Monday, June 12, 2017 by Jeremy JensenWhether you’re running a successful solo operation, or have 50 employees working for your company, you may be looking to streamline your efficiency by setting up shop in the Google application suite. Formerly known as Google Apps, the tech giant has rebranded its services under the title of G Suite. Even more significant, Google officially announced that the Google for Work brand has been updated and will simply be called Google Cloud. The transformation is a move Google claims will allow them to target a wider audience by placing less of an emphasis on the work element, and paying more attention to the collection of apps that are incredibly useful in everyday life. In this article we will be discussing the former to arrive at the latter: Google apps has become the industry standard for internal workflow, and as a result, has made the lives of the working individual much less complicated and stressful. But, before we begin talking about the benefits, there are some FAQ’s that need to be addressed.
Thursday, March 23, 2017 by Jeremy JensenOwning a domain name is very similar to owning a piece of property. The location of the property often dictates the price, just as a specific domain name can drive up its value. Both are becoming increasingly scarce as more people, and more purchases begin to consume the available stock. Perhaps most importantly is the similarity from a business perspective: the easier it is to find, the more customers you're going to have. With literally millions of domains clamoring for attention online, securing the right name has never been more important. In this article we're going to cover strategies for developing your name, in addition to explaining common web-related terms, plus some of the frequently-made mistakes to avoid.
The BasicsAs a Realtor you're already responsible for understanding an entirely separate language specific to your profession. Internet technology is no different, here are some of the basic terms to get acquainted with: Domain Name - The basis for this whole article, your domain name is your address online separated into two parts, i.e. hostgator.com:
- Part one is the name you will get to choose if available (hostgator).
- Part two is the wording after the dot, called the TLD or “Top Level Domain,” (.com).
Buying the DomainIn order to officially own a domain name you must go through an accredited registrar. This process gives you exclusive rights to the name, while also letting everyone else know it's off limits for a specified amount of time based on how long you register for (Usually 1-2 years at a time).
The Top Considerations For Choosing The Domain NameNow that you have the basics understood, it's time to select your domain name. As an asset to your business' success it's important to separate what appeals to you, and focus on what works.
1. Focus On The Local SearchAs we mentioned earlier, location is one of the primary aspects to the real estate game. Your domain name is no exception. When people use a search engine to find home listings it's almost always done by typing in the location first, down to the specific area. Your domain name should include the city or region your listings are being posted in. This is good for prospective clients to find you, and it's great for your SEO.
2. Your Domain Shouldn't Be Your NameEven though your domain name will be registered under your name, it's not usually beneficial to have your full name in your primary URL. Instead, try buying a domain name with your full name, and certain key words like real estate, realtor, the region you service, and then link it back to your official domain. Most names cost $10 or less and so owning the ones pertinent to your names and services will only stand to increase your overall visibility.
3. Shorter URLs Are The Way To GoHow many business domains can you remember off the top of your head? Of those, I bet they're relatively short and specific. While many think “NewYorksBestRealtyCompanyPeriod.com” may produce great results in the search engines, sadly longer URLs are less likely to be found. A great way to shorten URLs is to use the abbreviation of your location, i.e. sfrealty.com, opposed to having someone type out San Francisco.
4. Make Sure Your Name Is Easy To SpellFor instances when you're giving out the URL of your website verbally, it's extra important that your name can be understood by everyone you tell it to. Complicated names and foreign words can be miscommunicated easily, leading to lost clientele. The best way to determine if your potential domain name can be understood verbally is to call a few friends and ask them to try and spell it out. Also, try avoiding any double-lettering as it can be easy to trick the eye. (www.denverrealestate.realtor)
5. Be Descriptive With Your NicheAs a Real Estate agent you know there is a tremendous difference between selling a 1-bedroom condo, and a luxury custom home in a gated community. Your potential clients will also know the difference and will want to click on a domain specifying their market. If you work in the luxury home market in San Luis Obispo, ideally you would want to own SLOLuxuryHomes.com, over SanLuisObispoRealEsate.com. Clearly there has been many companies that have made successful brands without specifying location and niche – Google, Samsung, Ebay – however, running a successful Real Estate business starts local with smart marketing integration.
Finding the Right Name for YouWhile you might already have the perfect name in mind, it’s never a bad idea to take your intuition one step further and do keyword research to see what people are looking for. We suggest using the services provided by Moz.com, specifically the Keyword Explorer. Here you will be able to search a city and initial key term, like realty. Moz will then provide hundreds of related searches based on what people are looking for and how often. Do you have experience purchasing a realty domain? Tell us about it in the comments below!
Thursday, February 9, 2017 by Jeremy JensenValentine’s Day doesn’t have to be just chocolates and rose petals on the bed. Although many have criticized the holiday as being another excuse to go out and spend wads of cash, it can also be an excellent opportunity to provide your significant other with something both useful and close to the heart. If you know your SO to be digitally savvy, then surprising them with the right gadget can be far more meaningful than flowers from the grocery store. We’ve hand selected gifts for a variety of budgets that should be able to satisfy anyone with an affinity for cool stuff. Most importantly, they’ll show how creative and thoughtful you are!
Valentine's Tech Gifts Under $50For those of you with a budget in mind, do not panic! These three gifts under $50 will seem like you splurged, yet they’re incredibly practical.
1. Tile Mate - Key Finder, Phone Finder, Anything Finder ($24.99)For those of you with an iPhone, there may have been a time (or two, or three) when you were delighted to find your phone using Apple's Find iPhone feature. If your partner has a reputation for losing other important items, namely their keys, wallet, or dog, then that little fantasy you’ve always had about built in GPS has finally come true. Tile comes in a variety of sizes and quantities, providing a discrete homing device that won’t become detached easily. The Tile app works both ways as well. For instance, if you have your keys but can’t find your phone then you can press the Tile to sound off where your phone was put. We love this gift because saving yourself from moments of stress when you're running late can really have a positive impact on your life. Available on Amazon.
2. 365 Day Custom Tearaway Calendar - Social Print Studio ($40)Does your Valentine love Instagram? How about photography? Maybe just photos of the two of you, every day of the year? Social Print Studio has developed a web page that easily imports your social media photos and turns then into a tear calendar for the entire year. Several companies have already offered Instagram booklets and keepsakes, but considering most avid social media users have over 365 post-worthy photos, it’s a glorious idea to be able to reflect on all your best moments over the course of a year. What’s more, Social Print Studio uses a thicker paper weight, so if you'd like a more permanent keepsake than a tearaway calendar, you can tear and place the photos on your wall in a mosaic of memories. Available on SocialPrintStudio.com.
3. Google Chromecast ($35)Technologically speaking, we’ve gone from large bulky devices down to compact smart phones, and now we've found ourselves desiring the capability to watch streaming content on bigger screens again. Google saw an easy opportunity to bridge the gap between devices large and small. With the Google Chromecast you can stream any content from your smaller devices right to your TV using Bluetooth and an adorable device the size of a fifty cent piece. Available in coral, lemonade, and black. Available on the Google Store.
Valentine's Tech Gifts Under $100$100 is stepping into a price range with wide open possibilities, but for the sake of thoughtfulness, we honed in on a couple items we think have a particular relevance to couples and the time of year.
1. Fitbit Fitness Trackers ($79.99)If there’s one thing tech enthusiasts find sexy, it’s well organized data. Pair that with body sculpting fitness motivation and you have a Valentine’s Day gift beneficial to both partners. Sleek in design and function, Fitbit has a dominant stake in the fitness tracking industry. Some of its popular features include measuring steps, duration and quality of sleep, heart rate, and calories burned. Plus, it pairs with your smart phone to display caller ID, texts, and reminders, so you don’t have to pull your phone out in the middle of exercising. This gift is perfect for the active, or seeking-to-be active, couple. Having just started a new year it can be very easy to lose the fitness motivation by February 14th. Don't be a cliché - keep up with your New Year's resolution for a healthy 2017! Available on Fitbit.
2. Portable Cell Phone Charger - Mophie Powerstation ($60)It's not uncommon for your cell phone to die with regular use over the course of a business day, and what says I love you more than “I want to be able to call you no matter what!”? Portable charging devices have been on the market for some time, yet their popularity has been underwhelming at best. Having just gone through the most brutal January of my life in Lake Tahoe, with an unusual abundance of power outages, I can personally testify to the usefulness of this device. Spare your SO the hassle of being without mobile connectivity and give them some backup power. Available on Amazon.
Valentine's Tech Gifts Over $100Sometimes it’s fun to buy a gift not just for your partner, but for the "us," if you catch my drift. These gifts are perfect for unique couple experiences, and those who like to travel light.
1. Portable Mobile Projector - RIF6 Cube Mobile Projector ($275)Nothing says James Bond more than pulling out a mini projector in times when you want to cozy up to your movie buddy. Two inches square and powered by 50 lumens, this projector is capable of screening full 1080p with 90 minutes of battery life. The RIF6 comes with HDMI and MHL connection cables, a USB charger, Remote control, flexible mini tripod, and a comfortable 1-year warranty. Potential uses include movies in the backpacking tent, screening parties in your hostel abroad, or impressive client displays for your business life. Available on Amazon.
2. Portable Photo Printer - HP Sprocket ($129.99)Nowadays we’re taking more photos than ever before thanks to smart phone cameras, but how often do we print our photos? A portable photo printer makes it easy. Snap a photo on your smart phone, and then print it out immediately for your loved one to put on the fridge. The photos print at 2” x 3” on sticky back paper via Bluetooth. What’s nice is you don’t have to make the extra investment buying a new-age Polaroid. All you need is a smartphone! Available on Amazon.
Bonus Gift: A Brand New Website!Sure, the gadgets above are neat, but if you want to really impress your valentine, consider getting them a gift that's all digital. How about powerful web hosting that includes a free website builder, one-click script installs, and 24/7 support? We may be biased, but we love the idea!
Friday, December 30, 2016 by Jeremy JensenEvery year, right around the time December 31st begins to approach, we may find ourselves reminiscing on the prior year's happenings, for better or worse. Our thoughts soon turn to New Year's Resolutions. The word resolution in many definitions is intended to be the action of solving a problem, making a firm decision to do, or not to do, something. As an online entrepreneur, the very nature of succeeding is to try, and with trying, it is practically guaranteed we're going to experience failures along the way. Failures, however, aren't an aspect to business you should be setting resolutions to abolish; instead, pat yourself on the back for opening up opportunities to learn which strategies are worthwhile. This year we've chosen to emphasize resolutions catering to your health, happiness, and vitality as an online entrepreneur. Running your business from the online space takes an enormous amount of time and energy. This year let's plan to take some of that time and energy back, so you can keep pushing forward professionally.
1. Take Control Of Your Time Spent WorkingFor the typical American, a forty hour work week is the standard expectation when it comes to time spent on the clock. For the typical entrepreneur, forty hours a week sounds like the amount of time spent working on their last vacation. Entrepreneurs do not have the luxury of always specifying when or how long they're going to work. When business comes knocking on the door you answer it; when business is feeling scarce you dig deeper to find it. Working away your life, however, isn't the reason you became an entrepreneur in the first place. This year make it your number one priority to divide your time between all the areas of your life that matter, be it entertainment, friends, time at the gym, or just getting enough sleep. Balance will always be key to long-term business sustainability and growth. Ask yourself a few questions:
- Am I actually focused on work, while I work? Or am I constantly checking my phone?
- Can I give myself a quit time everyday?
- Do I do too much work while I'm at home or around friends?
- Can I stop working on the weekends?
2. Sharpen Up Your Financial KnowledgeWhether you've hired a personal CPA, or have to run the books all on your own, there's always more to learn when it comes to saving money for your business. Starting a new year means all of your expenses get reset, and the knowledge you carry with you starting January 1st will greatly improve your quarterly tallies. Here are a few smart spending tips for 2017:
- Maximize your deductions by meeting with a reputable CPA who will refresh your memory on which lunches can be written off, in addition to all the other business expenses you want to keep fresh in your mind.
- Still have bad debts with high APRs? Get rid of them this year for good. It may seem difficult but swallowing interest costs will really add up over time.
- If possible, lower your operating costs without sacrificing noticeable quality.
- If you're debt free, but actually could benefit from a loan, work on raising your personal credit as this is a major factor in getting business loans.
- Use 2016's revenue as a prediction for which months performed best, and learn to anticipate future efforts for improving these numbers.
3. Make Health A Priority EverydayOf all the cliche New Year Resolutions, “eat better and workout” has to be among the most prevalent. Sadly most people start with a burst of motivation, only to quit once the Super Bowl party or box of Valentine's Day chocolates disrupts their determination. How do you make health a priority everyday? You mix it up, and set one realistic goal every morning. No one, except professional athletes and devout gym rats, can find time to exercise everyday. So don't tell yourself you're going to, only to feel like you've broken a resolution when you don't. Make exercise a craving. Do it in the middle of the day, opposed to after you're done working. Do it in the morning. Squeeze it into your schedule every given opportunity just like every other aspect of being an entrepreneur. Below are some healthy tips to follow besides exercise. Successfully implementing one of these everyday will allow you to achieve micro goals which add up to long term healthy habits:
- Buy a large water bottle, 32oz or more, and make it a goal to refill it several times a day. Being hydrated is often under prioritized for most people.
- Get into making nutrient dense smoothies in the morning. They’re quick, easy, and will keep you running until well past lunch time.
- Spend less time on your screens, and more time outside.
- Take a five minute breather every 30 minutes. Just because you sit in front of your desk for three hours, doesn't mean you were actually working.
4. Give Back To Your CommunityLeaving politics aside, 2016 was a pretty rough year for a lot of people. This cloud of negativity has given the impression things in the world are not okay, and our general attitude towards one another is divisive to say the least. As a business person dependent upon the support of your community, whether locally or in an online sphere, it's up to you to play a role in bringing people back together.
- Use your technical skills to assist a non-profit organization.
- Sponsor events catered to less fortunate community members.
- Mentor other entrepreneurs just starting out to provide a sense of support and guidance.
5. Do Not Let Others Define Your SuccessPart of obtaining health and happiness is remembering how to be grateful for what we have, and not focus on what we think we're missing. Being an entrepreneur is undeniably competitive; however, measuring yourself against the highlight reels and successes of your peers is not a formula for having an excellent 2017. The best thing about “success” is that it is entirely subjective. Someone may make more money than you, but do they have the time to enjoy their earnings. How is their health? The point is, define your own success. Which of these resolutions do you plan to follow in 2017? Let us know in the comments! We wish you a happy new year filled with success, growth, and new opportunities!
Tuesday, December 27, 2016 by Jeremy JensenPart of what makes WordPress so incredible is the ability to simply install plugins which act to enable greater functionality as well as improve the appearance of your website. WordPress now has over 30,000 unique plugins, allowing users to execute their greatest imaginations when branding themselves online. The trouble for most is not having enough familiarity with how plugins operate to sift through such a massive inventory. Luckily, we've created a list of five plugins that have been shown to help users of all industries so you can start getting the most from your WordPress website.
1. Yoast SEOFormerly known as Wordpress SEO by Yoast, this plug-in is one of the best available for guiding you through the process of optimizing your website to appear in the search engines. Some of the key features include:
- Post Titles and Meta Descriptions: Every time you search in Google, you'll see the title of a web-page and a description underneath. With the 'Snippet Editor' you get to edit this section manually to have complete control over the SERPs appearance for your website.
- Visual Feedback: Yoast lets you know when your copy is ready to post from an SEO standpoint.
- Set Focus Keywords: Yoast lets you know if you're using your focus keywords too much, too little, or if you've used them before.
2. Google FontsYou may have noticed while creating your first blog posts that WordPress only houses a very limited amount of fonts to choose from. Well, with this free plugin, the font resource is one of the most exciting developments in typography in a very long time. Not only does this plugin add the necessary Google code for you, it also gives you the ability to assign the Google fonts to specific CSS elements of your website. The Google Directory has hundreds of font families to choose from, which is an excellent way to add a touch of personalization to your blog.
3. AkismetHave you ever gotten a comment on one of your Wordpress blog posts that at first glance seemed genuine, but may actually be spam? While these comments are mostly dirty tactics used by Internet spammers trying to get you to use their service, or visit their site, sometimes these comments can link to malicious downloads, or at the least be a large waste of your time. Askimet is an anti-spam service that analyzes masses of data and prevents these comments from being posted on your blog.
4. Google AnalyticsGoogle Analytics is one of the most powerful tools on the web for monitoring nearly all of the traffic related data on your website. With the free Wordpress plugin, you'll quickly be able to run reports on where your visitors are coming from as you work to build a target audience.
5. W3 Total CacheW3 Total Cache improves the user experience on your site by reducing download times, increasing server performance, and by providing transparent content delivery network (CDN) integration. Other benefits include:
- 10x improvement in overall site performance.
- Improved conversion rates will up your rank on Google.
- Reduced page load time, which allows visitors to view more pages, and spend more time on your site.
- The ability to sustain high traffic.