Server status in the storm

I assume you are getting every bit as much of the storm as we are in Bandon. I am hopeful that we can get through this with out losing power. In anticipation of this being a stormy winter (with last few being pretty quiet)  I recently purchased a backup generator (yup, been going without for all these years). Have not had an opportunity to test everything yet though.

If we do loose power, hopefully no one will even notice.

Bad Batch of QR Codes

It has just come to my attention that an update to the “Change My Listings” page program resulted in the mls number being dropped from the link in qr codes downloaded on the page.

If you have downloaded any qr codes between June 18th and June 25th, you should delete them and download new codes for those listings.

I’m sorry if this has caused you any problems.

Ken

RealWorld Real Estate Welcomes Currieco Real Estate

Currieco, “Your Local Real Estate Expert” has joined the rwre.com family. The company has multiple office locations in Douglas, County, Oregon, and been successfully serving clients over the last 30 years. Welcome!

Site Updates

If you are a regular visitor you have no doubt noticed the recent site updates. We have been working on rolling them out for the past 5 days. So far the feedback has been mostly positive. In fact I was rolling along thinking everything was great until I received a couple negative comments.

One site visitor loved the new in-place slide show, another hated it. Another noticed the waterfront and view fields were missing on the new pages and thought the new format was a huge step backwards. In restoring waterfront and view I noticed that taxes were also missing from the new format. The missing fields have all been restored. We have also added Pause, Resume, and next photo controls for the slide show.

For those who cannot live with the new format, we have added a link to the original listing format. Shortly, you will be able to chose your preferred format and save it in a user profile (probably just a cookie until we get our planned user profile system running).

I would like to assure all of our regular visitors that the new were intended to allow us to provide more and better information. Where other sites had been providing addresses and maps for years, RealWorld had fallen behind. We also wanted to display larger photos and videos when they were available. The new tabbed format will allow us to add other information to listings as it becomes available.

All of this is in preparation for an expansion in our area of coverage. For 15 years we have focused on the southern Oregon coast. However, the site ranks very high for Oregon Real Estate and we want to be able to deliver good results to visitors who find us via those search terms.

If you have any comments, positive or negative, PLEASE visit the contact us page and send us your comments. If you give us a valid email address, we willuse it to thank you or let you know what we are doing to address any issues you give us. We promise not to spam you.

Over 50% of the site traffic is from regular visitors. Thank you for your past support. We hope we will continue to be your source for Oregon real estate listing information.

Ken Gregg
RealWorld site administrator

Site Updates

I have been spending most of my time the past 4 days installing site update, killing bugs and responding to visitor feed back about the updates. So far the feedback has been very positive.

Continue reading Site Updates

New Form Fields

Last weekend I uploaded new forms with some new fields. I wrote this post and then did not file it under the RWRE Members category so it would show up on the login page. Better late than never I guess.

At the top of the new listing forms you will see Foreclosure, Bank Owned, Short sale and Display Address field check boxes. Foreclosure, Band Owned and Short sale default to no. The Display Address field will allow you to suppress the search by and display of a property address on RealWorld.

In the Advertising and Description section of the form there are now three fields for links to additional pages. The old featured listing link is now intended as a virtual tour link. Two new fields have been added. They are Video link and listing Web site link. Continue reading New Form Fields

Google Voice Open to All

Google announced that it’s Google Voice service is open to anyone wanting to sign up. I have been using the service for about a year and love it. If you call me at the office number and I am out, the call is forwarded to my Cell. If I am driving or can’t take the call (or if you are a telemarketer), it is forwarded to my voice mail (which is Google Voice). Voice messages are transcribed, emailed to me and also sent as an SMS message to my phone.  Click on the link above for more information.

Sort of Scheduled Downtime

The battery in the battery backup for our fiber connection has failed. Comspan will be replacing it tomorrow (Thurs June 24th) at about 1:30 pm. RealWorld, Assessor Tax data, idx et al will all be down for several minutes while they work on it.

Update: The  Comspan Tech has come and gone. Connection was down for such a short time, you probably didn’t notice.

New direction in Advertising

A little over a year ago, I started running ads on the RealWorld Real Estate web site. Just two spots, one vertical ad on the home page and another horizontal ad at the bottom of most site pages. Over the first year these two ad slots were displayed slightly more than a million times (a million impressions in advertising terms). This netted about $250. Hardly worth the inconvenience to site visitors.

The advertising was an experiment and I am not happy with how it worked out. It just doesn’t fee right.

Continue reading A New direction in Advertising

Facelift Update and Wordpress Wrapper Framework

I have settled on a new theme, Atahualpa. I can’t pronounce it or remember how to spell it, but so far it is proving very flexible, easy to work with and has a great support forum.

So, a little about what I am planning to do with it (and wordpress).

I see a need for sites that use data from a database other than the pages and posts that Wordpress (or any blog software) supports. I know it is possible to do this within Wordpress. I have see plugins that add ecommerce functionality and real estate listings to a Wordpress blog. But in addition to being very complicated, these look like they are almost their own themes or at least require modification of a theme to work. When I have time, I will install them and study how they work.

However, the approach I am trying is to incorporate Wordpress into an existing site. There are a couple of articles in the Wordpress codex about how to do this. Most of them discuss how to make Wordpress in a blog subdirectory look like your original site. Instead, I want to use the wordpress theme to style the entire site. If a client wants to change the look of their site, all they have to do is change the theme.

My test site for this is Tiffanywineshop.com. The original site has wine tastings (yse they could be blog posts) but the goal is to create an “almost” ecommerce site with thousands of wines categorized by variety and winery with the ability for logged in users to rate wines and keep lists of the wines they have tasted and like (or don’t like). All in all this is an excellent example of what I call a hybrid site. Multiple database tables with optional links to blog posts.

I had already created a basic blog for the site but when faced with a comment system and post management, it was obvious there were too many wheels that I shouldn’t be recreating. So, I installed Wordpress in a blog subdirectory. The Atahualpa theme allowed me to style the site very much like the original design. I modified the site header and footer views to use the plugin header and footer, added a mod_rewrite condition to  pass through requests to the blog subdirectory and things are looking very promising.

Once I am finished updating some of my code to use Wordpress functions (user registration and login, etc). I am planning on creating a generic framework to use for other sites. The first of these will be a real estate office or agent site with RMLS idx listing search built in. I think companies who are charging thousands of dollars for real estate web sites should be a little worried. With the new real estate site, agents will be able to have a very functional site with their choice of thousands of themes for $300 or so per year including hosting.