Why should I have a website?
The Internet is a very large place with billions of businesses scattered all over. Much like a pioneer settling a town, you want to be a web settler. Carve out your own little piece of land and set up shop. Let this short guide show you how a website can be one of the greatest decisions you can make in today’s world.
At first, settlers were just looking for an affordable place allowing ample room to grow while getting to know the land better. Eventually, like-minded neighbors would combine to slowly form a community. As a community grows, it becomes more interconnected. Together, all members share in each others’ growth.
This is just like how a website takes shape.
1. Carve out your own little piece of land
You wouldn’t try to build a house on the ocean or the side of a cliff that is eroding, so why buy a host without knowing the kind of site you want to build? Once you’ve identified the website solution you want, you can begin shopping for a hosting provider. Do your homework and read the reviews of the hosting companies you are interested well before making a purchase decision.
Find the hosting that best suits your needs. There are several hosting providers out there. Costs range from a few dollars a month to thousands. The old adage, “You get what you pay for”, doesn’t always translate well when it comes to the Internet. You can have a very good website with very little overhead and still beat out your competitors in the market.
2. Stick to a budget
Buy a site you can afford. Find solutions you can learn and use easily. Once you have your hosting and website solution figured out, you can begin working on the site.
Keep your goals short. Conquer the little things as you go. Take care of all the little steps as you work toward having a well rounded site, your long term goal. You can focus on search engine rankings and driving traffic to your site after the site is built. Operate within your budget and don’t worry about spending money on expensive advertising campaigns.
3. Time for the housewarming party.
Now that your site is built and you like the way things look, invite some friends to take a look. Ask for feedback about how it looks and the experience of using it to solve various problems. Taking this step will help you identify things visitors find confusing or difficult. Fresh eyes may see something you’ve missed.
Once the general response is good, and no major problems are found, begin laying the groundwork for advertising. Only then should you consider buying those billboards on the freeway. On the other hand, if the responses raise questions or difficulties, you should evaluate these and take them into consideration.
4. Grow your community
In real estate, we all have our markets. A single agent can’t meet the expectation of covering their entire state. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to identify your niche market and use it to your advantage. Showcase your community expertise. Focus on your serving local market by sharing information about the communities and neighborhoods you work in. Start writing articles about events happening within your market.
Make your site the hub that people go to for information and you’ll be known as the expert in your market. Neighborhood landing pages should encourage new people to move into your market area. Use IDX Broker to can make saved links that showcase homes available in your area. Ultimately its up to you to convince people to move there.
5. Raise the banner
With a community behind you and traffic flowing to your site, make sure that you have a brand and that you are ready to stick with. Big changes at this point can have catastrophic results among your visitors and search engines. Yes, search engines.
The three big highways on the Internet are Google, Bing and Yahoo. Getting your name and market to show up along these highways will help bring traffic to your site but how exactly do you do that? More importantly, are you ready for that traffic?
If you’re good with your branding, show that pride on your site. Social networks are great but without other people sharing your site (or writing reviews about the services you provide) you’re just another site with real estate listings. A growing trend is to set up a Yelp account and place links to your business’s profile on your site. Also link to your various social networks in any emails that you send out. Raise the banner, your branding should speak volumes for you. Limit your social networks to those that you have the time to maintain and set a schedule you can stick to.
6. All systems go
With your new location, fresh office, and a strong community, the reviews should keep coming in. Audit your site once again before we push the big buttons and set up a larger marketing campaign. You want to have someone you know and trust edit your site content. Spelling and grammar is a good start, but focus on making sure each page has unique content. Make sure none of your pages share similar titles. These are some of the little things you can handle from the outset to avoid spending to much time auditing and reshaping your site.
Once your review is complete and everything checks out, start submitting your site to the search engines. Each search engine provider has its own methods for submitting your website. Take this time to setup a few accounts with Google. Not Gmail, but Google Analytics, Gopogle Search Console (webmaster tools) and a Google Adwords accounts. Integrate these services with your site, and submit a sitemap to start getting indexed by the Google search engine.
7. Listed and ready to market
With your pages being indexing by the mnajor search engines, you can start thinking about your marketing. Lots of marketing services are out there, but it all boils down to your budget and specific needs. Do your research and identify the best fit. Next, start start leveraging this service to do two things. First, increase traffic to your site. Second, target and you reach niche market. Before you go all-in on a marketing campaign you, should make sure that it speaks to your target market. Inform your visitors of what problems your site can solve for them with a good marketing campaign so when they get there, they’ll find just what they need.
8. All these visitors but no sales
You have the traffic – and the content – but the inquiries aren’t coming in like you thought they would. See where people are going so you can figure out where you can grab the most attention. After the first couple weeks of heavy site traffic, go back and check your analytics. See which pages were viewed the longest and which had the most page views. Once those are identified, look into ways of capturing those visitors without driving them off.
With IDX Broker, you can make it so your lead capture form requests them to sign up for an account. This offers your visitors a tool to save listings and searches and deliver them property update emails as listings that match their searches become available. It also offers you a way to reach out to them and show them some of the inventory in your area.
Use the request method, as forcing someone to register to continue using your site can do more harm than good. If you went to a store and were allowed to shop 3 or 4 times without being hassled, but the next time you went in you were required to have a membership card, would you continue shopping there? Most people will just find another way to find what they’re looking for elsewhere when they encounter a roadblock like that. Make sure you aren’t driving traffic away and you’ll end up with higher quality leads and future clients.
9. Fully established and busier than ever
By this point, you should have a very successful real estate website and plenty of great new business opportunities. You may find yourself looking to share some of your clients with other real estate professionals. Success will always be what you make of it, and the outcome will not always be the same. If you find that you’ve done all this and still aren’t meeting your goals, there are a few more things you can do. Reevaluate and make sure you’ve clearly identified a market. Next, research that market in-depth to make sure you’re speaking to that market in their language. If all that checks out and you still feel that things should be going better, you may have overestimated your market. Find your strongest competitor and identify areas they may have over looked or areas where you can improve.
10. Have fun and don’t be discouraged
A website can be a great tool and a great way to share your thoughts and feelings about your market. It shouldn’t bring you frustration or feel like a burden. You set the pace and control the content; never forget that. After a while you may be asking yourself, “How did I ever manage to generate business without my website?”
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