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Version 3.8.6 Released, New Office & Staff2013-03-19T01:49:12+00:00

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.

TinyMCE Text Editor Upgraded

TinyMCE Text Editor Upgraded

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!

BRIXWORK real estate websites Yaletown Office

Our new Yaletown Office

 

Infographic: Canadian Internet, Mobile & Social Usage Stats2012-11-22T00:10:42+00:00

Canadians are far ahead of the curve when it comes to being online savvy, according to this beautiful infographic put together by 6S Marketing, a leading large-scale online marketing firm based in Vancouver BC, lead by the famous Chris Breikss.

These statistics once again prove the importance of a well-organized online marketing platform, whether your business is big or small in its scale. Since our release of 2011 mobile browser & social media usage statistics, it appears that the number has gone up even more! A beautiful & functional website, search engine presence, social media utilization etc. can all help you achieve your marketing goals, if you are consistent & diligent with it.

Please click here to read the original full post by 6S Marketing on Canadian Connectedness. The 6S Marketing blog contains some very interesting information.

Our Efforts to Meet These Trends

Apart from always creating the best designed real estate websites, we also lead the industry with the most advanced features and functionalities to allow our clients to take full advantage of this massive change in our society and consumer behaviour. Our Responsive Mobile Grid system allows your website to be optimized for any handheld device, including iPhones, Blackberries, Samsung/LG/Nokia/Motorola Androids, iPads etc. Our continuous innovation in social media marketing, including the recent addition of Pinterest pin buttons to our real estate listing pages, will help propel our clients to get more web traffic and gain more exposure in a competitive real estate market.

A Big Thanks to 6S For Creating This Infographic!

This is a fantastic infographic with great educational benefits to anybody who is involved in, or interested in, online marketing and mobile technology. The team at BRIXWORK would like to send a big fat thank-you to 6S Marketing for putting together this wonderful artwork.

BRIXWORK version 3.8.3 Release2012-10-19T01:44:35+00:00

BRIXWORK version 3.8.3 is to be released overnight, ready for you by Friday morning (October 19th). This update includes several bugfixes and features throughout the back-end as well as some other SEO related features.

Updates To The Admin Section

Drag And Re-Order module glitch fixed

There was a minor glitch on the new drag & reorder module that we released a short while back, where if the mouse is off the target by just a pixel it would select the drag icon, causing confusion. This has been addressed.

MLS® Listing to OWN Listing Convertor Error Fixed

The format of the tax field of the MLS® system (Vancouver/Fraser Valley Real Estate Board) was causing a glitch. This was tested well a while back, so we suspect a slight format change on the board’s part. When converting MLS® listings to OWN listings, our system was picking up only the first digit of the tax amount ($3,297 was turning into $3.00 due to this error). This has been rectified. If you have recently converted any MLS® listings to your OWN listings, it is important that you edit those listings to update the tax records manually. We apologize for the inconvenience!

Updates To The Front-End Features

Contact Form Made Convenient

The previous versions of the contact forms had a behaviour where it empties itself after an email has been sent to avoid duplicates. However this posed a problem when somebody wanted to send a second email right away, because the name/email/phone fields would also be reset. We upgraded our scripts so that only the content & the CAPTCHA visual verification fields are emptied, making it easier for your visitors to write another email to you immediately after the previous one.

Pinterest Buttons Available (optional)

Pinterest Is a Premium Social Media Outlet

Each listing detail pages can now show a Pin-to-Pinterest button beside the pre-existing Facebook/Twitter/Google+ buttons. This is an optional feature – if you want this enabled, please contact our support desk. To see a sample of the Pinterest button active, check out Mel Montgomery or Jesse Williamson‘s websites.

In case you don’t know what Pinterest is, here are Pinterest demographics that will make you want to use Pinterest more actively!

Google XML Sitemaps Available (optional)

We already announced this minor update a few days back – Google XML Sitemaps are now available upon request. Read this update article on the XML Sitemap for more details.

Best Time To Post on Facebook or Twitter (and email)2012-09-14T16:27:04+00:00

Timing on Social Media is important to generate the most click-throughs and impressions. Bit.ly (a URL shortener system used by Facebook/Twitter posts to link the final destination) released this statistic on click-through rates based on the time of the day and the day of the week. There is also a cool infographic (courtesy of Raka Creative) that visually displays the best times to hit Facebook & Twitter.

When to Post On Facebook

Links posted on Facebook on a weekday between 1 to 4 in the afternoon have the most effectiveness in generating traffic, peaking at around 3pm on Wednesday.

When to Post on Twitter

Twitter’s patterns are very similar to that of Facebook – 1 to 3pm during the weekdays gets the most click-throughs, while Friday afternoons dramatically decreasing in its efficiency.

When to Email

Although the attached infographic does not cover emails, we found reliable information on Mashable.com on the best time to send out email newsletters. Don’t forget the impact of the recent surge of mobile browsing habits – many people look at their emails and click on links from their smartphones. Is your website mobile-traffic ready?

Project Glass by Google2012-04-04T20:47:38+00:00

Google has had some fantastic innovations; and of course, they had some flops (such as Google Buzz, and Google Wave). Google, however, has been showing some strong ambition to venture into the hardware world in the recent years by expanding their services to more than just web search and peripherals. Their Android phone market is expanding rapidly, and good on them! They are at the forefront of changing the computing industry by offering more web-based, platform independent solutions that are not constricted to what software you have on your local machine.

The design is stylish as well - which helps!

Here’s another mind-blowing project that Google has recently shown a glimpse of – Project Glass. It appears to be a wearable device with a mini screen hovering right above your eye, and it is effectively a mini computer that works as your personal assistant by notifying you of your schedules, directions to places, weather and more. It also keeps you connected with your social networks through Google+, from what I can see on this video. Although I’m sure they will include Facebook and Twitter. Voice recognition appears to be a basic feature of course.

I’ve got no clue on when this will be available for the general public, or how much it will cost. But with the rapid improvement we see in electronics and communications technology, this may come to your local cell phone dealership sooner than you think. Wireless data is becoming more and more accessible, as well as faster. Our data devices have long before evolved away from needing a wi-fi hotspot to operate.

How will our Realtor clients use this? That’s a great question. Implementing a web-app that can run on this device, and automatically pull in listing information as one walks/drives by active listings could be an interesting idea. It could, on the fly, give pertinent information (price, size, bedrooms etc.) and get them in touch with the listing agent so that a showing can be set. Or, upon entering a street, the user could get a notification on how many active listings there are on that street. The possibilities are infinite. Ideas are welcome. Not that we’re able to develop anything for this right away, but just having some food for thought will help us shape our roadmap!

Check out the demo video here of Project Glass by Google. And here is the original post by NY Times, where we first found this information.

How SOPA and PIPA can affect Real Estate Agents2012-01-20T20:03:30+00:00

If you haven’t heard, the SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect IP Act) are new legislations that were (until this morning) sitting on the table of Congress in the USA to be potentially voted into law. While the original purpose of the SOPA bill is to stop piracy of copyrighted intellectual property such as movies, tv shows, video games & software, the provisions of the bill set a dangerous precedent to allow unprecedented amounts of power (to be exploited inevitably) by the government.

Here’s a few articles you can read to get a grasp of this unrealistic bill:

You may be wondering why this is so relevant, with a few questions.

“Isn’t this law about pirated movies and what not? How does it affect us?”

If this bill was crafted well enough to target only the movie piraters, it would be a nice indeed. However the provisions of the bill allow the US government to order ISPs (Internet Service Providers) to block out DNS queries of certain domains (in other words, the domains will no longer load) with a complaint from any copyrighted material holder, unless the defendant is willing to show up in US court to defend their case. Let’s imagine a worst-case scenario; while you write a blog article about the real estate market, you happen to quote a newspaper, or have the same phrase as another real estate statistic website… and some overzealous monitor spots your site and reports you. Your site could be down in a matter of days, with no chance of fighting it unless you take it to court. That’s just ridiculous abuse of power. And that is the main issue with the SOPA bill – it has so much potential for abuse that goes beyond stopping piracy of movies & TV shows.

This bill also is a major blow to the concept of content sharing, which is the backbone of how the internet works; to post links on Facebook, other blogs, other social media sites etc. It’s a vital tool for most small and medium businesses, as well as larger businesses. It’s how we get open access to information from sources other than mass media TV channels.

“But we are in Canada.”

True, most of our real estate agent customers are Canadian. But consider this – the law requires any USA based ISP to cease to display & route for domains they deem unfit. That means in the blink of an eye, due to some bad misunderstanding of where certain content came from, your site could be no longer visible to US viewers. And do we not have potential US buyers? Also Google (A US company) can be ordered by the government authorities on which sites (domestic or foreign) to block from its search results.

In short, this could affect even real estate websites. In fact the bill could break the internet as we know it, and affect the industry greatly. Check out this video:

So what can we all do? Show your support; educate your US friends about this bill, and urge them to contact their local representatives to have their voices heard against SOPA and PIPA. If you are a US citizen, please take your time to make your voice heard to your local senator & congressman. Wikipedia has a page set up to make it easy to find and contact your local representative.

Updates to the Streetview Module2011-12-29T10:04:05+00:00

Some of our clients have been experiencing issues with the Google™ Streetview® module not working very well, or displaying a “not available here” result when the Streetview® should be available at that location.

Why does this happen?

This is caused by a finicky error in which Google’s Streetview® system looks for the exact location given in the coordinates, and if this happens to fall on the back yard of the home, or somewhat off the grid (these errors sometimes happen – no system is perfect, especially one that is attempting to geo-code the entire civilized world), it would not retrieve a valid result.

So, what’s been done to fix it?

The Brixwork team has come up with a solution to increase the success rate of the Streetview® retrieval (note the word “increase”, as we cannot make perfect based on a system that is not perfect to begin with). If the given location returns an invalid result, our code makes a secondary query to the Google server to find a viable Streetview location within 50 metres of the original coordinates, and displays that when it’s available. Note, however, that if even this is not retrieving results (and this happens in more remote areas) it will still return the good old “not available here” message.

Who is applicable for this update?

This update is applicable for all customers who have the MLS® integration package added to their websites. Customers who only have self-loaded listings do not need this update, as they are able to calibrate the exact location of the property on their maps anyway (so the point is on the street in front of the home rather than in the garage or the yard). This error was affecting the MLS retrieved listings, which are automatically geocoded (note that MLS® database itself does not have geocoding) upon retrieval.

Best recommended practice for your own listings

Google Streetview positioning of your real estate listing

Proper positioning of your home coordinates

The greatest benefit of the Brixwork {real estate} system’s ability to allow you to load your own listings rather than relying on MLS® all the time is that you have great control. But as the wise old men said, with great power comes great responsibility! Here’s a few tips on maximizing the performance of your Google™ Streetview® modules:

  1. Always make sure to set the latitude / longitude in the back-end. For instructions, please visit our support page! There are videos. You’d be surprised at how many of our customers forget to set it. Remember the steps: enter the address, click “Find Address”, adjust the map, and click “Get Coordinates”!
  2. Check your listing page after you’ve loaded it, and make sure the Google Maps® and Streetview® points towards the right spots. If not, go back into the back-end and adjust using the map drag. Double-click at the centre point of a map.
  3. Remember, the coordinates should be on the street in front of the home, rather than on the home itself. If the coordinates point to the front or back yard of the house, it will return less accurate results.
  4. Always remember that automated geocoding is not always reliable. It may be a few houses off – there’s not much we can do about it for the MLS® integrated listings as the geocoding is automated.
Introducing reCAPTCHA as our new standard for fighting spam2011-12-28T07:03:13+00:00

reCAPTCHA, in case you did not know, is that module that websites use to verify your human identity in order to prevent spam robots from sending out evil messages into your contact forms and what not. It consists of two words that are relatively messy (enough that you could read it, but the robots cannot), and requires the users to enter the text to match it.

the new reCAPTCHA module in action

the new reCAPTCHA module in action

Brixwork used to use something similar to it, using a server-side verification method. It was fine, but the security level was not as high, and it was easier for automated bots to read the garbled text. If this was not incentive enough, we recently learned that reCAPTCHA is not just a spam prevention verification module, but it also contributes greatly to our digital advancement as a civilization – by helping digitize old text & books.

Here is a fascinating video that was featured on TEDxTalk, with Luis von Ahn (creator of the reCAPTCHA system), on how he was inspired to use something so simple & useful to contribute to human society at large.

This is also an interlude to a new feature we are planning to launch, and that is an embedded form on each property page that encourages your visitors to send you a direct information request. This will make sure your lead generation improves, while keeping spam emails out.

Gmail Introduces a New Look & Design2011-12-09T18:39:37+00:00

Google Apps is the primary email system that Brixwork {real estate} clients are put on by default, and they have made some major improvements to their system. While any type of switch means an adjustment period, the new design is more intuitive, clean & modern. The team at Sonika Studios Inc. are loving it so far.

Here’s a video that gives you an idea of what has changed.

If your account has not been transitioned over yet, please follow these steps:

  1. found at the bottom right corner on the old look

    Log in to your gmail (generally http://email.[yourdomain].com as your primary address, which we would have set as a Super Administrator.

  2. Once logged in, look to the bottom right corner for a blue tab that contains a link called “Manage This Domain | Switch to the new look”. Click the “Switch to New Look”.
  3. The rest is self-explanatory.
  4. Enjoy!
Google Apps Gmail Manage Domain link

“Manage Domain” link is under the gear icon dropdown

Note that the “Manage This Domain” link will now be found at another location once you switch. This is the critical link in which you can set the app-wide settings, and add new emails to your domain. This can now be found near the top right corner. There’s a gear shaped icon (not the one on the black bar, but the one within the white screen), and the dropdown contains many options, including “Manage This Domain”. The following screenshot explains:

Google Maps® Based MLS Search Launched!2011-11-29T06:50:25+00:00

We have successfully completed our initial stages of MLS® Integration for the REBGV (Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver) to bring our Brixwork {real estate} clients the ability to display all the listings available under the REBGV umbrella on their own websites.

Our client, Jack Ying’s North Vancouver Real Estate Website has the first edition of such on it. Here’s a screenshot;

MLS Search using RETS With Google Maps

Google Maps® Based MLS® Search on Brixwork {Real Estate}

An upgrade of the database may be required in order to implement the MLS integration function into your website, and there is also an additional monthly subscription fee required to have this function on your website. Please email us for details on the monthly pricing (lower rates offered to existing clients).

This is not all that is offered – we are underway developing more features & functions revolving around the MLS function. On the list are:

  • List all listings by city & area, as well as filter by property type (condominium, house, townhouse etc.)
  • List all listings from your brokerage office
  • Search by MLS ID directly
Please visit our blog again for more details as we progress.

September 10, 2018

Launch of Vancouver Island Real Estate (VIREB) MLS Integration

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. 

Written By Jeff Kee | Design & Visuals, Featured Clients, Features & Development

August 7, 2018

Latest Victoria MLS (VREB) MLS Integration Showcase!

Brixwork's premium templates and custom-designed websites can be offered to real estate agents on Vancouver Island! Our real estate websites offer full integration with VREB (Victoria Real Estate Board) and VIREB (Vancouver Island Real Estate Board) MLS® Reciprocity (IDX) feeds. View our latest showcase of Victoria MLS Integration from Logan Wilson Victoria Luxury Group.

Written By Jeff Kee | Featured Clients, Features & Development

May 8, 2018

Designed With Purpose – Functional Website Upgrade Showcase For 2018 Q1

Why should a homeowner choose you over another listing agent? Our custom design services are more than just for looks - they convey a specific message to help you stand out from the crowd!

Written By Jeff Kee | Featured Clients

June 26, 2019

Hiring – Production Line Graphic Designer

We are looking for a new graphic designer to join our team in Gastown. You will be taking care of advertisements & stationery design, print media layouts, branding and more.

Written By Jeff Kee | Company Updates

April 9, 2018

Brixwork Version 4.4 Launching With Speed & Function updates

Further to our listings fetch mechanism upgrade, the page fetch upgrade marks another major overhaul to improve our entire system for faster page loads, as well as reduced lags during peak times. Other upgrades for better Mailchimp integration as well as

Written By Jeff Kee | Features & Development

March 2, 2018

SSL Now Available on Brixwork Real Estate Websites!

Real estate websites perform better on Google while offering peace-of-mind for visitors willing to submit their contact information on their websites. Brixwork is happy to offer this add-on service at a nominal monthly cost.

Written By Jeff Kee | Features & Development

January 30, 2018

Angell Hasman & Associates Websites Showcase

With an incomparable volume of luxury sales in West and North Vancouver, Angell Hasman & Associates has established themselves as one of the leading elite brokerages in Vancouver. With this high reputation in mind, we developed some of the most beautiful websites for Angell Hasman as well a number of individual Realtors. Proud to present such an esteemed team, today we are showcasing a broad range of their websites, from templated sites to fully customized masterpieces.

Written By Jeff Kee | Featured Clients

December 29, 2017

Launching New Content Curation & Editing Services

We are excited to unveil a new service category to further help our clients save time, get the most out of their websites, and stand out from the competition. Learn more about our new content curation & editing services, and how our team at Brixwork can help you can add unique, search engine aware content to your website.

Written By Jeff Kee | Search Engine Optimization

December 15, 2017

Holiday Closures & Printing Deadlines for 2017

We have some holiday closures and printing order cut-offs coming up, which are important dates for our clients to keep in mind. Happy holidays!

Written By Jeff Kee | Events & Gatherings

December 5, 2017

Do It Yourself SEO for Every Realtor® – Part 2

Setting up your SEO tools is vital but maintenance is key! In the second article of this two-part post, read about the 5 essential steps to take for your own listings to improve your search engine ranking over the long term.

Written By Jeff Kee | Search Engine Optimization

November 10, 2017

Do It Yourself SEO for Every Realtor® – Part 1

Web searches and online presence is a critical way for Realtors to earn more business. In the first article of this two-part post, Learn how utilizing a variety of SEO tools can help improve your search engine ranking and the increase the odds of those results leading to new clients!

Written By Jeff Kee | Search Engine Optimization

October 9, 2017

Hitting 3 Birds with Branded Instagram Posts

More Realtors® are active on social media than ever. Don't be left behind - make sure you reach your audience through our custom designed Instagram & Facebook posts!

Written By Jeff Kee | Marketing & Promotion, Social Media & Marketing

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