Today we are proud to announce the release of Brixwork version 4.1 with many new enhancements, including the usage of the new reCAPTCHA V2 API for human-verification of your email forms to fight spam. Of course, going from version 4.09 to 4.1 involves more than just this upgrade, and we’ll get to those updates later.
Bye Bye to The Old CAPTCHA
It was hard to read, even on a good day, with the best eyes, or the best reading glasses. However, it was the lesser of the two evils we had to choose… Once spam starts to flow through some of our websites, it could have put the entire server under a spam black-list, jeopardizing lead-generation capacities for all of our real estate clients! Having a Google-provisioned solid anti-spam measure was a must.
Hello, reCAPTCHA Version 2.0
The new version makes human-verification much easier, so you can get more leads from your website. In fact, in some instances, based on mouse movement or previous browsing history of a specific machine, often the check can be bypassed altogether! In cases where the machine does not immediately determine that the viewer is safe, it will pop up a simple image-based question like this:
Brixwork version 4.1 also packs many other upgrades culminated over the few months of development, and here is a list:
- Multiple main-images for pages now available (while this won’t affect existing sites, it opens up a whole new realm of possibilities for tight-knit designs with great visual effects)
- Buildings list label sizes fixed.
- Double slashes accidentally added when typing in URLs would pull up wrong pages, and that has been fixed.
- Setting the listing brokerage/office on self-loaded listings is now easier.
- And many other internal fixes to optimize processes and reduce bugs.
Start your Xmas gift list on Google Spreadsheets!
Remembering everybody on Santa’s list while keeping in budget can be a stressful thing during every Christmas season. Fortunately there are technologies you can use to make this process much simpler. Using Google Spreadsheets, you can make a list you can access from your computer, smartphone, tablets etc. (anywhere with internet!) and keep track of your holiday preparation.
You will need a Google Account first (either a corporate email/other email registered to use with Google, or a @gmail account – most of you will have one or the other already!).
[zilla_button url=”http://drive.google.com/” size=”big” target=”_blank”] Open Google Drive for Spreadsheets [/zilla_button]
Keep Within Responsible Budget
Another advantage of preparing it before going shopping is you can have an idea of how much you are going to spend and check if it is in your budget.
Once you are in the spreadsheet, click in a range, type =SUM(, select the amount you want to sum and press enter. You can repeat the same process to check the average by typing =AVERAGE(. See it bellow:
You can keep it as an online version to make any change and print it as soon as you’ll be ready to start shopping! Talk about #efficiency! For more #efficiency tips follow @jeffkee on Twitter!
As of a couple days ago, a serious internet security risk called the “Heartbleed Bug” has been detected on a large number of websites that can put your private information at risk.
Information transmitted to an Internet site affected with this bug, such as a log-on page for online shopping, may become available to a third party. The Heartbleed bug has the potential to expose your private data, including usernames, passwords, credit card numbers, and emails.
How does it work?
Heartbleed is a vulnerability in the OpenSSL protocol – one of the most common data encryption mechanisms on the world wide web that is used to keep data such as your passwords and credit card information secure. The Heartbleed bug exploits this vulnerability via a loophole to obtain data that is intended to be hidden from spying eyes.
Was Brixwork effected?
It is incredibly unlikely. Brixwork websites do not use the OpenSSL mechanism of encryption.
In addition, our websites only contain listing data, photos, and videos. This is not a target for advanced hacking attacks such as Heartbleed. These crooks are out to steal massive amount of credit card information at once rather than mess with your listing prices.
What we are doing:
That being said, precautions are taking place to update the security on the following peripheral services that affect all of our clients:
Email generation system – we are updating the security credentials on this, and issuing a patch throughout our entire network tonight. This will keep leads coming in without compromise without being abused as a spam gateway.
Social media management platform – we are updating all logins and passwords. It may be compromised so we want to ensure that it is updated to prevent spam & abuse on our clients’ accounts.
Accounting & billing systems – we are updating all logins and passwords. However, they ARE secure. There is no credit card data visible on those platforms. Even our CEO Jeff Kee cannot get your credit card information when logged into this – only transaction result data. That being said, to be on the safe side, we are making changes.
Brixwork social media accounts – we are updating all logins and passwords since we often post on behalf of clients, give promotion to clients on a variety of outlets such as Pinterest, Tumblr, Facebook and more.
Server access – we are updating all logins and passwords though we periodically update the passwords on such anyway regardless of emergencies like the Heartbleed Security Bug.
What should you do?
Other services may be affected. This list includes commonly used online shopping websites and social media platforms that you may be using regularly. You should change your password immediately. Please review the following list, courtesy of Mashable Magazine:
Also note that the CRA has shut down Revenue Canada’s website, so online filing of taxes may be delayed:
All is smooth, and all is well.
When new algorithm updates roll out from Google, the implications are generally serious. While many websites benefit from the new algorithm, others see a severe drop in traffic. The algorithm, according to Forbes, has been active for over a month already. Some other sources have cited it was deployed more than several months ago, although Google’s announcement came only recently.
Over the weekend after our move to our new office (which we will cover soon enough) we have examined our Google Analytics records of our clients’ websites, and there have been no significant loss of traffic whatsoever – business as usual!
How did we manage to keep traffic up & steady?
We always emphasize great content structure, great navigation and clear/concise data presentation when it comes to our websites. Not only do our websites look great as a consequence, but well designed websites also tend to have better performance on Google as well. We do not utilize any black-hat methods of search engine optimization (stuff that, if Google finds you’ve done, will get your site demoted or even banned from Google). Delivering quality content through good code structure with a combination of posting on social media outlets and 3rd party websites with good reputation is our main game, and that will not change. Quality original content always wins out in the long run, according to Google.
So What’s Next for Brixwork’s real estate website clients?
Because we have been doing it the right way, no loss has been incurred as a result of this algorithm upgrade. We keep pushing forward. But, we believe in making things better all the time, so here’s what we have in our roadmap for all of our SEO packages:
Heavier Focus on Longer, Natural Queries – More “Human” Queries
Because the new upgrade algorithm has a heavy emphasis on long phrased natural queries, we will be focusing our SEO efforts in that direction to ensure that our clients’ real estate websites can be picked up. In fact, we have been focusing on long-trail queries already for quite a while now if you noticed. Previous upgrades to Google’s algorithms did start focusing shift on more natural phrased queries. For example, back in the days, people had to query like a computer (“Condos Yaletown Listing”). Nowadays, people are more used to testing Google with more complex searches (“West Vancouver Waterfront Homes For Sale”, or “Condos listed around the Waterfront Skytrain Station”).
Increases In Social Media Presence & Leveraging 3rd Party Websites
With an increasing shift from Google’s part to monitor human browsing behaviour, social shares on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ (especially) have an impact on your search engine performance. The visitor patterns on your website also have a feedback effect. And as always, other websites’ links that point back towards your webpage always helps. We are focused on finding quality websites that we can leverage for legitimate back-links. We never buy links, or link-spam your website address on sketchy blogs created by some guy sitting in his mom’s basement. We do things the white-hat way. Effort has its price, and it also has positive results on your marketing efforts, and that’s what we’re all about.
Are you getting a lot of visitors to your website? Great, but having a high volume of visitors alone may not be helping you as much as you think. There’s another key factor of your website traffic, and that is engagement.
When it comes to analyzing the quality and effectivity of your website, it is the visitor engagement that makes a difference for your business. But what is the difference between visits and engagement? Think about when you are browsing the world wide web. There are a lot of pages that you end up on but don’t read, right?
That’s exactly why a high volume of visitors can be misleading. There is too much of a focus on the sheer number of visitors through ads, campaigns and other marketing strategies and too little focus on engaging those visitors.
The reason that engagement is so important is that it shows you how interested your potential clients are in you and your business. In real estate, for example, it can show you which listings people are the most and least interested in, as well as many other statistics. Measuring these statistics–or metrics–is critical to determining the quality and amount of real leads that you receive.
Here is a list of 5 metrics to really pay attention to:
1. Page views per visit
- A good number of page views per visit is five. If you have reached that statistic, then you can confidently say that your website is functioning quite well. It shows that your website is easy to navigate and people are interested enough to click on links.
2. Bounce Rates
- Means people left the site as soon as they opened up page, without any engagement
- Should be under half.
3. Visit Duration
- Amount of time spent consecutively throughout pages in website.
- Similar implications as the pageview metrics.
4. New vs Returning
- Shows the loyalty of people coming back to see your stuff.
5. Visitor flow
- Shows the exact flow of which pages they entered through, and which pages they clicked on.. and when they finally left.
- Good visual indicator to emulate customers’ experience on your website
If you are interested in learning more about these metrics and other ways to improve your online presence, here are two articles that we feel do a great job of explaining the benefits of images and simplicity:
Images and video get more likes on Facebook and more shares on Twitter. -by Kristin Piombino
About Minimalist Web Design. – by Mrs. Neff
February 20, 2019
Is your website getting the numbers you want? Our bold designs are proven to give your website results by improving 3 key on-site metrics. Don’t settle for a cookie-cutter design like every Realtor®.
January 8, 2019
It’s hard to predict the real estate market. The last downturn saw 1/3 of Realtors® hang their licenses and walk away. What’s your next move?
January 3, 2019
We are having a baby! We have a maternity leave position opening up to help with office administration and customer support. This is a great entry point into the industry for those who are eager to learn more about digital marketing & cloud web software!
December 18, 2018
Its that time of year again! Make sure you have your graphics ready in time for this holiday season. Chose from a selection of beautiful posting templates for your Real Estate Instagram and Facebook pages for your social media presence to truly stand out.
December 17, 2018
You deserve better than generic, mass-produced, templatized listing presentations or buyers guidebooks. Stand out amongst thousands of competing Realtors®!
November 1, 2018
Our last major upgrade to finalize our move to the AWS cloud has springboarded us for even more enhancements to the Brixwork system, and packs some amazing new features to help our real estate pros gain more business. Learn how helping buyers find suitable listings has never been easier with version 4.45.
October 31, 2018
Showcasing your listings is one of the most important value you provide as a real estate agent. While the listing gallery systems on our templates are great as they are, our custom designed listing gallery icons have many benefits for your Real Estate business results!
October 19, 2018
As the second most used search engine after Google, Youtube offers a variety of opportunities for Realtors® to increase website traffic and generate backlinks to their domain! Don't miss out on the opportunity to make the most of your Youtube Channel with these simple steps.
October 11, 2018
With a 34% increase in traffic, our dedicated SEO campaigns helped Vancouver based real estate website NestPresales.com improve SEO presence and google search traffic within as little as 3 months
September 18, 2018
We are excited to announce that as of September 10th 2018, Brixwork has successfully completed the final stages to fully migrate everything to Amazon Web Services. With your real estate website running on the Amazon Cloud, listing pages & assets are loading faster than ever with better reliability
September 11, 2018
This has been one of the longest awaited features for a more robust & functional MLS® listing search. Many of you may have noticed this upgrade already on your websites if you are on the Main Street or our newest Fairview templates! Searching by street name is now available.
September 10, 2018
Brixwork is proud to announce that our premium templates and custom designed website services are now extended to the Vancouver Island area. With VIREB (Vancouver Island Real Estate Board) and VREB (Victoria Real Estate Board) MLS® Reciprocity, our functional real estate websites are available to real estate agents all across Vancouver Island.