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Why Google may soon label your website SLOW, costing you money

(MARKETING) Google’s putting warning labels on slow sites! If Ads are your bread and butter, the toaster just got thrown in the bathwater…

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google slow warning often due to ads

The rumors about consumer attention spans aren’t 100% true.

Every other article will tell you you have to grab grab grab, because anyone on a smartphone is a goldfish-brained, flashing lights junkie who won’t give your poor company the time you really deserve because they’re too overstimulated to know how good you are for them.

Well, first of all, goldfish actually have such good memories, that they can distinguish one human from another, and learn tricks.

And second of all, we can and do hyperfocus online! The catches are, the content has to be relevant, it has to be interesting, and it has to actually be easy to read.

No, I don’t mean easy to read as in legible, though there’s certainly more I could say about people still using black text on navy blue backgrounds. I don’t mean easy to read as in ‘keep Chaucerian references to a minimum’ either.

I mean easy to read in the purest form: your site and its content needs to actually load in a timely fashion.

I’m blessed with full use of my hands, so I can physically open a book in under a second. But connected to a great source of wifi, even with only one tab open, I can’t always make the same boast of opening a new website on any laptop I’ve ever used, and I definitely can’t say that about sites loading on my phone. Before you start an Apple vs PC/Android war, think about your own experience for a minute. It doesn’t matter what your tech specs are—slow sites are a universal demon!

And because they’re always listening, our Google Overlords have decided to do something about it.

The big G is starting to put the smackdown on sites with crappy loading times by branding them with a big ol’ ‘SLOW’ shame badge in the search results.

That means, even if you’re page one, result one, and the first ad in that little pastel yellow box, you can be passed over just like the losers on page 6 because Google will tell your potential readers visiting your site is buying a ticket to frozen screen town.

That town sucks.

So how do you get ahead of this latest development? You attack what makes your load times slow! The bugbears dragging you down are:

Ads

Videos reiterating what your articles say

Needlessly uncompressed graphics

Ads

Sites unformatted for mobile devices

Large gifs

ADS.

It’s ads, okay, the technical stuff is all easily fixable, but your biggest issue is ads.

As hard as it is to deal with your company not bringing in any cash, it’s even harder for consumers to properly peruse your content without getting hit with a video pop-up, some creepy cleavage-ridden clickbait, an animated banner, a new tab forced open, malware, extra sound, and the creep factor of the sites they only spoke about being right in front of them five minutes later.

It’s more than just distracting and dystopian—ish this brings your site load times to a grinding halt.

If they can’t click away from the ads, or have to wait for them to load before your content shows up while everything sorts itself out, more and more users are opting to hit the back button, or click over to be seduced by a competitor’s faster tab. With a ‘Slow sticker’ slapped on your pages by Google, these rightfully impatient browsers will start scrolling past you entirely.

It’s not just a problem for anyone selling directly either. Even the trusty Snopes is getting hit with my ‘NEXT’ thumb swipes on mobile because whether or not I’m scrolling on my personal porcelain or somewhere someone important might notice I’m bathroom blogging, it’s taking too long to get where I need to be.

Bottom line is this: If you have to have banner ads on your website to keep it afloat, it’s time you took the hours to run some intense QA. It’s up to you to vet the ads you’re allowing on your space, to see how they’re affecting your site’s load times, and to ask yourself if the money you’re getting from plastering your content with extra baggage is worth being skipped over for the next search result in line.

Keep your content in the fast lane, or gamble with rocking the sidewalk. The choice is obvious… but as always, it’s yours to make!

You can't spell "Together" without TGOT: That Goth Over There. Staff Writer, April Bingham, is that goth; and she's all about building bridges— both metaphorically between artistry and entrepreneurship, and literally with tools she probably shouldn't be allowed to learn how to use.

Real Estate Marketing

Recycling dead malls into affordable housing

(REAL ESTATE MARKETING) How do you recycle a building? There are more and more examples each year of the death of the indoor mall, but all that space can’t go to waste.

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empty mall

Like, OhMyGAWD! I totally LIVE at the mall!

I can 86 the localized 90’s-isms for readability’s sake, but the fever dream of having a penny fountain in immediate view when I leave for work could soon be realized at a fraction of the price of purchasing (pfft!) a home, and that’s honestly thrilling.

As we’ve been reading for the past 10-ish years, while the physical retail experience hasn’t flatlined, the concept of the indoor mall has been crumbling just as badly as pre-Amazon edifices themselves.

Usually the answer to ‘What do we do with this huge building we can’t wring any more cash out of’ is keep it around, Ozymandias statue style, to shelter from the eventual zombie outbreak, but there are other options! One small company is working on a big project.

No, it’s not another coffee table book of abandoned mallscapes, even though those ARE incredibly cool. They’re repurposing giant retail spaces into low-income housing!

The project lead, quite rightly assesses that “The [housing] market is screaming out for a solution”, and the entrepreneur hit on it by scoping out malls in already dense, already prime, already…BUILT locations and buying owners out or partnering with them to create the living spaces the elderly, hardship scholarship students, and no-collar/apron class workers need so badly.

“Adaptive reuse” is the name of the game, and I’m ALL about it.

Yours truly is the kind of person who’ll dare you to point out which of my home furnishings I bought new and which were restored from a dumpster dive session, so recycling whole BUILDINGS to serve the most in need makes me all kinds of tingly.

And as amazing as it is, turning former arcades of excess into spaces to celebrate on the wider portions of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is neither a new concept, nor an isolated one.

A few years back, McAllen, TX converted a dead Walmart Supercenter into an amazing library. Here in Austin, the famously be-curfewed Highland Mall was made over into a huge community college! I love stopping by for voting and watching community theater just as much as I Ioved the rock-bottom sales that hit as everything cleared out…even if I never DID figure out what they did with the much-coveted gates in front of that empty Hot Topic.

It’s awesome. Cities are also looking at buying out hotels to turn the already-livable structures into stable, COMFORTABLE housing for anyone living on the streets. Empty swimming pools become the centerpieces in community-run skateparks! Cracked, empty parking lots can be unpaved, converted to neighborhood gardens, and made into paradise again!

When you have the will, the cash, and the necessary bulldozer operating licenses, nothing’s impossible, especially when it comes to securing community health/wealth! And considering the rising cost of living in urban areas is driving the much-needed service sector out FAST, ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ in realty, needs to be a reality ASAP.

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Real Estate Marketing

Real world marketing examples from successful companies

(REAL ESTATE MARKETING) Harry Dry has created an approachable resource for marketers, with articles covering subjects from titles, to SEO, and even video games

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Harry Dry marketing site

Anyone who’s ever had to sit down to write a marketing email to a few thousand strangers to convince them to buy, participate, or give, knows what an absolute pain it can be. There are all sorts of factors at play when you send out an email campaign, often leaving questions unanswered. For example “if you can even get a click into the email, how do you keep their attention and generate the right response?”

London marketing writer Harry Dry has some thoughts on topics like this that are sure to pique a marketer’s interest, and they’re all found on MarketingExamples.com, a site Dry launched last June to organize his weekly marketing advice e-mails into one categorized, searchable resource.

With more than 50 articles posted since the site’s inception, Dry has covered areas like SEO and signaling, ad strategies (such as PPC and email campaigns), branding, and even content and conversion.

Here are just a few topic-specific links Dry has covered on his website:

Marketing tools are damaging your SEO. And how to fix it provides a step-by-step how-to on working with analytics to improve and change things up.
How Fortnite changed the way video games were marketed isn’t just a trendy nod. Instead, it looks at how to use the creator’s (Epic Games) strategy of flipping the standard growth funnel.
How to write a landing page title is a nice do-this, not-that reminder about going back to basics.
• And while it’s an old example, How to get Tom Hanks on your podcast just showcases once more, in perfect Corona font type, what an awesome guy Tom Hanks really truly is, while simultaneously nudging you to think creatively about your approach.

Dry keeps it simple too, peppering each post with engaging real-world examples. And while he hasn’t reinvented the marketer’s wheel, he has created a good go-to resource for case studies, ideas, and basic advice.

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Real Estate Marketing

Study: Marijuana legalization has no negative effect on property values

(REAL ESTATE MARKETING) Wondering how the growing legal marijuana business has changed the real estate world? The National Association of Realtors® has answers!

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marijuana worker

Recently, Illinois became the 11th state to legalize marijuana. 33 states – including Utah, of all places – allow for the use of medical marijuana. No doubt, Illinois won’t be the last in this train of legalizations, which have started to bring up a number of changes for various industries. When it comes to real estate in particular, there are real questions about what this means for the future.

Jessica Lautz, Director of behavioral and demographic trends at National Association of Realtors® (NAR), explains the importance of studying the effects of legal marijuana on the real estate industry: “Whether it is influencing property values, the number of all-cash purchases or demand for various types of commercial properties, it is clear that this billion dollar industry is making an impact.”

Thankfully, the NAR has put in the work to begin to answer some of these questions. Their brand new survey – which you can access here – collected responses from about 4,000 NAR members who operated in states with some form of legalized marijuana usage, whether medical or recreational. They provide insights into changes the industry is facing and may continue to face as marijuana usage spreads.

The survey explores facets of commercial and residential real estate, including the effects of owning property near a dispensary, how often tenants grow their own marijuana and whether or not a home is harder to sell if the inhabitants were smokers, among other issues. NAR provides the statistics in easy to digest text snippets and graphs, making the study an accessible read for anyone hoping to gain a better understanding of the shifting industry.

If you’re worried about the budding marijuana industry (sorry about the pun) negatively affecting your business, you can breathe a sigh of relief. While some people have reported increased troubles surrounding the intersection of marijuana and real estate, most surveyed insist there has not been any noticeable change! Aside from a few tweaks here and there for how business operates, it appears to largely be smooth sailing for realtors.

Interested in learning more? You can check out the full survey report at the NAR’s site.

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