Tag Archives: ActiveRain

How and Where to Find FREE Images and Photos for Websites and Blogs

Steven Graham from ActiveRain shares where to find images and photos for use on your websites and blogs.  Learn about FREE versus creative commons and understand the difference of share and share alike photos and more.  This video was recorded “LIVE” at RainCamp Atlantic NJ and is unedited.

Disclaimer: Some of the views, content, and information contained in this video are not necessarily the views and beliefs of those here at BradsDomain.com. The information and content in this video is web-based and subject to change

Celebrating Four Years On ActiveRain

It was February of 2007 when I wrote my first Blog post here on ActiveRain.  Hardly seems like four years could have gone by this quickly.  I realized today that all the time and information I have contributed here is pale in comparison to all that I have learned and the relationships I have made.  As I looked at the numbers, reviewed the stats, counted subscribers and analyzed traffic, it really hit me.  Even after all the posts and thousands of hours I’ve spent here, it all boils down to one really important thing for me…

ActiveRain Is ALL about creating and building relationships. The points are great and the business is wonderful too, but what keeps most of us coming back is the deep rooted, sincere and meaningful relationships that get established from our time and efforts here.  Sure the SEO is great, and the referrals rock, but no other blogging platform out there has a community culture quite like ActiveRain.  You’ll get much more out of it than you’ll ever put into it.

Some of the greatest people I’ve ever met with masterminds in Real Estate are right here.


(if you don’t see yourself in the above photo, it’s only because all 200,000+ wouldn’t fit on this page)

The make-up of the ActiveRain community is unique in so many ways.  The relationships here are very real.  There are so many very special people on this network.  They’re not just sharing information, not just blogging, not just commenting on posts, they are out meeting each other in person, supporting and encouraging others, people helping one another all across the country.  It’s really all about people here.

As I look back on my ActiveRain journey, there are so many wonderful memories that I cherish.  Not just from the Blogging, the comments, even some of the crazy stuff that goes on around here either.  I’m talking about the memories from my travels, meeting people I’ve communicated with for years online and then finally getting to meet them in person for the first time.  It’s the hugs, the handshakes, the gifts and all the sharing.  There is really nothing that compares to all I’ve seen and been part of in my four years on ActiveRain.

So this anniversary, instead of reflecting on and sharing accomplishments and successes, or survivals and achievements, I want to just say “THANK YOU!” to all my friends here on ActiveRain and all around the globe.  Over these past years it has been YOU that kept me coming back, YOU that I was reaching out to, YOU that ultimately I want to connect with, and it has always been YOU that has made this place what it is for me today.  Sincerely, I thank you.

Without YOU, there would be no ActiveRain…

Without YOU, there would be no reason to return…

Without YOU, there would really be no me…

May our journeys be amazing, may our missions be worthy, and may our paths cross IRL one day.  In our pursuit of happiness, may we live a life that is full of rich and meaningful purpose.  It is with nothing that we start in this world, and we leave with only one thing, that which is most valuable… our relationships.   Nothing else really matters in the end.  We’ll take no goods or merchandise with us when it’s time to go, but the relationships we create and carry through life are really the most valued commodities in this world.

Build your castles and mansions on “people” and relationships for they are the strongest foundations on earth.

It’s been a truly amazing and incredible four year journey and adventure, thank you for sharing it with me.

A Happy New Year – Your Priority and Resolution

To all my friends and family here at ActiveRain,

One of the things that really makes each year so special is that I am so blessed to have some of the best relationships and get to be associated with some of the best people on the planet earth… YOU!

As 2010 comes to a close, I want to personally take a moment to say “thank you” for your business and your valued friendships.  I will never take them for granted.  It’s very rewarding and comforting to reflect on the continued trust and support you have placed in myself and my companies.

There’s so much to be grateful for this year. Highest on my list is YOU, my family, my customers and friends.

I trust that 2011 will bring you all great joy and happiness, health and wealth, and most of all, the thing that should mean the most to you… closer to your family and dearest friends.  There’s nothing on earth we get to take with us when it’s all said and done, but our relationships will live on in our hearts and spirits forever.

May you continue to be inspired, motivated, and focused on the goal to reach for and… “Achieve Your Dreams.”

Thank you, and I wish you all a very safe, prosperous, and wonderful year in 2011.

It’s Official – Going From A to Z

Today it is official so I’m announcing my new role.  It really is going from “A” to “Z”.

My thought was if I said from “A” to “Z” many of you might figure it out.  I’m sure some of you already have. I’m excited to announce that I’m now the Industry Outreach Manager at Zillow.

Over these past few days I’ve spent a great deal of time with some really awesome people learning all about my new company, their culture, the products and services, but most importantly, their passion as a team for helping connect real estate professionals with consumers.

“I’m 100% confident that I am in the right place and working with the right people and company.”

The relationships I’ve developed here in the rain mean more to me than anything.  I’m so thankful for all I’ve been blessed with here over the years, and I’m very enthusiastic and excited for what the future holds.  I’m also committed to bringing even more value and meaning to those relationships by sharing new and exciting ways/tools to help you get more business and maximize your efforts while spending less time and money to do it.

I’ll continue to work from the greater Bay Area in California, but I’ll still be mobile.  I’ll be doing many of the same types of things you are used to seeing me do here on ActiveRain.  Social media and marketing training, classes and seminars, webinars, speaking at national events, and providing education and support for the many tech tools, products, and services I can offer you.

Those of you who know me know that I have a passion for sharing real estate technology, widgets, and all that tech-y and useful kinda stuff.  I have written about so many different companies and tools that can help increase your business, save you time or money, or just simplify your life.  There really are lots of choices in real estate both for agents and consumers and I’m feeling positive and confident that I’ve found a single solution that will serve and bring great value to both sides.

So now it’s official, I’m on board, I’m part of the Z-team and very excited!  As I continue to get adjusted, trained, and adapt to my new role, it will be difficult for me to resist the temptation to want to share everything I learn as I go along.  So I promise I won’t fight it, I WILL be sharing.  🙂  I’ll open some huge doors of opportunity for many of you, and create some great ways to contribute to your growth and success.

Fasten your seat-belts, hang on tight because from the “” in Activerain, to the “” in Zillow, it’s going to be a fun and exciting ride! Here’s a link to my profile when you need me.  As I’ve said in the past, and it still holds true today, my door is always open to you and I’m looking forward to our continued growth and successes together!  🙂

Marketing and Advertising On ActiveRain – A Time and A Place

Marketing and Advertising On ActiveRain – How To Create and Setup Ads

Your ActiveRain BLOG is not necessarily the best place to be marketing and advertising your goods or services to other ActiveRain members.  Promoting and marketing yourself is great but is there a more effective and efficient way than using your Blog to do it? Maybe, but you’ll never know if you don’t try it or know about it right?

One of my favorite quotes from Ardell DellaLoggia, another member here on ActiveRain: “Blogging is the show, not the commercial.  If you make it into a commercial, then your readers will go get a sandwich, like they do when a commercial comes on T.V.”

Advertising on ActiveRain is easy and you can set it up yourself using the built-in Advertising feature.

Step By Step Instructions:

1. Login to ActiveRain then click on the link located in the upper right corner of your screen.

2. On the left side of your MY HOME page, you’ll see the link to “Advertise with AR” just click it~

3. To create a New Ad Campaign click thelink to begin.

The following screen will appear.

4. All you need to do now is add the proper URL or WEB address for your Ad and then a 125×125 image for your ad.  Your image can be custom created using whatever graphics application you prefer, I use picnik.com to create some quick, easy, and free graphics with effects.  If your credit card information is not on file, you’ll need to enter that as well.

5. Once you’re satisfied with your settings, click the button and you’re DONE!

Be sure you don’t refresh your Browser screen or hit the back button at this point.

This entire process takes less than 2 minutes not including the time it may take to create your graphic and to find your credit card.  I’ve spent more time in the past just trying to find my wallet and keys.  lol~

Your Ad will now appear on many of the millions of pages located through-out the AR Community.

The question you might have now is “how effective is this and will it work for me?” There are plenty of other people using this on ActiveRain, just click on any of the Ad campaigns you see on future pages while you’re browsing around.  Contact these companies or individuals to see if it’s working for them?

I’m sure they’ll have no problem with you contacting them, and I’m certain they won’t have a problem telling you if this is working for them or not…. I mean, why would they be continuing to do it if it wasn’t?  You can also try it yourself for 30 days then drop it like a bad habit if it doesn’t work for you.  Marketing and Advertising is changing the “face” of the WEB, are you getting the most from the “faces” seeing your ads?

The ActiveRain Featured Blog Post

The ActiveRain Featured Blog Post –

I get asked everyday about the ActiveRain Featured Blog post.  The wide variety of questions range from “Who Is Featuring The Posts” to “Why Are The Same Members Featured over and over again?” Well, it’s taken me 2 1/2 years working here to finally write a post about the infamous “Featured Blog Post!”

Now some of you will agree, and some may disagree, (I wouldn’t have it any other way) but at the end of the day, what really matters most is that you understand the process, the system, and have some compassion for the thankless position of those responsible for keeping that feature board going day in and day out.

So who, what, when, where, why, and how does this all work?

The ActiveRain Feature Board

Are you kidding?  You really thought I was going to give up the secret? Share the coveted recipe to KFC’s Chicken?  Unveil the ancient Chinese secret that all proverbs were built upon?  Are you nuts?  You really thought it would be that easy to just come along and read a post and all of a sudden be the “all knowing” understander of the ActiveRain Featured Blog Post?  Sorry folks, I’ve held back this long, I’m not about to lay it all out there now and take the fun, the mystery, and all the guess work out of it.  Haha, had ya goin there for a sec eh?

The ActiveRain Feature Board is a living, breathing, ever-changing, powerful, and exciting AR feature.  It could possibly be one of the most important and exciting things about the entire ActiveRain RE Network.  Acquiring that sought after gold star and having your picture on the main AR page has been compared by some to being as exciting as having your picture on the cover of the “Rolling Stone!”

Why is the “Feature” such a coveted “CRAZE” here on ActiveRain? For those with an ego, it’s the recognition, for others it’s the potential traffic, and the added exposure.  The opportunities a featured post can create are unbelievable.  The thought and potential of getting a featured post has created some pretty crazy frenzy’s.  It’s also stirred up some pretty wild and crazy far-fetched ideas and posts from some of our more “voicy” ActiveRain members. One thing is for sure, this will always be a sensative and even contraversial topic.

So how do we feature posts and are the same people getting featured too often?

First off, I want to thank you (the community) for helping us refine this delicate process of selecting posts for featured status. Since the inception of the feature board, we continually strive to refine the process in which featured posts are selected. The recent addition of the ‘suggest’ button is our second shot at trying to put the feature board in the hands of our members.

The first shot was over two years ago and it failed as we were unable to control it from being manipulated by folks banding together and suggesting each other for features. We believe that the newest incarnation will be more successful as the shear numbers of people suggesting posts for feature has grown significantly and the ease with which someone can manipulate it has diminished.

Add in a few additional administrative controls, now we can determine who may be trying to manipulate the system, and we believe we are getting much closer to a true community decision of what merits a feature worthy post on ActiveRain.  That being said, we still have the ultimate decision on what gets featured and all posts that are suggested for feature are reviewed by our staff prior to being featured.

(The AR Staff Moderators names will not be disclosed in this post for obvious reasons)

This sentiment has been echoed in the past, and I believe it still holds true today. There are certain members that are excellent writers. For whatever reason, and it’s not because they have overtly recruited people to suggest their posts for feature, their posts get suggested for feature at a higher rate than others.  Much of it has to do with the large followings they have amassed because of the balance they have achieved in writing to consumers and also focusing on writing posts that help the community.

We have a hard time justifying penalizing these folks by keeping them off the feature board or restricting the amount of features they can have. However, I am in agreement with all members that having the same person on the feature board more than once at the same time is not the best representation of the depth of writing talent here on ActiveRain.  For this reason, we have asked our staff to be mindful of who is already on the feature board as they review the posts that have been suggested for feature.

We have also asked that they look deeper in the pool of suggested posts for members that have had very few (or no) featured posts in the past. This will help us develop the new talent on the site and allow them to amass followings that can benefit from their writing skills. We truly appreciate all our members for taking the time to voice their concerns to us, it’s because of these members that ActiveRain will continue to grow and get better.

My personal ancient secret recipe for finding features

The ActiveRain Featured Blog post, just one more great example of how ActiveRain has and will continue to evolve.

☂ ActiveRain at REBarCamp – LIVE Updates and Real-Time Feeds ☚

Follow us and enjoy what’s going on in Houston Texas at the REBarCamp this year.  We’ll be posting Audio, Photos, Interviews, Podcasts, Videos, Links, and Updates in up-to-the-minute, real time “LIVE” feeds to this post.  I’m including the Utterli Widget, UStream.TV Widget, and Twitter to keep you informed of all that’s happening at this event. 

Rich and I will be sharing as much as we can with you regarding the items of value and use of the information we learn and share with others.  I hope you’ll take the time to check back here and see what we’ve posted.  There will be other members reporting and posting as well, so I’ll try and keep this post updated with links to their sites and Blogs as well.

HAVE FUN, COME FOLLOW US at REBARCAMP:


Follow us on Twitter, Use #REBC to post or just Follow using this Widget


Video From Various Locations in Houston Texas – This is Entertainment! LOL


Join Us “LIVE” from Houston Texas – Show Starts Oct. 22, 2008 @ 9:00am EST

Video clips at Ustream

Thanks to WEB 2.0 technology, we are able to provide you information and insight as to what takes place at these events, and do it right here “LIVE” in a single post. How Cool, Enjoy! 🙂


Here a “LIVE” Broadcast on RAIN Radio

Related Links and Sites:
Stephanie Edwards-Musa says “It’s The People”
Marchel Peterson’s 21st Century Thank You
Lisa Heindel’s Facebook Photos
See Debra Brooks Post about REBC
Jeff Turners “LIVE” Video Feeds
Brads Flickr Photos, More Coming Soon
Keynote Speaker – Paul Chaney
ActiveRain REBarCamp Channel
REBarCamp on FaceBook
How It All Started-What Is It?

How To Backup and Export Your ActiveRain Blog Posts

How To Backup and Export Your Blog Posts – ActiveRain NEW Feature

On August 18 @ noon CST, we launched the ability for members to export all of their blog entries to a single, compressed XML file. Its open nature will allow for the development of third-party import tools.

Exporting your posts from ActiveRain has been a long awaited feature that is now available to all members.  The format is XML and can be manipulated in many different ways which I’ll demonstrate in future posts.  Special thanks to our tech team for making this possible.  This new feature will allow you to backup and export your Blog posts with a single click.

The first thing you are probably asking yourself is what the heck is XML?  Read more at XML.com

 

Here are the simple steps to download your ActiveRain Blog File

Step 1:
Log in to ActiveRain

Step 2:
Click on your “My Home” link in the upper right hand corner of your screen

Step 3:
Scroll to the bottom of the screen and click on the link “Export Blog Entries

Note: Depending on what computer you are running (IE: Mac, PC) and what operating system, the next window that pops up may appear slightly different, but it will be the same principle.  You are saving a file to a specified location on your computer.

Step 4:
The pop-up window below will appear.  Select “Save File” to your desktop, and click OK.

 

Step 5:
You will have a zipped or compressed file on your desktop containing the XML file with all your Blog entries.

(if file is not on desktop, check the location you saved it to, often times it will default to your “Downloads” folder located in your “My Computer” folder.)

 

 

Step 6:
When you “Double Click” on the zipped file, it will extract the .XML file to your desktop

 

Step 7:
To open and view this file, or to use with any XML compatible formats and programs, right click your mouse on it and select the program you wish to open it in.  For this example, I am going to use a simple text editor application on my computer called TEXT EDIT.

Step 8:
You can now see the XML format of your entire ActiveRain Blog.

Now don’t go passing out on me (LOL~) understand that XML formats are a complex and more complicated format than most of us are used to working with or seeing, however, there will be a multitude of ways that this data can be used by other programs and sources.  You cannot hurt your ActiveRain Blog by messing around and experimenting with this file.  It is already exported from AR to your computer and will not affect your AR blog in any way.  You have now successfully downloaded and backed up your entire ActiveRain Blog and every post in it.

I’ll try and post some more advanced information on ways this can be used in the near future, but for now, at least you know how to access and download it to your computer.  Baby steps, just baby steps before we show you how to run the 100 yard dash with it.  I’m sure there will be many questions, and ideas generated by this post, so please feel free to leave your comments and thoughts.  I’ll do my best to get your questions answered in an accurate and timely manner.

Top Search Engines Reveal – Top RE Social Networks

Mirror Mirror on the Wall…  Let Google & Yahoo search them all….

What do people search for on Google? What do you search for on Yahoo?  What are clients, friends, and family searching for?  Seems our entire lives are spent in search of something?  The questions is, are we ever really finding exactly what it is we’re looking for?  Google and Yahoo put alot of time, money, and resources into making sure that you do, at least on the Internet.  In this post, I put the TOP TWO to the test with a question I get asked often by non-members.  Where do I need to be on the Web?

TIP: There’s “Google Juice” and there’s “Yahoo Koolaid” out there as well, and people do search drink from both.

It’s obvious why it’s important to be found on the Internet for ANY Business. Real Estate is a common search term used in many search engines.  Today, in searching both Yahoo and Google for some certain keywords that included “Real Estate”, I found some interesting results that helped solidify my theory and remove the mystery of “Where You Need To Be if YOU’RE in the Real Estate Industry!”

This is fascinating and enlightening. Out of 107,000,000 page results for one search, and 968,000,000 page results for the other, these results made me realize how valuable and important being on ActiveRain really is.  Not to toot our own horn here…OK, maybe just a little, but if you’re in the Real Estate Industry, there’s some obvious advantages why you should be on ActiveRain.  Those who have already joined AR know first hand the power of Social Networking and the results that can come from Real Estate Internet Marketing and Blogging.

Take a look at these results for the following “search terms” in both Google and Yahoo.
(I’m using this post for an Office Presentation introducing ActiveRain to some new members)

“Top Real Estate Blogs”
G
oogle
= Page 1, #8 – Results 1 – 10 of 951,000,000 for Top Real Estate Blogs
YAHOO = Page 1, #7 – Results 110 of about 107,000,000 for top real estate blogs

“Best Real Estate Blogs”
G
oogle
= Page 1, #5 – Results 1 – 10 of 564,000,000 for Best Real Estate Blogs
YAHOO = Page 1, #9 –  Results 110 of about 968,000,000 for Best real estate blogs



This one made me most proud to be a Member and a part of ActiveRain

“Top Real Estate Social Networks”


Google = Page 1, #1Results 1 – 10 of 73,300,000 for Top Real Estate Social Networks
YAHOO = Page 1, #1 – Results 110 of about 23,600,000 for Top Real Estate Social Networks

So Are the Search Engines Correct?  Are they accurate? Depending on what you’re looking for, they sure can help.  Remember that Millions of People are using them everyday.  My main point here is that if you’re not a member of ActiveRain and you’re in the Real Estate Industry, NOW might be a really good time to consider becoming a member of the #1 Top Real Estate Social Network in the world.  If you’re already a member, this is a great time to tell a friend or colleague who isn’t.  Sharing these results may open their eyes.

ActiveRain is #1.  Don’t take my word for it, ask Google and Yahoo.  I trust their opinion 100% on this one.

JOIN ACTIVERAIN HERE! UPGRADE TO RAINMAKER HERE!

The Heart and Transmission of ActiveRain

Next month is my one year anniversary working for one of the greatest companies I have ever been privileged to be part of and employed with.  The funny thing is, I have been working here all this time and have never been to our Corporate Headquarters located in Washington State.  Today, I am sitting in our main office with the rest of the ActiveRain Staff, and while they are all working hard to keep things up and running, working smooth and efficiently, I’m hiding in the conference room writing this post!  Hey, I’m working hard too… lol~ 

Bob Stewart has asked that I disclose that these photo’s above are not of the entire ActiveRain Office, just the building where we are located.  If you look close behind the handicapped parking sign, you’ll see Bob waving from the window of our little section of this gorgeous structure.

It was very exciting to walk into the office for the very first time. My first impression was WOW, there really is an ActiveRain Office!  Within moments, a very surreal feeling came over me…  this is the place where the heart and transmission of the entire network is housed and controlled.  These are the people who make it all happen on ActiveRain.  I’m actually here now with the staff TEAM who have not only built the most powerful Real Estate Network in the Country, but soon I’ll be having lunch, answering phones, and working right along side with them.  Up until today, I have only spoke to them on the phone or via email.  It’s a great feeling here of being “home away from home.”

Today they are letting me pick where we’ll be having lunch. This is an ActiveRain tradition in the office.  Each week, someone gets to select the lunch menu and chooses where they’ll be dining for that day.  Since I am here, I get the honors.  Tomorrow, some of us will be heading over to the REBarCamp at Zillow’s Headquarters.  It’s going to be a great event packed information, experience and ideas from some of the greatest folks in the Industry.  Did I mention it’s FREE?   If you’re in the area or within 1000 miles, I recommend you come join us.

I’ll be flying back home on Valentine’s Day to be with my sweetheart, and it will be a Happy/Sad Day. Why?  Happy for obvious reasons, and sad because I have already become attached to our office here in Washington.  The Big Screen in the conference room, lunches with the staff, the synergy in the air, and the fun and laughter that is shared along with the hard work these guys (and gal) deliver daily.

Claire Cruver Jeff Corbett

Mike Judge Bob Stewart Jorgen Hahn

I have come to appreciate this Network not only as my place of employment, but as a place where PEOPLE with HEART makeup the environment that we have all come to know and love.  It is one of the greatest experiences in my life to be part of this team of dynamic, creative, and down to earth people.  If you ever get the chance to visit the ActiveRain Main Office, you’ll know exactly what I mean.

I hope you ALL know how hard these guys work to make your experience on ActiveRain an enjoyable one.