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Single Property Web Sites: 123MainSt.com?

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Main Street Sign
Photo Credit: emily_grace


Silly Technology?

Jennifer in Louisville” left a comment on Bill’s “Silly Technology” post saying:

I personally find the individual domains for specific properties to be silly (i.e. you list 123 Main Street, so you register 123mainstreet(dot)com and create what essentially amounts to a brochure online). The new domain isn’t going to have immediate new exposure in the search engines. You could have just as easily done a featured spot on your main website, or placed a subpage behind your main site i.e. .

I was going to comment on Jennifer’s comment, but as I’m prone to do, the words fell out of my head in massive quantities and I realized, “this should be a post”….

The Problem

Single property web sites — a web site dedicated to one single listing — are all the rage. The idea being of course that you build a pretty web site extolling the virtues of the home. It’s so irresistible that buyers will flock to the listing, waving checks, fighting for the right to own this fine estate. Sellers love them. But are they effective?

Jennifer correctly points out that the new domain (which is almost always www.PropertyAddress.com) will not get immediate exposure to search engines. Bill mentions that it can get expensive, essentially buying “throw away” domain names. Hosting individual sites can also add up.

A Potential Solution

We build single-property web sites for most of our listings (more accurately, we use WordPress and build a “blogsite”). Here’s what we do to minimize the issues both Jennifer and Bill raise.

Domain names: Rather than go with the traditional 123MainSt.com URL, we purchase a more “generic” domain name. Subdivision and/or location names work well. For example, www.AvianoListing.com, www.TatumAndShea.com, and www.LeisureWorldProperty.com.

These names likely mean nothing to anyone outside the Phoenix area. But they certainly mean something to people in Phoenix — the most likely buyers for Phoenix listings.

The domains have good keywords in them. Think no one in Phoenix looking for a home in Leisure World (a large Master Planned community) Google’s “Leisure World Property”? Think again. And that particular listing blogsite comes up #1 and #2 in Google for that very search term.

In addition to keyword richness, these domains are re-usable. 123MainSt.com only works for one property. There are hundreds of homes in Leisure World and Aviano. Tatum & Shea is a major intersection in Phoenix with many homes in the area. We can keep these URLs and simply change out the text and photos when the next listing comes around. Meanwhile, the domain is aging. And like fine wine, Google likes aged domain names.

Hosting: True, hosting at a place like Godaddy is only $4/month. But if you have 20 listings, that swiftly turns into $80/month. There are hosting companies out there that will allow you to host numerous domains on the same plan. I use MediaTemple, and can host up to 100 domains for $20/month. BlueHost is another that allows multiple domains. There are others. You shouldn’t be buying hosting for individual sites.

Search Engine Exposure: It is not easy to get a new domain indexed in Google. Rarely will anyone in the outside world link to a single property site.

But you can.

Write a blog post announcing your single property site (example).

Post the listing photos to Flickr. Put them in a Flickr Set and include the URL to the single property site (example).

Make an interactive Google map with a link to the site (example).

Link to it from your static website.

Twitter it.

Heck, stick it in a presentation and upload that presentation to SlideShare.net (example). I didn’t include this site in my presentation on blogging just for the link. But less than an hour after uploading the presentation to SlideShare, Google picked up the link that was inside the presentation.

If your blog has just reasonable “authority” with Google, they will rapidly index your single property site. Even in blogs with lesser authority, adding these links that you can control will help get a brand new domain quickly indexed.

Does it Work?

To be perfectly honest, I can not directly contribute a sale to a single property web site. But exposure of any listing is critical. The Internet never closes. It is the single best way to expose a listing to the maximum number of potential buyers and investors.

Jay is the Broker / Owner of Thompson's Realty in Phoenix, Arizona. A self-professed "Man with a blogging problem" he can be found across the Interweb, including at the Phoenix Real Estate Guy blog where he opines on all things real estate and tosses out random musings.

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29 Comments

29 Comments

  1. Bill Lublin

    June 13, 2008 at 12:59 pm

    You are amazing. I was writing in my new blog about how people in my computer help me in my business and share their expertise and BANG there’s Jay hooking a brother up with an in depth discussion of low cost property marketing that establishes a valid point of differnetiation and can be scaled for use in any size company.

    I still think that buying single property sites is sill technology, but leveraging blogging, photos you’ve already taken of a listing, low cost domain names which grow richer the more you use them and increasing the SEM of your static web site by attaching multiple blogs to it – Now That’s an Idea! (Or set of ideas) Like our friend @GotBob says in his comment on my earlier post, if its free its for me! (Ok, I’ll go for inexpensive also!) Great Post 😉

    (Only 199 comments more and a new record can be set)
    😉

  2. Jayson

    June 13, 2008 at 1:11 pm

    Nice post Jay and great argument. I agree that single property sites have a lot of potential.

    Dave over at realestatebloglab dot com posted something months and months ago (maybe a year) about single property sites – he also mentioned that they are beneficial, and if I remember correctly, he pointed out a few success stories. On the surface they may seem pointless or “silly” but with a little work you could easily rank a single property site well.

    You might even be able to get away with building a WordPress blog for free and using it as a single property website – maybe even a squidoo page. We host multiple domains at bluehost and namecheap and it’s incredibly easy and cheap.

    As you mentioned though, it would be easy to use a semi-generic url for multiple properties and build the domain up overtime (as we all know, it all takes time). You could do a few quality real estate directory submissions for backlinks, rotate links to some of your single property sites from your main site/blogs homepage to help get it indexed frequently and write a few posts and articles about the neighborhood for some social media and article directory links.

    Thanks Jay –

  3. Teresa Boardman

    June 13, 2008 at 1:23 pm

    I use single property sites with a custom sign rider: http://www.123mainstreet.com. inexpensive to buy a domain name and do it. My clients love it, but like you I am not sure I can attribute a sale to it. There are many benefits though when it comes to viral marketing. Been doing it that way for 3.5 years, plan to continue

  4. Erion Shehaj

    June 13, 2008 at 1:24 pm

    Ever since I read about single property websites on Bloodhound, I have had some of the same concerns about them that Jennifer had. I honestly don’t see what the added value of a 123MainSt.com website is over a Postlets Premium Website ($3) especially when you consider the fact that Postlets sites come with built-in syndication. Always thought that single property websites help the agent more than the client since the listing is usually sold by the time the site gets any search engine traction.

    That being said, I think your idea of more general domain names is just brilliant and green (recycling) 😉

  5. Doug Quance

    June 13, 2008 at 2:23 pm

    Single property websites shouldn’t be thought of as places where search engines will find your listing. They should be thought of a destinations where a full breadth of information about a property can be found.

    I can remember a buyer who saw my single property sign rider at one of my listings… who then viewed the site over and over prior to our appointment to show. Once inside, she confirmed her love for the home and paid top dollar for it.

    It’s just part of a strategy… certainly not the “be all” and “end all”.

  6. Jayson

    June 13, 2008 at 2:28 pm

    Good point. It’s just one more thing that you can offer your client and the home buyer….would be nice if it showed up in the search engine results though 😉

  7. Jennifer in Louisville

    June 13, 2008 at 2:59 pm

    I ran into the same issue as you with wanting to write a book regarding the topic – but I limited it to just 1 paragraph figuring it would stimulate some discussion. 🙂

    I agree absolutely with the concept of the “neighborhood” (or a subdivision) website. I do that myself as well. 🙂 And if you want to “spotlight” a particular listing, you can either make a post on the site, or stick it on a back page like www(dot)neighborhoodname(dot)com/123MainStreet. It gets found in the search engines quite easily.

    Instead of promoting ONE property with ONE domain. And the most important part:
    You promote the entire neighborhood by including things like the subdivision newsletters online, board of directors names/addresses/phone numbers, a community calendar for Yard Sales, etc and become in the minds of everyone as THE expert for the area.

    On one subdivision, it became such a hit, that I even received permission from the homeowners association to place a fairly large PERMANENT free standing sign in the median of the entrance as you come into the neighborhood that has the website site address.

  8. Jay Thompson

    June 13, 2008 at 3:10 pm

    On one subdivision, it became such a hit, that I even received permission from the homeowners association to place a fairly large PERMANENT free standing sign in the median of the entrance as you come into the neighborhood that has the website site address.

    Well how cool is that! I think the HOA boards here would rather poke a stick in their eye than allow that. (which is silly. It could do great things for the neighborhood/HOA)

  9. Dru Bloomfield

    June 13, 2008 at 3:45 pm

    I really like the idea of single property sites and plan to continue using them for listings. Sellers love them and they have a shelf life that lasts longer than the listing period. The vendor I use doesn’t charge for sold listings, so I can keep them around indefinitely, for the price of the domain, which runs about $7-8/ year. All single property sites point back to me, my web site, my blog, which in turn points to my other listings. For me, it’s a solution that works.

  10. Eric Blackwell

    June 13, 2008 at 3:58 pm

    Hey Jay;

    First off, very well thought out and explained post. Jennifer (and her husband) are part of my blogging group here in Louisville (yeah…I am proud of that). Glad to see that her concerns raised a really worthwhile subject.

    I think many people could learn from how you do hosting. I do it (slightly) differently with a VPS (virtual private server) from 1and1…unlimited domains for around $30 per month…works well for me. They also have hosting ala BlueHost, etc.

    Thanks again and have a great weekend!

    Eric

  11. Dale Chumbley

    June 13, 2008 at 4:52 pm

    Jay, Excellent post! Love these ideas and you have my brain twirling. I appreciate the thoughts and the examples. Looking forward to seeing how I could apply some of this to my marketplace.

  12. John Lockwood

    June 13, 2008 at 5:47 pm

    If you have multi-domain hosting, you can pull it off for about nine dollars per year for the domain. If you use vFlyer, they allow an optional upgrade from their “flyers” (which more and more are turning to multi-page web sites, at least as they appear on their site), for about $10.00 per year.

    The win I think is if you put the rider on the sign.

    Does it work? Well, probably as well as print advertising ever did, which is not much. But for $10 for the domain and $5 for the rider? What the heck. I think it’s a nice touch.

  13. Mariana Wagner

    June 13, 2008 at 6:47 pm

    I like the subdomain option. I have a little neighborhood that I “farm” and already have a great site … adding the address as the subdomain is a great idea.

  14. Barry Cunningham

    June 13, 2008 at 7:09 pm

    Ok…no pitchforks…have a question. As Phoenix Real Estate Guy is a well ranked blog with a good deal of traffic I presume…would it not be just as easy to blog a post about a neighborhood or property and use the existing strength of your current blog?

    We launched a new real estate blog from scratch, have n’t had the first google update yet, and already for neighborhoods and such we are showing up for the keywords we want.

    If You Put up a post on Phoenix Real Estate Guy and say the post was titled:

    “Tatum And Shea Homes For Sale” or Tatum And Shea Real Estate” or something like that..and you seo the post correctly, would that not just do the trick? Why do twice the work?

    We blog about neighborhoods and such and within hours, if not days, we start showing up and our new re blog is just a baby.

    Not throwing rocks (hate that I have to preface that)…just asking a legitimate question.

  15. Susan

    June 13, 2008 at 7:29 pm

    I think the neighborhood sites are great and if you had one of those and the listing falls into that particular neighborhood, that is perfect. I actually have a #1 site which allows me the option of giving every listing on there its own domain name. Its a nice selling point on the listing presentation. However, without that it doesn’t seem worthwhile to me to purchase a domain name for a listing and/or create its own site. It would take a while to rank and I would be hoping to sell the home way before that. I have to agree with Barry, as I’ve often had the same thought that blogging about a listing and linking to it on a page on your site seems as if it would be just as effective or more as far as getting exposure fast.

  16. Jay Thompson

    June 13, 2008 at 7:36 pm

    Barry –

    Perfectly reasonable (and good) question…

    First, I usually do write a post on Phoenix RE Guy pretty much just as you say. And yes, it’s usually indexed in minutes and an ranked very well. Those posts also link back to the single property blog, which usually results in Google indexing the new site very quickly.

    Primarily, I build the dedicated single property site so that I can put additional info on it. Things like dozens of pics, maps, links to school districts, PDFs of the various listings, photo slide shows, and a virtual tour. I could put all that in a single post on TPREG, but it would be lengthy, and horrifically boring. Having multiple pages on a dedicated blog is a much better presentation (I think) then trying to jam all that into one single post. The blogsite is a little more “impressive” to sellers as a complete site, and it can provide a much easier way for potential buyers to get info about the property and neighborhood.

    The URL goes on a sign rider as well. I suppose I could just redirect that domain name to the post on TPREG. But by separating them, often both the post on TPREG *and* the single property blog will show up on the same search page, giving us twice the chance of someone clicking on it.

    I won’t say the work involved in setting up a single property blogsite is insignificant. But I use the same theme and general layout for each one, and I’m relatively adept at using WordPress, so the workload isn’t too bad. All the theme customizations carry over from one to the other, so it’s pretty much a matter of uploading the photos, writing the copy and changing links.

    Make sense?

  17. Jay Thompson

    June 13, 2008 at 7:43 pm

    Another factor is I have a bit of a problem with just straight “blogging listings”. I wrote a post on the HomeGain corporate blog covering some of the pro’s and con’s of blogging listings.

    Should Real Estate Agents Blog Listings?

    Just my take…

  18. Melina Tomson

    June 13, 2008 at 10:03 pm

    I use blogger for my blog, as well as AR, and I just did two custom blogsites for properties. $10 for each custom domain name pointed to the blog and about 4 hours worth of work uploading pics and creating content.

    I put that domain on every flier and link to it everywhere. They’ve gotten great hits so far and people have called me asking questions.

    I think well worth it.

    I also have gotten a lot of links to my blog from it as well as my website. Win-win so far for me.

  19. Melina Tomson

    June 13, 2008 at 10:04 pm

    OOPS…I forgot to add that I put minimal information on the flyerbox fliers, but the property website address is nice and large. I want people to go there for information.

  20. Paula Henry

    June 13, 2008 at 11:51 pm

    This is great info and a wonderful discussion. I use VFlyer for single property sites; It’s easy and allows me to add additional links about the area; schools, government, parks, etc.

    The downside is, once the property has sold, you have no use for the domain, so your work does not live on. A better option would be a blog, such as Jay does, or a page within your blog.

    I have been using the address, which the client loves. I have also bought several specific domain names for both neighborhoods and cities, i.e., IndianapolisHomesandCondos.com, AvonIndianaHomes.com.

    Which is better – a separate blog or a page within my blog. What about pointing a domain name to a page within my blog? I have heard Google does not like to see several domain names point to a blog. Thoughts?

    Jay – couldn’t you keep more than one property on a blogsite? If you have four homes listed in Leisure World, couldn’t you have them all on the one blogsite?

  21. Jay Thompson

    June 14, 2008 at 12:41 am

    “Jay – couldn’t you keep more than one property on a blogsite? If you have four homes listed in Leisure World, couldn’t you have them all on the one blogsite?”

    You betcha! I’d probably just change the first page to have (for example) for short posts, one for each listing that pointed deeper into the site for additional info.

    “What about pointing a domain name to a page within my blog? I have heard Google does not like to see several domain names point to a blog. Thoughts?”

    If they are pointed correctly (with 301 redirects) Google won’t care. The problem is, that you won’t ever get any indexing or ranking on the URL being pointed. It’s basically invisible to Google.

  22. John Sabia

    June 14, 2008 at 7:56 am

    Great post – excellent idea bout generic url names. You gave great examples. Thanks.

  23. ines

    June 14, 2008 at 9:11 pm

    Wow Jay – I have to tell you that I have been trying to figure out how to make these sites more effective and you did it! I’ve done it with only one site and used a keyword rich domain, but never thought of making wordpress blogs interchangeable…..especially when you farm certain subdivisions. The aging domain is genius. THANK YOU!! that should cost me a couple of hours less of sleep per night until I get them right.

  24. Jay McGillicuddy

    June 15, 2008 at 9:58 am

    We took your advice months ago and it has worked very well for us too. We post about the new listing on our outside blog after the listing has been uploaded to the MLS and all the IDX sites have picked them up and then blog about it. This way the newest blog post may get number 1 spot by an address google search and a few days later the blogsite by address moves right up the google ranks. We also have found that by putting the MLS number in the title has helped also as peopl ewill search by MLS number as well.

  25. Bill Gassett

    June 29, 2008 at 7:58 pm

    If your website or blog has page rank and has good placement in the serps why would you spend exta money to create a stand alone site that is not going to be readily indexed. It would make much more sense to promote the listing in area that would receive a high level of traffic.

  26. Susan

    June 29, 2008 at 8:58 pm

    Great brainstorming post. I really like the idea of having a community site and putting various listings on that site while the domain continues to age.

  27. Kay Baker Wilmington NC Real Estate

    August 10, 2008 at 3:33 pm

    Yes, I think you are exactly right about the single property sites. I am now using SPS and they look great , sellers love them, but you do not get any recognition from the search engines. I think the idea of using wordpress for SPS might really be the best idea.

  28. Michael LaPeter

    April 25, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    Good post Jay, that’s a great idea about using resuable domain names instead of just ‘123mainstreet’ etc. I’ve been working on developing my own web app for single property websites, and I think I’ll start suggesting people go with those reusable domains instead.

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Business Marketing

Simple ways to improve your organic reach on Facebook

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Facebook continues to make businesses and pages pay to play, but businesses still have a shot of improving their organic reach, according to experts in the field.

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Facebook open on laptop with white desk and small potted plant, open to organic reach.

Facebook organic reach is not dead, but you will need to work harder to get eyes on your pages. Here’s a rundown of what experts are saying will help you reach your audience. Facebook is still the top social media platform that marketers use and where consumers tend to look for and follow brand pages. So don’t despair!

Those running Facebook business pages have been seeing ever diminishing returns on their effort at getting their content in front of their audiences and fans, especially since around 2016. Yet Facebook remains the #1 platform for building an audience. Once upon a time, Facebook was incredibly fertile soil to grow our entrepreneurial and creative gardens in, at little to no cost to us. Many businesses are seeing a drastic reduction in reach, meaning that a tiny percentage of people are seeing our posts, even among those who follow our pages.

Have you ever heard something like, “The first one’s always free; that’s how they get you”? This has long been a business philosophy to hook prospective customers, used by savvy marketers and drug dealers alike. Facebook went and took that to the next level, introducing an easy-to-use platform where almost anyone could find and engage with their target audiences of customers, fans, members, and more.

Of course, there had to be a reckoning, and now that Facebook has more than 2.6 billion active monthly users worldwide, they continue to change the rules. Consider the amount of users and the amount of posts being made, and it makes more sense that Facebook tries to narrow the audience for any single post to a reasonable chunk. Otherwise, our brains would explode (okay, my words, not an actual medical opinion). Really, you don’t need to reach everybody, because not everybody is interested in what you’re offering. You need to reach the right people who are going to engage and build a smaller, engaged loyal group of diehard customers.

Community is key
Here are some of the latest tips and best practices to increase organic reach in 2021, provided by Facebook pros. Mark Zuckerburg keeps bringing up the concept of community, and the algorithm favors engagement, not only on Facebook, but across platforms. Nobody wants products and services constantly jammed in their faces.

This is a conversation, not a one-way portal into your customers’ brains and wallets. A constant barrage of salesy content, urging people to buy buy buy, grows real tedious real fast. “If you build it, they will come.” Only instead of a baseball field in the middle of nowhere, work to build a community.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Are you creating conversations?
  • Are you using your platform to act as a resource and provide helpful or inside information in your niche or area of expertise?
  • Are you asking your audience what they want and would like to see more of from you?
  • Are you taking current events and trends into account, reacting to local/national/world news at all, and creating timely posts?
  • Are you using a variety of post types (photos, videos, links) and taking advantage of Facebook’s built in post tools?
  • Are you taking data into account for what content people are responding to favorably and when?
  • Do you ever invest in Facebook ads or boosted posts for important content or events?

Find the answer to these questions to reevaluate your strategy, work on promoting a dialogue with your audience, and ideally you will see more engagement on your pages, fruitful interactions that ultimately lead to loyal customers and bigger sales.

Create Conversations
Zuckerburg himself comes back to this point repeatedly in his regular updates on the state of all things Facebook and how the algorithm works, saying Facebook will “prioritize posts that spark conversations and meaningful interactions between people.” Not every industry lends itself to deep thoughts, but it can be simple enough to engage your audience with community questions. People love giving their opinions or talking about a shared interest.

Community questions can be fun, lively, and create fun interaction between your audience and the business. A simple This or That question posted on one of the background color templates can get the conversation started. If people don’t have to invest a lot of time to answer, then great! Depending on the industry, these can be easy one-offs: Red wine or white? Beach vacation or mountains? TikTok or Reels? Mac or PC? Harley Davidson hogs or Kawasaki crotch rockets? Early bird or night owl?

Hot takes, unpopular opinions, are another way to get people chatting. I’m not espousing trying to stir up controversy here, unless that is appropriate for your business, but people get emotional as all get out for something as simple as pineapple on pizza or beans in chili. What’s a popular or common opinion in your field? How can you introduce a hot take to get people chatting? For an entrepreneurial page, you could put out a hot take on a cluttered desk, or making lists, or standing desks.

Sure, these conversations may start out superficial, but who knows? When people begin interacting on your page more, they begin seeing more that you post, and that’s when you can introduce something a little weightier, asking them to share their expertise or advice on a relevant topic.

Become a resource
Whether your business is a science journal, digital marketing, interior designing, or a Texas Hill Country resort, your business and your audience is unique. Real estate agencies have become good at this, so we’ll use them as an example. If you are selling or leasing properties in Austin or San Francisco, sell the area. Don’t only post the properties you’re selling or agent profiles. Post those, yes, but also post industry news and local attractions.

When people are interested in moving to a new city or a new neighborhood or investing in opening a business there, they need to know why the area is attractive. What is the business climate? What are the financial perks associated with living there? What is the area known for (local restaurants, live music hiking trails, swimming holes, no traffic)? Has the area made a list for quality of life, affordability, great job prospects in X industry? Sharing blogs, articles, infographics, videos, and photos highlighting any of these can help your page serve the interests of your target audience. This is a good thing.

Ask your audience
This is a simple tip for keeping things closer to your audience’s interests, helping you identify areas where your page may be lacking–and opportunities for growth, and keeping the conversation going. Be careful not to overuse this one, but it’s an important tool.

  • Try a simple question, such as “What would you like to see more of on this page?”
  • Create a poll, which is much faster to answer, and helps you narrow answers down to what you really want to know.
  • Similar to the community questions, ask them to share something that has helped them. A classic example would be “What is the best entrepreneurial advice anyone has even given you?” Or “Please share some tips to fight procrastination.” Or “What is the top time-saving tool you use in your business (or for scheduling)?” Having your page followers (and hopefully others) chat with each other this way is helpful for them and for your organic reach.

Take current events and trends into account
This one’s simple: Read the room. This goes both ways. If there is renewed interest in, say, downtown lofts or sea shanty dances on TikTok, can you use this momentary heat to bring interest to your page? On the other hand, if there is a natural disaster, tragedy, or financial crash that has caused great suffering in an area? That’s a good moment to review your scheduled posts and delete or postpone anything that could be unintentionally triggering or offensive.

Some types of businesses are better suited to jumping on the latest trend. Do you have a bar or restaurant with a fairly young, social media savvy crowd? Go ahead, Photoshop that Bernie-Sanders-in-mittens image sitting on your patio (only if you can do it as the trend is hitting). Are you targeting an area that has recently been hit by extended power outages? I’m sorry to tell you, but this is not the time to promote that popup restaurant where diners experience eating in the dark.

Mix it up and use native Facebook tools
Of course you want to stay on brand, but please don’t get caught in a rut where all of your posts are one type. Consistency is one thing, but beware that this doesn’t turn into monotony. Assess where you can change things up. Add photos, videos, links to relevant blogs and articles, or community questions. Different people respond differently to different types of input. Use all the tools at your disposal to generate interest, draw people in, and get them reacting to and engaging with your page.

Facebook and all social media platforms have built in tools. They want you to use them. Often, this is a Facebook effort to capitalize on a similar, competing app. Trust me when I say, you will get brownie points (higher reach) when you take the time to use these native tools. Facebook Watch, Facebook Live, Facebook Stories, even using a background color template from the Facebook options, are all ways to show Facebook you’re paying attention and want to optimize the tools they are giving you.

Use provided data
You need to be able to look for patterns, evaluate the factors that made a particular post popular, and know when your customers and followers are likely to see your page and interact with it. Facebook provides a number of insights in the platform, but there are numerous external marketing tools you can purchase or sometimes use for free (depending on how many pages and platforms you are running, and how in-depth you want your data to be).

Posting willy nilly is not the most effective way to be. Decide what data is useful to you and make time to study it, and be willing to make changes to your content strategy based on the data. Like many other aspects of marketing, expanding your organic reach is a mixture of art and science, a balancing act of intuition and cold, hard numbers. Use them.

Consider paying to play
I know, I know, this story is about organic and not paid reach, but the fact is strategically paying for a Facebook ad or boosting a post to highlight a launch, event, special deal, or other important news will bring more people to your page. If the other tips, tools, and best practices referred to here are in place, once they find your page, you have the ability to keep their attention through organic means.

Keep on truckin’
These tips should help you expand your page’s organic reach. More importantly, they should help you build and support a community, earn loyal followers and customers, and generate positive buzz about your business. Keep working on becoming a resource and sharing helpful information. Have fun with it and experiment with new media and types of posts. Know yourself. Know your audience.

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Business Marketing

Buffer’s four-day workweek experiment: Boost or bust?

(BUSINESS MARKETING) After trying out a four-day workweek last year, Buffer is moving forward with the format going into 2021, citing increase in productivity and work-life balance.

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Man working in office with headphones on, making use of flexible four-day workweek.

The typical five-day workweek is a thing of the past for Buffer, at least for now. The company has decided to implement a four-day workweek for the “foreseeable future.”

Last year, the company surveyed its employees to see how they are dealing with the ever-changing landscape of the pandemic and the anxiety and stress that came along with it. They soon learned employees didn’t always feel comfortable or like they could take time off.

Employees felt guilty for taking PTO while trying to meet deadlines. Juggling work and suddenly becoming a daycare worker and teacher for their children at the same time was stressful. So, Buffer looked for a solution to help give employees more time and flexibility to get adjusted to their new routines.

Four-Day Workweek Trials

In May, Buffer started the four-day workweek one-month trial to focus on teammates’ well-being. “This four-day workweek period is about well-being, mental health, and placing us as humans and our families first,” said Buffer CEO and co-founder Joel Gascoigne in a company blog post.

“It’s about being able to pick a good time to go and do the groceries, now that it’s a significantly larger task. It’s about parents having more time with kids now that they’re having to take on their education. This isn’t about us trying to get the same productivity in fewer days,” Gascoigne said.

Buffer’s one-month trial proved to be successful. Survey data from before and after the trial showed higher autonomy and lower stress levels. In addition, employee anecdotal stories showed an increase in worker happiness.

With positive results, Buffer turned the trial into a long-term pilot through the end of 2020. This time, the trial would focus on Buffer’s long-term success.

“In order to truly evaluate whether a four-day workweek can be a success long-term, we need to measure productivity as well as individual well-being,” wrote Director of People Courtney Seiter. “Teammate well-being was our end goal for May. Whether that continues, and equally importantly, whether it translates into customer and company results, will be an exciting hypothesis to test.”

Trial Results

Company Productivity
Buffer’s shorter workweek trials showed employees felt they had a better work-life balance without compromising work productivity. According to the company’s survey data, almost 34% of employees felt more productive, about 60% felt equally as productive, and only less than 7% of employees felt less productive.

However, just saying productivity is higher isn’t proof. To make sure the numbers added up, managers were asked about their team’s productivity. Engineering managers reported that a decrease in total coding days didn’t show a decrease in output. Instead, there was a significant output increase for product teams, and Infrastructure and Mobile saw their output double.

The Customer Advocacy team, however, did see a decline in output. Customer service is dependent on customer unpredictability so this makes sense. Still, the survey showed about 85% to 90% of employees felt as productive as they would have been in a five-day workweek. Customers just had to wait slightly longer to receive replies to their inquiries.

Employee Well-Being
With more time and control of their schedules, Buffer’s survey shows an increase in individual autonomy and decreased stress levels reported by employees. And, the general work happiness for the entire company has been consistent throughout 2020.

What’s in store for 2021?

Based on positive employee feedback and promising company results, Buffer decided it will continue the company-wide four-day workweek this year.

“The four-day work week resulted in sustained productivity levels and a better sense of work-life balance. These were the exact results we’d hoped to see, and they helped us challenge the notion that we need to work the typical ‘nine-to-five,’ five days a week,” wrote Team Engagement Manager Nicole Miller.

The four-day workweek will continue in 2021, but the company will also be implementing adjustments based on the pilot results.

For most teams, Fridays will be the default day off. For teams that aren’t project-based, their workweek will look slightly different. As an example, the Customer Advocacy team will follow a different schedule to avoid customer reply delays and ticket overflow. Each team member will still have a four-day workweek and need to meet their specific targets. They will just have a more flexible schedule.

Companies who follow this format understand that output expectations will be further defined by area and department level. Employees who aren’t meeting their performance objectives will have the option to choose a five-day workweek or might be asked to do so.

If needed, Fridays will also serve as an overflow workday to finish up a project. Of course, schedules will be evaluated quarterly to make sure productivity is continuing to thrive and employees are still satisfied.

But, Miller says Buffer is “establishing ambitious goals” that might “push the limits” of a four-day work week in 2021. With the world slowly starting to normalize, who knows when a four-day workweek might reach its conclusion.

“We aren’t sure that we’ll continue with the four-day workweeks forever, but for now, we’re going to stick with it as long as we are still able to hit our ambitious goals,” wrote Miller.

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Business Marketing

Should your content management system go headless?

(BUSINESS MARKETING) You may be familiar with your typical content management system, but had you heard of a ‘headless’ model? Let’s dig into it together.

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Person using content management system with hands on keyboard and small bit of desktop visible.

At some point, you have probably worked with a content management system (CMS) like WordPress or Drupal. If you haven’t already, you at least know that this computer software is used to manage website content.

But, have you ever heard of a headless content management system before? We didn’t. So, we set out to find out what it’s all about and how beneficial, or not, it can be for your company.

What is headless CMS?

Unlike your classic CMS, headless CMS is a back-end only content management system. It decouples where your content is stored and authored (body) from the front-end where your content is displayed (head).

This CMS isn’t tied to a particular output like a web page. Content is transmitted as data over an application programming interface (API). It’s a content repository that delivers content seamlessly to any device.

Benefits of Headless CMS

More versatile
Headless CMS isn’t your classic “monolithic” CMS so you aren’t constrained to an all-in-one system that might work for websites but not mobile devices.

Content is consumed by customers in more than one place now. Headless CMS provides a more versatile way to deliver multi-channel content to websites, Android and iOS apps, and even IoT (internet of things), like a smartwatch or in-store kiosk.

Businesses will benefit from this because only one back-end is needed to manage and publish content for different services and products.

No need for specialized developers
Developers aren’t tied to a specific programming language or framework. A developer can choose between using Javascript, PHP, Ruby, or any language they prefer.

If you already have a talented developer, you don’t have to scramble to find someone else who specializes in a specific system or language you are moving to. Your current developer can do the job for you in the best way they know-how.

Better Security
Security is important. Not being married to the front-end, headless CMS has a security advantage a regular CMS doesn’t. Usually, content provided to a headless CMS is read-only, and the admin portion lives on a different server and domain.

With the back-end detached from the presentation layer, there is a smaller target area to attack. Also, layers of code can be used to hide the content-delivering API making it safer than a traditional CMS.

Real-time collaboration
With two separate systems, content editors and web developers can work concurrently. This shortens a project’s timeline and helps get your product and services to market quicker. Also, content editors don’t have to spend more time creating the same content for each system. Designers and developers can take care of that.
Downsides of Headless CMS

As with anything, headless CMS isn’t perfect and isn’t for everyone. It has its disadvantages.

More technical
Little technical involvement is called for in a traditional CMS. As a result, the tool can be picked up quickly by almost anyone.

A deeper understanding of CMS, coding languages, and front-end technologies is needed when using headless CMS. You must have a developer that can build the web or app just for you.

Increased maintenance
With the body separated from the head, there are two systems to maintain. Implementation and maintenance could potentially become complex.

Bigger price tag
Building a system from scratch costs time and money. With a traditional CMS, there is one account, and, most likely, one payment. With headless CMS, you’ll have multiple payments for the CMS, a developer, and the infrastructure running your website or app.

Your custom CMS also isn’t coming from a pre-built content management system. All that hard work takes time (and patience) to get it done right.

Conclusion

Headless CMS lets you create a unique user experience and allow for cross-platform publishing, but it isn’t a one-size-fits-all content management system.

Before you jump ships, take inventory of all your content needs. Does your content need to be published on different platforms? Will a simple stand-alone website work for you? Only you can decide what works best with your business, but we hope this information helps.

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