Rule #1 of Business is also Rule #1 of Websites, the customer is always right. And that is something many REALTORS and Business Owners don’t understand when it comes to setting up their own website. They like to build very image based, ego-centric designs and load up the site with content that they like or care about. But when you are building your site to totally fit your personal needs, are you really doing the best to service your potential customers.
In some cases yes, but most of the time no. What I recommend to clients is to organize and build your site based completely around the users needs and wants. So, what is it that they want:
1) Property Listings and Search Tools – This should be the #1 focus of your site
2) Education about the Local Area so they can decide if they want to move to or from there
3) Educational content to help them through the real estate process (buyers info, sellers tips, mortgage calculators, help in finding financing, understanding the current and local market, etc.)
4) You the REALTOR
So, when it comes to figuring out what the structure and goals of your site should be, it should be based on the prior customer needs and wants. So build your site around the MLS and make it easy for the user to find specific kinds of listings that also match your desired clientele. Then focus on educating that consumer about all aspects of their potential real estate experience and finally work yourself into the site, but don’t over do it because that is not what they are there for. And remember, statistically speaking, consumers are just as likely to use an agent’s website as they are a brokerage or even Realtor.com, you just need to make sure that your site is set up in a user friendly manner so that they enjoy their experience when they are there.
For more tips and advice on running your website, blog, social networking, humorous musing, technology trends and more that are influencing the real estate market, be sure to follow Craig Grant, the Real Estate Website Guru’s blog
I have been trying to warn anyone who will listen to me in the real estate industry that with the proliferation of listing syndication with vendors like ListHub and Point2Agent that are setting up feed partnerships with just about every MLS in the country which then feed into sites like Google could potentially be a really bad thing.
Don’t get me wrong, I am a big proponent of syndication at the agent level as syndication is great as it gets more eyeballs on listings, but the recent trend that syndication is being done so frequently at the association level is potentially that pretty soon Google will have a nationwide MLS database completely for free!
For some time now you were able to access those listings via the search, on Google Base or overlay those listings on Google Maps. Well earlier this week, Google decided to remove the listings from the map as they claimed the usage of this feature wasn’t high and the market already has a mature market of competitors (see article http://tinyurl.com/5rzmp25).
In my opinion, this is a smoke screen and they are probably planning on removing this info from the maps for a short period of time and later come back with a fully functional real estate portal site to rival Realtor.com. I guess we will have to wait and see if Google really is not interested in using all this data and participating in the real estate sector (unlikely) or if they are planning something totally different for the future.
Baylor University research of where REALTORS are spending their money
I have been preaching for years that REALTORS need to stop doing what they’ve always done or they will find themselves left behind and that definitely holds true to advertising. For decades the real estate industry was immersed in the print world sinking huge portions of their budget into newspapers and magazines and continued to do so even though the ROI on these vehicles were dropping each year.
Well as recently as 2008, REALTORS were still allocating close to 15% of their budget on print despite it routinely being ranked one of the worst options for generating leads/new business and yet not reallocating the dollars they used to spend in print to online where they know the majority of their business is coming from these days. As I state in my classes, this is a trend, in 2011 it is time that REALTORS start putting their money where the business is and the numbers show that is online.
Welcome to the Real Estate Website Guru’s Blog.
Starting today I am going to share some of my vast knowledge on what works and more importantly doesn’t work in today’s online landscape for real estate website.
From elements of design, to page layout, to increasing your site’s user-ability, stickiness, lead conversion, online marketing, new cutting edge tools & more. Plus I’ll probably throw in some cool websites, services, video clips and more that I stumble on in my ventures online and most importantly I will do it in a fun easy to follow and fun way.
So, lets get to blogging shall we!