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Posts tagged ‘web’

District of Sooke Launches New Website

Not long after re-directing the old http://district.sooke.bc.ca website to http://Sooke.ca a year or so ago, the District of Sooke embarked on a re-design project for the tired-looking (and content-lacking) site. Earlier this month, the newly-designed Sooke District Web Site was launched.

Pictures And West Coast Colours Feature Prominently

Pictures And West Coast Colours Feature Prominently

The new design looks great, and has an intuitive layout including a search box, with west coast inspired colours and lots of pictures on the front page.

Although the basic content hasn’t changed a whole lot, I’m sure with a modern interface it will be easier for District of Sooke staff to add things like council minutes and agendas, election info, and bylaws.

There is a great section on Sooke history, and a Sooke photo gallery which includes local photography of Sooke beaches, Sooke wildlife, flowers, and even historical photos from Sooke’s past.

Bravo to the District staff for improving an important information resource for residents, businesses, and visitors alike.

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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A Bold Statement

Local Upstart REALTOR® Prospecting Site Thinks it has what it takes to rival MLS.ca

MLS.ca. Canada’s nationwide MLS. Every MLS listing, coast-to-coast. It’s practically a cultural institution, and millions of people use it to peek at their neighbour’s decorating scheme, or to view photos of houses before a military house-hunting trip in Halifax.

I received an e-mail last week (unsolicited, I might add) from a company calling itself CompatibleAgent.com, which contained a link to a video about their service. In a nutshell, it’s a searchable database and referral service for members of the public who are looking for an agent. They fill in a form, and are “matched” (read: referred as a lead) to an agent that is, well, compatible.

I received another e-mail today (again, unsolicited) which contained an incredibly bold (and misleading, I think) statement:

For those of you who have sent us feedback we thank you, and its obvious that Realtors believe this is a great idea…but the biggest concern you all have is a good one, and that is paying for advertising that is brand new, not yet established and that has an un-certain future. We do understand this and don’t blame Realtors for having this concern, therefore we as a company want to prove to you that CompatibleAgent.com is here to stay, that it is going to be a huge benefit to its members business and that we promise that we will be as widely used as MLS.ca within 1 year.

Wow. That’s ambitious. Here’s why I am skeptical: Alexa.com, which ranks Internet traffic, scores MLS.ca as the 78th most-visited Internet site in Canada. This puts it above The Globe and Mail, Workopolis, Bank Of Montreal, and slightly below 2 other banking websites. MLS.ca is the first result returned on Google.ca for Real Estate. CompatibleAgent.com purports they’ll accomplish this lofty goal through an extensive national TV, radio and print advertising campaign starting in June, making it a “household name.” I wonder if they researched this claim at all.

Even though they’ve slashed the price to join the service, I think I’ll wait and see. Show me some proof of your claim, and I’ll sign a 10-year contract!

Tim Ayres


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What's in a URL? Domain Names for Dummies

Everyone in real estate has a website these days. Or at least, they should. In today’s world, they are crucial prospecting and marketing tools for both existing customers and potential new clients. But why waste all your time and/or money in designing a beautiful, content-rich site when no one will remember it? Because our business is done in the real world, it is crucial that we have a memorable URL (domain name, website address) that we can advertise prominently on signs, newspaper ads, maybe even your car. I’ve always been a big believer in short, sweet URLs. Ever since I started in real estate, I’ve tracked the traffic sources of my site with Google Analytics. At least 1/3 of my visitors and usually more enter the URL directly into their browser.So, what’s the difference between good and bad? I came across this blog, written by a fellow geek that, like its title suggests, points out good from bad and explains why. Here is an excerpt of some tips from the site:

Do’s
1. CapitalizeTheFirstLetterOfEachWord.
2.UseDifferentColorsOrBoldToHelpEachWordStandOut.
3. Whenever possible, use YourBrandName.com.
4. If .com is not available, use YourBrandName.net.
5. If .com and .net are taken, find a new brand name. Seriously.
6. Use YourSlogan.com when running an integrated media campaign.
7. Use subdomains when driving people deeper than your homepage – e.g. Product.YourBrandName.com.

Don’ts
1. Don’t include www. We know to go to the World Wide Web to find you.
2. Don’t include http://. If your audience isn’t web savvy enough to know where to type the URL, you shouldn’t have a website.
3. don’tusealllowercase (canyoureallytellwhereonewordendsandthenextbegins?)
4. DITTOFORALLUPPERCASE
5. No-hyphens/or slashes.
6. Don’t use acronyms, abbreviations, or numbers unless your brand is widely known as such.
7. Don’t bury your URL at the bottom of a billboard. I’m the only nerd driving around with a 4x zoom lens to find URLs.

I agree with most of the above, although I should note that if your country (including ours) has a strong and well-recognized top-level domain (for example .ca, .co.uk, or .au) don’t be afraid to use it. You may find your desired brand name under a different TLD. This has the added bonus of distinguishing for search engines like Google where your website/brand/product is located geographically – a pretty good idea for real estate, wouldn’t you agree?

The author is also fond of capitalizing the first letter of multi-word domains. I would tend to agree with this in most cases, and in fact I’ve changed the lettering in my e-mail signatures and will propagate the changes across all my marketing material in the future.

I’d have to say that my personal most-hated URL no-no would have to be excessively long ones. You have 255 characters to work with, but there’s no need to use them all. I even hesitated before purchasing this domain name. Think about it – are you likely to remember VictoriasNumberOneAgentForHousesAndCondosInSookeOrVictoria.com when you drive past the bus bench or see it on a sign?

Also, are you giving up visitors to your site because they’re misspelling it, or getting the wrong top-level domain? Domain names are cheap ($10-20/year) so why not register several, and point them all to the same place? For example, I own TimAyres.ca, TimAyres.com, SellingSooke.com, SellingSooke.ca, and 2 or 3 others that all point to the same place. I’ve even considered TimAyers.ca as an alternative, because it’s a common misspelling of my last name.

Another tip I’d like to add: if you’ve got a great idea for a slick new domain name, run it by a few people first to see if they get it. Ideally somebody not involved in your industry. While agents might get FixturesAndChattels.com, a consumer might not. Worse, your domain name could be unintentionally hilarious, such as a certain online writing utensil retailer, penisland.com – another argument for captializing the first letter of each word in the URL.

So take a moment or two, and examine your domain name. Is it good or bad? And in your printed ads? What can you do to make this extremely important part of your business work better for you?

-Tim

What’s in a URL? Domain Names for Dummies

Everyone in real estate has a website these days. Or at least, they should. In today’s world, they are crucial prospecting and marketing tools for both existing customers and potential new clients. But why waste all your time and/or money in designing a beautiful, content-rich site when no one will remember it? Because our business is done in the real world, it is crucial that we have a memorable URL (domain name, website address) that we can advertise prominently on signs, newspaper ads, maybe even your car. I’ve always been a big believer in short, sweet URLs. Ever since I started in real estate, I’ve tracked the traffic sources of my site with Google Analytics. At least 1/3 of my visitors and usually more enter the URL directly into their browser.So, what’s the difference between good and bad? I came across this blog, written by a fellow geek that, like its title suggests, points out good from bad and explains why. Here is an excerpt of some tips from the site:

Do’s
1. CapitalizeTheFirstLetterOfEachWord.
2.UseDifferentColorsOrBoldToHelpEachWordStandOut.
3. Whenever possible, use YourBrandName.com.
4. If .com is not available, use YourBrandName.net.
5. If .com and .net are taken, find a new brand name. Seriously.
6. Use YourSlogan.com when running an integrated media campaign.
7. Use subdomains when driving people deeper than your homepage – e.g. Product.YourBrandName.com.

Don’ts
1. Don’t include www. We know to go to the World Wide Web to find you.
2. Don’t include http://. If your audience isn’t web savvy enough to know where to type the URL, you shouldn’t have a website.
3. don’tusealllowercase (canyoureallytellwhereonewordendsandthenextbegins?)
4. DITTOFORALLUPPERCASE
5. No-hyphens/or slashes.
6. Don’t use acronyms, abbreviations, or numbers unless your brand is widely known as such.
7. Don’t bury your URL at the bottom of a billboard. I’m the only nerd driving around with a 4x zoom lens to find URLs.

I agree with most of the above, although I should note that if your country (including ours) has a strong and well-recognized top-level domain (for example .ca, .co.uk, or .au) don’t be afraid to use it. You may find your desired brand name under a different TLD. This has the added bonus of distinguishing for search engines like Google where your website/brand/product is located geographically – a pretty good idea for real estate, wouldn’t you agree?

The author is also fond of capitalizing the first letter of multi-word domains. I would tend to agree with this in most cases, and in fact I’ve changed the lettering in my e-mail signatures and will propagate the changes across all my marketing material in the future.

I’d have to say that my personal most-hated URL no-no would have to be excessively long ones. You have 255 characters to work with, but there’s no need to use them all. I even hesitated before purchasing this domain name. Think about it – are you likely to remember VictoriasNumberOneAgentForHousesAndCondosInSookeOrVictoria.com when you drive past the bus bench or see it on a sign?

Also, are you giving up visitors to your site because they’re misspelling it, or getting the wrong top-level domain? Domain names are cheap ($10-20/year) so why not register several, and point them all to the same place? For example, I own TimAyres.ca, TimAyres.com, SellingSooke.com, SellingSooke.ca, and 2 or 3 others that all point to the same place. I’ve even considered TimAyers.ca as an alternative, because it’s a common misspelling of my last name.

Another tip I’d like to add: if you’ve got a great idea for a slick new domain name, run it by a few people first to see if they get it. Ideally somebody not involved in your industry. While agents might get FixturesAndChattels.com, a consumer might not. Worse, your domain name could be unintentionally hilarious, such as a certain online writing utensil retailer, penisland.com – another argument for captializing the first letter of each word in the URL.

So take a moment or two, and examine your domain name. Is it good or bad? And in your printed ads? What can you do to make this extremely important part of your business work better for you?

-Tim