I spent the evening playing with this si…

I spent the evening playing with this site… and I’m finally at a spot where I feel like I can take a break. It’s not perfect, but it’s good enough for the night. :)

The inspiration for changing things up was pretty simple. I really wanted to play with the power of the P2 theme in terms of real-time updates. In order to really take advantage of the way this theme treats comments, I’m positive I’ll also need to start blogging a bit more, which is a darn good incentive…

I also had some specific functionality I wanted with my P2 install… I wanted a WP plugin that 1) authenticates using either Twitter or FB & 2) allows sending of comments to either Twitter or FB.

My main problem is that the few plugins that could do such a thing (like IntenseDebate) came with their own set of baggage or simply didn’t work within the P2 theme (which I’m extremely fond of playing with!)

The end result was that I installed two plugins that appear to play “well enough” together. The first was Twit Connect and the second was Sociable’s Facebook Connect Plugin.

This way, users *can* use either service to “login” before leaving a comment (as well as no service at all!). And while I never could get the “send to twitter” option from Twit Connect working, you’all will be able to send your comments to Facebook should you choose to.

Anyway, there’s lots more I could talk about… including why I’m so fond of the P2 theme… but I’m going to leave this post somewhat simple… and leave my P2 thoughts until I’ve played around a bit more. If you have any thoughts on the changes (or just want to see how the comments update on-screen in real-time), feel free to leave a comment!

10 thoughts on “I spent the evening playing with this si…

  1. Bold choice of themes Dustin. It has a very Twitterish feel about it. I wonder if 2010 will feel more like this as opposed to 2009 which surely was the year of Thesis.

    • Ridiculously great observation Geordie… and I agree that 2009 was the year of Thesis in terms of themes. Personally, I don’t think it’s gonna change much this year, but I’m tired of the huge SEO focus on themes… and think it’s doing more of a disservice to people these days. Most agents, you being one of the obvious exceptions, just aren’t skilled at web analytics and internet prospecting, so when they try to implement blogging strategies that are about google rankings, they set them selves up to fail.

      The flip side is that the vast majority of successful agents are ridiculously great networkers. Get them in a conversation with a group of people, and they’ll find a client or a referral just about every time. I actually think my skills lean that way as well, so I’m hoping to use this platform more for conversations going forward.

      One final thought… When I launched 4realz.net back in 2006, it was ALL about micro-posts (I wasn’t even adding titles to posts!), so this is really my attempt at returning to blogging basics.

      • I’ve toyed with ideas for P2 for some time now. I think it could be valuable for a small brokerage like mine to get a true pulse of what the entire organization is doing. But I’ve always viewed it as a backoffice resource and a bit confusing for public facing as many consumers would be lost in the flow of conversations. I’m glad you’re testing for me ;)

        • Agreed abou the “pulse” nature of P2… and almost all of the implementations that get talked about are back-office in nature. Along those lines, I’m happy to be testing for you! And at least from my perspective: so far, so good! ;)

          • Just coming back to let you know that P2 may get you removed from Google Reader. It’s just too overwhelming via RSS. But I’ll ride it out a few more days for the spectacle ;)

          • Hey… that wouldn’t be any good. Can pretty much promise that the rate of updates over the past few days is definitely not sustainable. Just been playing a lot lately and I’m positive things will slow down soon! ;)

      • IwillnothijackthispostIwillnothijackthispostIwillnothijackthispostIwillnothijackthispost…

        However, your comment about most agents needing a “social” web strategy vs a “search” web strategy (to paraphrase) made me think.

        I think that the reason agents set themselves up to fail with a “search” strategy is the same reason their business doesn’t take off in general. They have no niche and no brand. Most agents sell anywhere and to anyone.

        No one is an expert in “Washington State Real Estate” or even “Seattle Real Estate”. If you want to compete for these terms you better be prepared to stay up late at night and have a big checkbook. But the point is you shouldn’t.

        Focus instead on condos in Ballard or Tacoma Craftsman or Houseboats or Mercer Island retirees.

        I look in my own office and ask myself… what is John’s brand? What does Mary specialize in? The few REO experts stand out, but the for the most part they are all generalists fighting for a peice of the same pie.

        I guess if you don’t have a business plan or strategy (or maybe you just have a huge list of past customers) the social strategy is best. I just wouldn’t recommend it for longterm success or growth.

        • I definitely see where you’re going, but it’s not only the failing agents that don’t generate business from analytics/SEO-style blogging. The vast majority of agents I meet that have a decent business don’t necessarily feel like they have the skills to pull off the niche search strategy you describe.

          Seeing as how you were one of the first real estate bloggers around, I feel like it’s safe to say that many of the technology skills come natural to you, so you may be overlooking just how much there is to learn. But between using the blogging tools, figuring out what to write, setting the time aside to write the content, learning how to promote the content, using the analytics tools to iterate/improve content creation, and figuring out how to optimize your traffic purchases, there really is a lot there. My guess is that it took you all of a few hours to get “good enough” at these various skills and start seeing results, but I can guarantee that’s not the case with most professionals (both inside and outside the real estate space).

          • Here’s a funny tidbit. Guess what I did before I was a blogging real estate agent. Tech? Marketing? Nope.

            I was a backcountry ranger with the National Park Service. I lived in a tent all summer and most of my technology experience was with a solar powered battery charger.

          • Love it Geordie! Obviously, the technology parts just aren’t that hard… My experience is that most folks simply don’t give themselves enough time to play… And play is so darn important because almost no successful marketing strategy works the way it is initially envisioned. You’ve got to play a bit, iterate and improve things.

            I think that most people are just a bit too scared to break things… and while breaking a website or tool is no fun, it’s hard to do too much damage to most online tools/websites! :)

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