I'll begin this post with the plain fact that if it weren't for Active Rain, my business would be far less than what it is. I am a big believer in the platform, and I am grateful for how it has enriched me. That said, I am the sort of guy who prefers to talk to people whom I think will listen, so I would like to propose a few things to take AR to the next level. And while I know I can get a stand alone website with a "blog" on other platforms, there is no bell or whistle from another company that trumps the community here. So what I want, I would love here.
I want more tools & features. And I'll tell you why. You can break your ass researching and posting a ton of hyper local community information and get "found," and those same people can thank you very much for telling them where the fireworks are this July 4 or what the amenities are at a condo complex, then turn around and buy a home with the agent whose on whose site they found a house online. People don't want an agent. They want a home. Getting found is only a start-if you don't have everything consumers want on one site, they'll find it elsewhere.
What I essentially want is this: I want one (1) website for my company that has everything in one place. Right now I have a company website, a separate IDX solution, my Active Rain account, my outside blog from Active Rain (pictured), and several other niche blogs. One stop shopping it ain't. I want all that here. Our current outside blog sites were cutting edge when they came out. Widgets! But what was new and impressive in 2009 is sort of bland and not what I'd call feature-rich in 2011. Little has changed in 2 years. I want more.
I want what Jay Thompson has, and I don't want to pay thousands of dollars to a developer or spend thousands of hours making it. Blog. IDX. Company web page. Bells and whistles that talk to Facebook and Twitter and Mars and Jupiter. One site. I want indexable IDX with a customizable virtual office administrative back end so I can manage prospective clients' needs. All this stuff is out there, but it isn't here. And I want it here on Active Rain.
What would make everything really easy is if there were a means by which I could import my blog content to a self-hosted Wordpress site (my apologies if this is too techie- I want to understand this stuff as much as I want to understand how fission works; I just need outcomes) that also allows for the comments to populate instead of the current outside blogs. I have found more than one way to get my content over, which I have not done yet, but my comments won't go. And, frankly, content without comments is a black cocktail dress without Audrey Hepburn in it.
There has to be a way for this to be done that doesn't involve a non-sanctioned Rube Goldberg plugin or massive development at Active Rain headquarters for outside blogs we currently import to. Scrap them. I am willing to pay, guys (actually, a one-stop shop would be a money saver for me). How about it. This is the largest real estate think tank in the world. Let's have our Active Rain accounts capture the web traffic and keep it for everything, not just our blog content- home search, company pages, social media integration, and whatever else is next. Let's be cutting edge, and let's be cutting edge right here at home.