Archive for March, 2012

Augmented Reality – Is it a Phase?

by Ryan Grassie - Mar. 29, 2012 at 6:46pm

So the big buzz word the past few months has been this Augmented Reality. Broken down to its simplest terms is a technology that uses a piece of printed code in conjunction with a web-camera to display something on your computer that is really not there. Confused yet? Check out the example of how it can be used below.

The down side of this technology is that you need a printer or smart phone to display the special bar code needed to show the technology where to display the augmented reality piece. Perhaps in the future just your bare hand could be recognized or something like your iphone. That would make the technology much more appealing and may be picked up by the masses. But this is a really neat start to what may be a phase or may be the next big thing. Only time will tell!

5 Reasons to Use WordPress For Your Real Estate Website

by Ryan Grassie - Mar. 16, 2012 at 3:41am

So, you’ve decided to launch a blog or real estate website? Chances are you’re not building it by yourself. That being the case, your next choice should be about which CMS (content management system) you’ll use to simplify all the activities you’d rather not have to be an expert on. Of the platforms out there WordPress has emerged as the clear leader. Here are some reasons why.

1. Popularity

WordPress is currently the most popular CMS in use on the Internet. All in all, almost 15 percent of all websites are on the Internet today are powered by WordPress, and 22 percent of new websites are choosing it. Why is this a good thing? Well, first of all, WordPress is open source, which means that the hundreds of thousands of developers who use it can contribute to improving its quality. This is why WordPress can release software updates more often than most technology companies, helping to keep your site secure.

WordPress’s popularity among regular site owners has a similar benefit. The more site owners there are using it, the more feedback the software receives, and the quicker bugs are fixed. Finally, the market for plugin developers and theme designers is robust and profitable. As of August 2011, WordPress has over 17,000 plugins and 1,500 free themes. Because so many people are competing to create great high-quality themes and plugins, you end up with a superior product.

2. Ease of Use

Once you’re up and running, it’s incredibly simple to add content in the form of blog posts, pages, photos, listings, videos, music, etc. You name it, if it can be consumed on the Internet, you can add it to your WordPress site. Do this consistently and you’ll develop inbound links, improving your organic search results like the pros do.

3. Search Engine Optimization

WordPress is ready to play nice with search engines right out of the box. Its setup makes it easy for Google to crawl your website and collect information for its database. When it comes to blogging, WordPress can make you an SEO superstar with meta tags, customizable URL slugs, permalinks, trackbacks, and pinging—all designed to provide interactivity with other blogs (and their readers) and make your content accessible to search engines. Finally, there are plenty of free or low cost third-party plugins designed specifically for search engine optimization.

4. Power

Some people assume that because it’s a ready-made content management system, WordPress is meant for people and companies that don’t have the cash or the expertise to build a “real” website from scratch. But beneath WordPress’s user-friendly chassis is a seriously powerful engine that can handle just about anything you or your customers can dish out. In fact, some of the world’s most successful companies and highly trafficked websites use the WordPress platform as their foundation, including Mashable, The New York Times, CNN, Forbes, TechCrunch, Reuters, General Motors, UPS, eBay, Volkswagen, and Sony.

Although the core WordPress system is pretty basic, there are a great many ways to add on: custom web design and functionality, data integrations, user management tools, syndication tools, commenting systems, media management tools, web hosting, etc. You’ll have to pay for many of these additions, but because the core system is free, it’ll reduce your overall price tag.

5. Versatility

WordPress has tons of developers working on tons plugins, and many of these perform functions that are especially useful for real estate professionals. WordPress’s many features give you the ability to perform and provide a wide variety of real estate-specific tasks and services for your customers, including:

  • Show property listing data
  • Integrate map data
  • Share with social media
  • Post on Craigslist
  • Syndicate content
  • Syndicate listing data
  • Create forums and favorites lists
  • Set and show pricing levels
  • Enable subscriptions
  • Show geotargeted information
  • Provide CRM integration
  • Capture leads
  • Integrate payment gateways and invoices
  • Import and export data
  • Use coupon or discount codes

Blogging with SEO in Mind

by Ryan Grassie - Mar. 2, 2012 at 1:29pm

Blogging is a fantastic way to create value to your website customers. But there is another major plus of online blogs – they naturally attract search engine traffic. Blogs already have optimized site architecture – meaning the way they are setup (or should be setup if done properly) makes them highly visibly and indexed by search engines. Most are set up with a clear navigation, where every page is set up to link back to the other main pages. They also have the inherent potential to be well-linked.

Blog Directories and Site Submission

If you haven’t already submitted your blog to some free directories, you are missing out on some great one-way links. But before you start searching for them and submitting, you should know a a few tips on how to optimize your blog. Then your new articles can help your site get the best keyword placement in the major search engines.

Blogs and SEO – Keywords

You have a choice to make. You can target a really general high traffic keyword you have little chance of ranking well for and get barely any traffic. Or you can shoot for a keyword that gets a moderate level of targeted traffic resulting in more leads and sales. They may not get you the most traffic, but they often bring the most profit. Keywords like this can be determined using any number of traffic estimating tools out there. The good ones also show the level of competition for any given keyword.

More Web Site Traffic and More Sales? Not Always

You may be surprised to learn that there isn’t always a correlation between high traffic and high sales. Many of the most profitable sites in the world get moderate traffic because their lucrative keywords result in a much higher ratio of visitors to buyers. Keep this in mind when writing blog articles and target more specific keyword strings when possible. Adding a local spin to your blog titles and content may be that difference. For example instead of targeting “Nike Shoes” if you target “Ottawa Nike Shoe Store” you will get much less traffic, but anyone who does find it and clicks on it surely is a highly targeted user.

Length of Search Query is a Factor

A recent article in Information Week stated that the highest conversion rates from search engine traffic comes from people who do four word queries. The great thing about your blog is that it can get so well-indexed that you have the potential to show up for any number of four word phrases that are relevant to your industry.

Target Your Blog for More Traffic and Sales

Targeting your blog discussion to a two or three word phrase that has a high yield of traffic, and yet has little competition, is not a dream of past Internet days. Another recent study revealed that surprisingly high percentages of search engine queries debuted as late as 2004. As long as there are new developments, new products, services and trends, you’ll never have a shortage of these terms if you learn how to discover them.

Inbound Links and Google Ranking

by Ryan Grassie - Mar. 1, 2012 at 2:31am

Inbound links are a very important part of any successful search engine optimization campaign. Inbound links are the number one factor in Google’s determination of your Page Rank, which has a major influence on your position in their search results. Since Google accounts for roughly 90% of the searches performed on the internet, inbound links are very important if you’re looking to reach the majority of internet users.

Inbound links are defined as links found elsewhere on the internet that direct users to your site only. Inbound links differ from reciprocal links, which occur when someone links to your site and your site links back to them in turn. While these do factor into Google’s Page Rank assessment and other search engine algorithms, they do not carry the same weight that one way, inbound links do. In addition to increasing your Page Rank and appealing to search engines, inbound links also work to increase traffic to your site.

There are different kinds of inbound links. In general, there are text and graphic based links. However, studies have shown that text based inbound links are more effective at both garnering more traffic and improving your Page Rank. In fact, depending on the text itself and its keywords, textual inbound links themselves can even have an effect on your rank and position.

Another important factor is the quality of your inbound links. In terms of page ranking, getting inbound links from just about anywhere can help. However, if the inbound link contains a relevant keyword to your site, Google will give it even more value. And when it comes to increasing traffic, the best inbound links come from sites with content relevant to yours. The better your traffic and the more inbound links you have, the better your search engine marketing strategy, so try to get inbound links from sites, directories and forums that are relevant to the subject matter of your own site.

Just remember – content is king! Google wants to show the most relevant sites related to the search term so having your page setup properly, and proving valuable content will get users to your site and they in turn will link to your site. Blogs can play a huge role in this.

Couple of ways to get inbound links:

  • Post comments to relevant forums with your url
  • Add your site to both paid and free directories in categories that are relevant to what you do
  • Have a blog with valuable fresh content that other can link to