Blog

Call To Action!

We all know that whether we mail out printed promotional materials, or someone visits our website, we need a “call to action”.

A GraphicalData website is full of lead generation tools that encourage your visitors to contact you. And that’s a good thing. But, as an individual agent, you can can go even further in customizing your website even further and optimizing it for generating inquiries.

If you develop a unique section on your site that displays your expertise in that venue, then follow it up with a sentence such as “For more information on this subject, feel free to contact me at 206-692-1234 or email me.”

Another solution would be to add a page of beneficial content, and then to add “If I can be of assistance on this subject, contact me:”. Then add the general comment form onto this same page beneath the content and the assistance line. The end result…creating a page of information with a convenient response form that your visitor can easily use to contact you.

In any event, as you custom out your site to better fit you and your real estate practices and goals, you can add easy “call to actions” to just about any page…or provide a link to your main contact form from any page.

Of course, if you do not feel comfortable in adding additional content yourself, call or send an email, and we would be happy to add this type of content…or assist you how to do so.

Google Caffein – Coming Soon To A Website Near You

Google is in the process of preparing a new update to its algorithm that is used for ranking websites. It looks like it will be dubbed with the title of “Google Caffein”.

To rank well, it still comes down to each website having fresh content added on a regular basis and encouraging other sites to link to your website. However, more emphasis will apparently be placed on using social media, online videos and a well built website.

More attention will also be paid to certain ranking factors such as “clean code”, “page load time” (or site speed), “broken links” and the like. Over-all quality will now play a greater roll than in the past.

Search engines folks like Google do not normally go out of their way to share the specifics of their “magic formulas” that rank websites, so we do the best we can to determine what is there and what makes them happiest. What we do know is that the web itself continues to evolve, and so must we all.

The good news is that GraphicalData websites are by default search engine friendly. What should you do? You need to SEO (search engine optimize) your website for your area and real estate niche — or have someone do it for you. The underlying core criteria we use when we optimize a website takes advantage of the new power that Google will place under the hood of its overhauled engine. If you need assistance in optimizing your GraphicalData website feel free to contact us today.

Search Engine Optimization

We have posted numerous articles about search engine optimization (SEO) over the years. Many techniques that were relevant 10 years ago are not today. In fact, many search engines that were around in the ’90’s no longer exist for all practical purposes.

Some of the underlying basics do remain the same, and that is what many of our posts have been about, so I would encourage you to dig back into the archives . . . or search for seo and search engine optimization to pull them up.

You can view this article on search engine optimization for some general information as well.

If you do have a GraphicalData website, and are not ranking as well as you might like, give us a call or email . . . we have a great history of understanding what it takes to help real estate websites rise to the top.

Stay tuned . . . next article we will discuss some of the newer criteria that Google has indicated that they implement this year.

Add Virtual Media & Photo Galleries to Your Website

Studies show that visitors appreciate additional property photos and virtual tours.

Fortunately your GraphicalData website allows for Photo Galleries and any other Virtual Tours that are hosted elsewhere to be added by you to your listings.

If you have not added a Photo Gallery or virtual tour to your listings before, here is a quick 1-2-3 on adding a tour:

  • Sign into your admin center, select “Listing” >>> “Inventory” and then “View” the listing to which you would like to add your media.
  • Select “Virtual Tours” within this listing, and add your photo gallery/virtual tour/media link to the “Tour Link” field. You actually have the opportunity to add up to 3 different media links to each listing.

These links will then show on your actual listing each time a visitor views it in your site, as well as every site utilizing the GraphicalData database.

“Page Building 101” For Your GraphicalData Website

Learn how to  build a page on you GraphicalData website.  This class will cover how to  build a page in detail and will also include adding many different  features to that page.  Upon completing this webinar, you will fully  understand all aspects of building a page and should feel confident to  begin building many more pages on your site.

This class is scheduled for 2 hours, however the instruction should  be completed within 1-1/2 hours and then there will be time for  questions and answer.  Subscribe here for this webinar that will assist you in “growing” and understanding your website.

New Website Styles Available

Sometimes it is easy to have a website and get so busy with other matters that we do not keep it fresh and updated. If you have had your GraphicalData website for a few years now, and have not updated it recently, now could be a good time to do some “Spring Cleaning”.

Review some of the many newer styles available for your website — both vertical and horizontal navigation — and in the various color schemes available. These are found in the website section under the category of “Website Design & Style”. From there select the vertical or horizontal options and then review the available styles. One big note here . . . if you have more than 7 or 8 buttons on your current vertical navigation arrangement, then the horizontal may not be for you . . . as you will not have enough horizontal space to accommodate all of your button/pages in that direction. If this should be the case, you may be better served by staying with a vertical nav style.

If you should need help, please review the movie tutorial for this topic in the help section, and contact customer support if needed.

Additional GraphicalData Websites Are Very Affordable

IF you already subscribe to a GraphicalData website, you can create a 2nd, or 3rd or more websites for discounted multiple website fees.

Should you want to develop an additional website for a unique marketing venue, with all the full features of your existing site, it is affordable for you to do so. As long as additional sites are created for the same person and same profile information, your second website is available for $30/mo and additional sites beyond that for only $20/mo each.

For example, perhaps you would like to target or focus on a specific neighborhood . . . or perhaps a different aspect of real estate such as waterfront properties . . . or you may need a website totally focused on a special listing you might have.

Each website would have its own domain name to reflect its unique roll in your marketing efforts.

This can be a great way to continue expanding your presence online…and our way of saying thank you.

For more information on on creating additional sites (with the same agent profile), contact us at GraphicalData.com.

Did You Know You Can Place MLS#s Behind Your Domain Name?

For an easy on-line address to a listing on a GraphicalData website, you can place a listing’s MLS number directly behind your domain name separated by a forward slash (/). For example, you could have a clean link for promotion purposes by using this technique and creating an address of “yourdomainname.com/27017270”.

This is a great way to share a listing that includes your domain name for written advertising or when adding the link to an email.

Another Tool for Adding Text to Your Website

One of the nice features of a GraphicalData website is that you have the ability to add pages and content to your own website. You would normally use the “Page Layout Tool” (found in the Page Content Options) when adding content to your website pages since it has a friendly interface (like a simple Word or Publisher program).

Another means to add text, or paste  HTML or scripts directly into your website is called the “Text” tool found in the Page Content Options. This is a good tool option to use if you have some tricky html or script that you want to paste in (some Flash script for example).

The reason? Sometimes the “Page Layout Tool” tool can modify content tags the next time you open the page in it. In other words, you can paste something into the editor…save it…and all is cool until you open it again to tweak or the like. On opening, it tries to “clean up” or “modify” certain pieces of HTML tags or script that it perceives as incorrect, and in the process things may change from your original look. This can be confusing and frustrating.

If pasting HTML or script into the “Text” tool, it leaves the code intact. And if pasting text, it goes in easy too. Of course if you know some basic HTML you can embellish here as well. [IMPORTANT NOTE: Be sure and select the “Do not format my text” box before saving to prevent any unwanted Paragraph <P> tags  (would create extra paragraph returns).

This tool might be worth experimenting with, if you have a challenge with the “Page Layout Tool”. You could create a test page with the light bulb turned off so that it doesn’t show to the public, play with it and see how it works for you. Worth considering those few times when things seem to not work correctly with the other Editor tool.

Your Website Images – Resize Before Uploading

OK…you have taken a great photo and you want to upload it to your website. The challenge is that with each new generation of cameras, image mega-pixel size continues to increase. Unoptimized images are appearing on websites around the world with sizes in megabytes, bogging down servers and frustrating users. Website page bailout rates are on the rise as visitors are less likely to wait around for slow loading pages.

The solution: down-size your image…this reflects not only the physical size of your photo, but also the kilobyte (kb) size of the image which influences download time. To do this, you need some form of photo editor.

Perhaps the easiest solution for the average user is to downsize the photo with a nifty little program that is available for free from Microsoft. It is called, interestly enough, Image Resizer and is found in their PowerToy section.

Sure, you could do even better if you were an experienced PhotoShop user, but for average website owners who do not have the time or inclination to learn a high end program, this could be the perfect fit.

You can find Image Resizer on the Microsoft website3 and can download it from this location: http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/downloads/powertoys/xppowertoys.mspx

Once you have downloaded the small file, just install it into your Program files or wherever, Windows will know where it is located.

The cool thing is that this PowerToy enables you to resize one or many image files with a single right-click. To find the image on your computer…right click on your computer’s  “start” button…select “Explorer”…navigate to the directory where your image is found. Then right click on it…select “Resize Pictures” and either use one of the default sizes provided (probably the smallest), or customize to the exact size you want with the simple “Advanced Feature” setting.

You can either overwrite your existing photo or save as a new smaller image (recommended). And, as previously mentioned, you can save time by resizing multiple images simultaneously.

This is a simple program…but effective. Run through a couple photos and you will have it all figured out.

The Result: Now your website will load much more quickly, and your visitors will be more “happy”. And, you are being “more green” on the web as you are saving bandwidth!