As a guy who spends his day helping real estate agents with their marketing plans and learning new strategies for business, I see a lot of Realtor websites. Some of these websites are good, many are not so good. I see the “free” company website, all the way up to the custom built website that has 30+ pages and top of the line IDX integration. With so many options where does a real estate agent start, especially the when that person may not be as tech savvy? In many instances Realtors spend a lot of money for a website and don’t realize what they purchased and most don’t know how to use this amazing tool to create more business for themselves. In the end, they spend thousands of dollars to have a “business card online.” If you are a Realtor and this sounds all too familiar, keep reading because here are 8 helpful tips to know before purchasing a real estate website.
1. Cost – How much should I pay for a website?
There is no 1 answer here…sorry. Your budget is up to you. I will say that if a company wants to charge you $3000-$5000 for a WordPress website (or any other website) that is very expensive. IF you do pay that amount of money be sure to have the website developer explain to you what they are doing, what you are getting, and the SEO results to expect from that work. I’ve seen people and companies prey on non-suspecting Realtors, and it’s not pretty. Realtors pay a ridiculous amount of money and when I take a look at the backend of their site, things are missing, and the site is not fully completed. On the flip side, invest in your business and get a website that you OWN and control. The $29.95 a month website is exactly that. I personally have seen good sites range from $1000-$2500 on average.
2. Be prepared to provide information to the website developer
Yes, these companies can set up initial “themes”(design) for your website, but finished websites don’t magically appear. The web developer needs you to provide them information for each page, headers, and what content you want and where on the site. In other words, be prepared to do some work on your end as well. Get the web developer/company what it needs in a timely manner and your site will be completed sooner.
3. Get a “search engine friendly” website platform
Google rules the search engine world and it loves WordPress. Of course I’m biased as this is also my website platform, but the benefits of a WP site is very good. I’ve heard that website box is good and also Wix, so check them out. Bottom line, you want a website that you own/control and has easy ways for the search engines to find and rank your content. That means avoid the real estate company website, cheap monthly fee sites, and any other pay to play models.
4. IDX…do I need one?
This is a blog post in itself but in short…it depends. There are some great IDX solutions out there, and several bad ones. IF you can drive traffic to your website through your content, videos, social media strategy, and an outbound marketing strategy then it makes sense to have a good IDX so consumers can search for homes on your website. It also keeps prospects on your website longer, which is good because the longer they are on your website the greater chance they end up buying from you. Make the IDX “hyper-local” to the areas you work or specialize and create capture forms/pages to collect leads. If an IDX isn’t a big deal to you and you want to save money every month, then leave it out.
5. Get acquainted with your website and LEARN how to use it
If you were to buy a car, it would make sense to look up information about the car and learn about the features, so when you drove it for the first time it wouldn’t seem strange. Same with a website. If you know you want a WordPress site or a Wix site, take some time and learn about each platform, how it can help you, and if there are any trainings available to shorten your learning curve. This is one of my top tips to know before purchasing a real estate website. Learn how to use your site. The more you know, the more powerful this tool becomes.
6. Make sure your web developer doesn’t “disable” or take away the good features to your site
To be honest, many website developers are scared of Realtors because they do things to their website they shouldn’t or install too many extra items and end up crashing their site. To combat this, they disable several sections of your site or limit your ability to add or make changes to your site. If you take my advice on #5, you can tell them NOT to do this! Taking away the ability to update your site, install plugins/widgets, create forms, and embed videos really hurts your site in the long run. You paid good money for a website…learn how to use it and tell your developer to not disable important sections.
7. Have a “working relationship” with your website developer
If you have questions about how to do something new on your website, feel free to reach back out to your website developer and ask them. Create a good “working relationship” and use their knowledge to learn. Your real estate website IS your online storefront. It is also where over 94% of people begin their search for buying or selling a home. Look at your website developer as an alley who is there to help and support you.
8. Make sure your website is “Mobile Friendly”
Better known as “Responsive Design.” Over 50% of all online searches are done through mobile devices. If your real estate website isn’t set up to be user friendly on mobile devices that will hurt your ranking with search engines and it will cause people who “find your website” to not stay there long. Your website developer should have full knowledge on this, if they don’t…RUN!
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Hope these tips to know before purchasing a real estate website were helpful! Regardless if you are looking to purchase a real estate website or if you have one already but are looking to upgrade this use this information to help yourself. If your current Title Company doesn’t help you grow, but instead takes your contracts, please fill out the form below and tell me HOW I can help you!
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