Upgrading RealtyNinja’s core hosting and security architecture
Over the past year-or-so we’ve been carefully moving our entire website platform’s hosting and security infrastructure over to Amazon Web Services (AWS). It’s the world’s most comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud hosting platform, and pivotal to our ability to continue to provide a high level of service as we grow.
In fact, many of the core components of RealtyNinja have been migrated already, including:
- Our DNS (Domain Name System)
- All listing photos and PDF’s (for manual, imported and MLS® listings)
- All building photos and PDF’s
- All agent photos (for teams/brokerages)
- All other user-uploaded images on RealtyNinja powered websites
We’re talking millions of files and terabytes of data! All seamlessly powering thousands of real estate websites and hundreds of thousands of listings.
So why bother?
Because 12 years ago (when we launched RealtyNinja) website hosting options were just not what they are today.
On the low-end, companies could host their own websites on dedicated rigs they put together and maintained on-site.
On the higher-end, expensive server equipment would be stored and maintained in a secure data centre. This approach is fine for most web applications, and it’s what we’ve been doing up until now… but there are downsides. For example if you need to scale operations it usually involves taking everything offline and physically swapping out components. Not simple.
There wasn’t really a better way to do things at that time though. Amazon literally looked like this:
Fast forward to today and the web has evolved immensely. One of the latest forms of web hosting is called cloud hosting; I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase.
One of the biggest benefits for us and ultimately you, is that it allows us to have better performance and stability across all of our websites and applications. It gives us the ability to increase the available server resources with the click of a button (okay, it’s more complicated than that, but you get the point) with very little if not zero downtime. Not only can we increase the performance from what it is now, but we can keep it that fast as our customer base grows!
By hosting our entire website platform on AWS we’re able to improve and monitor performance in real-time, roll out new improvements faster, and take advantage of the many built-in security features. Win!
We have a few more components of RealtyNinja to migrate over to AWS, and we’ll keep you posted as things progress.
In the meantime, here’s everything else we released so far this year!
Better Product Updates
After chatting with customers we realized we needed a better way to announce product updates. That lead us to create updates.realtyninja.com. A handy page that lists all the things we release (as they come out).
You can find a mini version of the update list in the backend of your RealtyNinja website. Simply login to your site, then click the “Updates” link in the top-right.
Showing a Custom Success Message after submitting a contact form
You can now show a custom “success” message on all contact, buyer and seller forms on your website! At a basic level it allows you to replace the default “Thank you. We received your message and will follow up shortly” with your own unique message.
- Show a download link
- Show a photo of your team, along with a custom message
- Redirect to a custom “thank you” page
Some much-needed love given to our Listings-Only (IDX) Accounts
RealtyNinja powered IDX embeds load MUCH faster now.
- Up to 95% reduction in data transfer/size when loading full MLS® search results
- Up to 22% reduction in initial embed data transfer/size
- Up to 76% speed up in time taken to load all results on a full MLS® search
- Up to 41% speed up in time taken for initial embed to initialize
Note: This is benchmark data from our tests. Your site results may vary.
The nerdy details of what we changed:
- Removed the dependancy on jQuery, which reduces page weight and also avoids potential code conflicts when jQuery is also loaded on the parent website.
- Embed scripts are now optimized and minified, which make them load faster.
- Embed scripts now load from our Fastly Content Delivery Network (CDN).
- All listing/building images now load from Fastly and use IO parameters to greatly reduce file size, without affecting image quality.
- Bonus bug fix: Clicking “deselect all” on an MLS search now resizes the iframe height properly.
Listing unavailable – special error page
If you try to view a listing that is no longer available, we now show a special error page that says “the listing you are looking for no longer exists” as apposed to a generic “page not found” error message.
Also, if the website has featured listings we automatically add the listings showcase widget (with featured listings) underneath, and a message that says “please browse the properties below or get in touch directly”, along with the contact widget. This is great for SEO!
If the site doesn’t have featured listings then we simply show the site contact info and ask them to get in touch directly.
Show buildings from multiple groups in one widget
You can now show buildings from all groups on a single buildings widget.
Let’s say you had separate building groups for each city, and displayed those on their own pages of your site. What if you also wanted to have one high-level page that displays ALL the buildings regardless of group? You can do that now!
You can find this new functionality in the Widget Options for any Building widget on your website. Just choose “All Groups” from the Building Group dropdown.
Show agents From multiple groups in one widget
You can now show agents from all groups on a single Agents widget.
Brokerages typically have multiple groups of agents within the organization, and often display them on separate pages of their website (for example broken up by office, city, etc.). What if you wanted a page that displays ALL agents, regardless of group? Well now you can!
You can find this new functionality in the Widget Options for any Agents widget on your website. Just choose “All Groups” from the Agent Group dropdown.
Other notable improvements
- Improved integration with Top Producer and other CRM’s that use the same lead metadata spec
- Reach CRM integration
- Improvements to AddThis share widget on listings
- Agent headshot photos now use CDN (Content Delivery Network)
- Area/Subarea changes for CADREB members
- A few other small security improvements.
We squished some bugs too!
- Listings marked as your own on Toronto sites could become uneditable
- Blog post editing bug (with image on first line)
- Some listing photos we’re missing in our MLS® data
- Some blog post URL’s contained HTML markup
- The building name (and link) was not appearing on some active listings
- Removed redundant “All” option from the property type dropdown in MLS® search widget options
- Existing embed code lightbox empty on some blog posts
- Issues clearing custom CSS class on some images
- Tall header widget layout selection blank
- Listings-Only (IDX) iframe height adjustment bug
- Listing photo layout issue fixed on Edmonton websites
- A few other small bug fixes.
New Free Real Estate Marketing Downloads (18 in Total)
Did you know we’re constantly producing free real estate marketing downloads for agents?. Well now you do! You don’t even need to be a RealtyNinja customer to take advantage of them. Some of our recent and popular ones include:
- Daily Ninja Tip Email – Get an actionable real estate marketing tip in your inbox every day for a year! Receive your first marketing tip immediately.
- 51 Free Canva Templates For Real Estate Agents & Teams – Professionally designed and fully editable. Easily adapt them to match your own brand and content.
- Marketing Checklist: Your First Year as a Real Estate Agent – Follow this marketing checklist in your first year as a real estate agent to spend your resources wisely.
New Design Customization Examples
Our Design Ninjas have been busy! Check out some of the latest design customizations we’ve produced lately for Canadian real estate agents.
You can find lots more examples on our website.
New Deals in The Marketplace
If you’re a RealtyNinja customer, make sure to check The Marketplace for deals on products and services REALTORS® need. For example:
- Two Lions Events & Entertainment – 25% off your first video!
- We do more than just walkthrough videos. We tell the entire story of your property listing by incorporating the neighbourhood and the lifestyle of the surrounding area in the video. Plus we can help tell your story with auxiliary content to build your real estate brand.
- Lucid Visuals – 15% Off Your First Video
- Lucid Visuals offers engaging video content for REALTORS®. They produce listing films, branding videos, and monthly social media packages.
- RankMyAgent – 10% Off Individual Premium Plans
- Today’s real estate clients are savvy shoppers who do their own research before choosing a professional to work with. Those potential clients will be using RankMyAgent.com to research their agent. Are they going to find you? RankMyAgent.com gives potential clients a place to read nonbiased, verified customer reviews about local real estate professionals.
That’s all for now! Stay tuned for more updates from The Ninjas. 🥷