Star Tech Blog

June 3rd, 2015 No comments

Why develop with Agile?

Speed-to-market
Agile development philosophy supports the concept of early and regular software releases. Working in short sharp sprints, Agile teams can change direction quickly in response to their customers feedback and feature requirements. At Dezrez HQ the Rezi team work in 2 week sprints ensuring we can deliver new features regularly and in response to our customer wants.

Quality
One key principle of Agile development is quality. One measure of quality is testing the product throughout the development lifecycle and not just at the point of release. At Dezrez this enables us to continuously review Rezi as it is developed and allows the team to make adjustments if necessary and gives us early sight of any quality issues.

Visibility
Agile encourages user involvement throughout. Whether UX testing of designs, UAT testing of freshly released features the importance of having engagement with real users is crucial. Agile is a collaborative approach, allowing stakeholders to have clear visibility of development progress and of the product itself.

Agile

Business Value
By allowing the user to determine the priority of features, the development team understands what’s most important to the user’s business, and can deliver features in the most valuable order. This is why Agile helps us engage with our users.

Risk Management
Working towards small regular feature releases helps to eradicate risk. Problems can be identified early allowing for quick response to change. Having user feedback throughout the life cycle helps identify issues and allows for time to make a difference to the result.

Flexibility
Agile development accepts change. In fact it is pretty much a given. Time scale is fixed but the priority of feature requirements change as the product is developed. It is essential to have actively involved stakeholder who understands this concept and the product you are building!

Business Engagement/Customer Satisfaction
The active involvement of users or a representative for the users ensures high visibility of the progress of the product development. Having the flexibility to change when change is needed creates much better business engagement and customer satisfaction.

Book a demo today www.dezrez.com/rezi

Categories: Estate Agent Software Tags:

Dezrez Website of the Month for May

June 3rd, 2015 No comments

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May’s Website of the Month is Country-Properties.co.uk. Created by The Property Jungle, this fully responsive website uses a combination of well-balanced colours and intuitive page structure to deliver a website that is not only easy to navigate but very informative without feeling cluttered.
The use of colour helps attract the user to important aspects such as the Property Search and Free Evaluation features.
The property search feature is particularly useful with an option to search for properties within a certain travelling distance on top of the usual features you would expect.
The property details page has a very clean and simplistic look with good social media linking and once again incorporates a colour scheme to guide the user’s eye to the important aspects, much as they do on the home page.
As Country Properties have such a substantial presence in the areas in which they operate there tends to be a great deal of properties to search through. To help with this they have added a shortlist feature that allows you to save properties you like and view them later.
Country Properties also take their presence in these areas as an opportunity to support the communities by promoting the various activities and institutions that make these areas unique. This is achieved via the ‘News’ section and ‘Community Hub’ feature on their website.
The website has clearly been designed with the user’s journey in mind and has all the features and information required. Even with the large amount of information on the site it manages to deliver this in a way that is suitable whether you are just browsing the site or researching for your next move.

Categories: Estate Agent Software Tags:

The Covert Habits of Estate Agents

June 1st, 2015 2 comments

The curious anomaly of northern estate agents and Londoners who never sleep…

This month we thought we’d have some fun and share the results of a statistical analysis of Dezrez users. Most of our findings confirm that estate agents are fairly consistent.  But what makes the north of England so very different to the rest of the UK, and why are Londoners working during the hours of mid-night and four in the morning?

 

8% increase in Dezrez activity post-election

Originally, we planned on dipping into some analytics to see if there was an increase in housing activity recorded on Dezrez following the election. There was.  Post May 7th 2015 we saw a sustained 8% hike in activity. Given all the hype, perhaps there’s no surprise there… But when faced by a sea of numbers; we noticed an anomaly, and then another, and another…

 

Parity for male and female estate agents… unless your life is in a northern town

Across the Umale-femaleK there was no difference between the number of female and male users of Dezrez. This was very pleasing, though in the name of total transparency, men eclipsed women by 1%. It remained so across the south and up into the midlands, where 2% more men than women used Dezrez last month. Yet, as soon as we tip into the north of England, this figure jumps to a whopping 74% and holds, give or take a percentage or two across most cities and towns.

 

We dug deeper. If you are aged 35-44 and working in the north, you are likely to use Dezrez a third less than any other user. Yet, across the rest of the UK there was an even split across people aged 25-64 before Dezrez usage dips to just 6% for people 65 or older. Why is this? Do male estate agents really outflank females by three-quarters in the north and why the curious black-spot for those in their middle years? Is this a peculiarity of Dezrez users or northern estate agents in general?  We’d love to hear your thoughts…

 

London has its oddities too

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Traditionally ‘hump day’ for most workers, Wednesday was by far the most active for all Dezrez users, closely followed by Thursday. On average 32,000 estate agents were online daily midweek, compared to just 2000 users on a Sunday.  Whilst it may come as no surprise that the busiest times for Dezrez were between the hours of 9am and 10am, we were quite shocked that 2069 estate agents were still active from nine o’clock at night until 5am.  More worrying, 438 of Londoners work from midnight until four in the morning. Is it really the city that never sleeps, and why was it only men using Dezrez between the hours of 12-1am and 3am–4am…?

 

If you’d like to know more fun random facts, drop us a line or post a comment. We’d love to hear from you.

Top Tips on Basic SEO for Estate Agents

May 29th, 2015 6 comments

We often heardownload this goal:

I want us to be top of Google

Well it’s a fair question to ask, but wanting to be ‘top of Google’ for a range of key-phrases isn’t a realistic goal for most. There can only be one winner and it’s not necessarily the largest company at the top.

Let’s go back to basics; how can SEO help us? There is a lot to take in, but I’ve broken everything up into easy-to-digest sections and have included lots of examples along the way. I hope you enjoy some top tips on basic SEO for Estate Agents!

 

Keyword ResearchK

Keywords are what customers  type into a search engine (Google/Bing) to find your product or service. Researching them is one of the most important, valuable, and high return activities in SEO. After all, it’s not about getting visitors to your site but about getting the right kind of visitors;ones who want to buy your services.

With keyword research you can predict shifts in demand, respond to changing market conditions, and produce the products, services, and content that your customers are actively seeking.

You can research keyword demand using a number of different free tools to build up knowledge about the estate agency market place. This would be most beneficial to you and will help your customers to find your website.

Here are some of the tools that I use when researching keywords for Dezrez….. go on have a go!

Content

Content is the information that lives throughout your website.  It is what your site visitors have come to read and so it is extremely important to not just create content, but to create good content!

From an SEO perspective all information must make sense to your customers.  It also needs to allow a search engine to identify and award you for delivering articles that your customers want to read.

When writing content it is best to research keywords before your start (see above.) This is so you can focus on words and phrases potential customers resonate with so that your website moves further up the Google/Bing ranking.

A cool tool to view trending content is Reddit. It allows you to look at topics from across the web, drawing inspiration and improving your customer focus … Why not try, ‘Estate Agent’.

Linking

LinksLink building is the process of acquiring hyperlinks from other websites and linking them to your own, so users can navigate between pages on the internet.

Linking from highly reputable sites not only allows you to draw on their reputation but to drive traffic from their site to yours, meaning you achieve high Google or Bing PageRanks.  For that reason, if you can master the art of building high-quality links, it can truly put you ahead of  your competition.

Majestic-SEO will allow you to view the links your competitors use so that you can make sure you have more valid links to boost your page rank.  You could start by linking to Dezrez!

Meta Tags

Although this might seem like a technical term, fear not.  Meta tags are a page description. The better ones include your researched keywords and phrases. Fundamentally, they provide a summary of the page, and play a key role in your site’s search ranking for Google and Bing.

The description tag is what users will read when your page appears in a search engines’ listing.  This could be the difference between people clicking on your site or a competitor’s.

A great free tool for building meta descriptions is SEO Medic.  It helps to build page titles, meta descriptions and keywords and also recommends the optimum length so you don’t have to worry about it.

Site Navigation

images (1)Your site navigation makes it easy for people and search engines to find what they are looking for. First check with your webmaster that you have a XML sitemap installed.  This is a line of code that maps a site and indexes the pages so that search engines can read them.

Don’t worry if you don’t have a webmaster. You can use XML Sitemaps to do this for you.  If you are feeling brave, you could also make sure that any error pages (404) are customised with a link back to the previous page. Your webmaster will be able to do this for you.

Social Media

Sharing fresh content from your blog across social media channels such as Linked in, Facebook or Twitter is a great ways to help increase visitors to your website.

If you go onto Dezrez Marketplace, there are tools that will enable you to do this easily.  Linking to products and services within your website will help increase and drive traffic to specific pages and it is surprising how quickly you can build your customer base.

One of the most common social media managers is Hootsuite; its basic version is free.

Friendly URL’sdownload (1)

A ‘Friendly URL’ is an easily understandable address bar. For example,  http://www.dezrez.com/estateagentsoftware  is a lot easier to read than www.dezrez.com/183959/s201.php. This is usually a job for a webmaster or the company who has built your website.

Making your URLs more search engine friendly by naming them with clear keywords is very beneficial for SEO as poor ones can impair rankings and also reduce ranking authority from other pages and even entire websites. Mod Re writer Generator  is a free tool to help you make your URL’s friendly!

So there you have it; seven simple steps starting with keyword research, relevant content, linking, meta tags, site navigation, social media and friendly URLs.  They will not only help potential customers to find you, but give you the edge over your competitors. What’s not to like?

If you have any questions please let me know by posting a comment or emailing joe.diamond@dezrez.com 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Estate Agent Software Tags:

DezrezOne Top 10 Estate Agents May 2015

May 28th, 2015 No comments

DezrezOne Top 10 Estate Agents May 2015

All of these estate agents have achieved this status by consistently using 90% or more of the entire DezrezOne system during May 2015.

We can monitor your usage of DezrezOne from our specially designed software, making it possible for us to tailor training specifically for your estate agency.

We can also offer you advice on how to improve efficiency in your estate agency, so contact us today if you’d like to find out more!

Star Tech Blog

Real-Time Web Functionality & SignalR
Real-time web functionality is something millions of people see every day when using their favourite websites, but probably without realising it. For example, your activity feeds when using Facebook and Twitter update without you having to do anything but sit and wait. It is intended to make your experience on the site less static, and more immersive.

 No Refreshing

We’ve chosen to use a technology called SignalR to bring real-time web functionality to Rezi. It’s a library that has been developed by Microsoft to help bring real-time functionality to the masses. You can use SignalR to add any sort of real-time web functionality to your application. An example used often when talking about ‘real-time’ is chat, but there’s so much more that can be done with this technology. Here are some other examples of what it could be used for:

 

  • Collaboration: Google already uses real-time functionality in their Drive products. If more than one person is working on a shared document, you can see in real-time what the other person is writing, formatting, deleting etc.
  • Multi-player games: Games that can handle massive amounts of players gaming together over the web are no longer limited to consoles or games installed on PCs or Macs. There are lots of popular multi-player web games that use real-time functionality to allow people from all over the world to game together.
  • Activity streams: As mentioned earlier, companies such as Facebook and Twitter already use this implementation of real-time web functionality heavily in their flagship products.
  • Live content: During big news events, sites such as BBC News will provide a live news stream dedicated to updating readers on the events unfolding. For example, during the upcoming election, many news sites will have a feed of live content.

 

They will combine elements such as status updates from their reporters, links to their articles as they are published and tweets that will keep you informed and engaged in their coverage

In Rezi, we take advantage of real-time web functionality in numerous places. Chat, reminders, note streams, document generation progress, and more! If you want to generate a mass mail out to 500 people, you don’t want to keep refreshing to see if it’s finished yet. Instead you can forget about it, go and make a cuppa, and we’ll let you know when it’s finished.

It’s basically a nice way of saying, “don’t call us, we’ll call you”.

Everything You Need to Know About Cloud

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Cloud Washing

There is a lot of hot air around the term cloud computing within Estate Agency Software. It gets positively sweltering when people add “Web Based Software” and “Software as a Service” (SaaS) to the discussion. Untitled design (15)Unfortunately the subject gets techy very quickly, which just makes matters more confusing. My hope is that this article will clear the air.

In general, cloud computing can be thought of as any situation where the computer you are using is outside of your physical location. Of course, this is an over simplification… as soon as you type a search in to Google you are using one of their servers to do a search for you, so in theory you are in realms of cloud computing. At this level cloud computing and the internet are virtually synonyms. It is this over simplification that gets hijacked by marketing departments so that they can add yet another buzzword to their adverts.

 

Perhaps the other Buzzwords are clearer?
Web based software, should be relatively straight forward, as it implies that the interface to the software is held within an internet browser such as Chrome or Internet Explorer. BUT… people also use “web based” to mean accessing the software over an internet connection. I would argue that this stretches the definition past breaking point. In my book, using remote desktop, citrix or screen sharing solutions to access a piece of software over the internet, is not cloud computing. Really, when discussing Estate Agency Software the definition should be focused on the underlying technology that powers the specific software you are using!

 

img2BVirtual Computers – These are computers that do not physically exist, instead they exist as a file on an even bigger server. This gives some benefits around redundancy, scale and performance. Traditional non-cloud based software can take advantage of some of these benefits by creating virtual versions of themselves. But again, the definition should be focused on the underlying technology that powers the specific estate agency software you are using not the hardware that it is running on.

 

What about Software as a Service (Saas)? This definition is much less able to be twisted. It implies that you are solely accessing the software over the internet (invariably via a browser) and not any intermediate system. There are many big examples, from SalesForce, QuickBooks to Microsoft Office 365.  Software as a Service providers are responsible for maintaining the service, relieving you of the worries around data back up and installing updates.

 

In summary, the buzzwords are stretched in order to hide the real issues behind the software. The real geeks among us will understand the nuances behind the terms and be able to ask the right question to uncover the issues its hiding. The reality for the rest of us resides in understanding what the software can do for your business. A software product designed to make the most of cloud computing’s benefits will empower a business not restrict it. Not all SaaS products are equal.  Next time I’ll try to explain why!

Previously Related Blog article:

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Are You Ready For The Rezi Influx?

Are you rezi for the influx?

1You’ve heard a lot about how each leading political party intends to inject vigor into the housing marketing, I’m sure! Likewise, as the leaders in cloud software for estate agents, we want to deliver our manifesto for dealing with the predicted housing influx. So we must ask, are you Rezi for it?

Rezi isn’t just being built to record the details of what you do, it’s there to make it all that much easier, efficient and remove the stress of managing multiple jobs. A few of the features we are working on will help you do just that…

 

 

Property Presentation Tool: Be confident and comfortable showing your stock

222From May 8th, we predict you’ll want to conserve your energy so that each and every client you meet gets the same first class service.  Wouldn’t it be great if you had a tool which works on any device and has been designed to show your properties in detail within an elegant interface? And, what if it allows the prospective buyer or tenant to browse and interact with your available stock (at their own freewill) without the need for you to be peering over their shoulder!? You guessed it, we have it!  Our applicant facing tool is password protected so that all the sensitive data is secure and allows the user to like, share and mail selected properties directly, and reports back, all the information to you!

 

Next please…

Sales Progression: Track your sales and have fun doing it

 What about the labour intensive job of managing the sales progress? Call, after call, after call… and that is just to leave three voicemails with the

3solicitor. Sales progression in Rezi has been split in three to give you the clearest, most effective way to manage sales. Build the chain. Check! Add, import and send out updates electronically without having to pick up the phone. Check! Just need an update, and don’t need a page full of buttons and options. Check! We weren’t sure if we were allowed to check three boxes on this polling card, but we have!

 

To-dos: Feel good about getting things done

Multi-tasking, to-do-ing and follow ups…they’re all taxing, but manda-tory! After campaign-ing our thoughts to many existing customers; we’ve built the most agile to-do system in estate agency history. Track your progress, form a coalition with colleagues, and never miss an opportunity to follow up the viewing or valuation. Quite simply, we’ve taken everything that needs to be done and placed it in one clear page so that you can focus on the getting the job done…

That’s just a taste of what we’re working on at the moment.  Every two weeks you can expect great new features from Rezi; speak to one of our sales people or account managers to find out more. Or, have a demo.

dezrez.com/rezi

DezrezOne Top 10 Estate Agents April 2015

May 1st, 2015 No comments

DezrezOne Top 10 Estate Agents April 2015

All of these estate agents have achieved this status by consistently using 90% or more of the entire DezrezOne system during April 2015.

We can monitor your usage of DezrezOne from our specially designed software, making it possible for us to tailor training specifically for your estate agency.

We can also offer you advice on how to improve efficiency in your estate agency, so contact us today if you’d like to find out more!

Dezrez Website of the Month for April

May 1st, 2015 No comments

marApril’s website of the month is Mason and Row, with a new website created by The Property Jungle.

Masonandrow.com has a fresh new look with an easy to use interface an intuitive navigation. The images and colours used provide a very welcoming experience. The Search bar is easy to find and use. The search gives you the option of the traditional search or the map search which is a great way to search for properties. The map search allows a quick overview of the properties in the area you want. The colours used work very well together and add a layer of class to the entire site.

The site even looks great on mobiles. You can see the property jungle have been hard at work refining the responsive functionality of the site. With an interface that fits each device as though it was designed just for it you can house hunt wherever and whenever.

The website flows well and looks great. Properties are easy to find and this site offers a fantastic and in depth overview for each property available. They have made it really easy to find your dream home. They have also provided a wide range of tools built in to the site to help you find exactly what you want or help someone else find what they are looking for.

You can see that a lot of effort and time has gone in to this site. It really does have a good shine to it.

Congratulations to Mason and Row and to The Property Jungle for a fantastic website.

Categories: Estate Agent Software Tags: