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How to use engenu to reinforce your blog posts about listed homes you would like to sell, to build single-property web sites, and to achieve total global hyper-local long-tail search domination

This is my response to a comment that Jennifer Castillo left on my post about the benefits of blogging about real estate listings you would like to sell.

Jennifer said:

My questions to you arise from this quote of yours, “For each house you preview, build an engenu page. That way you can show all the photos, captioned as needed, if someone wants to see everything. You can also link to appropriate offsite resources. This engenu page will be a permanent asset in your inventory of on-line content.”

Being a total n00b in this business I am very excited about what you have written in this particular post. My question to you is how do I build an engenu page? I have a blog at wordpress so can this even be done with my existing blog? Do I need any particular software?

Hi, Jennifer. I like your weblog. You have en eye for striking images.

engenu is software written by me. It runs on Apache web servers, or it will once I release it. It’s all but finished, but I keep finding small things I want to change. I’ll be releasing it as a public beta shortly.

I’ve written about engenu on BloodhoundBlog. In that post, I talk about a house we know and love. Cathy blogged about that house, and her weblog post linked back to the engenu site I built for 101 West Seminole Drive.

That’s an illustration of how you can use engenu to support a weblog post about a house. The post can highlight the features and photos you are interested in talking about, then you can link back to you engenu site for the folks who want to see everything. The post and the engenu site are mutually-reinforcing, both in terms of immediate marketing and in future long-tail search results.

The point of all this is that engenu permits ordinary people to build rich, elaborate, highly searchable web sites very quickly and without knowing any HTML or other coding languages. If you do know how to code, you can build almost anything you want, but the kind of sites we build every day to communicate with sellers, buyers and vendors are as easy to produce as weblog posts.

Until now, we have made our single-property web sites with an earlier version of the engenu technology. This week, I’ll be building the first single-property web site built in engenu. At the same time, we will be documenting our listing process for that home in a different engenu site.

There’s more — for instance, at BloodhoundBlog Unchained, I’ll be teaching a strategy for using engenu to completely dominate a geographic farm. But the real point is this: I can do anything I want in a dozen computer languages. I can write web pages just as easily as I can write weblog posts. Cathleen can’t. If I don’t want to build all of Cathy’s pages, I needed to come up with a way for her to make custom web pages and web sites of her own — without wasting her time.

We have been working on generations of this technology for years, but engenu is all new, written from scratch. There’s a lot we added to the ideas we had been playing with, but the three big bonuses are these:

  • A very high degree of automation, so you can build dozens of pages a second if you are well-prepared.
  • Multi-user capability, so that a very intricate web site can be split out among multiple users or even multiple work groups.
  • Automated SEO enhancements so that engenu pages and sites will search very strongly. (This is what I keep noodling with.)

The bad news: You have to have an Apache web server. That means either your own hosting account, as you might have with GoDaddy or HostGator or whatever, or a Linux or Unix computer (which includes any OS-X Macintosh). engenu is written entirely in PHP, with no Javascript at run time (the slide shows in finished engenu pages will run in Javascript if it is available in the client web browser), so it will run on any Apache server. Anyone on that server with password level access to engenu will be able to work on your files — which means you will able to edit or update your engenu sites from any web browser on any computer, just as you are with your weblog. But you have to have some way of hosting the software.

(Your weblog is served by WordPress.com, but I see that you also own route66voice.net. That could be set up to host engenu pages for less than five bucks a month.)

All through this post, I’ve talked about engenu pages and engenu sites, but engenu is simply a way of creating and maintaining perfectly ordinary web pages and web sites. The idea is to enable regular people — Realtors, landscapers, roofers, handymen, investors — to communicate in searchable, photo-rich web sites without hiring a tech vendor or tearing out their hair.

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12 comments

12 Comments so far

  1. Todd March 17th, 2008 6:38 am

    Concern: I am not seeing any images ownership citations at Route66voice.com

    Even if there are all CC from Flickr, the source must be listed. Practice good blogging, when enriching your posts with the work of others, observe their requested attributions

    http://creativecommons.org/about/licenses

  2. Kevin Tomlinson March 17th, 2008 7:51 am

    Todd
    Great comment

    Greg,
    Can wait to see this….I know my Web site (not blog) are running on Apache. :)

  3. REBlogGirl March 17th, 2008 8:00 am

    I love these pages. Great idea to build a custom presence for a single listing. Blogging about listings is so important!

  4. Greg Swann March 17th, 2008 8:22 am

    > I know my Web site (not blog) are running on Apache.

    All WordPress and TypePad weblogs run on Apache servers. Almost everybody with hosting is on an Apache server. Many bloggers don’t have hosting though, as with WordPress.com weblogs, which are hosted by WordPress itself.

    You’ll be fine, though — and you have a great graphic sense.

  5. Greg Swann March 17th, 2008 8:33 am

    > Great idea to build a custom presence for a single listing.

    Indeed. Beyond that, Realtors will be able to build pages or sites for any house. Or for any purpose at all, for that matter.

    I’m out with an investor today. I previewed everything last week, building an engenu page for each house — photos, details, my impressions.

    An engenu site will restructure itself on demand, so we could shuffle houses among category folders: Candidate houses, Potential candidates, Under contract and Rejected houses. We created and deleted other categories as we went along. The upshot is that the web pages for 35 houses are easy to manage, easy to understand.

    Plus which, while these aren’t great houses, when I’m done I can sanitize those pages and I have 35 new little long-tail bread crumbs on Google. That’s low-yield stuff, but every little bread crumb can be worth big money in due course — and the work in making those pages is already done.

  6. Jennifer Castillo March 17th, 2008 12:01 pm

    Greg, thanks for the compliment. I look forward to engenu’s release.

    Concerned, thank you for you advice.

  7. Allen Butler March 18th, 2008 12:31 am

    So Greg. . .You need beta testers? ;>)

    Allen

  8. […] We make these web pages and web sites with engenu by now, which simply means that we can make a lot more of them. Their job is to communicate with the clients they’re built for. But because they will be out on our file server forever, there is always the chance — eventually the lead-pipe certainty — that someone else will find them — and thus find us. […]

  9. […] we will acquire the domain for the home before we even go on the listing appointment. Using engenu, I can set up the gross anatomy of the single-property web site, then Cathleen or I can go in and […]

  10. […] we will acquire the domain for the home before we even go on the listing appointment. Using engenu, I can set up the gross anatomy of the single-property web site, then Cathleen or I can go in and […]

  11. […] registers. I cannot explain how engenu works so if that is something that is important to you then I shall direct you here. One other thing I want to make clear- Greg didn’t ask me to write about this. I’m […]

  12. […] we will acquire the domain for the home before we even go on the listing appointment. Using engenu, I can set up the gross anatomy of the single-property web site, then Cathleen or I can go in and […]