Archive for November, 2008
This month our ‘Blogger of the Month’ award goes to Ross Brader. Ross has been blogging since January so he’ll be coming celebrating his first birthday soon! In fact, we have been crediting Sharon with being our first blogger, but it appears that both herself and Ross started on the same day – well at least entered their first post on January 7th - although Ross’s blog doesn’t reveal the time his first post was publised so we may never know the truth!
Ross is based in Pt Chevalier in Auckland and his blog is rich in information about this area, not only focusing on real estate matters but also providing details of community events, profiles of local businesses and details of developments in the area.
Congratulations Ross. Your $100 petrol voucher is on the way and isn’t it nice to know it’ll go a whole lot further these days too!
November 28 2008 | Blogger of the Month | 2 Comments »
No doubt, you have all added your blog address to your email signature, to help drive traffic to your site! However, rather than just adding a static link to your blog, I’ve just come across this site where you can download an application, which will automatically include a link to your latest post as shown in my email signature below:
It’s easy to set up and can be used with Microsoft Outlook, Gmail, Yahoo! Mail and Hotmail. Once you have downloaded the application, just refer to the site for the set-up instructions that apply to you, and in no time you should have it up and running. All you need to do is add the URL for your RSS feeds*, choose an update frequency and add the text you want to use. Your email signature will then update automatically when a new post is added to your blog.
*To get your RSS URL, click on the RSS link on your blog. A new page will open displaying the feed. Just copy the URL which appears in the address bar on your browser, as highlighted in the screen shot below:
If you have any problems, let me know.
November 25 2008 | General | 1 Comment »
This week we added a long anticipated feature to our site, which is the ability to add price description text (e.g. Buyer Enquiry Over…) to your listings. Previously, you could either display a fixed price or use one of the following terms: Tender, Auction, POA, Negotiation, Offers. When using those terms there was no direct facility to add a price indication.
While many people got around that by adding it to the teaser header or main text, you now have the ability to add a price text description which will be displayed clearly in the search results and on the listing page, as shown below:
This feature is not currently available via electronic upload (though it will be added to our specifications when they are updated next year) but can be entered manually on our private site - please contact us if you require a login.
The price text option is available for residential and rural listings (excluding rentals) and only on properties listed under POA, Negotiation or Offers. When using these price options you will have access to the following drop-down list:
1. Asking price $_
2. Budget buyer from $_
3. Buyer interest from $_
4. Buyer enquiry over $_
5. Enquiries over $_
6. Negotiable from $_
7. Offers over $_
The list will be unavailable when the Fixed Price, Auction or Tender options are used.
Standard pricing rules do not change, that is, you still need to enter a fixed price for the fixed price listing option and a range for all the other options. If is very important to remember that the range you enter is used for our search facility. Therefore, if you enter “Buyer interest from $210,000″ – indicating that the vendor will consider any offers from that price - you must ensure that the minimum price entered in your range is also $210,000 (as in the example below) and not a lower figure. This will ensure that the property does not appear in searches below that amount, thereby misleading and aggravating consumers.
That may seem pretty obvious, but we do come across a large amount of listings on the site with ridiculous price ranges. For example a listing may have a range of $100,000 – $999,000, but in the text it might state that offers over $650,000 will be considered. Listings like this obviously lead to a bad consumer experience on the site and leave the agent open to the risk of prosecution for breach of the Fair Trading Act.
As of July 2003, the maximum penalties for breaching the Act were increased to $60,000 for an individual and $200,000 for companies so it pays to be cautious. You can view a copy of the guidelines here.
Used correctly, this new feature will improve user experience on the site and will also benefit agents and their vendors. Consumers do not want to contact agents while they are researching the market. If there is no indication of price they are likely to just skip past that property in the search results and move on to other listings with a price. With this new feature they will now be clear of the vendors expectations and are more likely to register their interest in properties that they now know (not hope!) are within their price range.
November 21 2008 | Admin Hints & Tips | 5 Comments »
Today, Voices has reached a whole new level! I could be mistaken (and please correct me if I am) but I believe that Mason is the first Voices blogger to offer podcasts of his blog posts, which is very exciting. Well done Mason.
If you’re not familiar with this term, a podcast is essentially a digital media file which is downloaded via the internet for playback on an MP3 player or computer, but if you’d like a more detailed explanation check out Wikipedia.
Creating podcasts of your blog posts is a great way to increase the exposure of your blog and build your traffic. But don’t take my word for it! Check out this article on The Real Estate Tomato, which not only explains how podcasting can build your profile, but lists some very useful (and free) services. Using these services, you can create podcasts with minimal effort and if, like me, you can’t stand hearing a recording of their own voice, you’ll be happy, as they utilise a unique text to speech programme to convert your blog posts into podcasts!
These services might not work for you (see the comments on the article) or you may prefer to do your own thing, but either way, just have a read and check out the sites to see if podcasting is something you might like to introduce on your blog.
November 19 2008 | Voices Blog | 2 Comments »
I hope you all enjoyed a beautiful sunny weekend, like we’ve just had in Auckland - it’s so nice to see that summer is almost upon us once again. No doubt many of you are planning to take a holiday and enjoy the fine weather, which is being forecast for the summer months.
For those of you posting regularly on your blog, this may pose a problem as you may not want to leave your blog idle for weeks (or months, if you’re lucky enough!) on end. On the other hand, you don’t want to have to worry about coming up with ideas and blogging while you’re on holiday.
Luckily, there is a simple solution to this. On your Voices blog you can future-date your blog posts, so you don’t even have to give your blog a second thought while you are away. Just write up your posts before you leave for your holiday and schedule them to publish at a date and time in the future. Nobody will miss you!
It’s not only useful for holidays, you can use it to space out your blog posts a bit more evenly too. You may write all your posts at the weekend or early in the week, as other days tend to be very busy. Instead of adding two, three or four posts at once you can space them out over the week.
This facility is easy to use. Once you have saved the final version of your post, you simply edit the publication date and time (as shown below) and then click ‘Publish’.
Just remember to click on ‘Settings’ and make sure that your blog is currently set to the correct date and time. Otherwise, your posts may not be published as you intended. This is particularly important if you are publishing something that is not supposed to be public knowledge until a certain date!
November 17 2008 | Voices Blog | 2 Comments »