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Then you should be signed up for rebarcamp Atlanta.  Tickets are only $17.50… and that is for a FULL day of learning, sharing and networking with the most tech savvy agents and real estate professionals in the Atlanta area, and from around the Southeast.  AND, there are tickets available right now for just $10, with the “Almost Early Bird” special.

Many real estate “technology events” are really commercials for their sponsors.  After paying $50 or $100, you get to sit in a room as the sponsoring vendors parade across the stage telling you about their newest, coolest techno-must-have… that you can sign up for at the table in the back for a mere $499/year.

rebarcamp is VERY different.  At an average rebarcamp event, participants share what is working for THEM in their markets.  Sure, there are sponsors, and they are talking about their products, many of the sponsors are not involved in selling directly to agents…

But the big thing that differentiates an average tech event and rebarcamp is that rebarcamp is more tuned to participation.  Attendees decide what sessions should be featured.  They lead most of the sessions.  It is built upon attendees sharing… sharing challenges and solutions… rather than being built on presentations.

So, if you are a real estate professional, and you can make it to Atlanta on October 28th, rebarcamp Atlanta is the place you need to be.

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WordPress is a great Content Management System (CMS).  It can be a blog, but it can also be so much more.  It can be a VERY easily updated website as well.  But in order to really get the most out of WordPress, you need to deploy a few plugins that aren’t included with the basic package.  Luckily, they are all free.  I have 40 active plugins on LaneBailey.com and 20 here.  And all of the plugins listed below are on both sites.

These aren’t limited to just real estate sites… they can be used by anyone, especially those utilizing WordPress as a business website.

Here they are in no particular order…

  1. All in One SEO Pack*.  If you are blogging for business or to get noticed, you will need to be optimized for search engines.  This plugin, after it is set up, handles a lot of the drudgery of SEO.  You still need to provide the killer content, though…
  2. FaceBook Share.  There are a variety of ways to do this, but the basic point is that FaceBook is second only to Google in importance for growing your site.  You NEED to have a way for readers to easily share your killer content with their friends.
  3. Facebook logo
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    MobilePress.  This is a plugin that builds a mobile version of your site.  You can tweak the mobile version so that it is faster and easier for mobile users.  And the growth in mobile web surfing is astounding.

  4. TAC (Theme Authenticity Checker).  If you like to use free themes, this is a great plugin that will look through the theme for potentially malicious or junky scripts.  If it does catch something, it isn’t always completely bad code… but it is a good prompt to look into it further.
  5. SoJ Tag Feed.  Turn any post tag into a RSS feed.  This is great for sending some of your content to your other sites.  It is also a great way to have a feed that is targeted for a specific audience (like maybe a different feed for buyer and sellers).
  6. WordPress Editorial Calendar*.  I’m writing this post a few days before it is going live.  I usually try to have anywhere from 3 to 10 posts in queue at any given time.  This allows my blog to be more consistent.  With the WP Editorial Calendar, I can look and see at a glance when I have posts scheduled to run.  If I had other bloggers, I could also see who is posting what… and when.
  7. This icon, known as the
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    WP-DBManager*.  This allows you to inspect, repair and optimize your databases from right within the WordPress admin panel.  But, it also allows you to get scheduled back-ups.  You HAVE to have back-ups coming in regularly in case there is a problem.

  8. Zemanta*.  This is one of the plugins that I leverage more than any other.  It allows me to easily find and use images and related articles.  I can use just my own or I can use items from around the web.  One word of caution, though… KNOW if it is content you are allowed to use.  The articles are generally not a problem (they are just linked), but you CAN get into trouble with images.
  9. Page Link To.  This allows you to build a “holder page” so that you can link in the menu to items outside of the WordPress installation.  If you have a squeeze page, sales page or other site that you want included in your menu, this is the way to do it.
  10. Blog Copyright (by BTE).  If you don’t protect your content, nobody else will.  This doesn’t keep it from being stolen, but it keeps the reasonably honest people honest… and can make it easier to find the scrapers that steal it.

 

The plugins with a “*” after them are the ones that I think EVERYONE needs to have on their blog.  These are the ones to grab first.  I would have a hard time blogging without these…

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What do you think?  What plugins do you find essential?

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Some of you might know that I blog on a couple of other platforms…  In addition to my Active Rain blog and ‘Outside Blog’, I have a couple of WordPress blogs, and a couple of Joomla sites.  I try to produce around 15 original posts each week, spread across my 6 sites.  I also ‘re-purpose’ some content from one site to another.  All in all, I put up around 23 posts (originals and re-purposed).

The ONLY way I can do all of that is by maintaining a serious “To Do” list, and (where possible) a detailed editorial calendar.

Previously, I was using MS Outlook for the To Do list, but have moved to Toodledo (web) and Got To Do (Android).  They sync together, and help keep me on top of the list.

WP Editorial CalendarOn my WordPress blogs, I have WP Editorial Calendar.  There are a couple of reasons that I use it…

  • It gives me a visual representation of my post scheduling.  Unlike looking at a list of drafts and scheduled posts, I can also see what day of the week the posts are to appear.
  • Moving posts from day to day is VERY easy.  It is drag and drop.  That means that even if I have a bunch of posts set up for the next week, if there is breaking news, I can easily re-arrange the posts to work in the now one.
  • I can draft posts directly from the calendar.  Honestly, I don’t… I prefer the full editor over the one that pops up for posting from the calendar.  But, if I wrote shorter posts, I might utilize the pop-up editor more.

These seem like simple things, but being able to conveniently schedule posts in the future, and efficiently move them around as needed is huge.  The time savings, and organizational value from the editorial calendar much higher than I expected.

It has pushed me to a goal of having my posts laid out up to two weeks in advance.  With the flexibility of being able to move posts around quickly and easily, I don’t feel locked into the the schedule.

To really make (blogging) life easier, being able to deploy this tool over several sites would rock.  In fact, even being able to use this kind of tool on Active Rain (with future post scheduling) would hit the level of ‘rocking’…

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@NCMusicFactory was a great Venue for REBCCLT
Image by BeeRealty via Flickr

Not kinda… but fully on.

1 October, 2010

The venue is set to be the Gwinnett Braves Stadium… but that could change.  It will run from about 9:00am until around 5:00pm… a full day of real estate technology and social media training, learning and sharing.  Check the website.

If you’ve never been to a rebarcamp…

They are really cool events.  They are billed as ‘the unconference’ because so much runs counter to the standard conference experience.  At a normal conference, there are a bunch of break-out sessions where we all get to listen to someone tell us about a cool new product or service… usually that they offer… and how it can help our business.  Don’t get me wrong… I love going to conferences and find them very valuable.

During a rebarcamp, the break-outs are geared more towards group discussion.  I’ve found that almost every CAN have something to add to the conversation.  We all seem to have parts of the puzzle… but few have the whole box.  Some participants have incredible experiences and can answer some of the questions.  Others have their experiences in different areas.  But, one of the most valuable things to have is a question… they drive the whole agenda.

Did I mention that it is FREE?

Of course, there is still a price for free…  For attendees, that price is participation.  Dive in, meet people, share, make friends… participate.  It is amazingly rewarding.

The other cost is the cost borne by the sponsors… many of whom we are still searching.  We have a few of our sponsors signed up, but we will need a lot more before all is said and done.  Check out the site for more info on sponsoring…  We have a level of sponsorship for almost anyone!  From $100 up to $2000… you can make this a reality.

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DSCN0448
Image by lane.bailey via Flickr

Right now there is a small core group looking at the feasibility of a real estate bar camp in the Atlanta area.  If we can put it together, the event will be held this fall… September or October is the likely time frame.

Here are a couple of posts on Active Rain with more info about #rebcATL (that is the ‘official’ Twitter hashtag for the event).

Should Atlanta have a reBarCamp?

A little more about an Atlanta rebarcamp

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I woke up one morning a few weeks ago quite unhappy with all of my websites. They look reasonably good.  They mostly have good traffic (not great, but good).  The ones I am pressing the RSS subscription on seem to have good subscribe rates.

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