Mariwyn Evans is a former REALTOR® Magazine writer and editor, covering both residential brokerage and commercial real estate topics.
Don't-Miss Web Sites
Save these sites in your browser ‘favorites’. Between your work and off-hours lives, you’ll find a use for them.
December 1, 2000
When a Web search engine yields 253,678 sites for “real estate sales,” it’s tempting to just throw up your hands and go back to your faithful listing book. Don’t give up on the Web. We’ve made your search for sites easier with 25 worthwhile Web finds that you can use today.
Online Information and Freebies
Internet Providers All in One Place
If you're thinking of changing your Internet service provider or simply looking for a way to contact your service by phone, The List may be your new best friend. The site lets you search for ISPs by area or country code or alphabetically in the United States and Canada. For each provider, it lists a Web site address, phone number, fees, area codes serviced, and modem speeds it supports.
Cool feature: The site's also a good spot to home in on a Web host. Check off the services--e-mail autoresponders, message boards, traffic analysis, database support, 24-hour support--that you want your Web host to accommodate, and it'll return contact information on matching companies.
Retire the String Around Your Finger
If reminder strings are turning your fingers blue or you've written and lost too many to-do lists, you're a candidate for a free dot-com service called PCreminder.com. After you register, you can use the service to send prescheduled reminders to yourself and to others. Set up an address book of contacts if you like. The reminders come to e-mail boxes and resemble postcards. Beneath the reminder message is a two- or three-line ad--the reason that the service is free. The site creators say you'll never see more than one ad per reminder, though.
Cool feature: Keep in touch with clients and customers by sending birthday, anniversary, and other event greetings. With the scheduling feature, you can input all the greetings you want to send for the year in one sitting.
Vroom Up Your Site
Within seconds, Websitegarage.com will run a diagnostic of your site, evaluating it for browser compatibility (will your site display properly in different browsers?), load time, dead links, link popularity (how many sites link to you), spelling, and HTML design.
Cool feature: The site's GIF Lube feature will reduce the size of your graphics--by decreasing the number of colors in an image--to help your page load faster. For each report, you can compare the original image to a variety of greatly compressed ones. Save the best-quality, best-compressed image to your site. You’ll need to register to use this free feature, though.
Your First Stop When You’re Going Wireless
Trying to go wireless but stymied by the number of cellular and PCS options? The free Wirelessadvisor.com helps you locate wireless service providers in your area, and takes you step-by-step through the process of choosing wireless service. On tap: a list of cell and PCS manufacturers; an alphabetical guide to wireless carriers; and a glossary of terms.
Cool feature: Search for wireless providers that service your area by typing in your Zip code. The list of FCC-licensed providers may include some that aren't available in your area because of mergers or name changes. To find out if a carrier serves your area, call the listed carriers or link to through to their Web sites.
Understanding Search Engines
If search engines haven’t proved fruitful for you—either in terms of results or in how high your own site ranks--access SearchEngineWatch.com. It features Web searching tips, tricks, and articles; reviews of software that searches the Web for you; reviews of search engines; and explanations of how search engines work. Don’t forget to read Realtormag.com’s own Mr. Internet (Michael J. Russer), who wrote about search engine optimization in his July 2000 column.
Cool feature: See what the Internet world is searching for. Links to the most popular search terms can be found in the “What People Search For” section. The results change day by day, but we found “real estate” and “apartments” in the top 50 results for two engines. The lists clue you in to the terms that could make your own site more findable.
Motivation and Health
Automate Your Affirmations
Some people motivate themselves to sales success with affirmations they post on their refrigerator or bathroom mirror. How about an automated way to self-motivate? Sign up to receive a free positive saying by e-mail each business day from PositivePress.com. The message will likely include an ad to pay for the service. Lifementoring.com offers the same free service: a motivational thought of the day that arrives by e-mail. If you'd prefer to keep your e-mail box uncluttered, sign up for PositivePress’ monthly positive news e-mail, which includes upbeat news.
Cool feature: PositivePress lets you send e-mail greeting cards to colleagues, clients, and customers with a positive saying. Search the site's database by keyword, author, or recent sayings to pick the message you want to share.
You'll feel most energized--and motivated--if you're eating right. Use the interactive Cyberdiet.com to determine your daily target calorie and nutrient intake; body mass index, which health professionals use to screen people for obesity; target heart rate; and waist-hip ratio. Get tailored 12-week meal plans for women, dietician reviews of current diets, and nutritional facts on everything from soup to nuts. Motivate yourself with inspirational stories from those who've lost weight.
Cool feature: Once you establish your target daily calorie intake by completing the nutritional profile, you can choose from a variety of food options for each meal that meet your calorie goal. As you pick your food items, the site tallies your calorie count to keep you honest.
Keep Offices, Homes Healthy
Building managers and homeowners: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Indoor Air Quality site offers printable PDF files (you can download Adobe Reader at the site) of two booklets--Building Air Quality: A Guide for Building Owner and Facility Managers andThe Inside Story: A Guide to Indoor Air Quality in Your Home. The exhaustive guides cover everything from causes of poor air quality to preventing them. Building managers will like explanations of air quality measurement equipment and tips for selecting the appropriate equipment, which can be found in the Building Air Quality appendix.
Cool feature: A printable air quality checklist takes building managers and owners step by step through the process of improving air quality—from designating an IAQ manager to doing a walk through to implementing prevention and maintenance plans. For each step, the checklist refers users to the appropriate section of the site’s “Building Air Quality Action Plan.”
Position Yourself to Work in Comfort
Although ErgAerobics.com exists to sell you on the company’s consulting services, you’ll find plenty of free information here to keep you ergonomically fit at your home office or brokerage. Read how to perform preventive ergonomic exercises. Or if you have or are willing to download RealPlayer, watch video demonstrations of three additional exercises. And, you’ll find tips on the best ways to position yourself in front of your computer; reviews of ergonomic furniture, mice, and keyboards; and links to ergonomic product vendors.
Cool feature: Complete an online form to receive a free work-site analysis, or read expert analyses of four work sites. Here’s a sampling of some tips one office worker received:
- Sit with your feet on the ground.
- Always have your arms supported.
- Your eye level should be at about the top of your monitor.
Senior Speech Writer
Christina Hoffmann has covered real estate and homeownership for two decades, including as REALTOR® Magazine managing editor and HouseLogic.com’s content manager, with added expertise as owner of a demanding 100-year-old house. She is currently a senior speech writer at NAR.
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