The Secret Sauce

I recently read a post by a popular blogger named Andrew Spence regarding how important time on site is for your SEO rankings.   Andrew states that the two biggest metrics Google looks at are “time” and “click throughs.”   You can ready the full post here.

This post touches on something I have been talking about for a long time now:  Create a better user experience AND content than the other guy, and more and more visitors will come to your site.

Sure it might take some time and effort, but if you provide the same content as the other guys and you pull it from the same source (the MLS), then how in the world are you ever going to differentiate your website from anyone else.  Last I heard, Zillow had $400 million in the bank…so you can’t compete there.  Yet Zillow, Trulia,, your company website, and all of your competitors pull the same content from the MLS and regurgitate it in slightly different ways.

Where is the secret sauce?

I may be biased, but I think the Interactive Floor Plan Tours and some of the advanced things you can do with them are the secret sauce of the online real estate marketing world.   One place you can compete on is a better user experience and content.  We know from research buyers want to see floor plans.   They rank right behind photos as the top 2 content items desired for a listing.  They can also generate 30% more interest and even more commissions for agents.  Use the valiable content created for your tours to lure people to your site and keep them longer.

Easily add embedded content on your website or blog

Easily add embedded content on your website or blog

To help with the time on site issue, we offer embedded tour content for your site.  Think of how you can embed a YouTube video on a blog….it is basically the same thing.  We offer “embed code” via our Embeddable Tour tool and our  WordPress Plugin where all you have to do is copy and paste the code into a page or a post to add the whole tour, or just parts of it, right into your website.   We offer a pop-over tour, or an embedded in-line tour option.   With both of these options, the user is technically still on your site.  No clicking a link and taking the user away to another tab (which means they leave your site…hopefully to come back).  While it is technically content not hosted by your site, the fact the user does not leave your site and stays longer is very good for your SEO, regardless.


If you just put a link or button to virtual tour, two things happen. 1. The user is LEAVING YOUR SITE.  Bad.  2. Each click means you are losing 50% of your audience. Bad.

Give ’em the Sauce!
So show your website visitors the great content you created with – the secret sauce – right on your pages….and don’t hide it so half of your audience, or more, never sees it.   Click here to see our embedded tour content live in action and read more about how to set things up. Or just click on the floorplan image to pop our pop-over tour! You can use our Pop-up Tour widget and put it anywhere, just like I did in this blog post, or in a sidebar widget area, etc.  This is a great option if the content area for your page is narrow (like 600 pixels or less).  Just use our button (you can upload your own as well) and when clicked, it pops the larger window over your site so you can maximize the view based on the user’s screen, not limited by your website layout.

Plus, with our new lead capture system coming soon, you will be able to capture leads in more places throughout the web.  Something you can’t do with any other marketing medium.  Click here to read more on our upcoming Lead Capture enhancements.

New Photo Uploader Option

We recently made an update to our photo uploader tool to add a new Flash upload option. The default uploader is a Java-based program that requires Java to run and work on your computer. While 98% of computers have Java installed, there are some recent issues due to security concerns, and users of Apple computers are periodically experiencing issues where they can’t upload with this version, because Apple blocks Java from running on the Mac, at times. In addition if you are a Mac user and use Chrome as your browser of choice, the Java based uploader does not work because Chrome is a 32 bit application, and Java is a 64 bit application for the Mac.

So…we added a new Flash uploader that uses Adobe’s Flash tools to upload photos. It works pretty good, you just do not see your file structure initially. You need to click the button to +Add More Files, navigate to where you have the photos stored on your computer, and then you can use the SHIFT key (start at the first photo and then hold the key down, and click on the last photo to select all photos in that folder) or the CTRL key (hold the CTRL key and then just click photos you want to upload to highlight them) to select various photos. You will then see them added into the upload window. Then just upload.

You can also use the Web Uploader where you select one photo at a time, if all else fails.  This option does support the uploading of zip files too, so you can compress your images and upload.


Single Property Virtual Tour Updates

I am really excited to announce some cool updates to the Single Property Website Tour.  Click here to see a sample tour.

Updates include:

  • Centering of the tour on any web page (it used to be left justified)
  • Better fitting of the content to eliminate scrolling of the main content area
  • Cool wrap around styling of the content section headers
  • Ability to change the overall background color…so now you have two colors to showcase your brand and enhance the look of the tour.  It makes the content really pop!
  • Ability to upload a background image – this could be the image of the property, a view of the area, or a custom branding image featuring your logo.  For now, the custom background image only shows on the branded tour.

You can make these changes on a tour by tour basis, or in your profile to have them apply to all future tours.

A little tip.  If you use Google’s Chrome browser, you can install a free “color picker” tool that allows you to get the color code for any color on any web page.   Click here for a list of programs you can install for free to get the color code.   Once you have the code, go to Edit Details on the Manage Tours page for a tour, or Edit Profile, and put the color either in the background 1 or background 2 spot.  You can also do this for text.  For example, this green is the color code #878f55

It is really simple to do and is another way you can really showcase your brand.  The next training session will go over some advanced tour customization tricks.  Click here to register…it is FREE!

2.0 tourWe would love to hear feedback….please comment or post something in our support forum.

3D Plan Images

3D Plan Images

Exciting News!  One new cool feature of the new floor plan drawing tool with real-time editing is the ability to generate photo-realistic images of floor plans, right within your account.  Just edit the plan how you want by adding in more details and features, like beds, couches, rugs and more, save your changes, and then select the 3D Render option under the Share icon.   Enter in your email, pick a size of the image and the plan orientation, and add a top color to the walls, if you want.   You will get some images like this view below.   Pretty cool!

PS. we also added a link called Corrections & Notes, which takes you to the old plan editing tool…if you are more comfortable with that.  But we highly encourage the new Edit FloorPlans tool because you can change text, add a missing door or window, save, and update your tour, flyer and more within minutes!  No more waiting!

WordPress Plugin LIVE!

We just released an enhancement to our cool new embeddable tour widget – a WordPress Plugin! The plugin makes it easier to add your tour content to your WordPress powered website. There are no configuration options for the plugin on your WordPress site.  Just follow the instructions below to add the plugin to your site, and then all configuration options for the tour content are done within your FloorPlanOnline Account.

If you do not have a website powered by WordPress, you can ignore this whole post!

Plan as a Button

We also added a new option to show the actual floorplan image of the listing as the button for the pop-up tour, so you can put some “eye candy” on your site.  Try it here by clicking the image. 

This enhancement is a great way to showcase your listing content, keep users on YOUR site, and give buyers what they really want to see – FloorPlans!

Help Video

You can view the help video on how to use the embeddable content widget by clicking this image (or go to Help Videos under Support).

There are a few steps to get started

1. You need to first download the WordPress plugin. You can download it here (or there is a link on the Embedded Content page in your FPO account).

2. Go to your WordPress admin login, select Plugins and Add New.   Find the plugin you just downloaded (probably will go to your Downloads folder on your computer), and then upload it to your website, then Activate it.

3. Login to your FloorPlanOnline account, go to Manage Tours, and then click the Photos & Marketing tools link to get to the Marketing Center. Then click the Embeddable Tour Content button.

4. Once there, check the box to Use on a WordPress website, configure how you want the content to show, and then just copy and paste the short code into your page or post where you would like the button or the tour content to show. IMPORTANT – Select the HTML tab right above the post or page content BEFORE you paste the short code….if you do not, then WordPress may add additional information to the code that will not make it work properly.  Also, some plugins may conflict with our plugin.  Right now, we are aware that the Shortcodes Ultimate plugin causes our plugin for the embeddable tour to not work.  We are looking to fix this, but just disable plugins and refresh your page if you have this problem, and notify us of the plugin causing the problem and we will review for a potential fix.
5. When ready, hit Publish.  The short code should display the content in your site. More instructions about how to edit the content options are on the Embeddable Content page.