Orlando Real Estate Re-Launch

April 16th, 2013

A few months ago an old client of ours, Doug Packard of the Blu River Realty Group in Orlando, called and asked us if we could update his site to a more modern look. It had been six years since we first designed his site, and it was definitely in need of an upgrade to a more modern platform and layout.

The goal here was to make better use of whitespace, replace the Flash community photo galleries with a more modern tool, provide a responsive mobile layout, improve navigation, and find a better way to present the communities and featured communities. We also wanted to do a better job of allowing social media interaction.

The results was the new and improved www.buyerbroker.com website. It’s a great looking site, and with a few more Calls to Action will help to drive additional prospects to the agent.

One of the neat features on the site was the automated posting of new listings to the blog page. We set up custom RSS feeds in the Diverse Solutions system, then processed those feeds so that each night new listings would automatically post to specific categories in the blog. The user can view the post, and when they click on the link within the post they are taken to the mapped IDX page for that listing. This is a great way to help build traffic to the website.

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What The Heck Have We Been Up To Lately?

June 18th, 2010

No blogging. No tweets. An outdated web site. No news out of The Kosloff Group camp for months on end now. We’re still here, and frankly stronger than ever. The simple explanation is that we have been extremely busy with development projects.

You may or may not now, we developed Media Solutions 360 in conjunction with Down South Publishers, Inc. Down South is a leading publisher of real estate, luxury home, and vacation rental magazines and print media publications. Media Solutions 360 an extension of DSP that specializes in real estate and destination vacation web portals as well as real estate agent web sites.

You can see some of our work at Great Real Estate 360 and Great Rentals 360.

Over the past months we have been enhancing the design of the 360 Network web sites as well as updating those sites with a new framework. We also developed the CORE360 Agent sites which we sell along with Down South Publishers. The first release of the agent sites was the CORE360 Alpha framework followed by the new CORE360 Omega framework.

The CORE360 Agent sites have been an instant hit. Within weeks of their release we had orders for a dozen sites and we’re adding new agent web sites every week!

Now that all of the pieces are in place we’re beginning to partner with other real estate and vacation rental print publishers to add sites in their region to the 360 Network.  If you’re an interested magazine publisher contact us find out how you can get a 360 Network web site for free - and keep 100% of the advertising revenue it generates plus commissions.

To sum it up - yes, we’re still here and we’re still very busy. So busy in fact that we’re not taking any real estate SEO clients at this time. But we are taking on new CORE360 Agent clients, so sign up now and join the 360 Network!

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Tips to lock down your Joomla site

October 26th, 2009

Once you install Joomla on your server the first thing you should do is take a few minutes to lock down your site to keep spammers and hackers at bay. While nothing is fool proof, a few simple changes to your site will keep most hackers and spammers away from your web site.

Step 1 - Secure the Administrator Directory
The best way to secure the admin section is through a combination of SSL and htaccess, but not everyone wants to fork over money for an SSL certificate. So at the very least you need to drop an .htaccess file in the administrator directory that restricts access to your IP address or addresses.

Create an .htaccess file with the following:

order deny,allow
deny from all
allow from xx.xxx.x.xxx
allow from yy.yyy.y.yyy

Substitute your IP addresses for the x’s and y’s. Just remember, if you need to access your site from another location you need to make sure you have FTP access so you can update the IP list.

Step 2 - Move your configuration file
Take your current configuration.php file and move it outside of your public_html folder (or whatever the name of your root folder is). Once you relocate the file, rename it “joomla.conf”.

Now create a new configuration.php file with the following code:

require( dirname( __FILE__ ) . ‘/../joomla.conf’ );
?>

make sure that your new configuration.php is not writable. Remember, this means that you will not be able to make configuration.php changes through the Joomla admin interface. You will need to edit the file directly in your secure folder. Here’s the official documentation on this subject.

Step 3 - Install the Bad Behavior Bot Extension
Adding captcha and other tools to your Joomla site will help prevent some spam, but I have found that the Bad Behavior Bot plugin does a great job of keeping spam bots away from web sites.

There may be times when you need to give a client or someone else access to the Admin section of your site but you find that the Manager / Administrator / Super Administrator groups don’t provide the level of detail that you need. I have read that Joomla 1.6 will address this issue, but in the meantime there are some things you can do to address admin access levels in Joomla 1.5. I’ll detail those in my next post.

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Joomla Extension Review: CorePHP WordPress

October 17th, 2009

You hear a lot of debate among web developers about which open source platform is best to work with, WordPress or Joomla. And now there’s a Joomla extension that allows you to have the best of both worlds - CorePHP WordPress.

Extension Types: components, modules
Current Price: $89 for one year subscription to downloads area
Require Individual License per Site: No

The Good

  • Complete integration with Joomla
  • Can integrate WordPress categories with Joomla categories
  • Good response time on submitted support tickets
  • Modified version Akismet, All In One SEO, Sociable, and other key plugins are available for download
  • Most WordPress plugins can be modified to work with the component
  • User role synchronization with Joomla

The Not So Good

  • Ping services currently do not work
  • CSS compatibility problems with Joomla and WP modules (but we have an easy fix for that)
  • Optimized title tags when using sh404SEF
  • Poor support on their forum

Let me say this right off - this is a very good component and I can see how this may end up being an essential part of any Joomla site just like Community Builder, JCE, and SOBI. But the current version 2.7.1.2 does fall short in some very key areas. Hopefully the upcoming release of 2.8.4 will fix these problems.

Installation and Configuration - Easy to install and configure.

Template Integration - This is one are where the WP component really needs to be modified, and after emailing the developer with my solution he did say they would add it to the SVN, so hopefully it will be included in the next version.

Without going into all of the nitty gritty details, one thing you can do with this component is hide the Joomla sidebars and place them in Joomla modules. This is a great feature because you can then place those modules throughout the non-WP pages of your site as well as on the WP pages. The problem is that the CSS classes used in the WP sidebars does not match the CSS classes used in Joomla modules.

Why is this so important? It means that you end up having to write special CSS code to make the special WP modules look like your Joomla modules. This may not be a big deal on basic templates, but most of our templates have tons of module variations and color themes - and that means having to write a ton of new CSS code. Well, I thought it did until I poked around the WP template and found a much easier solution and updated the code in the WP classes.php file (changed $class = ‘cat-item cat-item-’.$category->term_id; to $class = ‘item item’.$category->term_id;

We made a few other changes to the PHP code, but I’ll put them all in another post at a later time. Essentially, the changes we made allow us to simply install the component and it seamlessly integrates with any of our template designs. That’s a LOT better than coding a ton of CSS specifically for WP!

The big disappointment with CorePHP WordPress came when we made our first post - the ping services did not work. To me, the ping services are THE most powerful and important part of WordPress. Frankly, without this working there’s not much point to using WP. I did exchange a few emails with Lead Developer Rafael Corral and he stated the ping problem will be fixed in version 2.8.4.

In the meantime I did find a pseudo workaround for the problem. As I mentioned earlier you can integrate your WP categories with Joomla. Although this integration is not perfect (if you delete a post in WP it remains in Joomla), it does allow you to use Joomla based extensions involving that category and its content. So we installed the BlogPing extension and use that for our ping services. The solution is not ideal because it pings the Joomla URL of your site and not the WordPress URL, but at least you can notify the ping services of new content. If you’re so inclined you can always put 301 redirects on those URL’s

I also ran into a problem when using there sh404SEF extension. Namely it would set the browser title tag to “this-is-my-post-title” instead of “This Is My Post Title”. I don’t think this problem is in my configuration, but rather in the coding. I just haven’t had time to look at the code. So in the meantime I told sh404SEF to ignore this component. In most cases I could care less about SEF URL’s (they’re overrated). The proper title tag is much, much more important than SEF URL’s.

OK, back to more good stuff. Integrating WP categories with Joomla allows you to include your posts in Joomla modules. For example, take a look at this page on Colleton River Real Estate. Near the bottom part of the page you will see an area titled “Colleton River Real Estate News”. These headlines show up every time the agent posts to that specific category, so visitors to her community pages will always see the latest headlines involving that community. As a web developer, it also means we don’t have to charge our clients to add new information to key web pages of their site. They post their own blog content and we can set either the full articles or snippets to appear on the non-blog pages of the site!

Conclusion Overall, it’s a good component. After all, I am using it for this post. In this article I have touched on only a few its great features. Perhaps I’ll post more about it later, or you can just visit their web site. What I really like about this component is that if you think outside of the box (and know a little bit of PHP) there’s a LOT that you can do with this extension. I may post more on this later, but for now I’m keeping my cards close to my vest. When the CorePHP team fixes the ping issue I’ll rate this extension much higher, but for now I give it three and a half out of five stars.

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CORE360 Agent Web Design

October 12th, 2009

Attention real estate agents: For the first time there is now an affordable, attractive, and comprehensive real estate web design that will not only serve your needs today, but will also allow you to easily add unlimited content, photos, and information to meet your future needs. Best of all, as part of the 360 Network your listings will be syndicated throughout our local, regional and national sites as well as major real estate portals such as Zillow, Trulia, Yahoo Real Estate, and more. You can have it all and more with CORE360 Agent!

Built In Syndication Services

Not only are your listings syndicated, but each time you post content it is syndicated to over 50 ping services inclusing Feedburner, Ping O Matic, Technorati, and more. And speaking of web site content…

Unlimited Content, Categories, and Pages

Unless you purchase a 100% customized web site (and pay the $$$$ for that site) most real estate web sites limit you to a fixed number of categories and pages. With the CORE360 Agent system you control the categories, sub categories, and content . And no, you won’t have to email tech support and ask them to add categories or sub categories. Simply create them “on the fly”. Best off, they won’t be visible until you post an actual content article to that category. That means your web visitors won’t be visiting dead end pages.

Entering content is extremely easy using our built in WYSIWYG editor. We also have built in typography that allows you to add style and flare to the web pages you enter. Advanced users can edit their content using our built in HTML editor.

The Power of the 360 Network

The 360 Network was developed by Down South Publishers, Inc. as a supplement to their real estate magazine and vacation rental publications. What started as a local effort is now growing into a local, regional, and national real estate and destination travel web site portfolio. Not only does Down South Publishers have 200+ domains in development, but they are also partnering with other real estate magazine publishers throughout the United States to bring the 360 Network to your area.

Even if there is no 360 Network site in your area at this time, you can still benefit from their services. All of your property listings will show up on Great Real Estate 360, the national real estate portal site. You can slso provide us the name of your local publisher and have us contact them, or you can provide them with information to contact Down South Publishers.

Incredible Features and Functions

We’ve touched on only a few of the features, functions, and benefits of the CORE360 Agent system. Are you looking for built in search engine friendly features? They’re in there. MLS integration? It’s there, too. In fact, the best way to learn more about the system is to check out the CORE360 Agent demo. We know you’ll be thrilled with the entire package - especially the affordable price!

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The Kosloff Group (Finally) Updates Web Site

October 9th, 2009

Over the past few years we have been busy - REALLY busy - with our real estate SEO and web development programs.  Not only did we have new projects but we also updated all of our existing agent sites to our new web platform. We just never found the time to update our own web site.

But over the past few weeks we managed to update the site with our CMS platforms, new layout, and updated content. The biggest addition to our site was our new CORE360 Agent real estate web site package. We’re very excited about this new platform, not only because of all of its features and benefits, but also because we can deliver a great real estate web design package for a very affordable price. We’ll be posting more on this package in the next few days.

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