Archive for August, 2009
Just a quick post to let you all know that we’re looking to find an online marketing associate to join our team here at Boston Logic.
If you are an SEO superstar who is familiar with the real estate vertical, we’re really looking forward to hearing from you! Tell your friends!
Overcoming blogger’s block.
I’ve been working at Boston Logic now for 2 months, 2 days, 16 hours, and 57 minutes. As an online marketer, blogging is a part of my job. I know I need to do it. I know I can do it…but what should I write? There are over 171,476 words in the English language (I Googled it), and it feels like there is no original combination left.
I know I’m not alone out there. There are real estate professionals all over saying, “yeah yeah I know I should start a blog”‘ or “yeah yeah I know I need to blog more”, but what’s stopping us? We’re busy, we’re unsure, and maybe we’re afraid. I’m not talking Robert DeNiro on your houseboat fear, but maybe just fear of commitment. Fear of needing to write something every week.
But what about HOW? How do we get over that fear. My suggestion—let go.
Write from your phone when you’re on the bus. Write from Starbucks. Write whenever you’re thinking about something. This morning on the bus with my coffee I thought—gees why haven’t I blogged yet? And look…a blog post.
Write after you show a listing and talk about the questions asked. Write after you read an industry article that gets you thinking.
Don’t spend 2 months, 2 days, 16 hours, and 57 minutes worrying about HOW. Just do. Your keywords and links will find there way in if you write about what you know—your neighborhood, your business, your industry.
We’re in this together, so let go and let me know what you think.
Let’s get something clear here. Joomla is not the right platform for building real estate websites.
For our readers who aren’t familiar with the system, Joomla is an open source content management platform. It was built to make building a generic website easier. It was not built for real estate offices or agents.
If you’re going to build a real estate website, you need to use something that was designed for the real estate industry. At Boston Logic, we’ve developed the ONE System Real Estate Website Platform, but I’m not going to write about that today. Before we invested the thousands of hours that we’ve put into building this system, we did use Joomla to build some sites. So, I’m speaking (writing) from experience here. Let me tell you about some of what we learned:
- Joomla is not built to integrate with an MLS. This is critical. Your real estate website should be built with an integrated MLS search. The search should not be on another website or in an iFrame. You should be building on a platform that has the search, search results, and property details pages right on your site. In addition the interactive user tools should be part of the site and so should your lead management system. Obviously, joomla doesn’t have a real estate lead management system for you to leverage.
- Joomla’s content management system is overcomplicated for real estate. When you design software, you start with requirements. Joomla was built to do a lot of things. Most of these things, real estate agents and offices will never ever do. Advanced content management requires a lot of user access levels and controls. Realtors require a simple and easy to use interface for managing their content. Joomla, we found, confused our clients more than it enabled them.
- Joomla is relatively laborious to style. Our team has worked with Joomla plenty of times. It’s still a bear to make the pages all look good. If you think you’re saving money, think again.
- Customization is harder. When you get down to it, working with open source systems can get you a lot of functionality for no money. That said, going beyond what the system includes and/or what the plugins you find can do is a challenge. So, if Joomla will do 80% of what you want for your real estate website and then you think it’ll be easy or cheap to hire a developer or web development shop to take you the rest of the way home, think again. Customizing Joomla gets expensive quickly. As a point of reference the last Joomla site that we worked on required about $75,000 in work to get to what the client wanted.
- Joomla is hard to turn into an effective real estate website. Great real estate websites have lots of features that are not part of the Joomla platform. I’ve already mentioned the MLS search above. Agent profiles linked to their listings. Pages on developments and/or buildings with available listings right on the pages. Live Chat. Lead distribution and management. Featured property pages. Maps. And many of the other features that make for a great real estate website are missing.
Here’s the all important conclusion. Joomla should not be used for real estate websites. It’s unlikely that the cost benefit will outweigh the poor end product that you’re going to see.