Archive for the ‘WordPress’ Category

Selling with a Blog, Part II

June 26th, 2011 No comments

Selling with a BlogLast Thursday, I posted a video from, Selling with a Blog that featured Howard Howell’s presentation at WordCamp Seattle 2011. In it, Howard gives his reasons why he thinks using a blog to sell whatever it is you sell is a good idea.

I agree with Howard that using a blog to sell whatever is a great idea, but just how do you apply it to selling homes off a retail lot or in a land lease community?

Basically, the same way you’d use it to sell pizza, cars, site-built homes, widgets or anything else you can think of.

The most basic rules of selling haven’t changed. But the method of getting prospects into your location to begin the selling process has. Some time-honored methods, such as newspaper advertising, Yellow pages ads and such just aren’t working in most markets anymore and their continued decline is assured.

While smart businesses continue to use legacy marketing methods for as long as their return exceeds their cost, now is the time to begin looking at the ways marketing to prospects will be done now and in the future.

Old-style websites were static and were updated rarely, if at all. That type of website is still useful for organization static data, such as image galleries, product information, floorplans, feature lists, etc.

But without a dynamic, relationship-building component, it won’t be nearly as effective as it could be.

And that relationship-building component, while composed of several items, finds its anchor in a dynamic, ever-changing website known as a blog. I’ve defined what a blog is several times before, but for the benefit of those who’ve missed it. I’ll define it again:

A blog (short for weblog) is a series of web posts (articles) arranged in reverse chronological order. That’s it – it’s that simple.

But in that definition is the secret of a blog’s success as a lead generation tool.

The simple fact that you need to keep your blog updated on a regular basis gives you that many more opportunities to strike a chord with a segment of your readers. And the more of those chords you strike with potential customers, the better your chances of making a sale.

So what do you write about? I’ve covered this in previous posts, but it bears repeating. If you’re blogging for a community, write about everything that happens in and around that community.

Profile residents who do something special, feature residents hobbies or their efforts to improve their homesites, review area restaurants, community events, etc. Use your imagination and you’ll never run out of ideas.

Be sure to link your blog to you Twitter and Facebook accounts, place some videos on YouTube and use them in your blog posts, place ads for available homes or homesites on Craigslist with a link back to your website.

And this goes for retailers as well – every home in your community or on your lot should be photographed and posted to your blog, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. When you sell a home, photograph the happy new owners with or in their new home.

Get releases from everyone in those photographs and use them.

Never miss an opportunity to tell your own story over and over again until it becomes an expectation. You’re the best at what you do, right? If you are, let the world know. If you’re not, find something else to do.

Selling with a Blog

June 22nd, 2011 No comments

Howard Howell, that Sales Guy, speaking at WordCamp Seattle 2011.

5 Reasons Why MH Retailers and Communities Should Be Using WordPress

June 4th, 2011 No comments

WordPress LogoWhether you call your business a Manufactured Home Community, a Land Lease Community or a Mobile Home Park, or call your sales lot a Manufactured Housing Retail Store or Mobile Home Dealership, or anything else for that matter, there are five (5) very good reasons you should be using WordPress as the keystone of your online marketing strategy.

1. Simple installation and setup

No one needs an online marketing solution that is difficult (expensive) to install, update and maintain. If you do it yourself, it is that much more of your time that gets eaten up – and, of course time is money. If you use a professional to do it, that hourly billing on a difficult platform will eat you up.

In my opinion, WordPress is the simplest solution for the needs of clients like manufactured housing communities and retailers. It is much more cost-effective than comparable solutions for use as a Content Management System (CMS) and is just plain easier to administer.

2. Ease of Use

Most CMSs don’t require you to learn HTML or PHP code to use them. That is their beauty. Anyone who can create a letter in MS Word, OpenOffice or any other word processor can create or update a web page using a CMS.

What makes WordPress stand above the rest is the simple, clean interface used to create or update a page or post. The community responsible for the maintenance of the WordPress application has spent hundreds of thousand of hours developing the platform.

Because of the community development model, there is no direct profit motive to blind the development team to flaws that need correction. Likewise, there is a tremendous pool of talent constantly working to improve the product.

3. Out-of-the-Box Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

It is the very nature of WordPress’s roots that cause it to be a superior SEO tool right “out-of-the-box.” With all it’s inherent benefits, plugin developers have added their own contributions to WordPress’s SEO abilities creating the world’s premier CMS when it comes to building your Search Engine Ranking.

4. Flexibility (there’s a plugin for that)

Just there are WordPress plugins to help with SEO, there are WordPress plugins that extend the platform to do a myriad of things unimagined by the original developers at WordPress’s conception.

You’ve see the Apple ads – “There’s an app for that” – with WordPress it’s “there’s a plugin for that.”

There are so many plugins for WordPress that you’d be hard-pressed to find something it can’t do.

Most plugins are simple enough for most users to install and configure and are certainly within the skill set of any WordPress developer.

5. Saves you money while it makes you money

The best things about WordPress is that it is Open Source, which means you can you use it freely without any cost or licensing fees. The same holds for many themes (templates) and plugins.

If you require a special plugin or theme, they can usually be acquired at a reasonable cost. And the sheer ubiquitousness for WordPress ensures that if your web developer quits the business, gets hit by a bus or moves back to South Africa, you will find it fairly easy to find someone to take up the job.

So let’s go over the benefits of WordPress one more time:

  • Simple
  • Easy
  • Powerful
  • Flexible
  • Open Source

I’ve been in the web development and marketing business for fifteen years and that checklist is something I waited to have in one product for a long time.

To paraphrase former New Jersey Governor Tom Kean, “WordPress and you… perfect together.”

Mortgage Calculator Plugin for WordPress

February 24th, 2011 No comments

If you’ve taken my advice and begun a new website using WordPress or have added a self-hosted WordPress blog onto your traditional website, I have a plugin here that will help your home buyers get a handle on the possible costs of a loan to purchase a home.

Mortgage and Loan Calculator Plugin tabs

Mortgage and Loan Calculator Plugin tabs

Called the Mortgage and Loan Calculator plugin, it places a widget in one of the WordPress sidebars with an attractive tabbed calculator. In the settings panel, you can set the Mortgage or the Local tab as default (the one in front when the widget loads) or specify that only the Mortgage Calculator or Loan Calculator are available.

Mortgage and Loan Calculator Plugin Graph

Mortgage and Loan Calculator Plugin Graph

This means for instance that a real estate agent, broker or investor could choose to just offer the Mortgage Calculator, or a manufactured home community or retailer or an auto dealer could choose to offer only the Loan Calculator.

Mortgage and Loan Calculator Settings Panel

Mortgage and Loan Calculator Settings Panel

Other settings include choice of the widget calculator title (seprrate from the widget title), width of the display, language and currency symbol.

Choosing which Mortgage and Loan Calculator to add to your site

To see a working version of the Mortage and Loan Calculator, visit the website.

You can download the plugin from the WordPress Plugin Directory or you can install it directly from your WordPress admin area. If you install from the admin area search for “Mortgage Loan Calculator”. The one described in this article is marked in the illustration below, although both listed calculators have 5-star ratings.

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WordPress 3.1, lots of fun

February 23rd, 2011 No comments

This release features a lightning fast redesigned linking workflow which makes it easy to link to your existing posts and pages, an admin bar so you’re never more than a click away from your most-used dashboard pages, a streamlined writing interface that hides many of the seldom-used panels by default to create a simpler and less intimidating writing experience for new bloggers (visit Screen Options in the top right to get old panels back), and a refreshed blue admin scheme available for selection under your personal options.

via WordPress › WordPress 3.1, lots of fun.

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