2008 Election- Obama/McCain Proposed Policies Explained in Plain English

BusinessWeek published a really great non-partisan article that clearly explains the differences in the two candidates proposed policies. Whether or not you are decided, and especially if you haven’t yet decided, this is simple guide to the man who will soon be our next president…

From the article;

Where the Candidates Stand

As Nov. 4 draws near, many Americans are still undecided about for whom they will cast their vote. While many elections in recent memory have been close, none seems to be quite so momentous. Not only because of the historic implications of electing either the nation’s first black President or its first female Vice-President, but because never before has a Presidential election coincided with such economic uncertainty.

In fact, such previous hot-button issues as Iraq, terrorism, and abortion have been all but forgotten amid the raging debate surrounding America’s, and the world’s, financial health. Unsurprisingly, the candidates differ widely on how they would go about responding to the current crisis, and how their policies would impact voters. To help Americans decide, BusinessWeek takes a close look at John McCain’s and Barack Obama’s positions on taxes, jobs, education, health care, the financial crisis, and retirement. First up, taxes…

I think most Americans will agree that this is among the most important elections of our lifetime. With the economy struggling, major wars in two foreign countries (and the possibility of additional wars), radically different views on taxes, health care, and education, and the difference of a democratic president and congress or not, there are major reasons to feel strongly about this election.

I know I do…

The Most Important Stat to Track on my Website

There are a lot of statistics for me to follow with my website, BlueRoof.com. Some things are interesting to watch (what states people are visiting my site from, what web browsers they use, etc.) and every stat has some value (where to spend marketing, which browsers to optimize my site for, etc) but some stats are more significant for me to watch than others.

There are some stats I watch more than others. Here are the things I check daily:

Overall Traffic (and compare to the following Day, Week, Month)

Unique Visitors (and compare to averages and following Day, Week, Month)

Average Time on Site

Traffic Sources

Now this last one, traffic sources, tells me something very important. In fact it is one of the most important things for me. It tells me how many people are coming directly to my website by typing in the URL, meaning they knew where they were going.

You can see about 70% of my traffic comes from people going directly to my website. This figure continues to grow. Two years ago none of my traffic was direct because I was a new company and website. last year I was reaching for 50% of my traffic to come directly, and now I’m about 70%. And I’m spending about 25% of the marketing I did last year, getting the same amount of traffic and the same amount of leads.

I also check the top ten keywords people searched for to find my website because that also shows me how many people searched for my website. You can see that most of the people who find my website by search engine already knew they were looking for BlueRoof.com.

This is important for me to know because I want to see how many people are being referred to come to my site. Most of the traffic I get to my site now is direct traffic (about 70%) or people who are searching for my site. BlueRoof.com is not a name you would necessarily know to type in to search for homes unless you knew what the website was.

If my marketing budget stays the same and the my traffic rises, or if my marketing budget goes down but my traffic and leads increases then I am getting referral traffic, and that is what I really want because it tells me people like my website enough to refer it to people they know.

My website is very visual so there is not a lot of content (text) for search engines to grab onto and determin rank. I haven’t packed it full of links and text so it is not optimized for search engines at all. And because of that I’ve had to pay for my traffic by using pay per click (PPC). But once people get to my site they enjoy being there and I get business. And I can see that people like it enough that they are referring people to the site.

This tells me that my strategy is paying off. My strategy is not the same as everyone else when it comes to how to design my site and what to put on it. My strategy is to make the experience the best I can for the consumer and they will choose to work with us because we offer them value.

Watch for a new release of BlueRoof.com to launch in a few weeks. We’re making some upgrades in usability, function and information. The most important thing to me is the user experience (design) so I’m excited to add new features to BlueRoof.com while maintaining great design.

Warren Buffet’s Advice- Buy While Others are Feaful

Warren Buffet wrote an article for the New York Times yesterday where he explains where he is putting his money right now and his philosophy on when to be greedy. In short, Buffett says;

“Be fearful when others are greedy, and be greedy when others are fearful.”

It makes sense. The best time to buy is when the prices are low and the best time to sell is when prices are high. Or as Buffett says,

“…if you wait for the robins, spring will be over.

A little history here: During the Depression, the Dow hit its low, 41, on July 8, 1932. Economic conditions, though, kept deteriorating until Franklin D. Roosevelt took office in March 1933. By that time, the market had already advanced 30 percent. Or think back to the early days of World War II, when things were going badly for the United States in Europe and the Pacific. The market hit bottom in April 1942, well before Allied fortunes turned. Again, in the early 1980s, the time to buy stocks was when inflation raged and the economy was in the tank. In short, bad news is an investor’s best friend. It lets you buy a slice of America’s future at a marked-down price.

Over the long term, the stock market news will be good. In the 20th century, the United States endured two world wars and other traumatic and expensive military conflicts; the Depression; a dozen or so recessions and financial panics; oil shocks; a flu epidemic; and the resignation of a disgraced president. Yet the Dow rose from 66 to 11,497.

You might think it would have been impossible for an investor to lose money during a century marked by such an extraordinary gain. But some investors did. The hapless ones bought stocks only when they felt comfort in doing so and then proceeded to sell when the headlines made them queasy.”

This is true in financial and in real estate markets. The best time to buy is when prices are low. Let me say that again- The best time to buy is when prices are low. Currently, prices are low….

BlueRoof.com Wins W3 Awards Again

With BlueRoof.com about to be re-launched  with some cool new features, we are very pleased to announced that the W3 Awards were just announced and we were notified this morning that BlueRoof.com has won some more awards. Last year we won three silver medals, with Zillow taking the Gold for Visual Appeal (the award I really wanted).

This year we take the Gold Medal for “Visual Appeal”

We also won Silver medals for these categories;

Overall Real Estate Website

Homepage

Structure/Navigation

Watch for a new BlueRoof.com to be launching in the next few weeks…

BlueRoof360- Industry Best Realtor Websites, Lead and Client Management

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Custom Websites for the price of a template…

In 2007 we closed 114 homes because of our website. Last year, in 2008, we closed just under 100 without me selling (my buyer team agents did the selling).

While the majority of real estate agents were seeing their businesses slow down significantly and the overall market lose energy, our business has stayed, and is still staying, very consistent.

You may not even want to be a top-producing agent, but I’m sure you wouldn’t mind an extra sale or two each month.  Technology does not take the place of personality and personal contact but, when utilized correctly, it can help us connect with our clients and also bring us new business.

Understand, I am not a technology guy getting into real estate. I am a Realtor (over 14 years) who uses technology very well.

As a real estate agent, if you want to get business from the internet and offer real value to your clients what are your current choices? You can use Point2, Advanced Access, Homes.com or myriad other template websites, you can (even worse) just have a page on your broker’s website, or you can spend a lot of money building a custom website and hope the people building it know anything about real estate and design. This has been the challenge for Realtors and brokers.. until now.

Now, finally, there will be another choice that brings the power and design of a custom website, the newest, innovative technology, a simple and intuitive back-end system, and client services technology, for a price that is lower than many of the templates.

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Enter BlueRoof360

BlueRoof360 costs only $100/month and is a complete online solution for real estate agents and brokers. Attract new business, offer better service for your clients, give more value to the consumer, and grow your team and your bottom line.

I have been the managing broker for several large (100+ agent) real estate offices. I have become a student, learning what consumers like and want when searching for homes. By meeting buyers from my website and working with them I have been able to learn a lot about how to use the internet for real estate over the last five years. And because I am a real estate agent and I have managed, recruited, trained and hired hundreds of Realtors, I understand what real estate agents need and what they like and want.

Paying for a template website because it’s cheap is not always the best approach.

As Greg says, “If 10,000 people exhibit a casual interest in your product, you will have earned nothing, whereas if one person actually buys, you will have earned a huge pay-check.”

Consumers want a better overall experience including value, service, interaction and information. They want to feel as though they are being taken care of but that they have good information and still run the show.

Agents want simple tools that enable them to focus on the relationship and they want business that comes to them without referral fees.

To offer real value to the consumer and get real business from the internet I believe you need to have a few very important pieces that all work together. It all begins with a destination website. Not a form-filled, SEO-crazy, template website, but a website that is designed well, has cutting-edge technology, is fun and easy to use, and has great information for the consumer.

Next you need to know how to drive traffic to your website. How to make it seen and how to make it a place that people will want to come back to again and again, and tell other people about.

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When someone asks for help or requests a showing on a property you need to respond very quickly- 15 minutes or less (under one minute is ideal). You need to have a near-immediate connection. People do not want to wait and they won’t wait. They’ll usually work with the first agent to get back to them.

You need to be able to stay in touch with your leads, clients, past-clients, family, associates and friends. You need to give the consumer (your current and potential clients) excellent service. You need to WOW them.

You need to continue to grow and learn from others who are doing it. 

And it has to be easy. It has to be simple to do. Real estate agents do not like complicated, difficult programs and hours of learning how to use stuff. We like fun, easy and simple.

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BlueRoof360 will give you a custom website. Not a template website, but a custom website. A template gives you pre-defined spaces that you can change text and images in. We give you a custom website and if you ever want to modify or add new pages (you have unlimited pages) you can add them anytime, and it’s simple.

You can have instant chat, videos, podcasting, widgets or whatever you want.

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You’ll also have a complete, but very simple to use, lead and client management system and a notification system. When someone requests to see a property you’ll be notified immediately by text message and email and that person’s information is automatically entered into your lead management system for you. Assign an email keep-in-touch campaign with a click. You can make new campaigns or edit the campaigns and make them your own anytime you want.

We have tried “Top Producer” client management system twice, but both times our team would not even use it because it was so complicated. We paid over $90/month and it just sat there. We’ve designed ours to be simple and easy to use.

You can allow your clients to log in to their own account and see their file. A listing client can see everything you have done on their file and when. They can see when the magazine ad went out and when the sign was ordered and every showing. They can see all the feedback from their showings and your own personal notes. This doesn’t take the place of your personal communication, but it helps you to stay in touch with them even when you are busy and it helps them stay connected to the transaction in a new and interactive way.

Keep doing what you are doing now and just use this to add some extra deals every month. Or go full-out and close hundreds of deals this year from your website. Either way, a long-term online presence will grow your business and give you tools to give better service and value to your clients.

As Jeff, TheXBroker, says…

“So where is the middle ground of killer technology and rePro listing penetration? I think BlueRoof is headed down the right path. Technology (Solvent) + rePro (Solute) = A Solution…one that both consumers and professionals can benefit from.”

The internet is a simple, powerful way to connect with people and grow your business and now BlueRoof360 will give you a simple and powerful way to do it.

To get a quick demo contact us at sales@blueroof360.com or 801-699-6619.

BlueRoof360- Custom Websites at a Template Price…

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Tired of a template website that doesn’t bring you business?

If you are looking for a custom real estate website with lead management (CRM) system and more, contact BlueRoof360 (http://blueroof360.com) at 888-850-4867 Ext#1 or sales@blueroof360.com.

Top States for Unemployment Rates

MSN released a list  of the top states (and the worst) in the country for unemployment rates. With the economy and housing markets around the country feeling the pressure, it’s always nice to know how the local economies are doing. One thing we have all been realizing lately is just how much Real Estate markets and housing affect the economy. There are a lot of issues that go along with a real estate market, for instance, when someone buys a home they put a lot of people to work- their Realtor, the title insurance person, the mortgage lender, perhaps a home warranty person and an inspector, and all of these people work at companies that pay people depending on these services being performed. And then figure in the gas (and the people employed at the gas station) it took to drive the buyers around, the office supplies to write the contracts and fax them, contractor who may have fixed the plumbing to complete the sale and so forth.

Real estate markets have an incredible affect on local economies and it is important for us all to keep the cycles going. Unemployment is obviously a major factor in local economies…

The top five states are;

1. South Dakota
Unemployment rate: 3 percent*
Population: 796,214**
Mean annual wage: $30,460
Top industry: Trade, transportation and utilities (19.9 percent)***
2. Idaho
Unemployment rate: 3 percent
Population: 1,499,402
Mean annual wage: $34,810
Top industry: Trade, transportation and utilities (20.2 percent)
3. Wyoming
Unemployment rate: 3.1 percent
Population: 522,830
Mean annual wage: $34,290
Top industry: Government (23 percent)
4. Nebraska
Unemployment rate: 3.2 percent
Population: 1,774,571
Mean annual wage: $34,300
Top industry: Trade, transportation and utilities (21.1 percent)
5. Utah
Unemployment rate: 3.2 percent
Population: 2,645,330
Mean annual wage: $35,540
Top industry: Trade, transportation and utilities (19.7 percent)