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By Virtual Results
In the excitement of buying and decorating a new home, remember to plan for the long-term when you start landscaping. With the recent widespread drought problems, installing sustainable, drough
What to keep and what to remove
Making your landscaping impervious to drought does not always mean ripping out everything. For example, if you have large trees, do your best to keep them since they supply a shade canopy for your home, conserving energy. In addition, they provide a protective habitat to native birds and other wildlife, and a cover for other plants. For the most drought tolerant option, consider removing your turf grass. A standard lawn requires constant watering to stay green. Replacing just part of your lawn with a rock garden interspersed with native plants and ground cover can reduce your water bill and increase your environmentally responsible footprint.
What to plant
For the best results, plant species native to your region. Finding the right plant is not difficult thanks to websites like Plant Native that list regional plants, and the nurseries that can supply you with the right species and give you expert advice state by state. In addition, they provide lists of community service organizations that offer classes and tutorials on local flora. Other places to find information include local universities, plant nurseries and garden shops.
Add ground cover
Removing turf and non-native plants that require consistent watering is just part of the process. Covering exposed ground with lava rock and mulch helps it retain water and reduces erosion. Consider installing ground cloth under your rock and mulch to reduce weed growth and retain additional moisture. According to the University of Ohio, property mulching reduces the soil temperature and adds nutrients to the soil, making existing plants more drought tolerant and less susceptible diseases, or to attacks by insects.
Adding compost to your soil before you mulch increases the likelihood that the rain or irrigation waters absorb into the soil rather than running off. According to the Arboretum and Public Garden at UC Davis, composting is second only to mulching to save water and improve drought survival.
Update your irrigation system
An old or faulty irrigation system wastes precious water and costs money both in increased utility bills and lost landscaping, so have it inspected to be sure it is operating properly. Make sure to water according to the landscaping and soil, including less frequently on clay soils since they store water, and more frequently at smaller amounts for sandy soils. Install modern smart technology controls taht automatically sense rainfall and other conditions, and adjust both the water amount and watering frequency. Consider using a grey-water irrigation system that uses water from your household sinks, tubs, showers and washing machines to water your landscaping. Since this water is not exposed to toilet waste, it generally is beneficial to plant life if combined with biodegradable soap and detergent use.
Proper landscaping increases your home’s value and curb appeal. We can help you find local professionals to advise you on the best drought tolerant ideas for your landscaping.
Compliments of Virtual Results
By Jim Marks
Penguin 2.0 #4 is live! and there seems to be a misconception on what that means. As you know, Penguin was Googles filter overlay to reduce the positive impact SEOs were getting from spammy, paid or low quality links.
Matt Cutts, the GOATSEO (God of all things SEO) created a video stating that Penguin 2.0 will be “more comprehensive,” and that this version of Penguin “goes deeper” and will have “more of an impact” than Penguin 1.0.
However, what I am reading is that “goes deeper” means that Penguin 1.0 only impacted the home page of a web site. That is simply not true. For those that had the unfortunate experience of being effected… the whole site was compromised…not just the home page.
I am certain that when Matt said “deeper” Matt meant that Google will crawl deeper into their OWN index. They will look much closer at the link quality of all links and apply new rules to what is a spammy or purchased link and what is a quality link. Matt commented that they are working on ways to ensure that paid links are do not pass page rank.
I am certain that this will be talked about in detail over the next few weeks as we see the effects of Penguin. My guess is that MOST legit SEOs cleaned up their sites before, during and after Penguin 1.0.
By Leah Marks
A Brand New Layout for the Virtual Results Admin Menu!
From new features to new themes to new services, Virtual Results is always looking for ways to keep their sites on the cutting edge. So we have decided to start off 2013 with a bang!
Introducing an Exciting New Feature: The new Admin Menu!!
Throughout the next week, VR will be activating a brand new upgraded Admin Menu to your dashboard! This new admin menu is sleek and clean with additional integrated functionality, such as direct access to your IDX, Market Stats and Email Marketing accounts, training webinars and our continually growing support center.
Here are some of the improvements to our new Admin Menu:
- Accessing our Support Center
The Virtual Results Support Center is constantly growing and contains wonderful tutorials, webinars and articles that will help you manage your site and its content. Now you can access our support center directly from your dashboard. Learn how to add items to your menu, create new content, utilize SEO plugins, edit your sidebar and footer, activate more features, tools, and so much more!
- Using your Complementary Accounts
There are so many wonderful features that come with your Virtual Results account. We have set up a direct link to some your complementary control panels, such as your IDX dashboard and Altos Research login. For example, your Altos Research account is more than dynamic charts. It also provides branded statistical reports and full market analysis, lead capture tools, branded marketing, and one-on-one coaching. Yet many people never get around to using these tools. We hope the new design will inspire you to take a more proactive look at all the services that come with your site.
- Managing Your Content and Understanding Your Settings
With our new layout, you will find it much easier to manage your content and settings. Everything is organized and simplified, making it easier for you to find and manage the tools and features that come with your Virtual Results website. For those users who have been more proactive in managing your site, these changes will allow you to maneuver more easily and rapidly. For those of you just starting out, it’s never been easier to learn! This is a great time to learn how to add and manage content, and how to fully exploit the valuable lead generating tools that come with your Virtual Results account.
- Introduction to the New Admin Menu Live Webinars
Ready to learn more? Great, because it’s time to explore your new Admin Menu. These 30 minute sessions will include a short walk through of your new admin menu and a Q&A session with Leah Marks, WordPress expert and Customer Support Manager. There are three sessions scheduled for your convenience, listed below. Register Now!
Monday, January 21 – 12pm (PST)/ 3pm (EST) – Click Here to Register
Thursday, January 24 – 10am (PST)/1pm (EST) – Click Here to Register
Friday, January 25 – 2pm (PST)/ 5pm (EST) – Click Here to Register
By Leah Marks
Virtual Results announces a brand new feature for AgentPlus clients – The Blog Post Thumbnail
We are happy to announce the development of a new feature, the ability to display a thumbnail image in your blog post excerpt. Activating this feature is a great way to spice up your site, offer a better user experience and add some great images to your blog and to your home page. This is an important feature because adding images to your articles will increase the number of page or post views exponentially. This is a visual culture, where the world’s largest social network, Facebook, and 2nd largest search engine, YouTube, have found success primarily due to their focus on multimedia. Those browsing the web are more inclined to stay on a webpage that contains images, rather than just text. Consumers are more likely to purchase a product they’ve already seen, rather than one that’s just been described. The value of images on your site increases every day. Plus it’s just fun! And it has the potential to make your site look amazing!
And the Virtual Results Community Agrees.
Virtual Results has activated this feature on the following sites, with great results! Take a look at the websites below:
Need More Information?
If you would like more information about this feature, please contact Virtual Results at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like this feature activated on your site, please complete the form below and the VR Support Team will be happy to set it up for you.
This is just one element out of many we are planning to launch in the coming weeks and months and we are excited to show you the new features and tools we’ve developed and are continually developing that will improve the site aesthetic and functionality. So stay tuned!
Real estate professionals will hear directly from the consumer – the people who want to buy and sell homes – at a unique forum, “Hear It Direct” in Dallas, Texas on May 21st, 2012 at the Dallas Marriott at Legacy Town Center. Hear It Direct is designed to create the consumer as the keynote speaker of the event –unlike most events in the real estate industry. Featuring panels of real home buyers and sellers from all over the U.S., Hear It Direct targets what consumers want and expect from agents. The unfiltered discussion is set up to discover how to really focus and best address the needs of consumers in today’s housing market.
Hear It Direct’s concept reshapes the real estate business, creating a consumer-centric, consumer driven approach to home buying and selling. Agents and market forecasters can gain insight and learn how to create value and trust through attending this groundbreaking one-day experience.
Developed by real estate leaders Sue Adler and Robert Hahn, Hear It Direct, was created to share the new consumer-driven real estate model with the industry. Hear It Direct, Texas is the second in a series of events delivering the message of what people want from real estate tools, the agent they work with, and the home searches they conduct on their mobile devices.
Sue Adler was recently recognized as one of the leading women in the real estate industry by the Women’s Council of Realtors® and has been one of the top selling Realtors in New Jersey since 2005.
Tickets and an informative custom research report plus a DVD series recapping the event will be made available through the Hear It Direct website at http://www.hearitdirect.com/events/. To learn more about Hear It Direct, please contact 973.869.9357. The Hear It Direct conference is scheduled for May 21st, 2012 in Plano, Texas at the Dallas/Plano Marriott at Legacy Town Center located at 7121 Bishop Road, Plano, Texas 75024. The event runs from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM and will include a networking Happy Hour afterwards. The cost for the entire day is $99.
By Jim Marks
Virtual Results to offer Happy Grasshopper Automated Email Service to all clients.
Laguna Beach, CA — Virtual Results, LLC. is excited to announce it has teamed with Happy Grasshopper to offer all VR clients even more value in 2012! “Virtual Results websites are already one of the best values an agent can choose. They are beautifully designed, carefully coded on the WordPress platform and they are built to convert traffic to leads. Just a great site at a great value.” says VR founder Jim Marks. “We provide our clients content, syndication tools, and we are rolling out more and more proprietary features all the time, like our new evergreen post tool.”
Virtual Results newest feature is the partnership with Happy Grasshopper. This will allow VR clients to engage their sphere like never before.
Happy Grasshopper encourages interaction, by creating interesting, clickable, relevant emails. The emails promote interaction and create interest, therefore generating the ultimate goal… relationships. “The synergy between the goal of Virtual Results websites and Happy Grasshopper makes this a perfect relationship,” stated Dan Stewart, President of Happy Grasshopper, “Both companies work very hard on creating clients from contacts.”
Virtual Results, Jim Marks believes the Happy Grasshopper service will be of huge benefit to Virtual Results’ clients. “Combining the technology of Happy Grasshopper with Virtual Results creates a win-win situation for all of our clients,” Marks said. “Now VR clients can send effective client emails ‘as is’ or with a little personalization, without getting bogged down on the wording of each email.” Marks continued, “Combining our products makes it EASY for VR clients to reach their clients AND build relationships.” “We have tested this product extensively and the contact rate is quite amazing.”
Adding Happy Grasshopper service to the Virtual Results offering enhances VR clients internet marketing plan seamlessly and effortlessly. As each VR website generates leads, new contacts can be added to the existing mailing list easily and each email is carefully crafted by Happy Grasshopper. With an average 29.3% open rate, effectiveness is guaranteed. In addition, VR and HG has made it plain simple to get started. Simply send us a client email list. Virtual Results and Happy Grasshopper will do the rest.
To learn more about Virtual Results websites, please contact 888.99.RESULTS.
To learn more about Happy Grasshoppers email service, please check out happygrasshopper.com
Virtual Results Clients get started today!! simply Fill out the simple form below!
By Jim Marks
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