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It's Time to Modernize the Clickwrap Experience
We've all done it at some point. We've checked the box on a signup form that says we agree to a company's privacy policy, or we've scrolled to the end of a terms-and-conditions page and clicked the "I accept" button. Companies have been using--and people have been accepting--these standard "clickwrap" agreements for years now. The process seems simple enough. One click, and you're done, right? Maybe that's the case for customers. But for companies, clickwraps are more complex, incurring needless risks and costs.
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When Hackers Attack: The Broker's Guide to DDoS
Any company that operates online can run into cybersecurity issues--and a particularly nasty tactic that hackers sometimes use is DDoS. These attacks are a lot like hurricanes; we can predict that they'll happen, but we never actually know when they'll happen or how powerful they'll be when they do. A DDoS attack can quickly take out websites and servers of any size, even if they're properly equipped to handle it. So today, let's take a quick look at what a DDoS attack is, why they're hard to defend against, and what you can do to safeguard against them.
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GDPR and Its Effect on the US Real Estate Industry
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This Website Is Not Secure!
Over the last few weeks, we have been researching web traffic for 177 of the most productive brokerages in sales volume and sides. While we are still diving deep into the study, there was one stat that gave me grave concern--the number of broker websites that are not secure for a customer to login or to complete a form. Securing information between a person who completes a registration or property inquiry form and then sends it to a website's server is achieved when you see the HTTPS before the web address. Example: https://www.WAVGroup.com – Communication between person browsing and the website server is secure http://www.WAVGroup.com – Communication between person browsing and the website server is NOT secure. Today, we do not even consider launching a website—with or without forms—without applying HTTPS website security. For years, Google has been pushing webmasters to apply HTTPS to secure websites. While this method has been a longtime practice, most companies were not adhering to it if their site did not have an e-commerce payment feature. That is, until Google started to highlight non-secure websites as "Not Secure" in Chrome back in July of 2018. Nowadays, the majority of web browsers display non-secure websites to people. During our research, we exposed that almost 25 percent of the 177 websites in the study were non-secured websites. These are websites from brokerages who are productivity leaders in sales volume, or sides, or both. Websites that included features like subscribing to a newsletter, submitting a property inquiry with a showing request, or a site registration and login form. Scary! Non-secure websites are open A simple scenario of creating a new username and password on a non-secure website makes it easy for others to see it. When the submit button is pushed, the browser sends the information to the website's hosting server in a form that is as readable as this article. There are plenty of tools to capture the communication into a file and query it to find the information. Unsecured Wi-Fi hotspots like in airports, restaurants, and public places make it easier for the bad guys to capture non-secured communication with these tools. Open hot spots make it imperative to secure websites to protect the consumer's privacy and security, leverage search engine optimization, and preserve the company's brand image. Consumers Privacy and Security The EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA), and the discussions in the U.S. Congress on new federal regulation policy state that any compromise of a person's personal or private information must be disclosed. It will be difficult to remediate any violations of these laws when a company maintains non-secured websites. An item to note: While CCPA's accountability to the law is limited to only big companies, the U.S. House and Senate hearing was inclusive for every company and preemptive to state law. The federal government is reviewing how to align data security with a privacy policy. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Search engines have been saying since 2014 that one signal they use for ranking websites is if they are using HTTPS. Google previously stated usage of HTTPS as a ranking signal is part of their algorithm. For these reasons, over the past few months, we've been running tests taking into account whether sites use secure, encrypted connections as a signal in our search ranking algorithms. We've seen positive results, so we're starting to use HTTPS as a ranking signal. Should we be concerned about this since Zillow, Realtor.com, and Trulia are winning this war? I absolutely think it makes a difference for longtail searches. These sometimes include typing in a property address or performing a search for "home for sale in X neighborhood for $250k." Company's brand image This one upsets me. Brand is extremely important to a company, and having a web browser say "Not Secure" is making a negative brand impression on the consumer. Let's take a look. Chrome: Here is an example when accessing a non-secure website in Chrome. When the consumer clicks on the information circle next to Not Secure, the following message is delivered. Brand message: We want your business, but we don't care enough to protect you from the bad guys! The next example shows how a secured website is treated by Chrome. The consumer is presented with a lock icon next to the URL address. All is okay with this company! Firefox: When accessing a non-secure website, Firefox only displays the information circle. But, look at what is displayed when the consumer clicks on the site. I like how Firefox displays a secured website. They present a bold green lock next to the web address. This aligns and signals the dedication of a brand that is concerned about my security and privacy. Safari: Apple's treatment of a secured website only displays a little lock next to the web address. It is okay, but nothing really bold. Apple's lack of treat treatment on non-secure websites is a little disheartening. As a consumer, you only know when the website is secured. I guess Apple thinks people are more aware of their browsing habits. Brave Browser: If you like a browser to test for SEO and easily select ad and tracking blockers, try Brave Browser. It has become a go-to for surfing the web. Brave treats non-secured websites similar to Firefox. A big red "Not Secure." Click on the Not Secure and the message is loud and clear: Summary All your website assets need to be set up with HTTPS. The cost to implement is minimal compared with not having the proper security in place to protect people, losing out on longtail SEO, and jeopardizing the company's brand with consumers. It all matters in today's business world. There really isn't any excuse for having a non-secure website. If your team is too busy, call us. We'll handle this for you and make the necessary phones calls to get the job done. One more item to check off your "to-do" list. To view the original article, visit the WAV Group blog.
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Google Flags Websites that Are Not HTTPS as Not Secure
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CCPA for the U.S. Real Estate Industry: An Introduction
In the last few years, there has been a renewed focus on consumer digital privacy rights around the world. Most notably, the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has been the most prominent and far-reaching attempt to regulate how businesses use private personal data. Driven by this movement, California has passed the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). Much like its predecessor, the GDPR, CCPA will significantly increase the rights of consumers to access and manage their personal data.
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The 'NOT INVENTED HERE' Philosophy Can Get You in Trouble with Technology!
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Using Domain Names for Real Estate Website Navigation
Before you jump away, this isn't some technical discussion for website programmers. This is all about marketing your real estate website in a more user-friendly way that can improve your lead generation. Now that we have your attention, let's talk about how to use different domain names to direct visitors to different areas of your real estate website.
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How to Connect to a Computer Remotely
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Potential End to Net Neutrality and the Impact on Small Real Estate Businesses
In stunning real estate news: On December 14, the FCC voted to end net neutrality. What could this mean for small and mom-and-pop brokerages? Far-Reaching Implications
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5 Lead Generating Pages that Will Enhance Your Real Estate Marketing
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Real Estate Website Outs Agent-to-Agent Commission Deals
Flat-fee real estate agency Trelora is at it again, publicizing Denver area agents' home selling commissions. Trelora considers the information a public service real estate selling tip, aimed at giving buyers "access to all of the information so they can make the best possible decision during their home buying process, and not worry that they're being pushed toward a more expensive home because it affects their agent's income," according to Trelora CEO Joshua Hunt. Not the First Time The last time (in February 2015) the Denver-based company attempted to provide information on buy-side commissions with its online listings, they were served with a cease-and-desist order from the region's MLS, REcolorado, citing a violation of Internet data-exchange rules regarding the display of MLS information. How'd They Pull It Off this Time? Per an agreement reached with REcolorado, now those looking to take a gander at commission information can set up a secure account with Trelora, signing a non-disclosure. The agreement is non-exclusive, allowing potential clients to continue to work with other firms.  
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Are You Getting the Internet Speed You Paid For?
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Leveraging Google Drive for Real Estate
For a long time, Microsoft Office—Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.—was the undisputed king of document creation. Then came the internet, the cloud, and mobile devices with capabilities that rivaled and exceeded those of desktop computers. Suddenly, Microsoft Office wasn't the obvious choice anymore. That's why part 4 of our Google for Real Estate series covers Google Drive, one of the best programs to store and create documents. Here you'll find out what it can do, where you can get it, how it can advance your business, and more. What is Google Drive? Google Drive is "A safe place for all your files." This is a simple way of saying that Drive is a safe and secure place to create, edit, and store your important documents, photos, marketing materials, listing presentations, etc. Why use it? On top of the obvious reasons—easy document, spreadsheet, and slideshow creation—Google Drive files are encrypted with the same security used in Gmail, keeping all your documents safe and secure. Drive syncs your documents across devices, automatically reflecting all changes, and generally makes it easy to view, comment, edit, and collaborate with anyone you need to. Additionally, Drive's built-in file converter can convert most documents into a Google format and back, allowing you to easily work on any document.
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Best Practices for Shopping Online Safely
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A web page not loading correctly? Try deleting the cache.
If a web page is not loading properly or if it is loading slowly, you may benefit from deleting the cache. What is a cache? A cache is temporary storage that your web browser uses to keep local copies of pages, images and other content you frequently visit online. The browser uses what is stored in the cache instead of loading the entire website again. Why should I clear it? While the cache is very helpful in having a good user experience online, over time it stores numerous files in your computer. When you clear out the cache, the most up-to date version of the websites you access regularly will load and display, reducing error messages. Deleting those old files will also allow you access information online faster. What about cookies and browser history? You can delete cookies and browser history if you are concerned about privacy, but these don't typically cause problems to your web browser's performance. What are cookies? A cookie is information that a website you visit stores on your computer. Cookies are used by websites to remember your preferences, logins and other customization functions, such as a keeping track of what you have placed in the shopping cart. Most modern browsers give you the option to store cookies or not, but some websites won't function properly unless you allow them to store and access cookies. What is browsing history? Whenever you visit a website, your browser will store in its memory the website you accessed. You can delete this history to save hard drive space, or maintain some privacy if you are sharing the computer. How do I manage all these items? Some browsers allow you to manage multiple items together, and some browsers will have separate instructions for each action you wish to take. Click over to page two for some helpful "how to" articles, depending on which browser you use.
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Mail2Cloud Chrome: 5 Ways to Leverage this Gmail Extension
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Mobile Real Estate Websites Trending for September 2016
The trend of increasing mobile website traffic continued in September 2016. Last month showed that mobile real estate website traffic to be at 52 percent of overall real estate website traffic for real estate companies. So, what does this mean for your real estate business? With mobile now taking a solid lead in real estate website traffic now, more than ever, is the time for real estate companies and agents to focus on the mobile consumer. But, what does it really mean to focus on the mobile consumer? Here are four mobile real estate website tips: Tip 1: Look at your website experience on mobile Too often business owners, including myself, do work on our work computer. Our work computer is usually our laptop or desktop computer at the office. This means that when we look at our websites to make changes, work on them, or to review changes and plan our marketing, we usually do it on the wrong device. As a business owner, you need to review your websites on mobile devices to experience what your website users experience. If you work with a website company or a marketing company, you should first review mobile mock-ups of your site content.
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How to Use Google Analytics to Understand Mobile Traffic
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Mary Meeker's 2016 Internet Trends: 3 Takeaways for Real Estate
One of my favorite research rituals is the annual release by Mary Meeker of her Internet Trends Report, the latest of which was issued on June 1. Meeker was catapulted into the financing world spotlight as the lead manager at Morgan Stanley for Netscape's IPO in 1995. Later that year, she and Chris DePuy at Morgan published The Internet Trends, and it quickly became the definitive digest of the current state of the Internet, as well as discerning big-picture trends. Meeker would go on to serve as a research analyst for another notable Morgan Stanley IPO in 2004: Google. Today, Meeker is a partner with the Silicon Valley venture capital firm of Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers, and continues to publish the most definitive annual report on the Internet. Like Warren Buffett's annual letter to shareholders, it has become one of my annual must-reads. Presented in a slideshow format, this year's report – available in a PDF here – is over 200 pages long and is packed with economic, cultural, business and technology data that is so comprehensive, it is mind numbing. So here's my attempt to extract just three key takeaways that should be of particular interest to the real estate industry. In truth, there are dozens more, but this is an attempt to show that the full consumption of this report is worth the chore. Trend: Global aging Global birth rates are down (39% decline since 1960) and global life expectancy is up (36% increase since 1960). This is true in the U.S., as illustrated by these charts from the report: Takeaway: This is a huge demographic trend in the U.S. that will have a long-lasting impact on real estate, from the types of homes we are building, to where we are building them. Initially, we are entering the early stages of an era when Millennials are going to have to buy Baby Boomer homes as the Boomers downsize and the Millennials build families because Millennials are aging, and starting to have more children too.
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Is It Time to Switch Your Default Web Browser?
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Spam Emails vs. Email Marketing: Know the Difference
Raise your hand if half of your inbox is flooded throughout the day with emails that mainly get sent straight to the trash. Everyone? Yeah, we thought so. But, can you tell the difference between spam emails and email marketing? Sometimes, the difference is more subtle than you may think and the last thing that you want to do is start sending your client spam. Because that's just bad business. So where do you go from here? It starts with defining both spam and email marketing. You can then move forward with an understanding how you can utilize email marketing and more personalized messaging to best reach out to your network in order to build the best relationships. The best business relationships are built on trust between both the client and the business, and you can't gain anyone's trust by sending spam. Don't be a spammer. Read on to understand how.
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[CHEAT SHEET] Finding Inner Peace in Your Inbox
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Hire a Curator
A quick Google search brings up the definition of curator – it is a word derived from the Latin word curare – meaning, "take care." A curator is a manager or overseer. Traditionally, this word has a connotation of maintaining historical things because it is an official position in museums, but that is not the context intended here. The role of a curator in today's business is to keep things current. WAV Group Communications starts projects with an audit. We begin by understanding the variety of audiences that the company engages. We then take a look at how MLSs, technology companies, or brokerages are communicating with their audiences. What we find is typically dated, stale, and gross. Under the watchful eye of a curator, this never happens. A curator scours every touch point with every audience and keeps it clean and fresh. Agent images are always uploaded and there are no grey skulls. Old logos vanish and are replaced with new ones. Documents that have not been used or updated in years are refreshed. Social media updates happen every day. Press releases happen monthly. Intranets are hydrated with how-to tips, community stories, and celebrations. Consumer sites have daily contributions and newsletters go out on a regular basis. A curator is not necessarily the person who creates all of this content. It's a management and supervisory position that draws communications from across the enterprise to leverage the expertise of the organization. They find out from the help desk what the most common calls are and create a task to create training materials. They speak to leaders about successful strides in the business and work with a PR firm to distribute a press release. They monitor social media and build reports on reach and study effectiveness, and so on and so forth.
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Effective Out of the Office Email Responses
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Is Email Volume Killing Your Company?
Lingchi is roughly the word that the Chinese use to describe a form of torture whereby a person is executed by 1000 cuts. Dying the death of a thousand cuts has become a familiar business term that can have any range of meaning. WAV Group fielded a question from large brokerage firm: "How do we reduce email in our company?" Communication in a company is good, but too much communication has an adverse impact. What follows is my reply. Calculate the spoilage. If it takes each member of the company an hour to clean out their inbox each day, how many hours of productivity per day is the company losing? You can only control how many messages you send. Do an exercise where you look at the emails that you send and count the number that you could have not sent. Set a goal for each person to reduce the number of emails sent each day by 20% – 1 in 5 emails sent by professionals is typically the number that is easy to reduce. Carbon Copy is the devil. Never copy someone unless they are pivotal to the conversation. We live in a forward world. We see something that we like and we forward it. Consider putting those things into a folder and creating one email per week with your highlights.
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The Mobilegeddon Effect
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Top 5 Apps for Real Estate Pros
I was lucky enough to get to sit in on some of the classes being offered to agents at the annual Florida Realtors Convention. I was impressed by not only the information provided in the classes, but also the professionalism and sheer desire to learn from the attending agents. Since real estate is such a visually driven business, I thought providing a top five list of the most image-intensive apps real estate agents can utilize in their business would be beneficial. 1. Instagram One of the apps growing in popularity by the day is Instagram. This is a great tool to use to showcase the curb appeal or standout room in a new listing. Don't forget to use hashtags to boost your views! Common hashtags include: #realtor, #realtorlife, #florida (or the state you live) and #homeforsale. While Instagram does have optional filters built into the app, take care in using them as they may give consumers a false perception of a home or simply look over-edited even if your only intention was to brighten up the room.
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Discover More Information Automatically about People Online with Connect6
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3 Ways to Use Video Chat in Real Estate
Do you Skype, FaceTime or schedule Hangouts with your buyers or sellers? If you're not using these free web-based video chat services in your real estate business, you should be! We're going to tell you three ways you can use them to improve communications and boost your marketing in just a minute, but first, here's a breakdown of three of the most popular video conferencing services: Skype – By now, almost everyone has heard of Skype. It's the free way to video call anyone in the world, no matter which desktop or mobile device they use. You can also use it to send photos and files. FaceTime – Make video calls from your Mac device. If both you and your client have an iPhone, iPad or Mac computer, this video calling service is built right in. Google Hangouts – Initially only available as a part of Google+, Hangouts now has standalone iOS and Android apps. Hangouts is ideal for group chats involving people at multiple locations. In addition to video chatting, you can share your desktop, making it great for work meetings too. If you or your clients don't have the time to learn new technology, you can still record video footage using the camera function in your phone. Then you can text or email that video to your clients, so they have the experience of seeing and hearing from their agent, instead of just reading a copy-only message.
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Have You Been Crawled Lately?
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Stay Ahead of Hackers
During the economic downturn, real estate pros were on high alert for scams by perpetrators who preyed on cash-strapped home owners desperate to stave off foreclosure. Today, a new wave of scammers is breaking into people's e-mail accounts to cull information about pending deals. The hackers—posing as sellers, title company representatives, or even other real estate agents—instruct buyers, agents, or attorneys to transfer funds related to the purchase to accounts belonging to the scammers, potentially swindling victims out of sizable sums. In addition, agents lately have been the target of ruses involving overseas cash "buyers" who ask for bank account information so they can supposedly wire deposits. Whatever the technique, hackers are finding ways to trick buyers, sellers, and practitioners by e-mail or phone to hand over large amounts of money. In many cases, the heists could have been prevented if the victim had verified that the instructions were legitimate before proceeding. "For anyone involved in real estate transactions, the key is vigilance and making sure that what is happening should be happening," says Peter Bolac, trust account compliance counsel for the North Carolina State Bar, which has received multiple reports of fraud involving wired funds in real estate transactions, including one involving a loss of $200,000. "Everyone involved in handling [transactions] has a duty to be sure their accounts are secure" and the procedures they follow include safeguards to protect clients. Hacking incidents, sometimes referred to as "spear phishing," have disrupted transactions in a number of states, including California, New Jersey, and North Carolina.
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5 Ways to Achieve Inbox Zero without Negatively Impacting Your Relationships
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Tips for Producing Viral Content
Although it may sound misleading, in the world of Internet content production, going "viral" is actually a good thing. As a virus spreads quickly from host to host, you want your content to be passed from reader to reader, reaching as many views and visits to your website as possible. The "infection" from your content usually comes in the form of an emotional response evoked within the viewer that prompts them to share the link. Many content creators believe that there is a magic formula that will get the maximum amount of readers and sharers if followed. The truth is, there are a number of different ways to appeal to readers and to inspire them to share your content. Here are just three elements of viral content to get you started. Long-Form Content Goes Much Farther With more viewers arriving at content on mobile and on-the-go devices, one popular assumption abounding was that short-form content would garner more views and shares. A survey conducted by BuzzSumo found that quite the opposite is true. Of the top 10 percent most shared articles, long-form content was shared more than short-form. In fact, BuzzSumo found that the longer the content, the more shares it received. Articles with 3,000 to 10,000 words had the most shares, more than 16 times those that had less than 1,000 words. This shows that well-researched, quality content that goes in-depth is still the way to go. This content is intellectually challenging and will help to draw a reader into your site, looking to you as an expert in your field.
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3 Quick Tips for a More Effective Email Signature
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Online, Safety Is Your 'Social Responsibility'
Guest contributor John Graden of REALTOR®Mag says: Social media has changed the landscape for everyone. For you, it's made it easier to target clients. And for criminals, it's made it easier to target you. Any bad guy you would potentially deal with before, during, and after a showing is playing a role. He's pretending to be someone you, the victim, can trust. From the time he first contacts you, he will stay in character until he either executes his plan or bails out. Pulling off that charade is a whole lot easier with free and easy tools online that he can use to create an identity and follow your trail. On Facebook and other social media platforms, a criminal may be able to find out what college you attended, what sports teams you like, how many kids you have, and where you like to vacation. He can even see highly detailed images of where you work, live, and the place where he is going to meet you for a showing. A criminal's ability to "pull off his role" is magnified because it's much easier to create rapport with target audiences online than ever before. As convenient as the cyber world has made doing business for the good guys, it's made it a whole lot easier for bad guys, too. Remember that online communities are comprised of three groups of users: the safest third, the not-so-safe middle third, and the highly dangerous bottom third. When it comes to the highly dangerous bottom third, some are transparent in their aggressive hostility and easy to see and avoid. However, it's the more cunning psychopath that is more difficult to recognize because he is an expert at playing the good guy and gaining favor.
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Millennials and the Curated Web (and Why I Chose Pinterest over Google)
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What You Need More Than an Assistant
Guest contributor Jared James of REALTOR®Mag says: What has helped shape me as a real estate speaker and coach are my past experiences selling homes as a real estate professional and working as my mother's "unpaid assistant" in her office for years as a child. I've seen a lot of change in the industry, but I also haven't seen enough change in many practitioners' businesses. I believe in resisting Shiny Object Syndrome — a preoccupation with adopting every new piece of technology that comes along — that many agents and brokers suffer from. But I also acknowledge that our ability to change with the industry will determine the level of efficient success we experience going forward. Notice that I said "efficient success." Some agents will try to justify the way they do business by saying they sell X number of houses per year, which must mean they are successful. That's not exactly true: If you sell 40 houses in a year, but you have no freedom because your business is entirely reliant on your 24/7 availability, then I would question how successful you really are. Last week, my company held our first-ever Annual Advance, a conference focused on the latest strategies and systems to run a 21st century business, at the Connecticut Convention Center. It was attended by agents and brokers from all over North America. There were more takeaways than I can mention here, but there was one that stood out from the rest: Hiring personal assistants or a couple of buyer's agents is a great step to building business — but not necessarily the best idea up front. First, bring on an ISA, or Internet sales associate.
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Top 3 Digital Outlets for Your Real Estate Expertise
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Website Analytics: a Primer for Brokers
Online marketing is a twisty, turning, dark and sometimes frightening world full of confusion for most real estate professionals. Throw listing syndication strategy into the mix and you have the recipe for a major headache. Wouldn't it be simpler if you didn't have to guess which online marketing strategies were working for you? That's where website analytics come in. A website analytics solution can provide incredible insights. Do you know which websites are generating the most traffic for your listings? How long are visitors spending when they look at your listing on each website? Do you know which of your listings are getting the most traffic online? This can help inform all aspects of your business – from choosing listings (if you have the luxury of choice), to marketing them, to selling them more quickly. By delivering data about your current online performance, market analytics can help shape future strategy. You can weed out syndication channels that aren't working. You can assess the cost/benefit value of enhanced listings on third-party property search portals. You can find out which sites get the page views, and which actually generate the leads. That's pretty major stuff. But you'll need to choose your website analytics vendor carefully. We can help with some basic questions to ask. Choosing the Right Tool If you're in the market for a web analytics tool, there are questions you can ask to evaluate which option is right for you, like: How do you collect the data you deliver to me? Which online venues do you monitor? How will you determine where my listings are published on the Web? Does your solution monitor social media? What specific data points will you provide to me? What are the security measures you have put in place to protect my data? What kind of reports will I be able to generate? Would any of them be appropriate to share with my seller clients?
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Pro-Tip: The Best Email Signatures are Simple
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Google's Brand New Email Program: Inbox
There have been a plethora of email applications released recently and new ways of handling the massive amount of digital communication that arrives in our inbox--but now it's Google's turn. They just released the beta of their brand new "Inbox" application which is quite a departure from the way your inbox looks now. Version one already has a mobile app and a desktop app, so you can go all in. Google claims that: "Inbox is a fresh start that goes beyond email to help you get back to what matters." In the video on the next page, I give a walk-through of the application. Now, bear in mind, I only had the app for about 20 minutes before I did this overview. The idea behind this is to give my first impressions, just like you would have quickly formed an opinion about a new app or tool you were trying. However, I will then do a follow-up to this post, after I've had time to become comfortable with the application, and give you some final thoughts. Here are a few quick bullets and the link to sign-up for the beta: See order updates, flight status, reservation details, and pictures without having to open the message Add your to-dos to the top of your inbox Contextually group similar emails together, as well as provide actionable steps for that email
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The NAR and Top Level Domains
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10 Gmail Tweaks You Need to Make Right Now
Guest contributor Stefanie Hahn of REALTOR®Mag says: We have all been there: inbox hell, a demon dimension that seems to suck us in and keep us there, pouring through endless requests and truly wasting more of our day than should be possible. It is time to Scooby-up and take back our inboxes. Here are 10 tweaks for your Gmail that I hope will allow you to flex your muscles and finally reclaim your inbox. Wherever possible, I have included links to the tools I mention within the article. Most of the others are Gmail Labs that can be found and enabled by clicking on the gear at the top right of your Gmail, clicking on Settings, and then clicking on the Labs tab. Send from Gmail (Chrome extension) This is my personal favorite and one that makes most agents sigh with delight. You know when you are online and you are looking for an email address for a listing agent, but all you see is a link that says "Click here to email"? So you click the link and — ugh! — Outlook opens? You quickly hit the cancel button three times to make it go away because you don't even want to go there. When you finally abort the Outlook setup, go enable the "Send from Gmail" extension, and next time you click on the email icon, this extension will open a lovely little Gmail compose box. Problem solved.
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Who Owns Your Consumer After the Close?
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NAR's .Realtor Domains: Should You Buy In? [Video]
With the release of NAR's .Realtor domains coming up in October, today's Pulpisode discusses our thoughts and advice for Realtors® who plan on obtaining them.
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Could You Be Stealing Stock Photos?
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You Better Read This Before You Email That Link of Yours
The link is not enough — don't be a link dumper. Here's a scenario that happens a lot. You're on the internet (I know, shocking), when you find something online that interests you. It could be a new service, or a competitor's site, or even just the latest piece of delicious, Buzzfeedy-clickbait ("This puppy thought he couldn't get any cuter — you won't believe what happened next!"). Your coworkers need to know about this, so you quickly open your email and tap out this bad boy. If you think you've just done something useful, congratulations! You're a link dumper. Unfortunately, even the most well-intentioned link dumpers aren't really that helpful. But... why? Well, believe it or not, sending information is a task with a lot of different variations. If someone needs a social security number, or a date, or some other fixed bit of data, responding this way is totally fine. They asked for something, you gave them that something, and everyone is happy. Back to Tinder! On the other hand, sending someone an idea, or starting a conversation is a little more complicated. Here are some reasons why just sending someone a link and asking "what do you think" is a bad way to go.
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Public Wi-Fi Tips
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Is VoIP The Right Choice For Your Real Estate Team or Office?
More and more small businesses are cutting the cords and utilizing VoIP for their telephone service. Dozens of VoIP technology providers are continuing to push the envelope by adding useful features to these telecommunications systems that are powered by broadband internet. This technology has been around for years, but the number of options and the level of quality has increased greatly. But how do you decide whether to move forward with VoIP? Let's look at the advantages and disadvantages: The Advantages: Cost savings compared to traditional landline service The features are fantastic and are continuing to improve Scalability doesn't require new costly hardware Customizable call screening and call forward rules Take your conversation from the office phone to your mobile phone The Disadvantages: If the power goes out, the system is down (unless you have a generator) If your internet service is down, your VoIP system is also down Sound quality can be an issue if you don't have fast broadband service In an emergency, calling 911 does not work If you don't already have high speed broadband internet, it can be costly
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Troubleshooting iCloud Syncing Issues
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Can You Handle Drinking from the Internet Firehose?
We're distracting you with warnings about distractions now? This College Humor video was making the rounds the other day. It's pretty good, in an intentionally un-self-aware meta kind of way, since College Humor has been baiting us into opening new browser tabs since before browsers even HAD tabs, with content like this from when I first got to college more than ten years ago. Just seeing that video takes me back. In August of 2000, when I watched this for the first time, there was no YouTube. You literally downloaded this video file to your laptop, and it was up to you to figure out what to do with it. There were no advertisements in it, no annotations that popped up. Just the fact that it was digital video of a place you recognized (this was filmed at my school a few years before I got there, from what I understand) was kind of amazing. And yet, everybody saw it. It went "viral" before the capacity for dumb videos to go viral even appeared to exist. For a few months after I got to school, I had the literally unbelievable combination of Napster, and high speed internet. Two weeks before, I was downloading MIDI files of Green Day songs with my parents' dial-up modem, and all of a sudden, I could get literally anything I wanted, whenever I wanted in like, two minutes. Meet the last of the analog children Lately, I've realized that there's a sub-generation of people, of which I just so happen to belong to, who all experienced this kind of thing. We didn't grow up with the level of distraction that's par for the course right now, because it didn't exist. But when it finally arrived, we were the perfect age — somewhere between fifteen and say, twenty five — to learn how to adapt to it. Today, as functional adults, we can handle the information hose almost as well as kids who really DID grow up with it, but we're lucky enough to be in it, not of it. In theory at least, we know what we're giving up by plugging in.
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RIP Net Neutrality: What This Means for Real Estate
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Why You Should Close the Window on Internet Explorer
Internet Explorer is, for me, the last Internet browser to use. I’m not sure why it is even an option for Internet access these days. Using IE in 2014 is the equivalent of  using NetZero as your Internet service provider in 2014. There are probably a few people wondering what NetZero is, which is my point exactly. Even though Internet Explorer has been the go-to choice year after year, things have changed. As recently as April 28, 2014, the United States government warned US citizens to stop using Internet Explorer because of security breaches. “This is how it works: Hackers set up a website that installs malware when you visit it. If you’re duped into visiting the website while using the Internet Explorer program, malware seeps into your computer and gives a stranger total control. You might not even notice,” according to CNN Money Magazine. “That’s where the real danger lies. Anyone in control of your computer can spy on everything you do. If it’s a PC at work, hackers can reach into anything an employee has access to.” What’s wrong with Internet Explorer? From a web development standpoint, Internet Explorer is the 13-year-old tween that just will not grow up. Line after line of code is needed to ensure Internet Explore will cooperate with design changes, website enhancements and just about everything that makes the web a seamless place to browse. There are a wealth of features available, both visual and functional, that are available in every web browser except Internet Explorer.
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Track Referrals and Conversions With Google Analytics
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Internet Explorer Vulnerability Affects ALL Versions
Internet Explorer is in the news again. But this time, it's for a huge security vulnerability. Oh I'm sorry, just one second, I'm getting some info from our control room...Oh. Apparently this is the status quo for Internet Explorer... Seriously though, this latest security flaw is kiiiiiiind of an enormous one, affecting every single version of Internet Explorer, which is about 26% of the entire browser market (in other words, basically 26% of Internet users). The vulnerability mostly targets Internet Explorer versions 9, 10, and 11. It's being referred to as a "use after free" attack. Basically, a malicious user or attacker could host a specially-made website which could look and "feel" like a legitimate or familiar site. When a user visits the website using Internet Explorer, the site exploits the vulnerability, thereby allowing the attacker to execute arbitrary code on the user's computer, which could cause any number of effects. What to do: Wait. Microsoft is currently investigating this major flaw and will most likely issue an out-of-cycle security update for the Internet Explorer browser on all Microsoft operating systems released AFTER Windows XP. You may remember that on April 8th, 2014, Microsoft officially discontinued support for Windows XP. Unfortunately, this means that Windows XP users will most likely NOT receive the security fix for this flaw.
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Browser or app — what’s the best way to read your email?
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Cybersquatting: New potential problems, and possible solutions
It's hard to believe that almost five years have passed since I posted on this blog about cybersquatting, or typo-squatting. You can read that older post to get the basic ideas; but the examples I gave there no longer work. (I foresaw at the time that my post might prompt action by the broker I used as an example; I'm glad I was right.) As I noted in that older post: A common problem in the industry is that large brokerage firms are great targets for cybersquatters. According to the Anti-cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (15 U.S.C. 1125(d)) or ACPA, cybersquatting, or cyberpiracy, is registering, trafficking in, or using a domain name identical to or confusingly similar to someone else's trade- or service mark in bad faith. The most common form in our industry results in folks registering a domain name that is a slight variation of a broker's firm name (also called "typosquatting"), putting up a page on the resulting domain, and selling real-estate-related links on the page. In most cases, this violates the trade- or service marks of the broker and may violate the ACPA. You should be prepared for a whole new wave of problems associated with cybersquatting in the coming couple years, as ICANN (the international regulator of Internet domain names) has received nearly two thousand applications for new top-level domains (TLDs), the part of a domain to the right of the last dot: e.g., .COM, .NET, .ORG.
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App Spotlight: Scoop.It
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3 Keys to Better SEO for Your Brokerage's Website
We're continuing a holiday tradition of revisiting classic articles from the past year. This article was originally published back in May. Enjoy! Is your website losing traffic to third party sites like Zillow and Trulia? If you're like many brokers, the answer is probably "Yes." Since 2011, traffic to broker websites has gone flat, while activity on third party sites has flourished. This doesn't have to be the fate of your real estate website, however. By discovering what real estate consumers want and how they behave online, you can craft an effective website strategy. Find Out What Consumers Want Broker websites have traditionally been developed around the business needs of the broker. However, it's consumers that drive success--not brokers, MLSs, or even agents. If you don't understand what the consumer looks for in a real estate website, you have no foundation on which to build a successful online presence. So what do consumers want? Let's take a look: Education - Consumers often feel lost during the homebuying process. They want to know what to expect during the homebuying process, what can go wrong, and what decisions they'll face. Service and quick response - During their research process, homebuyers want service--they don't want to be converted. They want you to respond quickly, and they want support services throughout their property search. Clarity - Many brokerage websites are messes of unorganized information. By including everything under the sun, brokers may think they're being thorough, but they're only confusing visitors--and driving them away. Local content - 73% of all web searches are for local content. Ideas for local content include landing pages, ebooks, and dynamic information on area markets, trends, and demographics.
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Browse Better: The Best Browser Extensions for Real Estate
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Planning Your Online Audit
As the year end draws near, there will be plenty of days when you (or your staff) have more time on your hands than you expect. There are a number of things that you can do to sharpen your company's online strategy while you have a breath of fresh air. Are you IDX compliant? Real estate brokers are responsible for the broker website and every agent website that displays IDX listings. You can absolutely presume that some of your agents have websites that are out of compliance. Over the past 10 years, we have never found a single broker who had every site in compliance. Get a fresh copy of the rules from your MLS and highlight the principal rules. Next, get a list of every agent website. Agent website is typically correct on your broker website, but you may want to go the extra mile and Google each one of your agents. Many of the problems are with agents who have moved over from another firm. They either did not update their site with your information, or in many cases, the old broker is still marketing that agent on their broker website, or broker-branded agent websites. Check Your Office Directory Many enterprise brokers have moved offices, but the online thumbprint of the old offices are still all over the internet. There is a service called YEXT that can fix that. They have relationships with all of the online directories and can automate the task of updating the office address and phone number on all of them. Of course, if you only have a few offices, you can do this yourself. You can simply use the list of online directories from the YEXT website. While you are at it, check the office information in your MLS(s) and, if applicable – your franchise or broker network sites.
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Authorship and Canonical Links on Real Estate Listings
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Google’s New Search Algorithm - How Hummingbird Can Help Your Real Estate Business
You have probably heard by now -- Google's has recently changed its algorithm for how it gathers and presents search results. Google quietly put the update — titled 'Hummingbird' — in place a couple of months ago, and the update does offer new challenges and opportunities for anyone who relies on internet searches for generating leads for their business. Google says the update will affect 90 percent of all searches—several times the percentage of searches affected by significant variations of the Panda and Penguin updates. As usual, Delta Media Group's marketing experts are on top of this and prepared to help you leverage it to your business advantage. So let's dig in to what Hummingbird means to you, how to avoid losing business as result of it, and how to instead gain market share while Hummingbird affects competing real estate websites. Semantics Hummingbird is about semantics. Google has built the algorithm to help semantic searches that might not only be keyword-based, as Google and other search engines have traditionally worked.
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Inbox Tips and Tools for Real Estate Pros
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Writing For Your Real Estate Website
You have a company website – that's great! You've spent hours developing the content on your website, and you know it's awesome information that your current and potential customers will really benefit from reading. But maybe you're finding that people aren't staying on your site long enough to dig through all of the information that you've written. What can you do to make sure that your content is keeping users on your website? How do people access content on the web? More and more people are using different devices to access the Internet. Mobile devices and tablets have given the users to access the Internet almost anywhere and at any time. You may not be able to assume when, where or how your users are accessing your website, but there are some things in common with the majority of Internet users these days: Users want to find information fast. Users skim pages to find what they are looking for. Because they can access the Internet anywhere, users are getting more distracted when browsing the web.
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How To Use Google's New Keyword Planner [Part 2]
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Bid for More Business
Guest contributor Graham Wood of REALTOR®Mag says: Real estate auctions aren't just for ugly foreclosures that banks are desperate to get off their books. Real estate practitioners are helping first-time buyers and trade-up home sellers find success as they belly up to the bidding table in low-inventory markets. Private-owner auction sales edged out lender REOs as the most popular type of auction in 2012, according to PropertyAuction.com, though the company declined to provide specific figures. The allure of potentially selling a home more quickly than a traditional listing allows—and possibly at a higher price—makes auctions an attractive option for sellers. And buyers are finding more opportunities to bid on great deals. Other real estate auction sites are responding to the demand for private-owner sales as well. Auction.com, for example, launched its division of nondistressed home sales a year ago, and since then it has sold 140 homes totaling $72 million in sales, says Senior Vice President Jennifer Leuer. "A lot of equity home owners are in Auction.com's inventory," Leuer says. "The number of people who are organically calling us has increased exponentially." One of Auction.com's recent success stories was the auction of a 93-year-old man's seven-bedroom, nine-bathroom beachfront estate in Corona del Mar, Calif. The home went for $5.3 million—$1.8 million higher than the opening bid of $3.5 million.
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How To Use Google's New Keyword Planner [Part 1]
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How Client Feedback Can Keep Your Business Booming
Last week, Google announced that it would begin to use profiles, pictures and recommendations of ordinary people to endorse products and services across the Web. According to the Washington Post, Google users who casually endorse a product or song on Facebook or Google "may be exposed to unwanted, and possibly misunderstood, implications," said Eric Goldman, a professor of Internet law at Santa Clara University law school. Google said the launch of "shared endorsements" will help consumers make better choices. "We want to give you — and your friends and connections — the most useful information. Recommendations from people you know can really help," the company said, adding that users can opt out of the ads. Plus, it will exclude users under 18. The news generated strong opinions and, of course, pushback among consumers concerned about their privacy. However, if we take a broad view of the web, it's clear that a huge portion of internet users wholeheartedly embraced the user-generated-content movement spawned by Web 2.0 years ago, and that consumers using Amazon, Zappos and other major online merchants rely on member reviews of products before buying them.
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Online Oversight
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Google Analytics 102: Understanding the Data
This is the second of two articles on Google Analytics. Read the first article here. Data is great. It helps you understand trends and gain insights. It can help you make online marketing decisions which increase your ROI and decrease your spend. There is so much data can do, but first you need to be able to understand data and then you can derive actionable insights from it. In Google Analytics 101, we became familiar with Google Analytics and defined some key terms which helped you become familiar with the platform. In Google Analytics 102, we will further our understanding of these key terms by defining the sections they appear in. This will help you begin to understand how to really draw insights from this data and use it to make better online marketing decisions. Audience: This tab tells you everything you need to know about anyone that has visited your website. It will let you know the language and location of your visitors, how many of them are visiting your site for the first time, how many are returning to your site, the average amount of time they spend on your website, the amount of pages they viewed in a visit, the browser and device they used to view your site, and a flow chart that shows the order in which most pages on your website are viewed. For example, you may notice that most visitors land on your home page, go to the blog, and then view your contact information. Traffic Sources: This section lets you know how people find your website, what keywords are driving traffic to your website, what sites are sending visitors to your website, and which social media channels are creating the most amount of traffic for your website.
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Google Analytics 101 for Real Estate
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Integrating Infographics into Your Content Strategy and Other Useful Tips
This post comes to us from the BrokerageU blog: We are living in a visual age. The attention span of consumers and readers of your blog is constantly shortening. Bite-sized, easy-to-digest news and information is desired and long blocks of boring text are largely going ignored. It's with that in mind that you might want to consider integrating some of these content strategies into your blog, in order to not only attract--but keep--your readers' attention. Bullets, numbers and hyphens Many of us outgrew our desire to read long, rambling sections of plain text without interruption dating back to our school days and dealing with assigned reading from text books. Nowadays, informational and leisure reading to be found online have to be broken up in order to receive the utmost attention. One way to do this is to utilize bullet points, numbered lists and hyphens. All three serve the same purpose: to single out important tidbits of information and highlight it for the benefit of the reader. Too often, valuable information gets lost in the body of long-winded paragraphs, rendering that info useless.
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How to Make Sure Your Real Estate Marketing Emails Get Read with the New Gmail Inbox
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Responsive vs. adaptive: optimizing your mobile website
Did you know 65% of today's smartphone users use their devices to make purchases? Additionally, tablet penetration in the US market is up nearly 50% since 2012. It is even expected that tablets will outsell PCs as soon as 2015. Within this expanding and unavoidable mobile device market, however, almost half of tablet users are complaining that business websites are not proficient enough for online tablet browsing. This may be due to pages that take several minutes to load, sites that have strange formatting on users' devices, or webpages that are just not supported by the user's device. Whatever the reason, it is clear that businesses cannot further postpone adapting their websites' compatibility for mobile devices any longer. We've been talking about the content side of things that we are experts in here at Onboard Informatics – but display is just as important as content. So how do we provide these mobile users with the best experience possible? For the companies that already have successful mobile device platforms, they have either adapted a responsive or an adaptive web design approach. A Responsive Web Design, or RWD, is a singular webpage coding that adapts to the screen size it is appearing on. More specifically, the approach utilizes pre-determined size brackets that designate when and how the site will change as it passes through each bracket. Cycle to Work Calculator's webpage is a perfect illustration of RWD in action. The main benefit of RWD is that it is remarkably easy to manage. As opposed to having multiple different codings, the programmer needs only one. The main deterrent, however, is that advertising space and the attached potential revenue is quickly eliminated on smaller devices and screens.
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Real Estate Tool of the Month: Feedly
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Protect Your Online Identity For Eternity
Now, you really can live forever, but that's not necessarily a good thing. Many of your online accounts – from automatic bill payments to eBay – may remain active after you pass away, unless you take steps to ensure they don't, says attorney Hillel Presser, author of Financial Self-Defense (Revised Edition). Automatic bill pay, for example, can theoretically keep tapping your bank account long after you're gone or, at least, until your money is. "It's important to make sure your online bank and shopping accounts, even your social media, can be closed out, or that your loved ones are authorized to access them," Presser says. "You may ask, 'Why would I care if I'm gone?' I can tell you from experience: because it can create real headaches, and more heartache, for your family." Bank and shopping accounts will be vulnerable to identity theft, which would affect your estate if someone opens credit cards in your name. You might have valuable intellectual property, like domain names. They may need access to your health records, particularly if you died under questionable circumstances, he says. There's the sentimental stuff – photos and emails — that your family may want as a remembrance of you, and the libraries of music and ebooks, which may represent a considerable investment on your part.
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How to Clear Autofill in Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Firefox
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Real Estate Tech Trends
Every year, Properties Online compiles a report compiling highly relevant real estate statistical information from a variety of sources, including the National Association of REALTORS®, the California Association of REALTORS®, RealEstateSites.com and 15,000 single property websites. The report provides a comprehensive look at real estate tech trends – invaluable information for today's real estate professional. The internet and agents – together they're the magic mix Ninety percent of home buyers use the internet to search for homes, with 52% using it as a first step. Eighty-seven percent of home buyers used an agent to search, with 89 percent using an agent to actually purchase a home once they found one. This figure has risen from 69 percent since 2001. Home buyers are relying heavily on online sources and their agents to provide information, with decreasing use of some sources, such as newspapers and open houses. Agents found purchased homes for 34 percent of respondents, while 42 percent found the home they ultimately purchased on the internet. For Sale By Owner, beware. Only 2 percent of respondents bought their house this way. An internet presence is crucial to success in today's real estate market. Sixty percent of buyers Googled their agent before hiring. And both buyers (70 percent) and sellers (75 percent) are looking primarily to the internet to find an agent.
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Why the new Google Maps will be important
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Yes, Your Broker Website CAN Dominate Local Search Results
Is your website losing traffic to third party sites like Zillow and Trulia? If you're like many brokers, the answer is probably "Yes." Since 2011, traffic to broker websites has gone flat, while activity on third party sites has flourished. This doesn't have to be the fate of your real estate website, however. By discovering what real estate consumers want and how they behave online, you can craft an effective website strategy. Find Out What Consumers Want Broker websites have traditionally been developed around the business needs of the broker. However, it's consumers that drive success--not brokers, MLSs, or even agents. If you don't understand what the consumer looks for in a real estate website, you have no foundation on which to build a successful online presence. So what do consumers want? Let's take a look: Education - Consumers often feel lost during the homebuying process. They want to know what to expect during the homebuying process, what can go wrong, and what decisions they'll face. Service and quick response - During their research process, homebuyers want service--they don't want to be converted. They want you to respond quickly, and they want support services throughout their property search. Clarity - Many brokerage websites are messes of unorganized information. By including everything under the sun, brokers may think they're being thorough, but they're only confusing visitors--and driving them away. Local content - 73% of all web searches are for local content. Ideas for local content include landing pages, ebooks, and dynamic information on area markets, trends, and demographics.
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The Minimalistic Gmail Cheat Sheet
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Community Involvement Revolutionized For Real Estate
Real Estate is a Busy Profession Real estate agents and brokers have a history of building both meaningful and profitable relationships through community involvement. It's not unusual to see an agent or a broker join civic organizations, sponsor softball teams, and become active in local planning and government. We know all of that works and is rewarding but there is only so much that you can do with the limited amount of time that you have. The Internet has changed and improved many ways that we do business and go to market. One significant advancement emerging onto the scene is Google+. This provides a new way to be involved and target your community through its community feature. Example of real estate agent using Google+ for community building
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Hackers Use Social Media to Avoid Detection
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Small Business Digital Checklist
For a small business, diving head first into the world of digital marketing may be a little daunting. SEO, Facebook ads, video, content, Twitter, the list can get lengthy—fast. That said, there are a handful of "digital housekeeping" to-do items that every small business can tackle to make sure their footprint is, at minimum, accurate and useful. Google Your Business... ... because you can bet your potential customers are. The first page of search results can give you a pretty good snapshot of how your business is depicted on the web. What shows up? Of the results presented, which can you edit, claim or update for free? Anything negative or inaccurate? Do you show up on Google's map? Set Up a Website If you fall into the category of "I don't need a website," think again. Not having a website these days is like opting out of being included in the phone book decades ago. While it may not be the direct way in which people find your business (though you'll be surprised), it's very likely that they're using the web to research your business. So why not put your best foot forward? Creating a simple, informational business website is much easier than it used to be. In fact, there are services out there that take care of the whole backend of getting a business website up and running. (We're particularly fond of OnePagerApp.)
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Do Tech Companies Protect Your (And Your Clients') Privacy?
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Real Estate Analysis: When Informational trumps Transactional
Think back to the last time you used Google. Were you researching information? Maybe you were looking for an answer to a question. Perhaps it was while shopping for a new TV or new car. Maybe it was a simpler shopping search; you might have just been price checking an item while you stood in a retail store. You could have used it to find this article. Or maybe you use Google so often that you can't even think of what you last used it for. Maybe it's ingrained into your daily activity. We touched on something in last week's article about improving your real estate business by blogging, and we want to elaborate on it a bit more. According to an article published Tuesday, 80 percent of content is transactional or navigational, yet 50-80 percent of search queries are informational in nature. Blogging is built more around natural conversation than transactional on-site content, like that found in most property descriptions. We probably don't need to explain why the majority of search queries are informational in nature—people use search to find the information they're looking for. That information often becomes transactional, but smart consumers are doing their homework on items before deciding what to buy, where to buy, and when they might buy. For real estate, that means doing market research, looking for the best way to search for homes, seeing what else is for sale or recently sold around it, and finding information on which real estate agent or brokerage to work with.
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Home Shoppers in the Digital House Hunt Age
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Get Started With Google+
You've been putting off actually doing much with Google+. Maybe it's because you're already feeling behind in keeping up with all the other social networks. Maybe you think there's no one there (500 million users). Maybe you just don't know where to start. I can help. Personal vs. Professional vs. Business Page First question first: should you have a personal page, a professional page, and/or also a business page? My experience thus far has been that a personal page seems to do more for most people than separating out a professional page. People are enjoying connecting with all your interests and not just your business interests. If you want to keep it a bit more professional than personal, fine. Share the personal stuff on Facebook. But what I've found is that the "blended" approach (some business content and some not-business content) has served quite well. A Local business or a business with a physical location should most definitely set up a Places listing, which now ties nicely into Google+ business pages. Want to create your Google+ business page? Do that here. Want to see some examples of businesses around you who have done this? Check out Google Local. So, my starting recommendations: build a personal/professional hybrid account for sure and possibly a Google+ business page (much more yes, if you run a location-specific business).
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7 Internet Tips and Tricks to Boost Your Online Productivity
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Calls-to-Action: Real Estate Website Theme Design Series, Part Three
This is the third post of a multi-part blog series that covers the integral design elements of real estate websites. Read Part One, an overview of website Headers and Part Two, on Navigation. The usefulness of your website to your visitor needs to be established in the first impression. Here's how you make sure you are successful in that effort. Step 1: Establish EXACTLY who your target audience is. Step 2: Ask yourself these two questions: What is the most important feature/information you can provide to this audience? What are they expecting/looking-for when they click to visit your site? Step 3: Choose your calls-to-action based on the answers to #2. Below are a list of common CTAs we've included on our clients' websites. However, do not add CTAs to your because they seem useful. Only add the CTAs which powerfully connect with the intended audience. And, similar to an overstuffed navigation, the more CTAs you add the more it waters down the effectiveness of the lot.
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Beyond Google Analytics
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12 Email Etiquette Tips to Keep in Mind
Have you been wondering why your emails haven't been getting the proper response that you might have hoped for? Great news, we here at My Computer Works are here to help you with this email etiquette guide! Reading through this will help to improve your emails and get the response you've been looking for. 1. Be informal, not sloppy. Your e-mail message reflects you and your company, so traditional spelling, grammar, and punctuation rules apply. 2. Keep messages brief and to the point. Just because your writing is grammatically correct does not mean that it has to be long. Concentrate on one subject per message whenever possible. 3. Use sentence case. USING ALL CAPITAL LETTERS LOOKS AS IF YOU'RE SHOUTING. Using all lowercase letters looks lazy. For emphasis, use asterisks or bold formatting to emphasize important words. Do not, however, use a lot of colors or graphics embedded in your message, because not everyone uses an e-mail program that can display them. 4. Use the blind copy and courtesy copy appropriately. Don't use BCC to keep others from seeing who you copied; it shows confidence when you directly CC anyone receiving a copy. Do use BCC, however, when sending to a large distribution list, so recipients won't have to see a huge list of names. Be cautious with your use of CC; overuse simply clutters inboxes. Copy only people who are directly involved.
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How Are We Doing? Dare You Ask?
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Does Having Multiple Domains Help My SEO?
This post comes to us from BrokerageU: After four years of doing 30+ real estate speaking events per year, patterns start to emerge on questions. But no single question comes close to how many times I've been asked about multiple domains. I believe that no single issue in technology are REALTORS® more confused by than their domain names. The Domain Grab Just like in the days of the Homestead Act, when everyone went out and tried to find what would become their property, there was a mass land grab in domain names. But unlike the Homestead act, you could buy as many as you wanted and at just $10 a year, it was cheap to stake your claim (no worry of Cholera, Dysentery, Fording the River, or Hunting for food). I've seen brokerages and agents with hundreds of domains in their account. All creatively different ways to say theircityrealestate.com. There's no problem in playing defense to prevent your competitors getting these domains, but where things go awry is when agents start to believe the more they own with their special keywords, the better they will do in SEO.
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The new informed consumer wants valuable, not more, information
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Smart Linking Increases Real Estate Website Effectiveness
The internet, mobile technology and social media offer powerful tools that can help you grow your real estate business. But, as we've been discussing recently, real estate agents and brokers must not only choose technology tools wisely, they must take steps to maximize the effectiveness of the tools they employ if they wish to reap the significant benefits these tools offer. Smart linking is one of the fastest and easiest ways to increase the return you obtain from your technology investment.
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What Kind of "Extras" Could Make Your Website Stand Out?
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6 Best Practices for Safe Internet Browsing
The internet is by no means a new frontier, however it is the Wild West out there with bandits a-plenty looking for the first chance to infect your computer and steal your personal information. Much like the Oregon Trail, the internet can lead you to a whole new world of opportunity, but it can also be treacherous. Allow us at My Computer Works to be your guide by teaching you the safest practices for browsing the internet. 1. Use the Golden Rule Vigilance is gold when surfing the internet. A keen eye must always be used. If you get an email or message from someone posing as your bank or from an institution that you do business with asking for your username and password, do not trust it. Never relinquish your password. 2. Upgrade to a Better Browser By default, Windows gives you Internet Explorer. However Internet Explorer is nowhere as secure as other browsers like Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome.
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