Real Estate Websites – What You Need to Know
Own Your Real Estate Website
You probably already know that you have hundreds of options for real estate websites. But what you may not know is that most of them do not give you ownership of your website. There are tons of free or really, really inexpensive websites out there. However, the old adage “you get what you pay for” holds true. So if it’s free, what do you think you get?
This is so important I dedicated a blog post to the topic– “Why you should own your real estate website.”
Use WordPress as Your Real Estate Content Management System
Not sure what WordPress is? Perhaps you are, but you’re not sure why we would list it as a required CMS. In short, WordPress is an open source content management system. It was downloaded 46 million times as of 2013 and it powers close to 20% of the web. The reason it is PERFECT for real estate agents and brokers is that it frees them from total reliance upon a vendor. As long as you have the files that comprise your website saved someplace safe, it is easy to find hosting companies and technology vendors that service WordPress websites.
In addition with WordPress being so common, there are many technology companies making additional features for WordPress-driven websites. Many of them offer these features for little or no money, as they are trying to establish themselves within the WordPress community. This dynamic offers website owners an ever increasing amount of features. Or, as in Inbound REM’s, case allows us to constantly improve our clients’ websites without charging them a penny.
Your Website Needs to be Responsive
What does that mean? Here is Wikipedia’s definition. The abridged version is that it makes your site more readily accessible on the plethora of devices users consume the web with. 30-50% of your audience is already mobile, but an increasing percentage of time is being spent on mobile devices, so you can be sure as large as these numbers already are… they will only get larger in the years to come.
Understand WHY You are Purchasing a Real Estate Website
Real estate marketing has gotten more diverse. A great listing presentation website looks quite different than one that is built to generate leads. If your primary purpose is a lead generation for a team of ten, thirty, or three hundred agents, then certain features need to be on your website. Marketing integration from social media or paid traffic services requires certain adjustments to be made.
If you haven’t asked yourself “What am I trying to achieve by having a website?” then you aren’t ready to own one. If you are hoping a vendor will provide some good reasons WHY you should own a real estate website, but they haven’t asked questions about your current marketing efforts, how long you’ve been in business, how affluent the communities are that you serve, and how much longer you plan on being in business –basically the who, what, when, where of your business– then you are probably not going to get a bankable result. You might not even get a working result.
Do Your Homework
Google reviews of the company you’re looking to work with. Check the Better Business Bureau. Make sure you study more than one source of info. Look for reviews left by your peers. If you don’t find any, that may not be a bad thing. We had a contract with an agency that produced two thousand websites and never got reviewed once. If any of their clients ever had an unsolvable complaint, the company just returned their money– thus giving them little reason to complain. If you want to go on easy mode you can review my list of the top 10 real estate website providers. This list does everything I’ve suggested here for you and puts the information in one place.
Call “portfolio examples.”. They are probably happy, or they wouldn’t be used as examples. But you can ask questions about responsiveness, organization, and return on investment. Many real estate agents and brokers don’t treat their business like a business, so don’t be surprised if you have to place more than one call before you find a client that has measured performance in a meaningful way.
If you can manage not to “glaze over,” take more than one consultation call. They should be provided to you for free and cover things like cost, process, and expected results. We do all of that AND review a few of your competitors, which provides you with some free advice even if you have no intention of ever using us as your website provider. Hopefully, our competition does something similar.