Okay like many techies, early adopters or Apple cult members, I was eagerly awaiting the big event today in which Apple made several announcements including the much anticipated pre-launch of the IPAD 2. Other than the fact that the delivery was made by Steve Jobs who surfaced from his medical leave for this event, from what I have been able to gather from many online postings, while the new IPAD is definitely an improvement, it doesn’t seem to be the earth shattering changes we have grown to expect from Apple.
I mean it has double the processor so it will run much quicker (although the IPAD is known for its instant on functionality, so I don’t think speed was the issue with the first edition), its thinner and lighter (again I don’t think this was the problem) and they’ve added front and back cameras that can film video in HD which means you will now be able to do video chat, facetime and more, but to me the omissions of what they didn’t do to me are pretty shocking.
The screen resolution and materials are still the same (continue having fun with the sunlight glare), still no USB ports so don’t plan on plugging any peripherals into it, they did add the ability to have HDMI port, but to do so you have to buy a $39 plug adapter, it is only set up to work on the 3G network (even with Verizon), no additional memory or additional models with more memory, etc.
I am sure I am missing out on some things, but to me, this is just a significant software version update being labeled as a new product. Don’t get me wrong I own an IPAD and will probably buy an IPAD 2 to have another in the house as I am sick of having to share mine with my 3 year old son who constantly wants to play Angry Birds on it, but to me if I didn’t need to do it and could wait awhile, I would consider holding off until next year for the IPAD 3 as it will be sure to have more significant improvements then what was announced today, which in my opinion didn’t live up to all the hype.
Rule #1 of Business is also Rule #1 of Websites, the customer is always right. And that is something many REALTORS and Business Owners don’t understand when it comes to setting up their own website. They like to build very image based, ego-centric designs and load up the site with content that they like or care about. But when you are building your site to totally fit your personal needs, are you really doing the best to service your potential customers.
In some cases yes, but most of the time no. What I recommend to clients is to organize and build your site based completely around the users needs and wants. So, what is it that they want:
1) Property Listings and Search Tools – This should be the #1 focus of your site
2) Education about the Local Area so they can decide if they want to move to or from there
3) Educational content to help them through the real estate process (buyers info, sellers tips, mortgage calculators, help in finding financing, understanding the current and local market, etc.)
4) You the REALTOR
So, when it comes to figuring out what the structure and goals of your site should be, it should be based on the prior customer needs and wants. So build your site around the MLS and make it easy for the user to find specific kinds of listings that also match your desired clientele. Then focus on educating that consumer about all aspects of their potential real estate experience and finally work yourself into the site, but don’t over do it because that is not what they are there for. And remember, statistically speaking, consumers are just as likely to use an agent’s website as they are a brokerage or even Realtor.com, you just need to make sure that your site is set up in a user friendly manner so that they enjoy their experience when they are there.
For more tips and advice on running your website, blog, social networking, humorous musing, technology trends and more that are influencing the real estate market, be sure to follow Craig Grant, the Real Estate Website Guru’s blog
Baylor University research of where REALTORS are spending their money
I have been preaching for years that REALTORS need to stop doing what they’ve always done or they will find themselves left behind and that definitely holds true to advertising. For decades the real estate industry was immersed in the print world sinking huge portions of their budget into newspapers and magazines and continued to do so even though the ROI on these vehicles were dropping each year.
Well as recently as 2008, REALTORS were still allocating close to 15% of their budget on print despite it routinely being ranked one of the worst options for generating leads/new business and yet not reallocating the dollars they used to spend in print to online where they know the majority of their business is coming from these days. As I state in my classes, this is a trend, in 2011 it is time that REALTORS start putting their money where the business is and the numbers show that is online.
In this article from CNET News, Google algorithm change tackles content copying – http://t.co/1oAJJXL via @cnetMatt Cutt’s the chief architect of Google’s algorithm mentioned in an interview recently that Google is making a fundamental change that they will start assessing and penalizing sites for duplicate or copied content.
So what does this mean to you the site owner?
The saying has always been that content is king, well now that needs to be changed to Original Content is King!
While provided content is great to get a site up and going quickly and fill a site up with necessary content, don’t expect provided content to get you to the top of the search engines. To do so, the content needs to be original and custom. So, no more cutting corners, a site owner really has to make the commitment or investment to add a lot of custom content to their site and consider modifying any content that is provided to you by your site host.
Of course content is only one small piece in your sites page rank which we will cover in other blog posts along with other factors including meta data, backlinking, social media presence, use of bloggs, etc., but as highlighted by this big change by Google, content is still an important factor.
Welcome to the Real Estate Website Guru’s Blog.
Starting today I am going to share some of my vast knowledge on what works and more importantly doesn’t work in today’s online landscape for real estate website.
From elements of design, to page layout, to increasing your site’s user-ability, stickiness, lead conversion, online marketing, new cutting edge tools & more. Plus I’ll probably throw in some cool websites, services, video clips and more that I stumble on in my ventures online and most importantly I will do it in a fun easy to follow and fun way.
So, lets get to blogging shall we!