This morning Brixwork Real Estate Marketing Inc. version 4.04 was released with numerous new bug fixes and some new features.
4.04 Release Notes (February 20th, 2015)
- When featuring MLS® listings, the screen would freeze after processing. This has been resolved.
- Menu labels on the new navigation system glitch fixed (only applicable to sites set up after February 2015)
- Maps within the Homes & Buildings sections no longer affected by mouse scroll or screen swipe.
- You can choose whether the street direction come before or after the street name. In Vancouver, “W 4th Avenue” is common, whereas in Calgary “3rd Street SW” is more common. This default can be set on a site-wide basis, and can be set on each individual property so it can be overridden on a case-by-case as well.
- Instagram feed has been updated as per slight security changes on the Instagram servers which was blocking our API calls.
Future Development Plans Coming Up
The Brixwork system is a forever evolving platform. We don’t charge a subscription fee just out of formality – the funds our clients pay goes towards betterment of the system as a whole for the benefit of all our clients against their competition outside.
- Dashboard to include more insights, potentially directly integrating Google Analytics into the page.
- Duplicate building module detection mechanism.
- MLS Search forms updated with slide-out or in mechanisms.
- More (yes, even more) upgrades pertaining to URL controls for SEO purposes.
- LinkedIN share buttons made universal.
We are rolling out an update to the Brixwork core system later tonight, version 3.9.6, which includes numerous improvements, bug fixes as well as improvements in the MLS® search functionalities. This round of updates have a heavy focus on functionalities on the internal side, as well as improving our MLS® listings filtering function which will lead to better targeted SEO results on Google™.
MLS® Search Function Improvements
- Added function to allow for minimum bedrooms, and fixed bedroom numbers. Traditionally users were only able to use 1+, or 2+ bedrooms for minimum settings. Now we are able to provide solid “1 Bedroom Condos in Vancouver” or similar results.
- Able to search listings by listed date (custom function that is setup on a site-by-site basis, not a default function on search yet).
Some bug fixes:
- Page deletion mechanism fixed to avoid empty instance running
- Lot size and Frontage size calculation was off for REBGV data (they changed the unit increments).
- Home retrieval function returns boolean on lack of property ID in database (useful for coders to determine whether home exists or not by simply returning the boolean)
- Semi-transparent image rendering improved on Firefox, Opera, Safari & Chrome
- Condo storeys class added, previously only accessible through the data array ($home->story, the database was set up without the “e” so we have to live with the minor typo, as we cannot overhaul all existing sites).
- Lead forms are able to send to multiple emails in an array (useful for partnerships or groups)
- URL fix for Facebook shares when Facebook converts space/semicolon characters to ASCII
- Google Analytics code update to enable demographic data scraping.
- Default gallery image size increased to 2400 pixels in light of larger monitors becoming standard (existing sites may need manual adjustment).
- Added default animate-fade-in elements that can be easily applied for a smoother & more interactive user experience.
Future Updates Planned
Here at Brixwork we are committed to continuously upgrade our system and software to keep up with the demand of changing technology. Here’s more items we have on the roadmap:
- Hourly sync of same-day listings only
- Instagram feed into your websites
- User interface changes throughout
Like we said in our article Beautiful Design is Functional Design: What’s on the outside counts, and first impressions matter[…]Websites and printed material that are designed beautifully are also more functional.
We stand by that statement. First impressions are everything, especially when it comes to print media. When you hand someone a business card or mail out fliers for a new listing, it is the style and quality of that product that is influencing people – for better or for worse.
As on of our five senses, texture has a great impact on our perception of the world. Think of the satisfaction of that fizzy coca cola. Or imagine the feeling of cashmere against your skin. It makes all the difference and the type of paper you use for your marketing material is no exception.
The many factors of choosing the right paper stock:
In order to make a quality decision about what first impression you want your marketing paper to give, you must first understand the many factors that effect what kind of paper will put your best foot forward.
Your market & the image you want- are you are selling homes to a middle class buyer? offering rentals? or grand, luxurious mansions?
Purpose of this print project – is this a wide scale mailout for an open house? a new, upscale business card that you can write notes on? or a professional, clean folder with your own personal style?
Quantity of printing- do you want 50 feature sheets for your open house? or 500 for a mailout?
Budget – money, money, money… it always plays a part and the amount you want to spend can greatly affect the type of stock paper you will want to use.
Thickness: Pros and Cons
Bigger = Better is often the mantra, but it isn’t always true. Here are some examples:
Thicker paper feels luxurious & serious, like you spent a million bucks on it.
You’re more likely to be taken seriously with a thicker card than thinner counterparts because it FEELS like you’re serious. It feels like you are getting down to business.
It is able to handle specialty applications such as foil stamping better without distortion. This can add some really professional, and – lets face it – pretty cool effects to your print media.
It wins more draw prizes. Thicker paper is more likely to catch the fingers when they draw for that free lunch!
Thicker paper stock prices go up by a big margin! i.e. Our 16pt cards with laminate can be as cheap as $120 (1,000), while a 29pt card can quickly exceed $500. That a big budget difference…
Less cards will fit in your business card holder. You’ll need to keep on top of refilling that stock you cary around with you.
When paper is too thick, it’s hard to fold over without breaking the edges… which means that any colour you have like black will look cracked and peeling on the fold. So folders, folded booklets or pamphlets should be limited to a certain thickness (16pt max, 14 is safer).
So now that you’ve learned about the pros and cons, when is it ok to use thick paper?
When to go thick:
Single-sheet cards that are not folded
When to keep it 16pt or under:
Folders or folded feature sheets to avoid cracking.
Lower quantity print-jobs. Thicker paper is more expensive in small quantities than in bulk.
Printing has such a wide variety of options & specifications that it can be overwhelming. If you are interested in printing with us, please inquire with our design team to discuss your needs.
We specialize in branding & print media design for real estate agents and will know exactly what will help your print media give the first impression you want.
How We Got There
Years ago, we took the step to integrate our servers to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver MLS (REBGV) to launch one of the finest real estate websites & marketing services for our clients in Vancouver. Since then, we have since expanded our territory to five other Canadian regions—WLS (Whistler Listing System), KADREA (Kamloops & District Real Estate Association), RAHB (Real Estate Association of Hamilton and Burlington), FMRA (Fort McMurray Real Estate Association), and, most recently, TREB (Toronto Real Estate Board). And we cannot forget about our one USA territory, CBOR (Columbia Missouri Board of Realtors) integration that was done a few months ago.
We have had overwhelming support from real estate agent clients from all around the country, and we have finally taken one big step forward towards the Eastern Canadian region…
Toronto, now our sixth Canadian region, has been connected to Brixwork via MLS® RETS integration to bring you the best listing search & display results for our clients in Toronto. With special thanks to the lovely staff at TREB, we are now officially launching our services in Toronto, Ontario.
Our CEO Jeff Kee will be making a business trip to Toronto between September 3rd ~ 12th (2013) with meetings set up with some agents & brokerages. If you wish to have a private consultation, please fill out our contact form and he will do his best to make it happen.
6 Benefits Of The TREB MLS® Integration via RETS
Here are some of the Benefits that our Toronto Real Estate Agents, and their clients, can now take advantage of via Brixwork Real Estate Marketing:
Benefits to Real Estate Agent
- More fully branded search tools and pages for clients to use
- Effectively define your niche area through pre-defined listing pages
- Easy to share listing search results and detail pages by email, social media etc.
Benefits to Customers
- Map based or list-based option to easily search for listings
- Easily save search results which auto update any new listings upon future visits
- Easy to share listing search results and detail pages by email, social media etc.
If you are interested in learning more, please take a look at the MLS Integration Page on our website.
In the past few weeks we’ve been working hard on releasing our new version of BRIXWORK Real Estate Websites. This update was heavily focused on improving the back-end system. We had some very useful feedback from our clients, and we’ve monitored the parts of the back-end that had the most questions & inquiries around it. This allowed us to identify the parts that our clients found to be most confusing, and presented us with the opportunity to improve our product for the better.
Listings & MLS® Integration
This is the most important core of our website system, and ours is very powerful on Google (and a focal point when we develop our software). We have made improvements that will especially benefit our clients who utilize the MLS® Reciprocity. This makes up more than 90% of our clients!
MLS® to OWN Listing Conversion Module Cleaned Up
The ability to convert an MLS® sourced listing to your own is an old feature. However we made improvements to the user interface, with more information-filled dialogue that lets you know what is happening. Sometimes MLS® listings take a day or two to be loaded into the public database (then funnelled to the BRIXWORK master database) and the new system clarifies this better.
Removal Of The Facebook LIKE & Tweet buttons from the back-end
We had experimented with adding the Facebook LIKE & Twitter Tweet buttons on the back-end, under the HOMES section, to make it easy for you to share your listing. However these modules caused more glitches, slow-downs of the system. We decided it wasn’t worth keeping. Instead we added a quick link module that will let you open the property detail page (the public page for customers) very quickly, and you can use that screen to share your listing on social media. The social media share buttons on the front-end are still intact of course – they are very useful tools for marketing.
Integration With More MLS® Systems Across North America
We’ve had growing popularity not only in our home city Vancouver, but across North America. We have now added the following MLS® integrations:
- Hamilton & Burlington, Ontario
- Fort McMurray, Alberta
- Columbia, Missouri
You can see the full list of the MLS® Reciprocity integrations we offer for real estate websites here.
Other Modules Improved
Text Editor & Other Code Structure Updated to Latest Version
The user interface modules that we leverage are constantly updated, so we like to keep on top of that as well. The modules updated include:
- TinyMCE (Text content editor for pages & listings)
- jQuery & jQueryUI (user interface modules such as the tabs, buttons, drag & drop modules etc.)
- Image Cropper module
Website Email Generation System Improved
The email forms throughout our clients’ websites have been improved further. We now use a dedicated outbound email service provider at a nominal cost. This system allows for great deliverability of emails in a quick timeframe. But even more interesting is that this system allows us to track the open/click/geographic statistics of the emails generated, which can be turned into valuable marketing data later.
What’s Planned For Future Updates
Some items we are planning to improve upon include more support for rental modules, as well as generating link snippets for Craigslist postings. Also the pages module will receive some upgrades to make it easier to navigate between top pages and sub-pages. As always, we’re working hard to improve our infrastructure!
We are announcing two new exciting developments today. BRIXWORK version 3.8.6 has been released today (March 18th) and will spread through our clients’ websites later today or tomorrow morning, depending on your locale. We have also acquired an office lease in Yaletown Vancouver and just moved in as of yesterday (March 17th), and hired a new part time staff, Elisabeth, who will be assisting with data entry, administrative tasks and more. Our space will allow us to work with more efficiency and handle the volume of business better. We have experienced a fair bit of growth in the past few months thanks to your loyalty!
New 3.8.6 version Upgrade Notes
SEO Upgrade on Listing Search Pages
SEO tricks are a trade secret of ours so we won’t divulge on the details here, but we made some upgrades that will definitely increase the odds of your listing pages (both your own listings and MLS® listings) being picked up by Google.
User Interface Errors Addressed
HOMES screen pagination bug
We had an issue where the HOMES screen would display one less page (i.e. when you need 6 pages of 20 listings per, it only showed 1 2 3 4 5), and that has been resolved. This was in fact discovered by our new staff, Elisabeth.
Page content editor module fixed & upgraded
The page content editor that looks a lot like a wordprocessor has been upgraded to a newer version with more stability and bug fixes. We also had an internal bug that was disallowing pasting on certain editing screens depending on the browser you were using. That will be resolved also with the propagation of this upgrade.
Listing Retrieval Mechanisms Being Upgraded
Listing retrieval mechanisms are being upgraded. While this upgrade is not taking effect on all websites immediately, this is a phased upgrade that we are planning, and testing on small scales on select websites. This upgrade will take effect on the next upgrade, and will make your listing pages more stable and streamlined.
Our New Office in Yaletown
We have finalized a lease for a new office in Yaletown, Vancouver. Our new office is located at 1080 Mainland Street, Vancouver BC. Drop by for a visit anytime during business hours!
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