Coming soon: New map navigation with updated tools. We have been working on some map improvements for all of our IDX Blogger customers. Here in the next week or two we will be releasing the new map to everyone.
Stay tuned for more………
Here at HomeQuest, we developed the IDX Blogger platform to be the next generation of blogging by tying your blog posts to your IDX Search map. The public IDX map is a beautiful tool all by itself, but it is greatly enhanced when your geolocated blog posts appear on your map as well. This allows clients to see your expertise and knowledge of the area through your blog posts at the very same time they are looking at homes.
Blogging is not required on IDX Blogger. You can “hide” the blog related pages if you would still like a great looking IDX site, but you do not wish to use the blogging functionality. Click here to see how to hide pages.
What are the advantages of blogging? I am already busy being a realtor, why should I spend my time being a blogger too?
Search Engine Optimization: One of the first reasons to blog is to increase your ranking with search engines. A site that remains stagnant for long periods of time without any changes ranks much lower on a Google search than a site that has a lot of content and gets updated on a regular basis. You will also receive more traffic from Google for non real estate related terms. For example, if I post a blog on Washington Park, my blog post is eventually indexed by Google and website visitors can then find my site if they were searching for “Washington Park”. Without that blog post, my site would never have been found by this visitor.
Make your website a resource: Internet visitors to your website are looking for information, not just a home search. They might be looking for information on public schools for their children, they might be looking for information on a particular neighborhood, or they might even be looking at the local music scene. If your website is a great resource for community information, you are more likely to get visitors on your IDX search, and therefore more likely to gain a potential client. Your website is not just about you as an agent, your website is a tool that visitors will use on their home search journey.
Show what you know: Who knows the area neighborhoods better than your friendly local realtor? Prove what you know about your community and the local schools, restaurants, events, attractions, and everything a potential client would want to know by filling out your website with content, content, and more content.
Connect with your audience: Be personal, be funny, there is nothing wrong with a non work related post on the blog. Keep a balance though, your blog should be personal yet still completely informative and topic driven. Remember, appropriateness and professionalism are still important even if you are making non work related commentary about a sports game with a bad ref, or a restaurant you didn’t particularly care for.
You can add a link or a “badge” to your social networking profiles like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter into your IDX Blogger sidebar widgets. Click here to see how to use the Simple Image Link widget to add links to your social networking profiles. The instructions below will help you locate the profile link you need to send visitors to. (Note: These instructions help you find your profile links to place into the Simple Image Link widget as a “destination link”, make sure to read the Simple Image Link instructions to see where to enter the information you are gathering here.)
Finding your Twitter link:
Your Twitter link is the easiest link to get, its just: www.twitter.com/YOURUSERNAME
Finding your Facebook profile link:
Once you are logged into Facebook, right click the “Profile” link at the top. Select “Copy Link Address” from the menu. Your link is in the clipboard and ready to be pasted.
Finding your LinkedIn profile link:
IDX Blogger is compatible with the two most common web statistics trackers available; Google Analytics, and Visistat. Google Analytics can be setup using the instructions below, for Visistat please email your Visistat code snippet to support and let us know which website you would like it added to. These web statistics companies track the visitor traffic on your website to let you know useful numbers and details about the effectiveness of your website and marketing.
Google Analytics is free and can be setup fairly easily. Each site that you track on Google Analytics is given a Site ID as shown below:
Step 1: Get your Site ID from the Google Analytics website after you have signed up and registered your website:
Step 2: In your Site Admin, select “Google Analytics” from the “Manage” menu.
Step 3: Enter your Site ID for Google Analytics and click the “Update Options” button.
Congratulations, you now have Google Analytics setup. Statistics and other information should start appearing in your Google Analytics account within a day or so.
HomeQuest and IDX Blogger are compatible with nearly all modern browsers in use today. This means that by being a HomeQuest user you and your clients can access anything you need from any internet connected computer. Whether you are on Windows, Mac, or even Linux you can use HomeQuest and IDX Blogger the same way.
Although browsers that are not on this list will still work with HomeQuest and IDX Blogger sites, you may not get the best experience with all features working. For instance, Internet Explorer 6 is not supported because of its old age and security issues. Google Chrome works for nearly everything, but the WordPress menus appear organized horizontally instead of vertically which can make navigating your Site Admin difficult.
Page Templates are a piece of WordPress that allows HomeQuest to craft special pages for special functions. For instance, the Daily Email map page is still a page like any other, but instead of displaying static content, it knows to display a map instead. Currently the templates include an Archives, Daily Email, and Blog Page template. Check back frequently, as we will be adding new features over time and they will be announced and documented here.
When you are writing a standard static page, you do not need to change the Page Template. However, if you need to create a special page like a Daily Email signup page, a Recent Posts page, or an Archives page you will use their special page template.
We have added a “Support” page to our IDX Blogger site here. Click the Support link above to see an index of the most common articles and questions on IDX Blogger, and many very helpful how-to documents. This page is great for getting started, creating your website, customizing your website, and getting the most out of the IDX Blogger platform.
Your IDX Blogger site includes a “Recent Posts” page by default, however this can be hidden or deleted if you do not wish to use it. The “Recent Posts” page displays the five most recent blog posts that you have written, with the newest post on top. This page displays all blog posts, whether they have been geocoded or not. This page also does not have a map interface as the Blog Posts map does (Click here to see how a Recent Posts page and a Blog Posts map are different). If you deleted this page, you can create another using the instructions below. The page can be titled anything you wish, “Recent Posts” is only a suggestion, not a requirement.
Step 1: From the “Write” menu, click “Page”
Step 2: Enter your page title, and scroll to the bottom of the page without entering any page content.
Step 3: From the “Page Template” drop down menu at the bottom, select “Blog Page” as the page template.
Your IDX Blogger website is edited through the “Site Admin” tool. The Site Admin tool is what you will use to add and edit your website content as well as change design, layout, and administrative options. Your clients and website visitors will not see this Site Admin screen, this is only for you as the owner of the site. To access the Site Admin tool, click the “Websites” tab in your HomeQuest account. Each website that you have with HomeQuest will be listed here, and each IDX Blogger site will have a “Site Admin” button next to it. Remember that each IDX Blogger site is independent and unique, so changing content and options in one will not do so to the others.
In your HomeQuest account, click the “Websites” tab. Click the “Site Admin” button.
IDX Blogger adds some special capability to WordPress, most importantly the ability to geolocate the post onto your special maps, the Blog Post map and the Search Listings map. There are different ways that you can have your IDX Blogger setup in order for your clients to interact with your blog content. The pages listed below are all created about
“Blog Posts” Map: The Blog Posts map shows the map of your metro area with all of your geocoded blog posts. Note that this map does not show listings, and does not show blog posts without a location. In order for a blog post to display on this map, it must be geocoded. Click here to see how to geocode your posts.
“Search Listings” Map: This map contains BOTH the listings from the MLS, as well as any blog post that you have geocoded. This is the map that your clients will spend the most time on, and this map is the only location listings will appear. If you feel that having your geocoded blog posts appear both on the Search Listings map, and the Blog Posts map is redundant or confusing, you may hide the blog posts map. Click here to see how to hide a page in IDX Blogger.
“Recent Posts” page: This page does not contain a map, and will display your blog posts in reverse chronological order just like a any other standard blog on the internet. This page displays all of your blog posts, including the posts that have not been geolocated. This is useful if you would like to just show off your blog content without a map interface.