FREE Webinar: Utilizing & Maximizing Your Virtual Results Website

Starting tomorrow, we’re going to start a weekly webinar on how to utilize a Virtual Results Predesigned Website that Works in a way that produces results for your business. One of our conversion specialists, CJ Hays, will walk through the ins and outs of our predesigned WordPress platform as well as answer any and all questions from participants.

When: Thursday November 10th – 1:00-1:30 PM PST

Sign Up Now

What we’ll cover:

  • Your WordPress Dashboard and all its functions
  • Showcasing your listings using the VR Listing Management plugin (hint: it’s REALLY easy)
  • Producing content within WordPress
  • Conversion strategies
  • 3 Effective Blogging strategies
  • Question and Answer

Register Now

Whether you are a current client looking to better understand how to use your site, an agent currently evaluating real estate WordPress website vendors, or just an agent looking for a few blogging tips — this is your chance to learn what Virtual Results products and strategies are all about.

Of course, there is No Obligation — so you might as well register right now..

Bravado, The Latest and Greatest Component of our Predesigned Platform

You know buyers want search. So, naturally, that means you should give them search, right?

Yes.

With that in mind…today, we’re beyond excited to announce Bravado, a brand new theme for our Predesigned Websites that Work platform! As expected, the focus of the theme is getting your traffic as quickly as possible into the search experience since that’s where the majority of your conversions will take place.

For those that have spent some time looking through our current predesigned sites such as LoriBee.com, LaPalmaHomeFinder411.com, Mariannewhyte.com, and Sandiegoequityfacts.com — you’ve likely noticed they are all designed from our initial “Under Pressure” theme. There are a broad range of colors available for Under Pressure and a few different home page layout options, but allowing our clients to choose from multiple amazing themes has always been the plan for our predesigned platform. We wanted to spice it up a bit with an entirely new, SIMPLER look for our current and future clients to utilize — and Bravado was born.

Bravado is a bit less “bloggy” than Under Pressure and more targeted at those who want a dedicated site to get people straight into the search experience. We know from our analytics that 60-70% of visitors to the typical agent or brokerage site end up looking at listings — so we made getting to listings even simpler and more obvious. Of course, Bravado is still built on WordPress with all the great features that come with each and every one of our predesigned sites.

For those that want to take a peak at the first wave of Bravado clients:

Going forward, new clients will be able to select either theme when they signup for a new site. Current clients can request a change of themes at any time for a $75 charge to do the graphics and setup work (leave a request in the work requests portion of Geek Estate Pro).

As a side note, one of the questions we answer over and over from potential clients is “What colors are available?” And we now have a solution in the form of a brand new theme previewer that allows you to view our various themes and colors available on our platform.

See All Bravado Colors

Want to get up and running with Bravado (or Under Pressure)?

Contact Us Today

As far as some inspiration for the theme, here’s the video that inspired our designer, Chris Hesenflow aka “WordPress Superman”, during Bravado’s design process.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Ka_oevW2sc[/youtube]

Sales FAQ: That "Ownership" Thing…

We’ve received a few questions recently from potential clients asking about the “ownership” of a Virtual Results website. The concern is that they will be tied to a hosting provider and fall prey to monthly fees for eternity. Luckily, and purposely, that’s not the case with Virtual Results. We want clients that WANT to be on our platform..not clients tied to monthly contracts or held hostage by inaccessibility to their data.

Here is a layout of the “ownership” of your website so everyone is 100% clear (the answers vary slightly between a full custom and a predesigned):

  1. The Domain Name: You own
  2. Content: You own all the content you put into the site
  3. The design: Full custom: You own. Predesigned: We own.
  4. The WordPress instance: Full custom: You own. Predesigned: We own.

In terms of SEO, your domain and your content are your long term assets. Whether you have a full custom or a predesigned, you never have to worry about losing either one of those. As you likely know, WordPress.org is an open source platform. If you ever want to move to another host from one of our predesigned sites, you can export/import your content using standard WordPress functionality and be on your way. Sure, you will have to pay someone for a new design, but the reason we can offer our predesigns at such affordable rates is because there is shared maintenance and design between sites. If you are 100% committed to “owning” your design and the actual underlying WordPress instance, you’ll need to go with a full custom.

Keep in mind that, in order for your website to convert traffic to leads, it needs to have an IDX and other conversion tools. 60-70% of consumers that end up on an agent/broker site are looking for listings. If you don’t give them that functionality? They will bounce and never come back. Regardless of what website provider you work with or even if you build your site yourself (check the ROI before undertaking that), you will have a monthly hosting bill. We know the sum of the parts of our monthly packages purchased separately will be more expensive than buying them as a package from us — and in the process, you get access to our expertise. We think that’s a win-win for everyone involved.

Want to discuss further? Give us a call. 888-99-RESULTS

Contact Us

"That's Why I Have You Guys"

I exchanged emails with a client of ours a week or so ago that ended with a reply of “That’s Why I Have You Guys”.

The email thread started with a request to tweak the home page by adding an additional graphic to the sidebar. It may come as a surprise, but it wasn’t because I completed his request in a timely fashion — I didn’t. In fact, I didn’t complete the initial request at all.

I know for a fact most website vendors would have just completed the request without a second thought (and probably taken awhile to do so). But we care too much about our clients to let them make preventable mistakes. Blindly abiding by the client request would not have helped increase conversion or traffic on our clients’ site — so we strongly advised our client not to do it. And they listened..as a result, they didn’t add unneeded complexity to their home page that would have decreased their conversion.

Internet marketing is not rocket science; there are tried and tested methods of turning online traffic into real, tangible business. Knowing what to do is great, but knowing what not to do is equally as valuable.

Our business is conversion. Traffic. SEO. Online marketing as a whole.

Yours is selling real estate.

Mix them together? You have a winner. Virtual Results helps you do more of what works, and less of what doesn’t…

Want to join our network? Get in touch with us.

How to Add Drop Downs to Your Navigation Menu

For those who aren’t extremely familiar with the WordPress menu system, I wanted to detail how to add drop down options to your primary navigation menu on your predesigned website that works.

I chose to use Ric and Pamela Dizon (who serve the La Palma community with LaPalmaHomeFinder411.com) as an example because Ric has already put drop downs in place on his own.

Step 1: Navigate to Menus portion of your dashboard underneath Appearance.

Dashboard 2039 Ric & Pamela Dizon 2014 WordPress
Uploaded with Skitch!

Step 2: Add the new menu pages or custom links you want to your “MainNav” menu.

Menus 2039 Ric & Pamela Dizon 2014 WordPress
Uploaded with Skitch!

Step 3: Indent the options you want to be drop downs by clicking & holding one of the grey bars and dragging it in underneath its intended parent navigation option.

Dock
Uploaded with Skitch!

Step 4: Click “Save Menu”

Menus 2039 Ric & Pamela Dizon 2014 WordPress
Uploaded with Skitch!

Once example use for drop down menus is to place separate links for your actives and solds underneath your “listings” navigation button. If you wish to link to a page with JUST your actives, or JUST your solds, the following URL structures will work:

  • solds – http://yourdomain.com/listings/sold/
  • actives – http://yourdomain.com/listings/sold/

Hope this helps clarify the issue of how to use your navigation menu. If not, leave your questions in the comments.

dsSearchAgent Mobile is Now Available on the Predesigned Websites that Work Platform

In case you missed it, Diverse Solutions’ dsSearchAgent Mobile came out of BETA on Friday. You can head over to the brand new Diverse Solutions website and see the features and even demo a test version of the product. If you are a client of ours on our predesigned platform and you already have dsSearchAgent as part of your monthly package, you now have dsSearchAgentMobile integrated so that your mobile viewers will be redirected to the alternative interface (if I somehow missed your site, shoot me an email). For those wondering how it works, check out AtSanMarcosHomes.com or RiverNorthCondo.com on your mobile device.

And if you’re not already a client of ours and would like a website that works with dsSearchAgent Mobile built in (you’ll need our premium package to get dsSearchAgent Mobile), let us know.

We've Upgraded Our Predesigned Platform to WordPress 3.2, and the Addition of "Distraction Free Writing"

Just two days after WordPress 3.2 was released, all our predesigned sites are fully upgraded to WP 3.2. Here’s the 3.2 announcement video from WordPress:

As you probably know, the goal of our predesigned platform is for our clients to write content for their sites – and we’ll handle all the technical details behind the scenes that agents and brokers shouldn’t be concerning themselves with. On that front, with WP 3.2, writing content just got a lot SIMPLER with the addition of the new “distraction free writing” (DFW) functionality now built into WordPress. To enable this new writing interface, all you have to do is click the “fullscreen mode” from the visual editor. Here’s a demo of the feature:

[vimeo]http://www.vimeo.com/24445482[/vimeo]

Happy blogging!!

Google +1 Support Added to the Predesigned Websites that Work Platform

 

Today, we added support for Google +1 on all of our Predesigned Websites that Work. What does that mean? For current clients, it means that, after a few checkboxes are checked from your WordPress dashboard, then anyone visiting your site will be able to +1 any page or post on your site. For future clients, it means your site will come setup completely setup with Google +1.

Though Google +1 is still relatively new, it’s almost certain to impact SEO rankings over time. You’ve probably noticed the infiltration of Facebook “likes” all across the web over the past year or so and, in my opinion, Google +1 was introduced largely because Google doesn’t want to be left behind with building that valuable social data layer for their search experience. It’s true that it’s harder to get a link now than it was 3 years ago; that’s because many conversations that took place on blogs back in 2007 now take place on Twitter and Facebook — which means that the “votes” for content that used to be in the form of links have largely moved along with the conversations into a more social experience. The more +1’s you can attract over time, the more likely you are to receive search traffic in the future.

We get asked to add a lot of functionality to our predesigned platform, and often times, there’s simply no real business case behind the request – it’s just someone asking for the latest “shiny object”. You’ve probably heard us say “If you’re doing something for any reason other than traffic or conversion, don’t do it”. That was true a decade ago and it’s true today. However, we don’t feel Google +1 is just a shiny object — it’s a tool that should help boost your traffic over time. So, just for you, we added Google +1 today. If there are other improvements you’d like us to make, please leave them in the suggestions portion of the Geek Estate forum.

That’s a wrap…Happy +1’ing!!!

Don’t have a website that works yet? What are you waiting for?

For current clients looking to enable this functionality, you’ll notice a new “Google +1” link under your settings (see screen shot to the right). Navigate to those settings from your dashboard, select your desired options, and then click save — and away you go!

For those who want to follow some recommended settings, below are the settings I used on Lori Bee’s site.

I just set it so that attachments don’t have the +1 button on them.

That said, feel free to tweak your own settings to your own delight.

What is Posterous and How is It Useful to a Real Estate Agent?

As some of you may know, we sell custom posterous skins as part of our social media branding packages. We’ve been asked several times recently what Posterous is, and why it’s useful to a real estate agent — so we wanted to cover that topic here so we have a nice concise blog post to send future agents or brokers who ask us.

Q: What is Posterous?

A: Posterous is a blogging platform on the surface, but in my opinion, it’s more of a syndication platform than a blog since it’s best feature is updating your various social media accounts from a familiar interface that you already understand — your email inbox. For example, you can take a photo from your iPhone, attach it to an email and send it to twitter+fb@posterous.com, and that will instantly post the photo to both your Twitter and Facebook accounts with a link back to your posterous blog.

Q: How is It Useful to Real Estate Agents?

A: Two reasons: ease of use and conversion. First, Posterous simplifies social media by enabling you to control the posting process from your inbox – no apps required. Second, Posterous can help with conversion. Websites are great at conversion, but attracting traffic is hard. Social media is just the opposite — it’s easy to drive traffic via social media, but conversion is hard. A custom posterous skin aims to bridge that gap by bringing your social media traffic to a place that contains conversion tools. Two example skins are Ines’ Miamism posterous skin and the Doug Heddings’ TrueGotham skin. You’ll notice that the posterous skins look just like their respective websites with all the appropriate calls to action to convert traffic to leads. So whenever someone sees a photo, status update, link, etc on Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook, or any other social media channel and clicks through to the source – they land on a page WITH conversion tools built in.

If you want to learn and implement a cohesive social media strategy that can be executed primarily from your Smart phone using Posterous, please head over to Jim’s other company, YouReachMedia, and ask them about the services they offer.

Questions? Leave them in the comments.

Adding School Data via Education.com to Your Predesigned Website that Works

We all know school information is one of the critical pieces of information that buyers are researching during the home buying process, so it’s only natural to have relevant school information accessible directly from your real estate website.

Want to add school information to the community pages of your Predesigned Website that Works? It’s simple to pull in school data from Education.com using the Local Market Explorer plugin (one of the available plugins on our platform).

Here’s how:

  • Request that we activate the Local Market Explorer plugin on your site (by submitting a request in the Work Requests portion of the Geek Estate forum)
  • Navigate to the editor of one of your community pages, or any page of post you want to insert school data into
  • Click the Local Market Explorer icon in your visual editor (screenshot)
  • Configure the module correctly by entering module you want (schools) and city and state (or ZIP) that you want to pull into the current page (screenshot)
  • Click INSERT

The finished result will look something like this (from Kurt Maier’s Del Mar page):