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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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7 Ways To Instantly and Greatly Improve Your Real Estate Blog
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Two Approaches to Commute Calculation
Offering information about commute times to people shopping for a new home is, quite simply, a great idea. This is particularly true in our current culture, one focused on reducing expenses and protecting the environment. Today, we'll take a look at two different approaches to doing just this – courtesy of Trulia and Walk Score. My Commute Matters I should explain that I don't live in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago or another thriving metropolis. However, I do have a commute to work (about 35 to 45 minutes, in fact). And it's a huge part of my day. Lengthening or shortening that commute will be a major consideration for me in making my next home purchase. I'm not alone. Many Americans are hampered by a long commute, and are looking for ways to cut it down. They want to save time, spend less money on fuel, and be kinder to the environment. So, like me, as they make their real estate choices, the length of the commute could be an important factor. Smart real estate professionals will recognize this priority, and will respond by offering information about commute times. New online tools, like the ones we're about to discuss, can be a great first step. Trulia's Commute Map I was actually inspired to write this article after spotting a recent post on the Trulia blog announcing their new Commute Map. I decided to give it a try for myself. Before I share my experience, I want to point out that Trulia's Commute Map lives on Trulia.com. In order to recommend this tool, agents will have to direct their clients to Trulia.com – away from their own website. However, the Commute Map represents another feature that Trulia offers to provide a richer home searching experience to online visitors and may encourage visitors to spend more time on the site (and, in a perfect world, more time viewing any listings that you have syndicated there). Alright, that being said, here's my experience with the Trulia Commute Map.
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4 Tools to Spice Up Your Real Estate Website
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Product Review: TRIpress by Tribus
We hear many agents express frustration when they're searching for the right website solution. They want to it be easy-to-use, with all the advanced features they need to capture leads and sell more properties. For an agent or brokerage that wants to publish engaging information to consumers, WordPress is awesome. For a real estate website, WordPress publishing platform combined with a WordPress-friendly property search solution is ideal. With this in mind, we were especially intrigued by the TRIpress WordPress Real Estate Framework from Tribus. We took TRIpress for a test drive – what follows is a quick summary of what we saw during the demo. WordPress for Real EstateMany of you are familiar with WordPress. This blogging platform has become incredibly popular in the real estate industry and offers an alternative to the more traditional, custom-designed websites of the past. WordPress allows agents and brokers to build and publish webpages themselves without the need to contact their website provider. What Tribus has done with TRIpress is make the WordPress platform specific to real estate agents. The front of the site is, aesthetically, simple. However, it can be customized in a variety of ways to meet your needs. (Tribus informs us that they're expanding the number of themes available to allow for greater variety in the look of the site.) Social sharing buttons are featured prominently at the top of the homepage. Next to them are two contact options: a large phone number and an "email us" link that sends people to a contact form. Leads from this contact form (and all forms on the site) are entered directly into the TribusCRM, which also offers a full drip / blast email marketing system.
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Mobile Friendly Real Estate Website Options and Pitfalls - Part 2
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Mobile Friendly Real Estate Website Options and Pitfalls - Part 1
This article from Jim Cronin on the Real Estate Tomato blog is so packed with terrific information, we're going to split it into two parts. Part 2 of the article will be published tomorrow. Thinking About Going Mobile With Your Real Estate Website/Blogsite? Do you need it?Is this just something that the buzz is causing you to feel like you are in danger of being left behind? Or is the fact that mobile web browsing has exploded in the last 2 years mean it’s time to get in front of that audience too? Do you have a mobile audience yet?Check your visitor statistics. Exactly 13% of all our clients’ traffic was from a mobile device last month (Feb 2012) Does what you currently offer fail on a mobile level? Check it for yourself: Desktop Simulator Online Simulator Unfortunately, there’s a good chance that this article’s content will be irrelevant by the time I hit publish, but the topic has generated enough discussion around these parts that it warrants at least a solid overview, however fleeting it may be.
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4 Functioning WordPress Themes for Real Estate
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What is HTML5 and why should I care as an agent.
We are going to try and take a highly technical topic and make is simple and easy to understand. HTML is an acronym that stands for HyperText Markup Language. It is the programming language of the Internet, and it has been around since the internet first started. Over the past two years, the latest version of this language, HTML5 came into use by programmers, and it is changing the Internet in magnificent ways. Since you are unlikely to be a programmer, you only need to focus on what benefits you would receive if you have a website built in HTML5.  
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Mobile stats stack well for Rand Realty
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What Does Your Website Say About You?
If you're an agent working today, then you already know the importance of a good web presence. What you may not know, however, is what constitutes 'good'. If you have a website, take a look at this list to make sure you're not falling victim to technology. After all, having a megaphone is one thing; using it wisely is another.        
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How Do You Market Yourself as a REALTOR®? Web? Print? Cheesy Billboards?
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Product Review: Immobel’s Multi-Language Website IDX and REAL-Buzz
Although we set out to write a review of Immobel’s Multi-Language IDX Translation, a look at REAL-Buzz was inevitable. Thus, our review covers both. Many REALTORS® who invest in IDX translation to market to global buyers will also choose to participate in the (free) REAL-Buzz.com portal.
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