Monday Morning Magic!


2 minute read

July 11, 2011


The new “Toronto Realty Blog” layout is finally here.

I’ve been working on this behind the scenes for months, and although there are some quirks to iron out, I think we’re ready to roll…

What say ye?

I’m dying to know.

Although when most people ask for constructive criticism, they’re usually upset with the results.

I went to a friend’s BBQ on Saturday night, shortly after my web-team clicked the proverbial red button and enacted the change in the blog, and my friend’s reaction told the whole story.

He said, “Oh yeah – dude I saw the new blog today!  So different!  I was like ‘whoooah.'”

I said, “Really eh?  And what did you think?”


That pause spoke volumes on its own, but then he furrowed his brow and said, “Aaaaaaaaaah…….well….”

I laughed a bit.  I had no choice.

“You hate it, right?” I asked, and then he got a bit defensive and started to backtrack.

“No, no, I don’t hate it.  It’s just that it’s sooooo different!  I worked for Sportsnet a few years ago and when ESPN changed their site – which everybody loved, people were outraged!  People were posting comments saying they would boycott the new site!  But you know what?  The new site was much better, and people got used to it.  Now if you asked people which one they prefer, 99% of them would say the new one.”

This evidence didn’t help me sleep any easier.

I hate change more than anybody I know.  Didn’t I just write a blog post last Monday about how a change in my concierge downstairs in my building has shook up my life?  Of course, 20+ readers promptly jumped on my back and disagreed with my post, but that’s why I love my blog…

I guess the old Toronto Realty Blog was just too stale for my liking.

This isn’t a case of the squeaky wheel getting the grease; it’s not like I just changed TRB to be more flashy, but rather I think my old layout was just too simple and cheap.  After all, I paid some random dude I found on Craigslist $500 to design and launch that blog five years ago.

I know many people won’t like the new layout, but this is what I want to hear about.

In lieu of a Monday blog post about real estate, I’m really just fishing for feedback.

Good or bad – I want to hear what people think.

There are new features, tools, and options, and I think it’s about time I fully embraced the powers of social media instead of continuing to make fun of it.  I started this blog five years ago as somewhat of a hobby, and I don’t think I’m sounding arrogant by saying it changed the way Toronto Realtors do business.  In 2006-07, every Realtor in the city had the same crappy website that was handled by ONE company.  I went off the beaten path, and now every Realtor is being urged by his or her broker to start a “blog.”  I’d like to think that this helped put more information out there for interested buyers and sellers.  That’s what this blog is all about.

So please – don’t hold back.

If you hate it – tell me.

If you love it – I wanna hear it.

This took about three times the amount of time that it was supposed to, and there are still a LOT of quicks and small fixes we need to enact, but that will come over time.

Thanks for your continued readership.

Written By David Fleming

David Fleming is the author of Toronto Realty Blog, founded in 2007. He combined his passion for writing and real estate to create a space for honest information and two-way communication in a complex and dynamic market. David is a licensed Broker and the Broker of Record for Bosley – Toronto Realty Group

Find Out More About David Read More Posts

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published.


  1. David

    at 10:51 am

    It’s the content we care about not the lipstick.
    Keep up the GREAT info and humour.

  2. Kyle

    at 12:51 pm

    Congratulations on the launch, nice new look. And i like the added features. Just curious, was the hardwood floor background standard or a builder upgrade?

  3. Joe Q.

    at 1:07 pm

    I think it looks good, David, but the banner graphic at the top of the page is maybe a little too busy. Some of the symbolism of the images (keys, etc.) may be lost on anyone except realtors or their close friends…

  4. Darren

    at 1:40 pm

    I like the new layout, except for the fact that it’s a bit busy at the top of the page. The clickable parts are lost inside the clutter

  5. DB

    at 2:27 pm

    I think it is good. Having the most popular recent posts is really good for the casual reader. I just think the banner with the keys, coffee, etc. is REALLY busy and took while to load (not sure if that is my employer’s fault).

    The logo itself is good. The only problem is that now that it includes “by David Flemming” you will no longer be able to self-righteously claim that you are not so vain as to plaster your name in the banner of your site.

    Small price to pay to build a brand I guess…

  6. David

    at 2:33 pm

    I think it could stand to do with a little bit of decluttering on the top 300 pixels or so. Perhaps work those images into the sides of the background. Or perhaps neutralize it with greater brightness, sepia or B&W to make your Toronto Realty Blog logo pop more. There’s also quite a few different fonts, so it’d be nice if everything was filtered down a bit to match. Other than that, I like it more than your old page! 🙂

    And if you’re working on your site now and embracing social media, you might as well add the Google+’s “+1” onto your site.

  7. Charlene

    at 2:34 pm

    Looks awesome David!

  8. RPG

    at 2:59 pm

    Incredible upgrade over the last version, although there was nothing wrong with the last one. My only (obvious) critique: having a square box for the photo means you always have to find a square photo to match. Otherwise it looks ridiculous, like today’s post. Just saying!!!

  9. FeatherVon

    at 3:09 pm

    I think it looks amazing! It’s a lot more organized and easy to navigate. I also really like the new features and tools. Awesome job 🙂

  10. Daniel

    at 4:18 pm

    Terrific job!
    Except that you’ve cost my employer a great deal of money today, since I’ve spent the last two hours watching your videos and reading your media pieces.
    I agree about the clutter at the top. It’s a bit much. But overall this is far, far more professional looking than your old blog, even though that was likely far more professional than the next best blog!
    The Facebook “LIKE” box is a nice touch too. How many LIKES are you expecting by the end of 2011? Any goals or objectives you can share?
    Excellent work David.

  11. Clara

    at 5:06 pm

    I like it 🙂

    My only complaint is that the top banner is too wide because of that blackberry sticking out the side, which makes it annoying to read your blog on my iPhone (and probably other smartphones). It might not be an issue as i dont know how many people read your blog on their phone like i do, but if the banner were flush with the blog itself, it would make your blog look much nicer on a smartphone.

    Other than that, looks great!

  12. Kyle

    at 6:15 pm

    Interesting, if you stare at the wood grain pattern to the left of the social media buttons, you can actually see what appears to be the face of Super Mario staring back at you.

  13. David Fleming

    at 6:17 pm

    @ Kyle

    I almost went blind trying to see this…

  14. Mila

    at 8:05 pm


    The good: Embracing social media
    The bad: User should not have to scroll down to see right nav (categories, archives)

  15. Rob Bozzi

    at 3:17 pm

    Everything looks great! I kinda like the top area. That’s what my desk looks like at the end of the day…

    @Mila, the right nav placement of categories and archives is pretty standard in my industry (PR and Digital Media) and in 99% of the blogs out there. Where would you put all of that instead? It would likely need to be hidden somewhere where it wouldn’t be as easy to find.

    Anyway, great job and looking forward to seeing more!

  16. Moonbeam!

    at 4:32 pm

    Dave ~~Really enjoyed watching your video-bio, I feel like I know you!
    Can you use bold font (easier to read)?
    Kudos on the new look, and keep up the great writing!

  17. Pingback: Monday Morning Magic! – Toronto Update
  18. trbadmin

    at 5:24 pm


    You can increase the size of the text by pressing Ctrl and + at the same time (and decrease the size by pressing Ctrl and – at the same time).

    Hope this helps~!

  19. Ian

    at 8:07 pm


    Everybody will have their opinion (I have mine), but the truth is it simply doesn’t matter. It’s YOUR BLOG. You don’t actually OWE anybody an explanation.

    (But while we’re at it:

    1. the top banner image is way too big. Left to right, it forces the browser window be too wide and/or to scroll laterally. Top to bottom, it’s too far down the (cluttered-looking) page before you hit the actual first article.

    2. The “file folder” image underneath the lead article is distracting, and visually inconsistent with the remainder of the article leaders. It’s not clear that what I’m looking at is the lead article, not some continuation of the banner clutter.

    3. I dislike the wood (or is that laminate?) background. But that’s a taste issue I suppose, and I’ll probably get used to it. But I don’ like it, no-how.

  20. Clara

    at 9:20 pm

    Yes ditch the blackberry on the top bar! It makes it way too wide

    Plus, blackberries are so 2004 anyways 😉

  21. Mila

    at 11:36 am

    @Rob Bozzi

    Right nav should go higher, such that it is seen as soon as you open this page without having to scroll. It doesn’t have to be hiden – there is lots of room for it. But right now it is wasted by the “wood” and and all the trim around. I’m in IT and this is a standard good practice from usability pov. Just a free advice as David asked for. 🙂

  22. Rob Bozzi

    at 1:40 am

    @ Mila,

    Please don’t take this the wrong way, but IT isn’t digital media design, and in digital media design there are a lot more considerations than just standard good practice; Or otherwise all of our pages will be just black text on white backgrounds with all links being blue and visited links done in purple. I agree with you that good practice and usability is extremely important, but you must consider that there are items that are being promoted here and that people actually aren’t too lazy to scroll down a half page to find what they are looking for. But as with anything, you are entitled to your opinion, and i think you have a fair point that only speaks to 1 of many aspects of the the site’s design.

  23. Mila

    at 3:41 pm

    @ Rob Bozzi – did you design this or something? Why are you so defensive? You don’t have to accept my advice. Nor do you need to question it or explain yourself. David asked for feedback and this is mine. Just a “thank you” would do.

  24. Catherine

    at 3:45 pm

    It’s too busy for my liking and I don’t like the hardwood floor background, white backgrounds are always preferable to at work readers.

    Top posts of the month is a great idea and I haven’t seen it before on a blog, however it looks like a cheap banner add…one for weight loss pills or something like that.

    I like the new logo though!

Pick5 is a weekly series comparing and analyzing five residential properties based on price, style, location, and neighbourhood.

Search Posts