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StuyTown, also known as Peter Cooper Village Stuyvesant Town, is a legendary New York City landmark built on 80 acres with 11,250 market apartment units and 10,750 off market for a total of 22,000. The apartment community hosts 30 thousand residents, which makes it five times larger than the average US municipality. Located in Gramercy and East Village neighborhoods, StuyTown has its own Ice Rink, Café, Library, CarShare Service, Indoor and Outdoor Playgrounds, Greenmarket, Storage, and Community Center.
The new StuyTown.com provides prospects with an integrated search feature whereby they can quickly discover the apartment that best matches their housing needs by pricing, amenity, location and size, and receive a firm quote sheet. There is a virtual “build your apartment” feature that allows prospects to choose a selection of finishes, such as cabinetry, flooring type, views, appliance type, lighting upgrades and more. The 3D room planner offers hundreds of scaled furniture and accessory elements
The neighborhood map provides directions to the numerous community amenities and activity centers, along with nearby restaurants, market places, retailers, and services.
StuyTown’s content management system (CMS) that was created especially for the community by Spherexx engineers, can create landing pages that measure advertising source performance, and it includes a heat map technology that tracks what prospects view: their preferences and key performance indicators that offer unique insight into marketing trends and advertising performance. StuyTown CMS users can update web pages live with an inline editing feature. The content management system is fully integrated with StuyTown’s accounting and revenue management software. Adkast advertising syndication software empowers users to publish hundreds of digital advertisements with one execution.
Spherexx has provided custom programming, accounting integration and brand identification along with other marketing services since 2013. Visit www.stuytown.com and BRINGING A LEGEND TO LIFE for a closer look at this outstanding website achievement.
Amenity packages set to change
The over-amenitization of properties is one of the biggest trends I’ve witnessed over the last five years in the student housing sector—and it’s one we continue to see today.
In some markets, amenities like lazy river pools, spas and rock-climbing walls are almost standard. Many developers add these high-end amenities more because students think they’re cool and less because of an overwhelming need in the market. Over the next five years, I believe that developers will realize that these luxury amenities are just escalating construction costs and creating student housing that caters only to affluent students.
What our residents really want in a community is the best Internet and information technology features. Students typically have three to five devices connected to the Internet at any given time. They won’t stand for inconsistent Internet service, and every unit must be well-equipped for wireless Internet connections. Property owners can no longer buy a technology service simply because it came in at the lowest price—they have to consider the quality of service. Now, and over the next few years, owners will need to increase engagement with their technology service providers to be sure they are providing residents with high-quality services that meet their needs.
David J. Adelman is president and CEO of Campus Apartments.
Government intervention poses risk
First and foremost, a phenomenal number of student housing firms now take a more professional approach to owning and managing their properties than they did five years ago. And they now demand and have access to meaningful data on the performance of student housing properties and the pipeline of new developments.
Second, the so-called “money people” now recognize that student housing is an attractive asset class that performs well in tough economic times. Five years ago, we were still in a struggling recovery from the Great Recession, but the economic impact to the student housing sector was minimal compared to the overall U.S. real estate market.
Looking forward, I am troubled by the possibility of further federal government intrusion into higher education.
The federal government is considering providing free community college education. While this prospect may seem like a solution to a variety of challenges, supporters may underestimate the cost restrictions and regulations that may come along with federal support.
Similarly, there’s a push to rank colleges on some kind of cost/value system. This proposed system sounds potentially useful, but any ranking would be filled with far too many assumptions and faulty value judgments. Schools should be able to justify the cost of their tuition compared to the likely value of the education they provide in increased earnings without any interference from the federal government.
Jim Arbury is vice president of student housing for the National Multifamily Housing Council.
Investors better value student housing
If we go back several years, the average property buyer was unwilling to pay more relative to income for student housing properties with strong locations in markets that serve tier-one universities compared to tier-two universities. Today, the investment community is very educated on how core properties located within walking distance of large, tier-one universities usually show the strongest net operating income growth over time. This recognition has helped create premium pricing for these properties.
The other big change you have seen in our sector is the substantial increase in interest from investors. Nearly a third of the private capital deployed in 2014 was new to the sector, according to CBRE. In recent months, high-profile, institutional fund investors have made significant student housing acquisitions, signaling the acceptance of student housing as an established investment class of real estate with strong growth fundamentals. As a result, capitalization rates—a measure of investor risk—for student housing are now just 13 basis points higher than average cap rates for multifamily properties overall.
Student housing occupancy rates today are 95.8, according to data firm Axiometrics. This is despite a record level of new supply delivered last year. Enrollment growth remains strong at tier-one universities. These strong fundamentals, coupled with deep investor interest, position student housing to outperform for many years to come.
William Talbot is CIO of American Campus Communities.
Student housing remains cyclical
Five years ago, the off-campus student housing sector presented an incredible opportunity. At Kayne Anderson Real Estate Advisors (KAREA), we saw compelling dynamics such as strong college enrollment growth. At the same time, the sector was highly fragmented, with significant capital constraints. So, from 2009-2013, we established ourselves as a top private buyer of student housing assets in the United States.
But that was then, and this is now. I firmly believe that we have already planted the seeds for the next economic and real estate bubble and that this cycle will end with some pain, as all other cycles have. We are now an opportunistic seller. We will continue to take advantage of increased capital availability through strategic dispositions to institutional investors, sponsor groups and real estate investment trusts. However, because the next downturn will materially constrain capital and liquidity, it will create significant opportunity for us and a few others who are strategically positioned with long-term capital sources and who are able to execute nimbly, so we also will continue to selectively invest in the space.
Al Rabil is CEO and managing partner at Kayne Anderson Real Estate Advisors.
Most US consumers (52%) say high performance is the quality they value most in website experience, according to a recent report from Limelight Networks.
The 1,115 consumers surveyed ranked website performance (streaming with no buffering, pages that load quickly, etc.) as the most important digital experience by a wide margin—far ahead of having fresh and updated content, delivering a consistent experience on mobile and desktop, and providing personalized content.
59% of respondents say they will wait no more than five seconds for a webpage to load before becoming frustrated and leaving the site.
37% say they will leave and buy a product from a competitor if a website is slow, and 26% say they might/are not sure.
50% of respondents say most of the time they use either a smartphone or a tablet to access websites; 85% use a mobile device at least some of the time to access websites.
44% of respondents are willing to wait longer for a website to load on a mobile device; 40% expect websites to be equally fast to load on mobile and desktop.
38% of respondents do not want websites to remember them from previous visits; 27% do want sites to remember them; 9% don't know; 27% don't care.
Great Infographics and read rest of article at http://www.marketingprofs.com/charts/2014/25719/the-website-experience-consumers-value-most-infographic#ixzz3BW8Et3Hw
Mobile devices accounted for 34% of US organic search visits during the second quarter of the year, up from 31% during Q1, details RKG Digital in its latest quarterly digital marketing report [download page]. The iPhone alone contributed 12% share of organic search traffic, slightly higher than the iPad’s 11% share, such that Apple devices together accounted for almost one-quarter of US organic search traffic. Mobile’s influence continued to be far higher on Google and Yahoo than on Bing.
Indeed, smartphones and tablets accounted for 36% of Google organic search traffic during the second quarter, up from 33% in Q1 and 29% in Q2 2013. Similarly, mobile devices accounted for 37% share of Yahoo organic search traffic, flat from the prior quarter, but up 10% points from the year-earlier period. Bing dragged down the overall average as a result of mobile being only 17% of its organic search traffic.
Mobile search visits increased by 18% year-over-year, although overall organic search traffic declined by 7% as a result of a continued drop in desktop search traffic. Organic search traffic held steady at 31% share of all US site visits.
Meanwhile, mobile’s role was just as pronounced in paid search, as smartphones (19%) and tablets (18%) combined to account for 37% of paid search clicks. Despite generating a slightly higher share of clicks than tablets, smartphones drew just 9% of paid search spending, versus 19% captured by tablet traffic. That’s likely due to conversion rates and average order values being far lower on smartphones than on tablets.
Turning to social media, the report indicates that it continues to be a fractional player in terms of traffic, averaging just 1.6% share of US site visits. Some 42% of social site visits came from mobile devices, up from 40% share in Q1 and 25% share in Q2 2013. While that’s a higher figure than for organic or paid search, it appears to be fairly low given that almost three-quarters of time spent with social networks is via smartphones and tablets. READ ARTICLE
A company's employees, its clients, and its events all are a source of valuable and necessary feedback, best provided via surveys.
A feedback survey delivers exactly what its name states: important feedback, which can lay the groundwork for decisions and changes within and related to a business. It is an easy-to-use tool for gathering representative and relevant data that you can use to drive decisions, streamline workflows, improve management processes, make fact-based business changes, and so on.
Use a survey to maximize business effectiveness
Feedback surveys can be used for internal management, external interactions, and event management.
1. Internal use of surveys
In a business, chances are that many internal processes need better organization and streamlined ways of functioning to be more effective. Internal management in a company deals with employee satisfaction, employee recruitment, corporate culture, implementing decisions, training, policies, and others.
A survey can assist you in achieving all such goals. It can help you...
Using 360 degree feedback surveys help you see how employees feel regarding management policies, employee benefits, employee workflow, general work environment, and many more matters specific to your business.
Consumers most value the "four Ps"—product, price, place, and phone number—on local business websites, according to a recent report from BrightLocal.
A list of products is the most valued piece of information (12% of respondents picked it as most important), followed by a price list (11%), phone number (11%), physical address (10%), and hours of operation (10%), the survey of 811 consumers in the US and Canada found.
Only 4% of respondents say an attractive website is the most important element, and just 3% cite company images, according to the study.
As for the least-valued elements on local business websites, only 1% of respondents are interested in company blogs and in pictures of staff members.
Web, software, and business intelligence provider Spherexx.com® has been distinguished with two more IAC awards for outstanding websites for Peter Cooper Village Stuyvesant Town, http://www.PCVSTLiving.com, and The Sedona Apartments, http://www.TheSedonaApts.com. The company was honored with three IACs in 2013.
The Boston based Web Marketing Association (WMA) was founded in 1997 when the Internet was still a fledgling, and it has been dedicated to establishing a high standard for Internet marketing and corporate web development since. Judges for the 2014 IAC were chosen from many industries and represent some of the most respected names in advertising: Razorfish, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, OgilvyInteractive, IBM Interactive, and Deutsch Inc. The awards were first initiated in 1999 to recognize outstanding companies. Judging criteria is based on creativity, innovation, impact, design, copywriting, use of the medium and memorability.
Set in an 80-acre greenspace on the historic corner of Manhattan's Gramercy and East Village neighborhoods, Peter Cooper Village/Stuyvesant Town (PCVST) is the largest and most unique residential community in Manhattan, New York City, and America. Featuring 11,250 units and a population of 30,000, it spans between East 14th Street and 23rd Street and 1st Avenue to the East River. PCVST’s community is five times larger than the average US municipality and is the flagship property in the CompassRock Real Estate portfolio. The scale of the marketing challenge is significant – PCVST needs to move an entire building’s worth of apartments every month to a very savvy, big city prospect base. The team needed efficiency and quality, at scale, to fulfill its goals in the most competitive market on the planet.
With these challenges in mind, PCVSTLiving.com was developed as a fully responsive website to allow multiplatform conversions; it is crafted to provide optimal viewing on any device with simple, intuitive navigation. The website incorporates administrative software services, accounting services, and marketing services into cloud-based integrated operations that reduce work hours while simultaneously engaging residents and prospects. Website visitors can take a photographic journey on each page and drill-down to unit-specific leasing information. Many of the apartments have been renovated with either a modern or classic finish, including granite countertops, chef stoves, wood floors, nickel appliances, and Euro cabinetry. The prospect can view the floor plan and upgrades, location, proximity to public transportation and community amenities; and use a room planner that sizes furniture to scale. Users can also access a live chat option, schedule an appointment, or search a map for community amenities such as the Oval Café or Wi-Fi hot spots.
The real grandeur of PCVSTLiving.com is behind the scenes in how it serves 27 leasing agents, 30,000 residents, thousands of prospective renters, and a host of executive managers and third-party business efforts. The content management system is a vast network of critical information and management controls. Staff members can update and edit advertised specials; change page content; add sections to the website; build landing pages; brochures, and amenity locations; post news, upload PDF documents, schedule events, and share news. It is fully integrated with accounting software and an advanced customer relationship management (CRM) software platform (ILoveLeasing.com) designed specifically for apartment management. With that combination, managers can review demographics and how advertising sources and personnel are performing at a glance. The software calculates what percentage of leads and leases an advertiser is generating compared to what percentage of the budget it is using, producing instant feasibility studies on the spot and driving executive decision-making. The website and CRM are automatically updated with current pricing and availability per unit; and the feed delivery companion software (Adkast) updates pricing across many Internet advertising locations simultaneously.
Developed by The Richman Group Development Corporation and managed by Richman Property Services, Inc., The Sedona opened its doors for leasing in August 2013 and its website was launched at that time with the objective of highlighting the property’s features and amenities. The Sedona Apartments’ website was designed to capture the rare beauty and elegance of this newly constructed apartment community. Additionally, one of the most intriguing aspects of this website is the price and availability feature that drills down to pricing on a per unit basis.The website and pricing features are also mobile compatible.
The community is showcased in an inspiring photographic journey that extends to floor plan details. Website visitors can arrange furniture to scale within the colorful architectural layout. The interactive site plan allows guests to visually search by floor plan to find their desired location. By selecting a building on the site plan, they have the opportunity to see what is available by floor level and layout; they can begin with a favorite plan, or a favorite building to narrow their selection. The virtual tour shows off the pool, patios, cabanas, and stunning scenery as well as the apartment interiors and finishes. An interactive area map shows all the places of interest in nearby locations and in the neighborhood. Residents have their reserved section where they can make rent payments, request service, or correspond. The administrative content center makes it easy to update photos, coupons and written content.
CompassRock Real Estate is a full service real estate company. They provide property management services for both residential and commercial properties, construction management services, receivership, due diligence, and other consulting services. As a leading property management operator, they manage a nationwide portfolio of apartment communities and a growing portfolio of commercial buildings in major markets across the United States.
The Richman Group Development Corporation and its affiliates are one of the country’s leading developers of market-rate and affordable housing, currently having completed over 18,000 units and through ownership interest by its affiliates in 113,000 units.
Spherexx.com is recognized as an established leader in the apartment industry website, Internet marketing, and software development services since 2000. With offices located in Tulsa, Dallas, and Houston, the company has been distinguished as one of INC5000’s fastest growing companies.
Spherexx.com offers a wide selection of professional services including web design and development, touchscreen kiosks, Internet lead generation tools, online advertising, apartment leasing consulting, advanced mobile technology, apartment lease-up marketing consulting, and search engine performance. The company also provides branding services, video/multimedia production, print media, and copywriting as well as website and email hosting, database solutions, pay per click, e-commerce solutions and custom programming.
The company has developed CRM (customer relationship management) products, marketing and lead generation tools that allow clients to better manage and convert leads to leases and sales. These applications are branded under ApartmentWebsites.com, Messagekast.com, ILoveLeasing.com, MarketSurveyTools.com, and RentPush.com. Spherexx.com provides web-based prospecting, marketing, advertising management, and support services. Spherexx.com is an approved GOOGLE PARTNER. For more information on services, visit http://www.Spherexx.com/Quote. READ ARTICLE
Woodmont Properties needed a revitalized website to re-brand their luxury Voorhees, New Jersey apartments, and introduce their newly constructed 36-unit “Highpoint Collection.” Spherexx.com recreated their former website with new branding, expanded services, and new construction features, along with a content management system that is easily maintained on site. Spherexx.com creates websites ranging from custom extraordinaire to budget-conscious utilitarian versions. MORE about it at http://tinyurl.com/kzkbset. #spherexx and #apartmentwebs
"We broke the news yesterday that Google was producing a prototype 3D sensing smartphone called Project Tango. We also broke down the capabilities of the vision processor inside the device and talked about what it means for the future of phones.
Now, we’ve got an exclusive look in the video below at a real 3D indoor map of a room captured with one of the prototype devices by Matterport. Matterport, which makes computer vision and perceptual computing solutions like software that maps and creates 3D reconstructions of indoor spaces, was one of the few partners Google chose to give an early prototype of the device to." Read ARTICLE.
ApartmentWebsites.com div Spherexx.com created high performance, interactive web designs utilizing a selection of web templates and search engine optimization features to enhance rankings. Additionally, both websites are easily updated through a central content management feature where multiple websites can be accessed simultaneously from one location. READ STORY #spherexx #apartmentwebs
Jersey Central required a prototype web design that would establish their portfolio brand and feature their spacious, vintage product with traditional and mobile compatible views. Spherexx.com created a versatile design with advanced leasing and resident services. CLICK HERE for article. #spherexx #apartmentwebs
Atlanta—A national survey conducted by Apartment Guide in October suggests that the rising number of new and existing home sales will spur investment into apartment community improvements by property managers. The survey, which polled 6,800 property managers, found that 76 percent of communities believe that the housing market’s recovery commands investment to improve communities over the next year, according to Apartment Guide. READ ARTICLE
Lackland Holdings has ten apartment communities across the Dallas Metroplex that have been upgraded with energy-efficient features and updated interiors. Lackland wanted a highly graphical, easily navigated website standard to showcase their impressive renovations in a cost-effective medium. ApartmentWebsites.com div Spherexx.com® created an appealing web presence with correlated content management that enables easy editing and maintenance. ApartmentWebsites.com has pricing strata to match any budget goal: basic to full blown customization. Read More at LACKLAND. #spherexx #apartmentwebs
So you noticed, eh?
Google Analytics is inaccurate.
There’s a reason for that, actually there are several.
Here’s a fairly exhaustive list that I have divided into two categories:
•Stuff you can fix
•Stuff you have no control over
Ready to find out why your Google Analytics is inaccurate? Here we go…
Google Analytics Errors You Can Fix
Let’s start with the things you can do something about.
Here are five:
1 – Failure to tag pages
No tag on a page = no data for that page
If you only have a 5 page website, you can easily check if the script is present manually. If you have 100′s or 1000′s of pages, it’s difficult if not impossible to check for the Google Analytics tracking code on all your pages.
But there are tools you can use to verify that your pages are tagged and find the ones that aren’t. Rachel Gerson from SEER Interactive details the use of Screaming Frog SEO spider tool to search every page for the presence of the same Google Analytics code in this article.
2 – Poor location of Google Analytics tracking code
Website owners are concerned about page load speed on their websites, and they should be.
As a result many web developers place code like the Google Analytics tracking code just above the </body> tag so that the visual elements of the website can load before the code executes (presumably increasing page load speed.)
However, placing the tracking code at the end of the <body> code will miss visitors that click quickly through pages on your site before the Google Analytics tracking code executes. READ THE REST
Please plan to come by for a visit or a brief demo. We are easy to find: walk straight through the Exhibit Hall and bear right to the corner: we are at Booth 143, across from Grace Hill and ResMan: see floor map by clicking MAP. You can schedule a demo today and reserve a time by clicking DEMO. #NMHCTech #Spherexx.com #RentPush #ILoveLeasing #MarketSurveyTools #Apartmentwebs
Find out more about OpTech Conference.
Clients of both ResMan and Spherexx.com are moving into a new era of streamlined adaptability with Spherexx.com’s ILoveLeasing.com Apartment CRM, RentPush.com® Revenue Management, website and other Internet marketing services. The partnered data exchange will increase work flow and strengthen compliance for shared services.
Multihousing Property Management is an industry that serves people in all walks of life with busy schedules that are easily disrupted. Multihousing professionals require flexible and intuitive software to maintain the fiduciary aspects of property management while constantly being at the service of prospects, residents, employees, municipalities and more. The founders of Spherexx.com understand that initiative very well, having birthed the ad agency, software development and Internet marketing company from many years of direct property management experience. READ ARTICLE #spherexx #apartmentwebs #Iloveleasing #rentpush
Woodmont Properties needed a strong online presence for new apartment luxury living under construction at Woodmont Knolls at Hanover. Spherexx.com provided customized website design and search engine expertise to attract affluent prospects, along with ILoveLeasing.com CRM to optimize every lead with calls to action and high conversion marketing techniques. READ ARTICLE #spherexx #apartmentwebs
CLICK PHOTO TO VIEW WEBSITE
New York—What type of apartments do Echo Boomers want to live in? Some developers have the answer down to a science. At a panel discussion presented this week by Multi-Housing News, an architect, investor and developer shared what they know about the development and design features that drive occupancies in apartments today.
Among the apartment elements cited as important, or even critical, for attracting the Gen Y target market are: a low-rise, walkable, urban location; boutique hotel-level aesthetic and finishes; a resort and loft look; a first-rate amenities package; open and light floor plan with clean lines; and plenty of diverse opportunities for sociability in the common areas. READ ARTICLE
Myan Management has an exciting lease-up underway for Parkway Falls in San Marcos, Texas. Myan needed an online leasing location to prelease luxury apartments before they were finished and introduce Parkway Falls, http://www.ParkwayFalls.com, to the area with important branding distinction. READ STORY.
U.S. developers broke ground on new homes at a faster pace in July. But the rise was all due to apartment construction, which is typically volatile. By contrast, builders began work on fewer single-family homes — the bulk of the market — and sought fewer permits to build them.
Friday's report from the Commerce Department suggests that home building is maintaining its recovery but might be starting to feel the effects of higher mortgage rates. Click HERE for full article.
U.S. Residential Group required a fresh, compelling, website for their newly acquired management contract: The Highlands at Alexander Pointe. USR needed to increase rates and reduce availability while providing residents with streamlined relationship tools and staff members with web performance data and editing capability.
Read the story: CLICK HERE
www.SierraRidgeAtlanta.com and www.WestPlaceWestParc.com place an efficient, no-fuss, virtual leasing consultant at the fingertips of countless prospective residents 24 hours day to ensure that more apartment seekers convert to leads and that more leads convert to leases, while the seekers preview the best of each community...READ FULL ARTICLE
(To visit www.SierraAtlanta.com and www.WestPlaceWestParc.com, Click either image.)
www.SHGApartments.com, the online leasing center for Spring Hill Gardens, is a user-friendly presentation of the community's information that highlights the perks of Spring Hill Gardens living. Although not originally designed by Spherexx.com, the prominent software developer recently revitalized the vintage website’s search engine ranking campaign and provided premium web-hosting...READ FULL ARTICLE
To visit www.SHGApartments.com, Click the image.
Incore Residential, a Florida-based, premier property management company, has launched a series of media responsive websites for its communities in Tampa. The Preserve at Temple Terrace, The Falls at New Tampa, The Arbors at Carrollwood, Promenade at Tampa Palms, and Lakeside at Seven Oaks now have new online leasing centers. These new websites exemplify the modern, opulent lifestyles associated with each property, and not just for the easy navigation or extensive amenities. Spherexx.com just began a process of intense search engine ranking campaigns for each community that has already improved their standing in many internet searches for the area. Also, to compete with changing technologies, each community's site is responsive, so the format of the webpage reconfigures to fit any size screen and provides a full range of functions. No matter the desktop, tablet, or mobile device in use, each site automatically adjusts its lay-out to fit the needs of each online guest browsing its pages...READ FULL ARTICLE
(To visit each property, CLICK the images.)
The Arbors at Carrollwood The Falls at New Tampa
The Promenade at Tampa Palms Lakeside at Seven Oaks
The Preserve at Temple Terrace
Groton Towers Place, http://www.grotonapartmenthomes.com, is a majestic four-story community comprised of studio, one, and two bedroom apartments with numerous amenities. This property recently simplified its leasing process when ApartmentWebsites.com div of Spherexx.com, http://www.apartmentwebsites.com, launched the newly designed www.GrotonApartmentHomes.com…READ FULL ARTICLE
(To visit www.GrotonApartmentHomes.com, Click the image.)
www.LynnewoodApartments.com, the newly redone online leasing center for Lynnewood Gardens, streamlines the leasing process for both the website guest and the leasing consultant. The site intuitively provides details of every aspect of the property in desktop, mobile, and tablet formats, and finding the site is nearly effortless with Spherexx.com's, http://www.Spherexx.com, search optimization landing it at the top of most Elkin Park apartment searches. A Photo Gallery is built into the Home page, scrolling through the many resort-style amenities Lynnewood Gardens has to offer. Each section of the site presents details in a manner that appeals to every shopper, using virtual tours, an expandable site plan, colorized floor plans that can be reserved online, and an interactive map that pinpoints nearby restaurants, businesses, and spots of interest…READ FULL ARTICLE
To visit www.LynnewoodApartments.com, Click the image.
Through helpful features like easy-to-find search engine listings, automatically updated floor plan pricing, and links to the community's social media, this new version of the site turns apartment hunting in Fairfax into an adventure. Leasing agents are better equipped to prioritize every inquiry, boasting the best parts of both Lincoln luxury living and the resources of the surrounding neighborhood. Well stocked with amenities, and prime in location, Lincoln at Fair Oaks offers excellence and elegance, beautifully portrayed in its Internet presence...READ FULL ARTICLE
To visit www.LincolnatFairOaks.com, Click the image.
Waterscape Juanita is brand new and now accepting applications. It just celebrated the launch of www.WaterscapeJuanita.com, their online leasing center and the next step in the mid-rise luxury living experience. At the top of nearly every conceivable search engine inquiry, this new online center already busy attracting qualified prospects. The site is saturated with clever, interactive features like a 3D site plan that actually presents the units of the mid rise floor by floor when selected, and printable colorized floor plans that designate in which rooms to "Dream", "Live", "Cook", and "Splash"...READ FULL ARTICLE
(To visit www.WaterscapeJuanita.com, Click the image.)
In a city with fine dining, rich culture, and trendsetting entertainment around every corner, the Monterey provides the ideal upscale environment to meet that need. High-end luxury amenities and custom interior design are basic expectations in this utopic community, and the attentive staff, free common-area Wi-Fi, and series of Resident events only compliment the grandeur of this beautiful building. It only stands to reason that their online leasing center would surpass every expectation of its current and potential residents...READ FULL ARTICLE
To visit www.TheMonterey.com, click the image.
This new online center is more than an interactive map, appealing photos and a relaxing backdrop; it's an extension of the leasing staff. Every online guest card is immediately sent to the onsite team, so that no prospect is overlooked. The options to pay rent and submit a service request in the Residents section alone could noticeably reduce in-office work. To Read More, Click the Image.
The new online leasing center for Aventine at Oakhurst offers every convenience of the office leasing experience. This hassle-free site guides shoppers through expertly managed content and fully-detailed floor plans against a gentle backdrop of neutral tones. Guests can tour the pages of the Web Photo Gallery or schedule to take the tour in person by filling out an online form. After the tour, they can peruse each floor plan and reserve a unit or click to "Like" it for later. Finally, they can browse FAQs, useful local restaurants and retail information, directions with an Interactive Map, and the persuasive list of luxury amenities both on the full-service mobile site and in the online leasing center. READ FULL ARTICLE...
To Visit AventineatOakhurstNorth.com, CLICK the image.
Joe Griffin, co-founder & CEO at iAcquire
You have to make decisions not only about design and branding — a re-launch requires a seemingly endless checklist of tasks: benchmarking, content strategy, audience research, SEO, back-end hosting … the list goes on. Plus, as a business every decision is hinged on ROI: What impact will the remodeled website have on your business’ traffic, engagement, and conversion?
Your business’s flaws and weak links are often exposed when it comes time to reinvigorate your web presence...
These tips can serve as a blueprint, checklist, and guide for your enterprise’s future website remodeling plans. CLICK TO READ MORE
Dallas, Texas (PRWEB) June 02, 2013
The Atlantic Doral is opening its stately doors for occupancy of its brand new one, two and three bedroom apartments in June 2013. The 360-unit community is surrounded by lush landscaping and poised around a serene lake; one could wonder if it is an apartment community or a five-star resort. The community is conveniently located minutes from Miami International Airport, Trump Doral Golf Resort and Spa, Baptist Medical Plaza, excellent schools, shopping and entertainment. MarketSurveyTools.com reports rental rates at $1.96 per square foot within a ten mile radius of The Atlantic Doral, and Class A communities for Miami show an average $1.73 per square foot rate. READ THE WHOLE STORY
Apartment hunting has never been more exciting since three stunning new websites stormed the online apartment leasing world last week! MetroWest, Knoxwood Hills, and Skyview Tower apartments have reinvented themselves and revolutionized the leasing game. Each site is fully loaded with features like eye-catching Photo Galleries, in-depth FAQ pages, clear and concise Floor Plan Pricing, Online Applications, a list of nearby Neighborhood Locations, and, for the especially trendy consumer, links to their Facebook pages and YouTube videos. The crowning touch: each site has its own unique layout to better tell the story of that community experience.
Travel to Columbus for the sprawling acreage and nearly endless amenities of the MetroWest community, but stay for the upbeat website color scheme that actually graces the community itself!
Prefer Southern gentility? The warmth and charm of Knoxwood Hills oozes like honey from their thorough Resident Services page to their spacious Colorized Floor Plans to their Printable Brochure.
Maybe some viewers want the urban hustle of a Detroit cityscape? That's not a problem at all. Not only does Skyview Tower boast of gorgeous open floor plans and an amazing view of the skyline, but a Mobile Site that brings the triumph of the high rise right to the Smart phone.
The brilliant layouts of each Matrix Investment Group property have been custom-fitted for fun yet accessible shopping. Finally, there's retail therapy for the apartment shopper.
Explore all three: visit www.MetroWestApartments.net, www.KnoxwoodHillsApartments.com, and www.Skyview-Tower.com by clicking the images.
Dallas, TX (PRWEB) April 30, 2013
ApartmentWebsites.com has introduced a versatile, dynamic pricing presentation to its list of services. This recent innovation is integrated with revenue management providers to create a seamless price quotation per individual apartment. It is the most proficient, interactive system in the industry. It is also available via mobile phone and iPad/Tablet. Click here for online demonstration. The interactive presentation is available for any website employing revenue management by means of ApartmentWebsites.com’s flexible integration. TO READ FULL STORY CLICK HERE
A soft light filters through the vibrant green leaves of a nearby tree branch, while a clean but natural color scheme creates the perfect backdrop for the new Nutmeg Woods website. All of the pieces of the puzzle are here. The practical, user-friendly layout of the site, the easy-going feel of New London from page to page, the clear unit pricing and colorized floor plans, and the list goes on. Any prospect can easily envision themselves relaxing poolside at this community, and thanks to the full array of online leasing information and applications, that dream is only a few key clicks away.
Experience Nutmeg Woods at http://www.NutmegWoods.com!
The home page for Treetops at Chester Hollow guarantees that "Life's Better at the Top", and with their striking new website, the Treetop experience is just a click away. Virtual guests are encouraged to try out the interactive community sitemap and select from available units in the community. They can test their interior design skills with the Interactive Room Planner and design the apartment of their ideal layout. They can peruse the neighborhood's preferred nearby restaurants and businesses, and if they're in a hurry, the mobile website serves Apple and Android devices for all services, including online rent payment, so they can tour and apply from their phone.
Visit the Treetops at Chester Hollow at www.TreetopsApts.com!
The response in “responsive” Web design provides a clue about how to think about the practice. It’s essentially a set of actual techniques – and yes, sometimes tools too – that move elements of the page (e.g. images, navigation, text) based on the capabilities of the device it is being viewed upon. Responsive design enables websites to obtain information about the device and then display a version appropriate for the layout. There are actually quite a few digital moving pieces, so if you’re using responsive design right now – ask these six questions of yourself or your designer before making anything digital come alive.
You likely need no further explanation of why going responsive is the best design choice for your digital presence, but you’ll also need some practical guidance – just the kind of information that subscribers expect from Website Magazine. Here’s a quick guide for those interested in using responsive design, some things you should and need to know, and more importantly ask, about responsive techniques and tools, today and in the future.
A quick note, if you’re reading this on a desktop version you’ll quickly notice that WebsiteMagazine.com is not actually “responsive” per say. Aren’t we practicing what we preach? Well, sort of – we are mobile compliant. Responsive design is terrific for lots of things (like our Web 100 project) but not for every enterprise in every single scenario. Website Magazine, for example, opted for a mobile website over responsive layout as it provided us greater control over the complexity of information we publish and some unique opportunities related to our mobile applications. So yes, Website Magazine is mobile compliant, just not responsive (and it works!).
OK, enough defending our business decisions! You want to know as much as you can about responsive design… and you’re about to. The following outlines several guiding principles as you design (or redesign) your consumer-facing websites for modern desktop, mobile and tablet experiences.
Remove/Reduce Interfering HTML
Many might believe that responsive design will limit the amount of information (it does, at least in appearance) that can be made available, but responsive design demands nothing more than a thoughtful approach to the user experience. The way to achieve that is to ensure that the layout is kept as simple as possible.
Are you prioritizing the elements correctly for optimum consumption? Take a moment now to test – remove all styling CSS and styling information from your email or Web design and display it in a browser. If the content is easy to read and ordered appropriately, you’re on the right track. If not, you’re likely engaging in some poor HTML practices, such as the use of inline styles or unnecessary absolute or float positioning.
Another option is to use a one of the many testing tools to see how your responsive designs hold up. One of my personal favorites is Responsi, a very straightforward design-testing tool, which provides drag-to-resize viewport and several standard device presents. Designers will find tools such as Responsi and others very useful in their day-to-day design tasks.
The IFTT of Modern Digital Design
If you’ve read anything about responsive design you have come across the term media queries; the code that queries the users device to understand how the site is best viewed and then providing an appropriate response for the width conditions. Essentially, depending on the client-side response, designers will load the right style sheet and even have the ability to add specific styles in different scenarios. Think of media queries as “if this, then that” statements.
Know the Common Breakpoints
In order to create and use media queries however, it is important to know which are the most common resolutions used to view your digital assets. A business’ mobile efforts are best focused on the most popular devices, which fortunately makes quick work of the development process for designers. To work with these devices, designers must essentially just account for the minimum and maximum widths – 480, 768 and 1024 (in both portrait and landscape). Using a free tool like Responsi (listed above) or Screenfly helps to understand quickly if everything is appearing in an optimal way.
Adapt Quickly to the Viewport
When it comes to responsive design, layouts (obviously) need to be flexible, which means you’ll need to leave those pesky tables alone. The best option is to use a flexible, fluid grid (which uses columns to arrange content) and relative instead of fixed width to adapt to the right viewport size. If you’re using the right media queries in conjunction with a fluid layouts, you’ll have most if not all devices covered. To speed development on this front, consider the use of grid systems such as those listed here and here.
Adaptive Sizing of Images
The use of pictures and images on a responsively designed website or email can cause headaches for designers – and if you’re not careful, it can create a poor experience for users too. The trick is to use adaptive sizing within the CSS to adjust the image width. The optimal way to set images with 100 percent width, but capped to not exceed the actual file size (it’s also important to consider the readability of images – read Design Principles for Master Developers for more.)
Removal of Non-Vital Elements
Responsive design has forced..........CLICK HERE to read rest of article.
A 2012 survey conducted by Apartment Finder revealed that four out of ten apartment shoppers use mobile devices to shop for their next domicile. 2011 surveys indicated eighteen percent of apartment shoppers access the Internet by mobile phone. Essentially, that percentage has doubled in one year.
With the flood of smart phones and iPad/Tablet mobile devices, an apartment website stands to lose forty percent of their hard earned web traffic if it does not have mobile, iPad and/or tablet capability. This fact creates a considerable advantage for competitors to easily gain a substantial edge in attracting and closing prospects simply by acquiring a mobile website in addition to traditional websites. Mobile websites can be purchased as a development item and/or on a monthly rental fee.
ApartmentWebsites.com has taken mobile technology a step further. The company has developed a sophisticated mobile website price presentation program that populates revenue management pricing as generated by such science-driven providers as Yieldstar, LRO, and RentPush. Revenue management applications for the apartment industries are similar to those used in the hotel and transportation industries, only with considerably longer commitment and thus at higher risk. It is therefore very important that a prospective resident or renewing one is well informed to pricing options that best fit their budget and housing agenda. It is estimated that 20% of the apartment market is now using a revenue management application for pricing apartments and renewal leases.
Dallas, TX (PRWEB)
Three celebrated websites developed by Spherexx.com ® have been announced winners in the 2013 Internet Advertising Competition Awards developed by the Web Marketing Association to honor excellence in online advertising. Parallel 41, has been selected as the winner of the Best Real Estate Website for 2013. 2411 Washington, and Woodmont Place at Palmer, have received Outstanding Website Awards.
The Web Marketing Association (WMA) was founded in Boston in 1997 to help set a high standard for Internet marketing and corporate web development. The IAC Awards were initiated in 1999 to recognize outstanding companies and individuals in their respective industries. Judging is based on creativity, innovation, impact, design, copywriting, use of the medium and memorability. For the Full Story, *CLICK HERE*
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
To view in browser go to http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/3/prweb10500809.htm
The Internet is buzzing with discussions on many levels about search engine optimization (SEO), social media, mobile compatibility, how to enhance your brand awareness and make your clients and customers enjoy the best Internet shopping experience possible. Multi-family management companies are no different and competition is fierce. 84% of apartment seekers shop online.
Spherexx.com, as forerunner in the multi-family web development and marketing services, has vast experience in all aspects of Internet technology, plus the added advantage of highly credentialed, property management professionals leading the way. 43% of all their clients’ leases originate from their Spherexx.com websites. Spherexx is a winner in the international 2012 Summit Creative Awards.
“We are always focused on creating efficient, profitable and enjoyable methods of serving the multi-family industry. ApartmentWebsites.com is one of our most recent innovations that provides high performance technology with super smooth operation and versatility,” says Becca Wilson, President and CEO of Spherexx.com. The basic website package is customized, and it can be easily expanded. It is also very affordable, starting at only $50 per month. Clients can update, freshen up, and revise content any time they like, right from their own leasing desks.
ApartmentWebsites.com offers an expandable web system that starts with a five-page website including hosting and it can grow from there. The basic package offers a tour through captivating photography, floor plans and brochures. The website bundles are orchestrated into four groups with relative price points as shown at http://www.ApartmentWebsites.com/pricing. There is a price to fit in any budget. For example, new construction apartments and Class A communities can select a custom designed website and add additional, interactive features and services to the bundle price. One of the interactive features is a site plan that lets visitors select the exact apartment they want based on availability: http://www.parallel41stamford.com/pages/site-plan.asp. There is also an interactive room planner where guests can move virtual furniture around in a virtual apartment: http://www.tenoaksaustin.com/pages/room-planner.asp?fp=A1.
If an existing website owner only wants to hire ApartmentWebsites.com to improve Internet traffic, they can add search engine ranking services to their existing websites. 70% of all Spherexx.com websites are on page one for major keyword searches. The Business Intelligence Package is another add-on service that provides a subterranean view of website activity, such as pinpointing best referrers and best converters (turns a website visitor into a prospective customer) and what five pages are entered first and left last. This precise traffic analysis tool surpasses Google Analytics and shares insight into source conversion. Strategic marketers must know who their visitors are in order to invest advertising costs that return a high yield.
All the Apartment Websites are fully integrated with revenue management companies, including RentPush.com, so apartment communities that use a pricing program can have current, interactive pricing available for web guests at all times. AdKast is an optional service that will broadcast Internet pricing information to multiple Internet advertising sources.
Responsive website designs, those designs that adjust automatically to any viewing screen – like tablets, hand held smart devices and desktop computers, are an option feature. Three of the four pricing options are"templatized" designs and are pre-planned to save on graphic design costs. Many clients serve a demographic that absolutely requires a more interactive user experience, thus the complete custom design is always available. ApartmentWebsites' clients can incorporate up to 50 pages in their websites.
Additionally, apartment managers can access all their vital leasing and management tools using Spherexx.com’s SweetSpot's go-anywhere dashboard. The SweetSpot program is complimentary to any Spherexx.com client and it is accessible on iPad/Tablet, laptop or desktop computer at the same time. ApartmentWebsites can order Apple ® iPads or Microsoft ® Surface tablets for your company and customize the setup and lock down of the tablets for business applications.
"Spherexx.com keeps us on page one in Google, Yahoo and Bing at a minimal monthly fee with their SEO (Search Engine Optimization) techniques. We don’t have to pay huge, unpredictable sums to get Internet traffic,” says Craig Reid, President of Perry Reid Properties.
About Spherexx.com—Ad Agency | Software Development | Data Centers
Established in 2000, Spherexx.com is recognized as an established leader in the apartment industry website, Internet marketing and software development services. With offices located in Tulsa, Dallas, Austin, and Houston, the company has been distinguished as one of INC5000’s fastest growing companies. Spherexx.com is a recipient of the International Summit Creative Award 2012 for creative and communication excellence.
Spherexx.com offers a wide selection of professional services including web design and development, touch-screen kiosks, Internet lead generation tools, online advertising, apartment leasing consulting, advanced mobile technology, apartment lease-up marketing consulting, and search engine performance. The company also provides branding services, video/multimedia production, print media, and copy writing as well as website and email hosting, database solutions, pay per click, e-commerce solutions and custom programming.
Spherexx.com has developed CRM (customer relationship management) products, marketing and lead generation tools that allow clients to better manage and convert leads to leases and sales. These applications are branded under Messagekast.com, ILoveLeasing.com, MarketSurveyTools.com, and RentPush.com. Spherexx.com provides web-based prospecting, marketing, advertising management, and support services.
Spherexx.com has provided services to innovative real estate companies like Lincoln Property Company, Atlantic Pacific Companies, Bozzuto, Denison Development, Trio Properties LLC, Graham Residential, ZRS Management, LLC and Perry Reid Properties. The company represents over one hundred years of direct, executive level property management experience that readily identifies with the challenges and solutions of multi-family property management professionals.
For example, though I praised her in my last column for sharing her mobile SEO process, and in general, I think she provides good information on mobile SEO, Aleyda Solis also provides this flowchart in her process as a way of helping businesses understand their options for developing mobile sites based on what is preferable for SEO:There’s a simple stoplight color coding here that implies that responsive Web design is the best method for mobile SEO, and separate URLs are the least preferable option.
In fact, Google never introduced such a hierarchy when they announced their preference for responsive Web design last June. All they said was they prefer responsive Web design, and if it’s not best for your user, then they support dynamic serving and mobile URLs. The one URL argument for dynamic serving and responsive design’s superiority is moot with the introduction of switchboard tags, as Google can now understand which site should appear when, regardless of URL structure.
Let me say that again, as those who write about these issues don’t seem to be getting it otherwise:
The one URL argument for dynamic serving and responsive design’s superiority is moot with the introduction of switchboard tags, as Google can now understand which site should appear when, regardless of URL structure.
Not just doing that for Aleyda’s benefit, as Aleyda presents mostly good information, and many others are making the same honest mistake.
In a recent poll of SEO firms and MBAs, 100% of respondents said that responsive Web design is preferable for SEO than separate mobile sites. Really? Always?
Really, it seems these days everywhere you turn there’s someone somewhere claiming that responsive Web design is preferable to separate mobile sites for SEO because all of the links go to one URL. To this I say…
For example, in the otherwise excellent new book Mobile Marketing an Hour a Day by industry veterans Noah Elkin and Rachel Pasqua, Covario’s Nick Roshon states his preference for responsive Web design for SEO, citing consolidated link equity as evidence of responsive Web design’s superiority for SEO. He even gives this curious statement: “While Responsive Web Design may be harder to implement, and there may be user experience reasons to go with alternative mobile web design standards, the benefits of going responsive are undeniable.”
Actually, they could be deniable, depending on the site that’s going responsive. In fact, the benefits of responsive Web design are often negated by the cons. If mobile URLs or dynamic serving provides a better user experience, then Google does not suggest that you make your site responsive, but instead provides options to give you the same benefits of consolidated link equity on mobile URLs.
Unfortunately, Google did not mention any of the instances when responsive Web design provides an inferior user experience, leaving it up to individual webmasters. They’re very concerned with confusing webmasters, it seems, and didn’t want to confuse the issue, I assume, by getting into those scenarios where responsive Web design would not be preferred.
When I reached out to them for this article, Google has officially declined to comment. However, based on the limited information they have provided, empirical evidence of what’s working in SERPs, and my twelve years optimizing content professionally, this is a list of five things that will make mobile URLs or dynamic serving a more attractive option for you for mobile SEO.
In the example I used on the Stone Temple blog in January, Mercedes has serious information architecture issues that are preventing it from connecting to searchers in general. Their content for car types is not accessible, let alone optimized, and making that site accessible to smartphones and tablets is not going to solve these serious information architecture issues. Mercedes could redesign their site, and then make it responsive, and that would solve some of their problems, but if they make their current site responsive, they will have the same issues that they do now.
Similarly, the desktop website doesn’t have information on mobile content like mobile wallpaper or apps. Why should it, in fact, when desktop searchers by and large aren’t looking for those things? Yet, mobile searchers are in droves, and if Mercedes simply makes their current site responsive, they will miss out on all that traffic.
Responsive Web design advocates: missing out on relevant traffic is not optimization.
As I explained in last month’s mobile keyword research guide, context can change the keywords searchers use and the frequency with which they use them.
For example [nearby] and [download apps] are two keywords that are likely used a lot more on mobile devices than they are on desktops and laptops (if they’re used on desktops and laptops at all).
Desktops and laptops lack GPS, so if a searcher asks Google for restaurants nearby on their laptop, they’re likely to get results based on IP address if they’re not logged in (which in the case of my laptop, the server in New York city, 800 miles away), and if they are logged in, results based on the city they’ve specified in their registration.
If a searcher asks her smartphone for restaurants nearby on the other hand, the results are much more accurate as they’re based on the position of her phone at the time of the query.
It’s likely because of this that many more people use the keyword nearby in mobile searches than they do in desktop searches. As you can see from this mobile % of total volume chart, most of these searches are coming from mobile phones. The two that don’t come from mobile phones specify a location, which Google desktop search needs if it’s going to provide accurate search results.
You can take this information into account and use these keywords in adaptive content on a responsive site, but it’s going to be more effective from an SEO standpoint to optimize both sites with different keywords depending on the platform.
Look, Google may have announced their preference for responsive Web design, but they also tell webmasters in their Webmaster Guidelines, “Think about the words users would type to find your pages, and make sure that your site actually includes those words within it.”
In cases where mobile searchers and desktop searchers are using different keywords, the best option for SEO is the option that brings more qualified traffic: separate sites with targeted keywords.
We already know that speed is a ranking factor for SEO, but we also know that Google wants to send searchers to the best possible experience. Sites using responsive Web design, which by nature include more code than mobile websites, generally take longer to load.
Apart from the ranking factor of page speed, this could increase your bounce rate and/or decrease your conversions. According to Google research, mobile searchers are a fickle group, and won’t stick around if you make them wait.So why make them wait with more code?
Now of course, if you were just providing a desktop site that makes a user pinch and zoom to perform simple actions, providing a responsive site is a step up from that. But it’s not the ideal in this situation, which would be serving fast clean code with dynamic serving or separate mobile URLs.
Of course, there are ways, as covered by Sherwood Stranieri last year, that webmasters can speed up responsive sites, but they’re still unlikely to load as quickly as separate mobile sites.
This one, I didn’t have to speculate on, as Google has guidelines for developing for feature phones and smartphones that do not include responsive Web design. So, if you’re developing for an audience that uses feature phones (i.e., non-white, non-US-based, not affluent, and/or older), responsive Web design is not the best option for SEO.
Yes, Google may have stated a preference for responsive Web design, but they also say this in their Quality Guidelines: “Think about what makes your website unique, valuable, or engaging. Make your website stand out from others in your field.”
Some businesses have taken this to heart with mobile, and have created products that can only be used on mobile devices that help their user do what they need to do faster.
Take banking, for example. JP Morgan Chase could have reformatted their desktop website for mobile visitors and called it a day. Instead they thought about the specific properties of mobile devices that they could use to make their customers’ lives easier. And for them it meant creating a separate mobile website, allowing for SMS banking, and creating a mobile app.
The mobile app has a feature called Quick Deposit which uses the device’s camera to allow users to take pictures of checks for deposit. It’s mobile-specific content, as it’s only available on tablet and smartphone, and it has been a huge success for Chase.
According to a recent press release, since launching Quick Deposit in 2010, consumers have used it to deposit more than $4 billion, and the number of active Chase mobile customers increased 42% between 2011 and 2012. The app now has 15 million registered users, and several awards including a 2011 Webby Award. And those 15 million registered users have expressed their gratitude with 4.2 out of five stars in Google Play with over 70k reviews as of this writing.
Had Chase not considered the unique characteristics of mobile devices and the utility that they could bring to consumers, but instead only reformatted adaptive content to appear in a mobile context, they wouldn’t have been able to have the success they’ve had, and wouldn’t have been able to serve their users as they did.
Or, take Google, for example. Their stated preference in responsive Web design hasn’t stopped them from making mobile-only content. One of these features is called Google Now. Released just seven months ago, it’s now a big differentiator for Android over iOS, with reviewers saying things like “But the jewel of Android 4.2 is absolutely Google Now, and its brilliance overshadows the still lacking aspects of the OS as a whole;” and “This latest Google Now ad has me hating Siri.”
Google Now has been such a big innovation for Google that it won them Popular Science’s Innovation of the Year, putting it in the company of such innovations as former award winners like the iPhone, the fluorescent lamp and the Mosaic Web browser.
Google could have made their content adaptive and responsive and not considered the mobile context. But they didn’t, and their business is better for it.
In fact, Google itself is an interesting organization; although they have stated a preference for responsive Web design, and the CEO has made disparaging remarks about mobile content, they also develop for mobile, tablet and desktop search separately, and on the mobile ads side, they have advocated strongly for experiences in which mobile context increases the relevance of the ad. Regardless of which side you’re on here, it’s possible to use Google viewpoints to justify your own. Think, instead, of your user, as that’s ultimately what will serve your business (and Google) best.
You may be making a responsive site because it’s easier to maintain, but is it preventing you from creating mobile-only content that your users will love, and that will differentiate your site from your competitors’ in the marketplace? If so, think twice about responsive Web design or adaptive content, as it’s not going to help your business — or your SEO — as much as mobile-specific content.
Granted, the two aren’t mutually exclusive, and the preferred method for mobile SEO that I detailed last year is still a hybrid of responsive pages and mobile-specific content.
The message: if you’re thinking about mobile SEO, throw away the decision tree I mentioned earlier. Apart from the one URL fallacy, one of the decision points isn’t even SEO-specific, as it is more about the businesses’ resources than optimizing their content for search results.
Replace it with this. It’s not perfect, as deciding the proper configuration for your mobile content is a nuanced process; but it should get you closer to optimal than what’s been provided in the past.
Not everyone thinks responsive Web design is best for SEO, though it can sometimes seem that way to those of us who know better. Adam Audette and George Michie of Rimm-Kauffman Group said in their classic post on marketing as applied science, “Mobile websites: Responsive design helps, but smartphone users have fundamentally different needs and only a site designed to meet those unique needs will produce the best outcome for the user and for the business.”
This is a similar message offered by GigaOM Pro recently, which cites unique mobile use cases and speed as reasons why they advocate separate mobile sites. Likewise, when I interviewed veteran mobile SEO expert Cindy Krum for .Net Magazine, she said that she also advocates a hybrid approach: “I have been recommending a mixed solution for most of my clients – leveraging Responsive Design when it makes sense, and special mobile-only landing pages when keywords or use-cases cannot be appropriately addressed with a Responsive Design approach.”
Finally, Forrester Research, in their 2013 Mobile Trends for Marketers report, said that “Responsive design will be hyped once again in 2013.” Responsive design is not a “magic elixir” they say, because “1) The consistency of experiences across devices is only one small element of the overall picture; 2) companies will need divergent app and Web strategies as well as mobile content and service curation; 3) not every portable/mobile device will have a browser; and 4) supporting different use cases across devices requires a process to implement responsive design principles.”
If you’ve read this post and you still think responsive is best for SEO, that’s your prerogative; but your competitor who provides a better user experience with mobile landing pages might be getting more traffic from search.
Lennar Corp., LEN +0.65% one of the nation's largest home builders, this month broke ground on its first off-campus apartment community near the University of Texas at Austin. Toll Brothers Inc., TOL -0.12% best known for its sprawling suburban homes, is purchasing land near the University of Maryland in College Park and Penn State University in State College, Pa., on which it plans to build upscale student housing. The two Toll Brothers projects, totaling about 3,100 beds, could open by 2015.
Mansion: Real-estate investors and developers are finding a lucrative market near college campuses, where they can woo students with luxury amenities. (12/7/2012)
Brandywine Realty Trust, BDN +0.44% a real-estate investment trust that specializes in suburban office space and other real estate, recently teamed up with Campus Crest Communities Inc., CCG -1.12% to build a 33-story tower in Philadelphia that will serve students from several schools, including the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University.
The moves are designed to help the companies better weather the next economic recession by diversifying into areas considered less sensitive to downturns. During the real-estate crash, as prices of single-family homes declined and apartment landlords reduced rent, many student-housing landlords continued to raise rent, thanks to the generosity of parents and student-loan programs.
Meanwhile, established players in the market are on a buying spree in hopes of remaining competitive against the big-name newcomers. Last year, a record $3.7 billion of student-housing properties traded hands, up nearly 95% from the previous year, according to ARA Student Housing.
"A lot of people think our space is hot," said J. Wesley Rogers, president of Landmark Properties, a longtime owner and developer with about 5,000 beds and 2,700 under construction. "You see a lot of new players circling the space right now."
The frenzy comes amid increasing debate about the skyrocketing cost of college tuition and the ease of borrowing that is leading many students to graduate with heavy debt loads. Also, the companies are ramping up construction at time when college-student enrollment has slipped, falling 1.8% in 2012 from 2011, according to the nonprofit National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.
But the companies maintain that over the long term, enrollment will continue to rise, especially at large state schools where much of the construction is taking place. And they believe that demographics support an expanding industry. More than three million high-school students are expected to graduate each year until the 2021-2022 academic year, according to the Department of Education, and many of them are expected to pursue higher education. At the same time, enrollment from foreign students remains robust.
Yet, most colleges and universities don't have enough beds to go around. American colleges are short a total of between 1.5 million and 2.15 million beds, according to research from consultant Michael Gallis & Associates. Moreover, many colleges and universities lack the funds needed to upgrade current dormitories or build new ones and are relying on the private sector to fill the gap.
"They just can't accommodate all these people. Some of them have just handed over all the reins altogether," said Will Baker, a senior vice president with Walker & Dunlop Inc., WD -0.24% which financed $157.1 million of off-campus housing deals in 2012.
Still, some industry analysts question whether some newcomers to student housing understand the hidden risks and high costs associated with the business, which requires more maintenance and management oversight than typical apartment housing. Students are notoriously hard on housing and they are known to hop from property to property, leaving older properties more at risk of occupancy declines.
Each bed typically turns over annually, and a bed that is empty when school starts often remains empty for the entire semester. Operators also have to balance the demands of students straddling childhood and adulthood, educators and overprotective parents.
Toll Brothers says it likely will allow property managers familiar with the student-housing business to help. "The management is very important because you have three months to get these buildings leased up," said Martin Connor, Toll's chief financial officer. "You have a two-week turnover period, generally, where all your tenants move out and all your tenants move in."
There is growing concern of overbuilding in some markets. Construction numbers for individual cities are limited, but some 40,000 off-campus beds are in the pipeline for 2013, according to ARA. The firm tracks 71 projects under way, up from about 40 last year.
To entice students to pay top dollar, developers are adding upscale amenities including tanning beds, resort-style pools and ice-skating rinks. Today's developments give students their own bedroom and bathroom, allowing developers to charge more rent. Depending on the market and how many students share a unit, monthly rents can approach $1,000 per bed.
"As today's parents know as they drop their kids off at college, these are not the most inexpensive places you can find, like some of us may have experienced in our college days," said Mr. Connor, 48 years old. "They are high quality, in great locations and generate significant rent."
There are concerns that some companies might be adding capacity too quickly. American Campus Communities Inc., ACC +0.29% the nation's largest publicly held owner of student housing, which spent $1.8 billion on new beds last year, surprised industry watchers earlier this month when it reported that its student housing portfolio was 43.3% preleased as of February for the 2013 academic year that begins next fall, down from 46.4% at this time last year.
"There's still plenty of time in the leasing season," American Campus Chief Executive Bill Bayless pointed out.
While it is still early, analysts are monitoring the issue. Alexander Goldfarb, a REIT analyst with Sandler O'Neill + Partners, said he is confident American Campus will fill the beds before the new academic year begins. But "if we get another quarter and the gap is still pretty big, people may question if it's a macro issue."
Developers' heavy construction activity has prompted Freddie Mac, FMCC +3.17% which purchases student-housing loans from lenders, to turn somewhat cautious. "You can't help but notice there's a lot of interest now going into that space," said John Cannon, head of multifamily sales at Freddie Mac, which purchased $1.7 billion in student-housing loans last year, up 55% from 2011.
"You want to be careful that the market's not overheating and you're not getting ahead of yourself," he said.
A big reason why companies are diversifying into student housing is that they believe the sector is recession-resistant.
Notably, the IMI list now contains markets from all 50 states, suggesting that the housing recovery has substantial momentum.
The IMI identifies metro areas that have shown improvement from their respective troughs in housing permits, employment and house prices for at least six consecutive months. A total of 20 new metros were added to the list and three were dropped from it this month. Newly added metros include such geographically diverse locations as Rome, Ga.; Fort Wayne, Ind.; Myrtle Beach, S.C.; Albuquerque, N.M.; and Racine, Wis.
Just over 70 percent of the 361 metros covered by the IMI are listed as improving in February. That marks a significant improvement from when the index was initiated with just 12 improving metros in September of 2011.
The GSE announced on Wednesday that it had a record $28.8 billion in multifamily activity in 2012, which includes financing more than 1,600 properties and 435,000 units. To put that in perspective, the previous record was $24 billion in 2008. And in 2011, it was only $20.3 billion.
The 2012 totals for Freddie Mac include $650 million in seniors housing mortgages, $1.7 billion in student housing mortgages, and a total of $25 billion under its Capital Markets Execution program, or 88 percent of the total new purchase volume.
But the landscape is changing and you need to care about content nowadays. 90% of marketers think content will become more important in 2013, according to a report by Outbrain and Econsultancy. Content Marketing Optimization (CMO) is going to become a key part of our online marketing strategies. You need to think about CMO now.
The Great Flood
We all bow down to Google's almighty power. He is the internet God of the 21st Century. He can bring us millions of pilgrims and many, many customers.
When he saw all these underhand techniques, he wasn't pleased with what he saw. Many people were abusing these tactics to cheat searchers. So Google unleashed a flood of updates (Panda and Penguin) to wash these baddies away.
Those who were good had already built their content rafts
When the flood waters receded, many businesses had survived, and arrived at the top of Google. They'd made rafts of content to keep them afloat. Others quickly capitalized and they found it remarkably easy to climb the rankings, especially for long tail keywords.
Just In Time, a financial PR agency, wrote a few articles about ‘financial pr agencies' and climbed up the rankings very quickly.
Google wants content angels, not SEO devils
Google, like any benevolent father wants to please its worshippers. His searchers, and they are crazed devotees at the altar of content. If searchers want rich, meaty content, then Google will do his best to deliver it.
Google is ranking people by who has the best content. They're trying to put the best content at the top. Now you're in a battle with your competitors to create the best content! There are no more underhanded tricks (and if there were Google will soon eliminate them). So you now need to create more content, and optimize that content. Be a content angel, not a SEO devil.
So what do you need to know about CMO, then?
I suspect Content Marketing Optimization will be the next big thing and ultimately step in the place of SEO. CMO is adding that extra bit of sparkle to your content, framing it in a tasty way. Adding dazzle will make both your readers and Google love you.
Longer form content and rich media
There's a great resource here of 11 content optimization tips from Jason Acidre. If you don't have the time to read them - here's the most important tip.
Jason talks about longer form content. Why? And why does Google value this so highly?
It's because, the longer an article - generally the richer it is. If it's bursting at the seams with analysis, examples, case studies and other thoughts - it is likely to be much more useful than a simple 400 word article.
Rich media is also becoming more and more important as well. Big brands are saying that visitors want more rich media content like videos and images.
It's a bit old-fashioned now to just have an article. We don't always have the opportunity to add multimedia to every article because we're not big enough. However, people expect their content to be a bit more interactive these days," says Sharon Flaherty, Head of Content and PR at price comparison site Confused.com.