Software

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Brixwork Version 4.4 Launching With Speed & Function updates2018-04-19T05:54:27+00:00

Faster Page Content Load Mechanism!

Major speed & load mechanism upgrades, auto-add to Mailchimp lists, and some user interface upgrades to make your website function better & easier to use!

More Speed Upgrades (Up to 3X)

Over the years our page content system was upgraded significantly to offer more functionalities – custom fields, attached main images & PDFs, excerpts, custom meta titles/descriptions and more! These processes tend to tack on top of each other as we build, and it was time for a major overhaul.

Without affecting front-end functionality, we managed to re-arrange the system so that the data retrieval takes a fraction of the time & effort it used to. This means your websites load faster (our testing showed as little as 1/3 of the time to load) while reducing the load on the server to decrease lags during peak traffic times. A big shout-out to the Neacsu Denner Team (Luxury West Vancouver Real Estate Specialists) for working with us to provide feedback on these speed improvements!

Mailchimp Integration

Mailchimp is our recommended email marketing system for newsletters & listing updates. The Brixwork core has been upgraded so that you can enter your Mailchimp account API key to allow automatic addition of emails from any contact form trigger. Thank you to Colin & Lynn at Nest Presales (Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster and Coquitlam Presale Specialists) for inspiring and providing feedback for this upgrade!

To utilize this feature, your contact forms must indicate that ongoing promotional/marketing emails will be sent to the recipient. Some of our newer websites have been built with this feature in mind. For older websites built before 2018-04, you may need to invest into some minor re-design or re-arrangement of the pages before enabling this feature.

Ensuring you remain within the CASL legislation’s boundaries is 100% your responsibility as the business owner, and Brixwork does not assume responsibility to any penalties/damages caused by enabling this feature before you consult the CASL regulations or your lawyer/managing broker/real estate council.

User Interface Upgrades

While some of these upgrades were already rolled out ahead of time, the listings & buildings screens have been updated on the back-end. . Our real estate websites aim to help you get the update done faster & easier, and we continue to research ways to help our Realtors® save time.

  • Slimmer rows for each home/building- this made scanning through a long list easier, as well as quicker drag & drop to re-order items
  • Fixed a glitch in the photo gallery upload module where the photos didn’t always upload in the order in which it displays on your computer when you drag & drop multiple photos.

A big thank you to Kylie Waters of the Rockel Group (Vancouver Westside and Eastside Luxury Marketing Specialists) for catching the photo bug and helping us test the successful fix!

MICRO UPDATE – Further Tweaks for 4.404

As our overall network traffic (measured by bandwidth) increased over 20% in March & April compared to the previous 4+ months. This traffic increase was attributed to:

  • Increase in the real estate market in general
  • Some of our top traffic sites had even bigger improvement in visitors
  • Some of our SEO campaigned realtor websites have seen as much as 300%+
  • Our team is building & deploying lots of new websites!

We noticed some other lags and some bursts of slow times when Google (and other) bots would crawl through our websites in mass. In the micro version update 4.404 released on April 18th, we introduced more measures to speed up thumbnail feeding on photo galleries, which was taking a significant amount of resources, and saw double-digit drops in server utility load.

What this means in simpler terms – we found more engineering finesse to help our sites load faster with less burden on the servers, so that traffic spikes & popularity spikes do not affect our network as much. Our testing shows that the impact of such spikes was barely noticeable after this upgrade.

Future Upgrade Roadmap

Better buildings & listings filtering

In the coming development sessions, we aim to make our listings & buildings pages on the back-end more user friendly by enabling filtering the items by name/street and/or status to make it faster & easier for you to find what you’re looking for. Many of our clients are high-volume, high-performing real estate agents – we are accommodating our back-end structure to ensure we keep up with the top-performers!

Listings Browse History Tracking

For any leads who enter their email addresses into your contact forms, you will be able to see which properties and which MLS® search filters the visitor used before entering their information. This will allow you to more effectively help these new clients out based on their desires & requirements.

Brixwork Version 3.9.6 Releasing Tonight2014-06-03T21:13:22+00:00

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).
Feature Improvements:
  • 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
Version 3.8.7 Released with User Interface Refinements2017-10-10T23:26:20+00:00

This is our first software upgrade across the BRIXWORK system in Q2 of 2013, and here’s what’s been improved. This upgrade focused mostly on the user interface in the back-end of your BRIXWORK Real Estate Website platform.

Accidentally Leaving Page During Editing

Some clients experienced issues when editing a property or a page, they would accidentally go back a step, or leave the page in some other way. This posed the problem of losing unsaved edits. We improved our system by implementing scripts that prevent the user from accidentally leaving the page. Unless the system is prompted to switch you to another page, or you click the SUBMIT button at the bottom, you’ll be given a prompt that asks you if you’re sure you want to leave the current page.

If you hit the backspace button, or another link by mistake, this pops up to ensure you intended the action.

If you hit the backspace button, or another link by mistake, this pops up to ensure you intended the action.

This functionality is currently available on the Homes edit page, as well as Pages edit page. We will be rolling this out for the Buildings/Resources sections in the weeks to come.

Identical City/Subarea Display Fixed

As we are expanding our MLS® Reciprocity integration to other cities across Canada & USA (new updated list coming soon), we noticed that some smaller areas have the same City/Subarea name. When this happens, we had some awkward displays on the website where it would say “Burlington, Burlington” for example. To mitigate this, we updated our codebase so that if the names are an identical match, it truncates it into just “Burlington”.

MLS® Listing to Own Listing Conversion Photo Glitch

When converting an MLS® reciprocity database listing to your “OWN” listing, some clients in different jurisdictions other than Vancouver had issues where the photos won’t come in. We’ve fixed that issue, and positively tested the photos flowing into the local website when this conversion happens.

Multiple Office Locations Supported

Some brokerages have multiple Office IDs assigned from the board. Many clients started asking for an “Office Listings” page that displays listings within the brokerage only. To address clients who wish to display listings from all branches of a brokerage, we’ve updated our listing retrieval module to allow multiple Office IDs. If you wish to expand your “Office Listings” parameters to include other branches within your brokerage, please submit a support ticket with the office codes and we’ll handle it.

Lead Forms On Websites Updated

The email forms on your websites (on your listing display pages as well as contact & other pages) have been universally updated. Since we switched our email routing to a much more secure channel to avoid your leads ending up in spam, the delay has increased by a few seconds. To mitigate this, we have included a pop up that shows a progress bar indicating that the work is in progress. While this is a very minor change in the user interface, it has a great impact on keeping the users engaged to your website.

Rental Modules

You will notice a new “Rental” tab when editing a home. While this feature is enabled on the back-end on a beta mode, it takes extra installation labour to make it happen on the front-end. We will be offering setup of Rental sections on our clients’ websites upon request, and with a nominal set-up fee. This feature is still in beta mode. You are welcome to enter things and fiddle around with it, but it won’t show the rental only features on your website.

 

Changes to Our Rates in 2013 Q2 and Upgrades2013-02-20T08:40:45+00:00

2012 has been a monumental year for us with the largest growth in client base ever. We are thrilled to continue to serve some of the best real estate agents with our boutique website services. We have welcomed many new clients from different brokerages and cities. We have added support for Kamloops & Whistler BC’s listing reciprocity systems, and recently started work on Burlington/Hamilton Ontario!

There are some significant changes coming up to our services and rates. As our products are becoming more sophisticated, and our offerings diversified further, we do feel the need to increase our prices on some parts. We are also now offering more services.

Custom Design Labour Rate Change

Effective April 1st, 2013

Currently our custom design labour cost is $75/hr. This is set to increase to $80/hr, billed by minimum half hour increments. This applies to:

  • Modifying layout of website
  • Adding custom icons or graphics
  • Or any other significant changes to website that requires labour from our design team
  • Modifying custom set slideshows
  • Layout of print-media (business cards, newspaper ads, listing sheets etc.)
  • Anything else that falls outside the scope of regular maintenance and tech support

This new labour pricing also applies to custom website design quotations. We quote for our custom designed websites on an hours-estimation method, so this will affect the pricing of new custom design websites that we build.

There will be no changes to monthly subscription fees, however! 

SEO, Social Media & Content Writing Services Launching Soon

There was a significant demand for more dedicated search engine optimization work as well as content writing. We have put together some SEO & writing packages, and will be releasing the offer sheets soon. In fact, our SEO & Social media packages are already published on our website.

3.7.4 Allows Featured City/Areas, Buildings and More2012-06-05T15:02:25+00:00

It seems we’re updating at a breakneck speed, but that’s what it takes to stay on top I guess. Version 3.7.4 was rolled out overnight to offer you features to help you better focus your niche area in the city as a Realtor®. This is especially important for customers subscribed to the MLS® Reciprocity integration feature, because our system will have to pull in all the areas listed under the system.

Featured Areas & Sub-Areas

Featured Real Estate Areas Help Niche For Realtors

You can set certain cities & areas as "Featured"

(more…)

Combining PDFs Online For A Comprehensive Presentation2012-04-01T18:19:35+00:00

Recently one of our Realtors® asked us an interesting question – how do I combine multiple PDF documents into one neat PDF? There are times when you want to combine your introduction letter, the marketing plans, an assessment, your brochures, newspaper ad template etc. into one chunk – whether it’s for acquiring that new listing, or to send reports of an open house, or really any other purpose, this can be an easy way to send documents to your clients without attaching too many PDFs into one. Less files: less confusion, and easier file management!

So, how do we achieve this? There are many ways, but let’s look at the most accessible ways first.

Convert PDFs online

This is by far the easiest and cheapest way to achieve this. There are many sites you can use:

  1. www.pdfmerge.com – it provides the service free for up to 15MBs, which should be plenty for most situations. When using this one, ignore the red “Download Now” button (unless you want to pay for a desktop software to install, which is not what we recommend).
  2. www.ilovepdf.com/merge_pdf – Up to 10 PDF files, maximum 80MBs means a larger limit. The upload/download speed on this website was much better than the one above. So far ILovePDF is the winner on our books!

Use a Desktop Software

Adobe Acrobat Pro is a powerful PDF management software for Mac & Windows

Frankly we do not recommend this – more and more software is going in the direction of web-based services, and cluttering your computer with more programs is not necessary. That being said, when we combine PDFs in-house, we use Adobe Acrobat Pro – it’s not a free software, but it is extremely powerful. The functionalities go way beyond simply combining PDFs.

Adobe Acrobat Pro allows you to:

  1. Create PDF forms that can collect data
  2. Include multimedia (pictures, videos) from multiple sources into the PDF
  3. Sign PDFs
  4. And more!

Acrobat Pro is available for both Windows and Mac OSX. However, the price tag is not exactly low.

Another open-source (free) option is PDF Rider – it appears to be only for Windows at this point. You can read a review of PDF Rider by Addictive Tips.

April 30, 2021

Brixwork Version 4.574 For Better Analytics

Our clients deserve the best, which is why we are consistently upgrading and improving our software. Better analytics, faster image load speed, and much more!

Written By Jessica Hussey | Company Updates, Features & Development

April 30, 2021

British Columbia Realtor® Website Showcase

We work with Realtors® all over B.C to look their best online. Check out how we ensue each unique Realtor® is given the presence they deserve.

Written By Jessica Hussey | Design & Visuals, Featured Clients, Marketing & Promotion, Social Media & Marketing

March 25, 2021

Project Marketing For Presales Showcase

At Brixwork, we work with developers of all project scales to develop a detailed marketing plan top to bottom to give your project the presence it deserves.

Written By Jessica Hussey | Design & Visuals, Featured Clients, Marketing & Promotion, Social Media & Marketing

May 27, 2021

We Are Hiring – Entry Level Front-End Coder / Tech Support!

If you like creating beautiful things online, and would like to work in a dynamic team, and learn new skills in this industry, this job is for you.

Written By Jeff Kee | Company Updates

January 19, 2021

Century 21 Agents & Brokerages Website Design Showcase

Brand compliance doesn't mean you cannot stand out from the crowd. Take a look at these gems for Century 21 brokerages & agents across Canada!

Written By Jessica Hussey | Design & Visuals, Featured Clients

October 29, 2020

3 Benefits of Having Community Guide Pages on your Website

Custom content pages are a gold-mine for Google™ and even better you can curate the pages to your audience and entice readers to stay longer. Take a peek at what the 3 key benefits of community pages are.

Written By Martyna Noworyta | Design & Visuals, Marketing & Promotion

November 12, 2020

Hiring – Production Line Graphic Designer

Join our team to create beautiful visuals in one of the most active niches in Canada - marketing real estate. We are a boutique firm with in-house design only.

Written By Jeff Kee | Company Updates

September 18, 2020

Instagram Dos and Don’ts for Realtors

Good design, consistency and originality on Instagram posts will help you create an impressive feed that will outshine all of the other thousands of Real Estate professionals. Check out the do's and don'ts for Instagram!

Written By Martyna Noworyta | Design & Visuals, Marketing & Promotion, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media & Marketing, Technology & Trends

July 15, 2020

Digital Dominance for Real Estate Agents in a COVID World

Modern business requires modern tools. Here are a list of critical cloud software & apps that every real estate professional can use to increase efficiency & close more deals.

Written By Martyna Noworyta | Design & Visuals, Marketing & Promotion, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media & Marketing, Technology & Trends

April 14, 2020

Ways To Increase Online Presence & Brand Awareness for Real Estate

There is increased online presence & brand awareness for real estate during COVID-19 crisis. Check out great ways to increase your website engagement here!

Written By Martyna Noworyta | Design & Visuals, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media & Marketing

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