name that is easy to remember, and easy to spell, is critical. The last thing you want is to have a real estate lead get frustrated while trying to find you on the Web — and then giving up! Most real estate agents use their personal name as a domain name. That can be very effective. After all, you want to build your reputation — your brand — among past clients and referral sources, so having a "MyName.com" makes sense. But what if your personal name is difficult to spell?
MORE >
RSS for Real Estate
MORE >
SEO Gold VS. Keyword Spam
Years ago, it was common practice to cram as many keywords into a website as humanly possible. The more keywords resulted in a higher ranking on search engines. The problem with this was that many top ranked websites had little to no valuable content for the web user. As a result, these websites would seldom get return traffic. So, the search engine that was meant to put the most valuable websites on the top of the results page was failing to do its job. Well, not anymore! These days search engines are smarter and better at sifting through the keyword dense junk to find the truly valuable content. Now if you want to rank high you have to cater to the web user, NOT the search engines. Because what the search engines do, really, is cater to web users. So if YOU cater to web users and the search engines cater to web users, then it would only make sense that your website would rank higher. How to avoid keyword spam Having keywords on your website is not a bad thing, actually it's a very important part of good SEO, but those keywords are meaningless without good quality original content to back them up! There's no formula for how many keywords you should have or what the limit is. Instead of focusing on quantity, focus on quality.
MORE >
Social + SEO: Content Formatting
MORE >
Forward Extra Domains to Specific Pages on Your Website
This post comes to us from BrokerageU: If you are like the majority of us (REALTORS® especially), you probably own quite a few domain names. Did you know that those domains are not able to boost your business by being tucked away in your Go Daddy account and unused? So, now that you've bought a handful of URLs, let's find out how to put them to use. We love the article that Eric Stegemann wrote on this topic earlier this year, so we thought we would expand on this a bit to illustrate how you can accomplish forwarding any domain that you own. The absolute BEST choice for using your domains is to make sure that you have unique content on each one--even if it's just a landing page for a single community or market specific area. If your website designer offers the option to create landing pages for you, take advantage of this! That way, not only are you able to keep your main site's content extremely focused on one topic area, you can now branch out to a wider audience with each additional domain name. Once you've got a live domain with unique content, you're also going to be building quality SEO over time, so that all of these domains are becoming more and more valuable to you. Now, we know that building a custom landing page for every single one of your domain names might not be exactly reasonable for every agent. This could be due to budgets, lack of time, etc. There is another option to put those sites to work for you. You can create very specific pages on your website and forward each domain to the corresponding page. Stay with us, we'll explain it further in a moment.
MORE >
Google Reader is Dead?! 4 Alternatives to Ease the Pain
MORE >
Real Estate Tech: Terminology and Definitions
This post comes to us from BrokerageU: If you have tried to purchase a domain name or even had to manage your own website in the past, I'm sure you noticed that there is an entire new set of words and phrases that you feel like you need to learn in order to understand the process and be able to intelligently answer the questions of the support representative on the other end of the phone line. It isn't completely necessary for you to be an über expert at any of this; but it will be beneficial for you to learn the basics. We will take a look at the most important phrases and definitions so that you can feel fully equipped to purchase and maintain your domains. Domain A domain is the website address or URL that you purchased. If your website is setup correctly, your content will technically live at this online address. If you own multiple domains for one website, you will need to choose one as the primary and the rest can be set up to forward to the main domain. PS: Did you know having a bunch of domains doesn't help? Registrar You can purchase your domain from a registrar. These are companies that can check available domains and sell them to you for a predefined period of time. Typically, the longer you wish to own the domain, the cheaper your per year registration cost. The registrar does not directly control any of the content on your website. A registrar simply assures that the URL is owned by you and that you are able to edit the basic settings of your domain name and send different types of Internet traffic to the right place. There are so many different registrars to choose from, but an example of one of the most common is GoDaddy. (You can use our discount code to get domains for just $7.49 / year – use CJC749FAT.)
MORE >
SEO for Real Estate Takes Time
MORE >
Web 101: Fundamental Dos and Don’ts of Real Estate Websites
With an estimated 90 percent of home buyers conducting home searches online, you'd be smart to use the beginning of 2013 to beef up your web presence. Take a minute to discover the six things you absolutely must include on your real estate website (and which three things to avoid). Is your site up to snuff? 6 Must-Haves Contact information: Your name, phone number, email or contact form, and links to your social media accounts should be visible on every page. Left or right margins are great for this. "About" page: Let your prospects know what you're about, as an agent or brokerage. Why did you get into the real estate business? Do you specialize in certain types of sales? Include anything that distinguishes you from other professionals in your area. Listings: Visitors to your site primarily want to see listings. Make sure they are prominent and easily accessible from your home page. You may even consider integrating IDX into your home page. Buyer information: Buyers want to know what you will do for them if they choose you as their agent. This is an excellent opportunity to include your list of seller services so prospective clients can see the value you will bring to the transaction.
MORE >
How to Write Engaging Content for Search Engines
MORE >
SEO Battles With Big Real Estate Websites? Kill Them With Local Niche Content.
When I meet with a REALTOR® about doing a new real estate website for them, we always start out by discussing what their primary objectives are and what is making them want to switch their site up. The first thing I am always told is, "I want to show up first on Google rankings for my marketplace." When I ask the REALTOR® to be more specific, they will say something to the effect of, "When someone types in (Fill in the city) real estate listings, I want to be the first choice." This opens up dialogue for a very meaningful exercise. The purpose of this exercise is to demonstrate that it is nearly impossible to compete with the Zillows, Trulias and big box brokerages of the world when it comes to vague (e.g. citywide) search terms. BUT, if you strategically put niche-specific, local content into your website, you can compete with these companies on levels they simply cannot compete with. The Problem: For this exercise, let's assume that your marketplace is Menlo Park, California. If you do a quick Google search for Menlo Park Real Estate Listings, you'll see that the top two results, of course, are Trulia and Zillow. The fact is that you cannot compete with these companies on the broad spectrum. They aggregate TONS of data on their websites, have links to every listing imaginable and have become SEO powerhouses.
MORE >
Don’t Let Your Reputation—or Your Wallet—Fall Prey to Scam Complaint Site
MORE >
Study: How Online Is Driving Offline
Last year at this time, we saw several big reports showing how clearly the web is influencing the real estate market, with more consumers than ever beginning their home searches online. Here we are again in the early part of the year, and Google and the National Association of REALTORS® have a new report on online habits and real estate. What did they learn this time around? Real estate-related searches have more than doubled in last 4 years. The report, The Digital House Hunt: Consumer and Market Trends in Real Estate, includes custom research from NAR's 2012 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers in addition to internal Google data.
MORE >