All posts by Michael Montez

Webapps are still a good idea

several ipads used as kiosk

Webapps were the future. Steve Jobs and Apple originally wanted the iPhone to use web pages as Apps. Then people started throwing billions of dollars at Apple so they said Apps were the way to go. However, you can still turn your simple website into a standalone iOS App using some simple META DATA.

This article on using the iPad as a Kiosk is a great starting point. I took incorporated the tips into my site (michaelmontez.com) and you can now save the page as an App.

  • Hid the browser chrome (URL bar and buttons) using <meta name="apple-mobile-web-app-capable" content="yes" />;
  • Created a bookmark icon for the home screen and linked to it using <link rel="apple-touch-icon" href="/path/to/icon.png" />;
  • Set the color of the status bar (the options are black, gray or black translucent) using <meta name="apple-mobile-web-app-status-bar-style" content="black" />;
  • Made all events touch events, as opposed to hover events, to accommodate the limitations of the touchscreen.

The iPad was originally all about webapps. For that reason, you can still turn any webpage/site into an app, no Apple approval required.

Read the full article at Smashing Magazine

UPDATE – once you try this, you will find that you site links open in a new Safari page. You can prevent this by adding the script found here: https://gist.github.com/1042167

Starting Over

Person on BMX bike

Image by Matze Meyer of Stock.xchng

The theme of today’s post is ‘starting over.”

I was looking for a new default, minimalist, WordPress theme based off the Twitter Bootstrap code. I couldn’t find one I liked…so I started building my own…from scratch…it’s hard. After a week or so, I began to get frustrated with the process (I am not a great PHP developer, but I also don’t pretend to be one) and started looking again for a new default, minimalist, WordPress theme…etc., etc.

When I was 13 I found a BMX bike frame in the street. It was white, wheel-less, handle-bar-less, it was just a frame. I thought this would be a great opportunity to start over and build a custom bike. I purchased a killer chain, handle-bars, mushroom grips, and freewheel gears. It was going to be an epic ride. But then I received a new BMX bike as a gift and the parts of my epic ride still haunt the garage of my parents home in Southern California.

I went to college for three years before I really knew what I wanted to do as a career. I started as an environmental engineering student. I (kinda) made it through my first year. The second, and third year were at a series of community colleges. During one of my required classes, I realized that completing the classes and transferring to a college was more work than benefit. At the end of that day, I dropped out of that community college and enrolled as a new student at California State University, Fullerton. I was starting college over.

I was an advertising major (creative track). My mind was focused. I was determined to finish this time and I did. But I never worked for an ad agency or created any ads for any companies. Instead, I develop, code, and market websites.

When websites are done correctly, they are great pieces of advertising. If you need a website, you should spend some money to have it made (I know someone good). You could teach yourself HTML and CSS. You can take a class on Internet Marketing, SEO, SEM, and graphic design. It’s hard…you’ll just end up starting over…with a professional website builder…like me.

Yes – I found a base theme. It’s The Bootstrap and it’s built and maintained by Konstantin.

The left eye is worse than the right eye.

Eye Exam

Got an eye-exam this week. They took pictures of my eyes. I turned the pictures into this graphic. Please feel free to use it for your kids birthday or wedding invitation.

The left eye is worse than the right eye.

How to quiet your friends on Facebook

Do you have 100+ “friends” on Facebook? Do those 100+ friends post a lot of junk? Do some of those friends post more crap than quality? Well, you can filter your Facebook friends and only show “All Updates,” “Most Updates,” or “Only Important Updates.” What does this mean to you? Well, you know that uncle that only post game updates…now you can say, “only show me the important stuff.” And for your lover, you can select, “All Updates,” and you will never miss a post.

In your friend feed, you can hover over the news items of the person you would like to edit. On the right, you will see a little “down arrow.” Click the arrow and you will get a menu of options for this friend.

The first section will increase/reduce the amount of post you see from this person. You can also select “unsubscribe from…” This will allow you to not see anything from this person…but stay “friends.” Take that MOM!

Online Real Estate Marketing

House For Sale - Clipart

Online Marketing

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) will happen naturally with correct code and proper content. When you build with the user in mind, correct SEO will be achieved naturally.

A pretty website is useless if no one can find it. SEM (Search Engine Marketing) is a (huge) waste of a marketing dollars unless you create landing pages, research hundreds of keywords and segments, and target mobile and desktop separately. SEM is a business among itself. Be careful with SEM, you can burn through a lot of money quickly if you do it incorrectly, but you have to use it.

Online, perfect is the enemy of good. If you are waiting for site perfection…you will never launch your site. Your website is a constant work in progress. The medium allows for it and most people do not use it in this way. A pretty site with no useful features is worse than an ugly site with a great home search tool. Your site will never “be done” because it will always be getting better. The same is true for your online marketing. You can always make it better.

Offline Marketing

All marketing is track-able and metrics can be assigned to each items. You can see how much money, calls, leads, request, etc. came from each piece of online and offline marketing. You can then determine your ROI and adjust your ad spend. If you buy a newspaper ad, it will point to a landing page. If you send out a piece of direct mail, it will go to a landing page. The URL on your business card will go to a landing page. EVERYTHING GETS ITS OWN LANDING PAGE.

Social Media

You need to establish, build, maintain, and interact with you social media contacts using the same tools they use. This large amount of work is often overlooked and is what kills 90% of the people who start in the space. In addition, you must keep up to date with emerging trends in the social media space and evaluate the usefulness before diving in. Example: tools like Pinterest could be useful in the real estate space, but it’s a closed beta at this time and there are copyright concerns for some people. However it would be a great way for people to save properties from your site.

Email Marketing

One of the best ways to reach people is direct mail. Online, direct mail is email. You should send out a weekly newsletter with information about the market, new homes, recently sold’s, etc. The email does not need to be super fancy. Well formatted plain text works pretty well actually.

The Website

A real estate agents (brokers) website needs to be easy to use and easy to update. No one should be tied to a specific site builder. Instead, a site needs to be tied to an open-source platform. Available platforms include WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla. Tying your site to the platform allows you replace your site builder if (s)he can no longer maintain your website. The focus of your site is not the Agent (broker), but on the tools for buyers (MLS search) and sellers.

If you focus on buyers, your homepage needs to speak to first-time home buyers. If you focus to sellers, your homepage needs to focus on how you help the seller (technology, online/offline marketing, etc.). If your “focus” on both buyers and sellers, you need to separate you homepage into areas for both (example: microsoft.com).

Features for sellers

  • Their property featured on a high traffic, well SEO’d website
  • Property featured on a Adwords driven website
  • Homepage presence with custom landing page for each property
  • Google Adwords campaign for each property
  • Microsoft ad center campaign for each property

Features for buyers

  • Search by map (free form)
  • Advanced search (free form)
  • Predefined searches (neighborhood, prices breakdowns, property types)
  • Save searches
  • Auto send, drip sends
  • Buyers resources (calculators, area reports, neighborhood guide, recommended properties)
  • Open house finder
  • Neighborhood sections with links to properties