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7 Easy Website Add-ons that Your Visitors Will Love
We've talked a lot about the basics that every real estate website needs. Today, we're going to steer away from the "necessities" and introduce you to some fun extras that will enrich your visitors' on-site experience. All of the seven items below are widgets that can easily be embedded into your website. There's no heavy lifting required--just customize the widget to your liking, then copy and paste the provided HTML code into your site. 1. Home Services Directory - Want to give past clients a reason to visit your site? Or provide sellers with an easy way to find contractors to prep their home for sale? Add a directory of home services professionals to your website! Nest4Less offers a free, embeddable directory (with revenue share opportunities for brokers and MLSs). You can learn more in our product review. 2. Mortgage Calculators - This will probably be the most-used widget on your site--and there's a ton to choose from! A Google search for "mortgage calculator widget" will give you too many results to sort through, so try these from Zillow or Homes.com. Do you work with a lot of first-time buyers? Try Trulia's Rent vs. Buy Calculator to get would-be buyers off the fence. If none of those interest you, check with your website provider. They may already have a mortgage calculator that's already included with your site! 3. Local School Info - 40% of home buyers have school-aged children, and many of those parents are willing to pay $50 more per square foot for a home in a good school district. GreatSchools offers a widget that displays local schools on a map, their quality ratings, and more.
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4 Google Analytics Tips You Don’t Want to Miss
As a real estate agent, you know that your online presence is of crucial importance to grow both your lead database and your bottom line. You need to establish your brand, have a stunning platform and turn your visitors into customers. That's when the measurement part comes in play. You can't optimize what you don't measure. It's great if you already have access to Google Analytics, but does it really help you to get more out of your business? In this article I share four tips to help you work with Google Analytics in a better and more effective way. 1. Filter Out Your Own IP Addresses I imagine that you work on your online platform on a weekly or even daily basis. You need to add new content, change existing pages or simply like to see whether everything works the way it should. By default, Google Analytics tracks sessions (their term for visits) from all people that visit your website. This includes sessions that reflect visits by you and your colleagues. In my experience, especially when traffic numbers are not incredibly high, this can skew your data a lot. Let's assume you measure 100 sessions on your site, and four sent in lead generation forms. Within these numbers, there are 20 sessions from yourself (or colleagues) and two lead generation forms sent as a test. Here are the resulting numbers: Without any additional configuration, you measure your conversion rate as 4.0%, but in reality it is 2.5%. Small numbers, big differences! That's why I recommend that you filter out any "known" IP addresses from your company or partners. Your office behavior doesn't have anything to do with the performance of your site. Please keep that in mind.
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(Sort of) Quick Guide to Interpreting Website Analytics
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Attract More Traffic by Answering Frequently Asked Questions on Your Website
People involved in buying or selling a home have many needs: from researching the mortgage market to finding and communicating with home inspectors and contractors who they can trust. A real estate agent's website that provides useful features and answers to most questions commonly asked by home buyers and sellers is likely to be frequented on more than one occasion and will make website visitors more likely to purchase or sell a home with them. As you know, some of the questions commonly asked by people researching a home purchase or sale include: What is a competitive mortgage rate? How much of a down payment do I need? Should I borrow with a fixed or variable rate mortgage? Do I need a home inspector? What is the closest school? What are the Walk Scores? Who is the best real estate lawyer in the area? Who are reputable service providers in the area that I can use?
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First Look: Nest4Less is Latest in "Free-to-Realtors" Pricing Model
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Website Analytics 101
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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Getting Started With Google Analytics – Part Two
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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!
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WordPress Basics for Agents
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What’s the Deal With Landing Pages?
As a real estate agent, home buyers are coming to you as the end-all-be-all source of information on a specific area. Okay, not exactly, but what if you served as a person with endless knowledge of a city, county, region or state? First-time home buyers and buyers from out-of-state are carefully planning the best neighborhood to find a home that will suit their lifestyle, personality, budget and future goals. It's your job to provide them with enough useful information so they can rest easy knowing they've made the correct decision. This is where landing pages can benefit you, the real estate agent, greatly. Landing pages or community pages give potential leads the ins and outs of a community. This can include the average cost of living, annual events, walkability score, community amenities, job market conditions, proximity to major metropolitan areas, parks and recreation information, and more. Why should I have landing pages? Not only do landing pages show that you are the expert, they help to improve search engine rankings. Landing pages allow you to create keyword-focused content that can easily be linked to other pieces of content on your page, such as blog posts. Landing pages allow you to capture leads with compelling copy, which should be supplemented with a call-to-action and an option for visitors to offer you some personal information regarding their home search.
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A Look at WebsiteBox's New Lead Capture App
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Mortgage Calculators: Qualify Leads and Save Time
This post comes to us from WebsiteBox: What makes a great agent website? An integrated IDX, buyer/seller specific content, great images and gadgets. All of these features need to be presented in a well designed layout to create a real estate agent website that stands out from the competition. One of the most important gadgets to have on an agent website is a mortgage calculator. This handy gadget can help you qualify leads by ensuring that buyers who inquire regarding specific listings can actually afford them. It also helps you save time by providing buyers with a quick, easy to use tool that lets them know about their financing options for the properties they are interested in. The gadget also helps protect maintain the client's privacy, since they can enter their personal financial information into the gadget right away without having to reveal the details to you. There are 10 types of mortgage calculators that you want to add on your website: 1) Do You Qualify? - This allows potential buyers to find out if they would be able to qualify for a mortgage based on the price of the property, their income and monthly expenses. This is a great tool to help real estate agents qualify leads right away and ensure that potential buyers can actually afford the listing that they are looking at.
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New Home Inventory Search Tool - Builder's Update
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Using WordPress for Real Estate – Part 2: Big Picture Decisions
This is the second half of an article we ran in December. Click here to read Part 1 and learn about Wordpress installation, domains, and hosting. A real estate website using WordPress software is one of the very best ways you can create a dynamic Internet presence. Don't let it be too daunting, as you should make it an adventure. You see, you're embarking on a process to take charge of your Internet future and the more you learn now and take on for yourself, the more you'll be in charge ongoing. Let's go through an overview of the big picture setup decisions and planning so your new site starts out right. We're going to take a look at three major features of WordPress and your planning for each of them: Pages for basic site presence Navigation Widgets and Plugins WordPress is very powerful, and the most valuable thing about it is that the average user, not a techie geek, can build out a marketing powerhouse with WordPress.
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Turn on the SEO Afterburner for Your Real Estate Videos
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Using WordPress for Real Estate: Part 1
Guest contributor Robert Larson of Diverse Solutions says: WordPress is now the website platform for more than 75 million sites worldwide. You don't reach a number like that, as well as being lauded as one of the most popular website creation resources, without a lot of evidence of success and positive reviews from users. Why has WordPress grown like this? It's simple to use, easy to create content for, a snap to do media from images to video, and there are thousands of third party themes and plugins/add-ons to customize sites to your specification. WordPress can be tailored for any business, but with many real estate specific themes, IDX plugins built for adding MLS listings to WordPress and other real estate features available, it's the perfect platform for the REALTORS® looking to build a website. In this series, we'll cover the steps involved in setting up a WordPress real estate site. So, let's assume that you're on the edge or you've made the decision to use WordPress to construct your real estate website ... what next?
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Two Approaches to Commute Calculation
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4 Tools to Spice Up Your Real Estate Website
If you have an existing real estate website, there are hundreds of tools you can use to add a little spice and consumer-friendly functionality. Because these tools vary in actual implementation, there’s no easy term to lump them under. If you have a WordPress website, you’re probably familiar with the term “plug-in,” and some of our examples are plug-ins – which you may be able to add all by yourself. However, this isn’t always the case and, depending on the tool, you may hear them referred to as “widgets” or “APIs.” The bottom line is that, even though most of these tools will probably require the assistance of a competent developer for implementation, this technology can be relatively quick and easy to get up-and-running, offering a nice cost/benefit balance. We’re going to share a few of our favorites here, but we hope you’ll add to this list in the comments section below. 1) Closing.com SmartClosingThe Closing.com SmartClosing widget is a free calculator that you can embed on your website and even brand with your logo. The widget will allow visitors to your site to calculate: Estimated monthly payments, including mortgage, home insurance, and property taxes Closing costs Total amount of cash they will need to close the transaction In addition, the tool allows sellers to estimate sale proceeds and homeowners to calculate the cost of refinancing their home. The widget looks at local financial institutions that can provide the financial services homebuyers or sellers need (title companies, home insurance policies and more) and includes the price of each service.
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Product Review: TRIpress by Tribus
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4 Functioning WordPress Themes for Real Estate
Ricardo Bueno is back with another great post from the Diverse Solutions blog. The truth is, you can take almost any generic WordPress theme and design a good looking real estate blog with it. What you need to identify is, does this theme contain all of the features that I require in a functioning real estate website? Or do I have to download a series of plugins and customize it to make it work the way that I want it to? So here’s where I would start… Take a look at a series of real estate websites from your competitors and elsewhere, then ask yourself: What do you like? What don’t you like? What do you wish worked better? …from there, you can start to shop around for a suitable real estate theme that has everything you need it to do. What Do You Want a Real Estate Website To Do? Add an IDX Quick Search: You can add the Diverse Solutions IDX Plugin to just about any WordPress theme. It works right out of the box and it inherits it’s layout design from your theme’s design. If you’re not ready to purchase an IDX solution however, there’s a few WordPress themes that have functionality built-in to add your own listings manually. It’s labor intensive, sure, but it works.
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What is HTML5 and why should I care as an agent.
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Mobile stats stack well for Rand Realty
I recently had the chance to sit down with the great folks over at BHG Rand Realty, New York, to discuss their current mobile strategy, changes they want to make to the present and where they want to go and do in the near future.  Matt and Joe Rand proved to be industry leaders on the mobile real estate forefront over a year ago when they launched the robust mobile version of www.RandRealty.com which was unlike any mobile site of its kind at the time.  Their new initiatives will only serve to continue that statement, I can assure of that having had a sneak peak, but that’s not what we will focus on here in this column. Instead, what I think is even more worthwhile than discussing what they will be doing, is reviewing the success they have had with what they have already done.  A report that was presented in during this meeting showed that their mobile website was the 12th largest source of traffic, just slightly less than Realtor.com the 11th largest source.  If that doesn’t put in perspective how any consumers are accessing your website from their mobile devices on a daily basis than I don’t know will.
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What Does Your Website Say About You?
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How Do You Market Yourself as a REALTOR®? Web? Print? Cheesy Billboards?
In a recovering real estate market, agents must spend wisely when marketing themselves to potential homebuyers. According to the National Association of REALTORS®, 90 percent of homebuyers used the Internet in their home search. Therefore, the hilarious billboards may have worked for Peter Klaven’s real estate business in, “I Love You, Man” but those billboards wouldn’t work for today’s REALTOR®. Here are a few simple and beneficial ways to market online:
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Product Review: Immobel’s Multi-Language Website IDX and REAL-Buzz
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