Merry Christmas from all the team here at realestate.co.nz. We sincerely appreciate and value your support and look forward to another innovative year in 2009!
We’re particularly proud of those agents who have taken the bold leap into the blogosphere this year – we’re not far away from the 100 mark at this stage! Well done, we hope you are enjoying the challenge and that you will continue into the New Year and will reap the benefit of your efforts.
If you haven’t received Alistair’s Christmas message, just click here to read it. We’ve also prepared a little video for your viewing pleasure! I’m sure you will appreciate the effort which has gone into these moves and you won’t be surprised if you see Alistair appearing in the next series of ‘Dancing with the Stars’! Just click on the link below to view:
December 17 2008 | General | No Comments »
Here are some useful tips I came across in this month’s issue of NZRetail, which should be helpful to those of you who are considering starting a Voices blog. Seasoned bloggers may also find them useful!
- Write for your target audience
Before starting your blog, think about who are you trying to attract to your site? Consider this each time you post and try to make each article relevant and informative so your readers get something out of it. When writing an article, ask yourself whether it is something your readers would really be interested in.
- Use Pictures
Try to include pictures in your posts. Pictures help to catch and retain a reader’s attention so don’t be afraid to include them.
- Fun but professional
Blogs are a lot more informal than traditional journalistic writing. Always write in your own style, using language that’s appropriate and appealing to your readers. At the end of the day you want to be seen as a professional but your posts can still be down-to-earth and fun.
- Use the KISS principle
Keep it Short and Simple! Make your articles short, lively and interesting – and never go over the reader’s head. The simpler you keep your articles, the more chance you have of people reading them. That includes the blog’s layout. If it’s easy on the eyes, your reader will stick around.
- Keep a notebook
You’ll be surprised when the inspiration for a blog post will strike. Keep your notebook with you at all times so you’ll be able to jot those blog ideas that come to you while you’re out and about.
- Post regularly
Try to post two or three times a week. It may not always be possible but it’s good to have a goal!
- Keep your articles balanced
Although your blog is a powerful marketing tool, don’t just use it to push your sales. Your blog content must have value to your readers as well as yourself, which sometimes means writing articles which are not directly related to your business.
Read and sign up to other blogs. Don’t be afraid to link to them if they are relevant to your readers. If you have something to say then leave a comment, or add your thoughts to your own post when you’re linking to the article. In doing so, you are more likely to get links back to your site and articles, thereby increasing your traffic and boosting your business.
December 11 2008 | Voices Blog | No Comments »
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 »
This month, our “Blogger of the Month” award (and $100 petrol voucher!) goes to someone who is new to blogging – at least in the world of Voices anyway! In just over two weeks, this person has written almost twenty blog posts so you’ll be used to seeing his face on the Voices homepage at this stage!
And the award goes to…David Leggott! Congratulations David. We’ve been very impressed with the development of your blog over the last few weeks.
David has added regular and interesting content, using plenty of photographs, graphs and diagrams to illustrate and support his observations. He has even offered his (free) services as a photographer to anyone in the area who is contemplating selling their home.
Well done David and long may your enthusiasm last!
October 31 2008 | Blogger of the Month | 3 Comments »
When I got up this morning, I had a text from a friend of mine back in Ireland. The little snippet you can see before you actually go into the text read: “Could you do me a big favour…” For a moment I was wondering what I could possibly help with from the other side of the world, till I saw the full text: “Could you do me a big favour? I know everyone is probably asking you, but could you lend me your face for Halloween?”.
Yes, in Ireland we never grow up – it’s part of our charm! As a kid in Ireland, Halloween is second only to Christmas and in fact it’s often better. After six years in New Zealand I’ve become used to the fact that Halloween is not really a big deal, but in Ireland it’s a different story.
For one thing, you’re lucky if you don’t lose your garden fence in the run up to Halloween! For weeks beforehand, every teenager in the country is out scavenging for bits of wood (or anything else they can get!) to try and create the biggest bonfire of the year. Huge piles of wood are gathered in every large open space available.
As a kid, you also spend weeks trying to decide on your costume. I used to change my mind every couple of days so in the end nothing was organised and I usually wandered around the streets in some rubbish last minute costume – usually consisting of my pyjamas and a bandage on my face, head or arm (it alternated each year so it wasn’t exactly the same costume)!
When you are all dressed and have gobbled down your dinner of colcannon, you hit the road with your pals. It’s important to get out early before all the good stuff is gone! Your first job is to interrogate other trick-or-treaters to find out the prime collections spots! So you go to the houses with the toffee apples, chocolates, lollies (sweets to us!), money (the lazy option for people who couldn’t be bothered shopping – fine by us!) and then work your way down the fruit and nuts!
When your little feet can’t take any more, you head home and begin the sorting and swapping process. That is much fun! Apples and nuts to one side, goodies in your stomach. Then swap all the goodies you don’t like with your friends (I should point out that this usually takes place before you’ve put them in your stomach!) till everyone’s happy! After that it’s time to dunk for apples (you have to use them up somehow), watch scary movies and then head out for the bonfires and fireworks.
It’s not surprising that Halloween is so popular in Ireland, given that we came up with the idea! See Wikipedia for more on that. It doesn’t mean we’re the best at celebrating it though. No, we took the idea to America and Canada and they had to go one better than us! Check out these photo that a Canadian friend sent to me following Halloween in Toronto last year:
So, why not dress your house up this Halloween and give the kids in your neighbourhood a bit of treat?! There’s plenty of time to nip down to The Warehouse and grab a bargain! However, if you’re trying to sell your home at the moment and you’re holding Open Homes this weekend, it might not be such a good idea!
And if you need $50 to kick off your Halloween fund, then click here and take a guess at Alistair’s finishing time for the half-marathon this Sunday! If you’re not in, you can’t win!
Happy Halloween everyone
October 31 2008 | General | No Comments »
As some of you may know, the Auckland Marathon takes place this coming Sunday, 2nd Nov. Alistair’s taking one for the team and will be tearing through the streets of Auckland as he competes in the Half Marathon event!
Have a guess at how long it will take him to complete the 21km run and you could be in with a chance to win $50!* And if the winning guess is within two mins of Alistair’s actual finish time, we’ll also donate $50 to the National Heart Foundation of New Zealand.
So start guessing and no, you can’t phone Alistair to ask him how his training is going!
* one guess per person. Competition open to NZ real estate professionals only.
October 29 2008 | General | 24 Comments »
« Prev - Next »