Predesigned How Tos

Predesigned How To: Submitting your XML Sitemap

By Drew Meyers

We’ve been asked several times by clients on our predesigned platform about submitting an XML sitemap to Google Webmaster Tools. Here is a run down of what that process entails:

1. Enable XML Sitemap functionality in your SEO settings. Navigate to the “SEO” portion of your dashboard, then click on “XML Sitemaps” within that portion of your settings.

2. Check the “Ping Yahoo” and “Ping Ask” from the settings.

3. Click the blue “Save XML Sitemaps Settings” button

XML Sitemaps 2039 Lori Bee 2014 WordPress
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4. Login to Google Webmaster Tools

5. Click “Add Site”

6. Type in your domain name, then click continue.

Webmaster Tools - Home
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7. Verify your ownership of the domain name with the “Add a meta tag to your site’s home page” option under alternate methods.

8. Copy the meta tag from the screen.

9. Paste the meta tag into your SEO settings and save your settings

WordPress SEO Configuration 2039 Lori Bee 2014 WordPress
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10. Click “verify” at the bottom of the screen in Google Webmasters

11. Rejoice!!

Remember, an XML sitemap will help with crawl-ability, particularly if you have hundreds or thousands of pages and posts. But it will NOT increase your rankings.

If there are any questions, let us know.

How to Change (at) to @ in the Footer of your Predesigned Site

By Drew Meyers

We’ve been asked several times how to change the “(at)” in your footer to an @ and make your email address clickable. Here’s the rundown for those that want to do it.

1. Navigate to the widgets section of your dashboard (underneath appearance)

2. Find the “Footer” area within the widget areas on the right and expand it

3. Remove the “Contact Info” widget with a generic text widget. Click the “contact info” widget and drag it to the center of the screen. Click the generic “text” widget in the center module of the available widgets into the same location that the “contact info” widget used to reside in.

4. Place all your contact information inside the text widget in the following format (this is example code from the text widget in Kurt Maier’s footer):

<ul>
<li>Kurt Maier, Realtor</li>
<li>11155 East Ocean Air Drive</li>
<li>San Diego, CA 92130</li>
<li>CA DRE #: 01872851</li>
<li>P: 858.692.3704</li>
<li>E:  <a href="mailto:Kurt@kurtmaier.com">Kurt@kurtmaier.com</a></li>
</ul>

5. Click “Save”

Hope this helps!

Client Q&A: Resolving 404s and Pagination on Landing Pages

By Drew Meyers

We pride ourselves on constantly making our product better. Inevitably, there are a few bumps in the road during the process of making that happen. Over the past two days, some of our predesigned clients have noticed 404 errors for some of their pages and for that myself and the rest of the VR team apologize.

When you are writing hundreds or thousands of lines of code every week like we do, you have to ensure each and every line play nicely with each other. The origin of this 404 issue was example of an internal conflict within our code. As soon as this conflict was uncovered we went back to try and resolve the matter. As a result we’ve done some work over the past few days to improve the pagination on our landing pages for communities, listings, testimonials, videos, and associates to ensure that landing pages work correctly regardless of whether there are 3 items or 60. As current clients know, all of our predesigned websites that work include custom post types for each of those components of your website.

That said, we know have great code and the issue is working correctly — but some of you may still be seeing 404 errors on your individual community pages.

Steps to resolve the 404 and pagination issue (it’s not hard, but there are a few steps):

1. Delete the following “pages”: listings, testimonials, videos, associates, and videos. This can be done by navigating to your pages list, hovering over those pages, and clicking “Trash” on each one of them.

Picture 1
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2. Navigate to your custom menu, and make the following changes:

  • Delete communities – replace with a custom link with a link URL of “/communities/” and text “Communities”
  • Delete testimonials – replace with a custom link with a link URL of “/testimonials/” and text “Testimonials”
  • Delete listings – replace with a custom link with a link URL of “/listings/” and text “Listings”

If you’ve added videos or associates pages to the menu (we don’t put them in as a default when setting up), you need to replace those with custom links in the menu as well.

Menus 2039 Lori Bee 2014 WordPress
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3. Navigate to your permalinks section of your settings, and click “save changes” (I would not recommend changing the permalink structure, but you can if you wish)

Permalink Settings 2039 Housing Market San Diego | Real Estate in Oceanside, Carlsbad, Vista, Fallbrook|| 2014 WordPress
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Note that we’ve also updated our documentation in our help center to reflect this.

If you need help resolving this issue, shoot us an email at support@virtualresults.net or post a note in the Geek Estate forum (you need to be logged in to Geek Estate to access that link) and we’ll take care of it for you.

How to Add Drop Downs to Your Navigation Menu

By Drew Meyers

For those who aren’t extremely familiar with the WordPress menu system, I wanted to detail how to add drop down options to your primary navigation menu on your predesigned website that works.

I chose to use Ric and Pamela Dizon (who serve the La Palma community with LaPalmaHomeFinder411.com) as an example because Ric has already put drop downs in place on his own.

Step 1: Navigate to Menus portion of your dashboard underneath Appearance.

Dashboard 2039 Ric & Pamela Dizon 2014 WordPress
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Step 2: Add the new menu pages or custom links you want to your “MainNav” menu.

Menus 2039 Ric & Pamela Dizon 2014 WordPress
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Step 3: Indent the options you want to be drop downs by clicking & holding one of the grey bars and dragging it in underneath its intended parent navigation option.

Dock
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Step 4: Click “Save Menu”

Menus 2039 Ric & Pamela Dizon 2014 WordPress
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Once example use for drop down menus is to place separate links for your actives and solds underneath your “listings” navigation button. If you wish to link to a page with JUST your actives, or JUST your solds, the following URL structures will work:

  • solds – http://yourdomain.com/listings/sold/
  • actives – http://yourdomain.com/listings/sold/

Hope this helps clarify the issue of how to use your navigation menu. If not, leave your questions in the comments.

How To File a Bug

By Drew Meyers

Software “bugs” (aka “things that don’t work correctly”) are unfortunately part of life for any web company. I’ve been dealing with bugs since 2005 when I started working at a little company you may have heard of by now, Zillow — and unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to get away from them as long as I work for internet companies. Obviously, minimizing bugs that make it to production from test environments is always the goal of any web company – but inevitably, they slip through the cracks every now and then and end users notice something broken. It goes without saying that finding those bugs and getting them fixed promptly is one of our top priorities here at Virtual Results.

It’s important for you to understand that there are literally thousands of variables that cause software bugs; browsers (IE/Chrome/Safari/Firefox), operating systems (OS X vs Windows), ISPs, desktop applications running in the background, browser extensions, or even hardware. Just because something is not working for you does not mean it’s a system wide issue seen by everyone — it could very well be something only you are seeing or only people using Internet Explorer are seeing.

Before we get to the specific process of filing a bug, three things to remember:

  1. “Bugs” are NOT suggested improvements or new features
  2. Before you file a bug, please test to see if the particular problem you are experiencing is only seen on your computer by going through the repro steps on another computer
  3. When it comes to software bugs, unless we can consistently reproduce the computer on a machine of ours – we likely can’t fix the problem. It’s extremely hard for developers to fix coding issues they can’t reproduce.

That said, if you do indeed run into something that’s broken, here is the exact process for clients on our predesigned platform to file a bug:

1. Navigate to the “Bug Reporting” section of the Geek Estate forum

2. Create a new thread that includes the following information:

  • The title of the thread should be short description of the problem you are experiencing
  • EXACT steps that will reproduce the issue every single time. For instance, if you can’t open a specific URL, make sure to provide steps to how you got to that URL rather than just telling us “this URL doesn’t open”.
  • Your browser and version number (for instance, I use Safari Version 5.0.5 5533.21.1)
  • Operating system
  • Any other details you think we should know – such as when you started seeing the issue, any changes you made to your site leading up to the bug

As you can tell from the fact that I wrote this blog post, detailed bug reports are greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance for your help!

Adding School Data via Education.com to Your Predesigned Website that Works

By Drew Meyers

We all know school information is one of the critical pieces of information that buyers are researching during the home buying process, so it’s only natural to have relevant school information accessible directly from your real estate website.

Want to add school information to the community pages of your Predesigned Website that Works? It’s simple to pull in school data from Education.com using the Local Market Explorer plugin (one of the available plugins on our platform).

Here’s how:

  • Request that we activate the Local Market Explorer plugin on your site (by submitting a request in the Work Requests portion of the Geek Estate forum)
  • Navigate to the editor of one of your community pages, or any page of post you want to insert school data into
  • Click the Local Market Explorer icon in your visual editor (screenshot)
  • Configure the module correctly by entering module you want (schools) and city and state (or ZIP) that you want to pull into the current page (screenshot)
  • Click INSERT

The finished result will look something like this (from Kurt Maier’s Del Mar page):