Let's face it. Now, more than ever, your website is your business calling card. Actually, it's even more than that.
In fact, with social media, skyrocketing mobile usage, the continued (and growing) Google dominance of search and the emergence of Facebook as the digital advertising powerhouse for the real estate industry, how customers find your website - and what they do when they arrive there - is almost as important now to your real estate business as your real estate license itself.
Based on analysis of data in our HomePocket data warehouse, you can expect around 1.5% - 1.8% of visitors to your site who arrive there by searching Google to become a buyer or a seller lead for you.
Simply put, that means the better your search traffic, the more leads you get. It's easy math.
Learn More: Your Website is Your Business Video
Sounds simple, right? You just need to put up a website aaaaaaand done. Google sees you, customers find you. Feels satisfying in its simplicity.
Not so fast. In fact, that assumption is dead wrong and very dangerous.
You see, the vast majority of real estate agents out there get a website by using one of these two methods:
- Getting an affordable, quick template site from GoDaddy, Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, Placester, Websitebox or any number of 100 other similar sites.
- Hiring a local marketing or web company to build a custom site or paying a high-cost national firm like Real Estate Webmasters
(NOTE: I don't include the real top way agents get "a site" - a free page hanging off their brokerage's website - because that method doesn't get an agent leads at all; it only helps the brokerage. And it's not a "website," folks.)
So what's the problem?
You're not getting what you pay for - no matter what you're paying
If you pay for a website and it doesn't get you leads, why do it? Better yet, why do you keep doing it?
Both the quick, cheap website option and the often very expensive custom option suffer from the same problem:
The web company builds your site, it looks good enough so you think "I must be visible to everyone looking for homes in my area," then they proceed to, well, not do much at all. Ever again.
You see, the "elephant in the room" where real estate agents get their websites is that Google and Bing change their search engine indexing, ranking and rating criteria all the time.
If your site is lucky enough to get what we call good "technical SEO" in the first place, how your site performs must be monitored every month, just for you, your brand, customers, your local area market and more.
Just think about it:
Do buyers always want the same things? Does home inventory vary? How about prices? Does the economy in your area go up and down? Does the national economy? In short, are buyer tastes and habits static when it comes to buying and selling or do they change?
The simple answer is that all these things are always changing. That means if your website's tagging, titles, headings, page content, images, site speed, mobile responsiveness and more don't change too to keep up, you drop or fall out of search visibility altogether for your business' life's blood:
the home buyer or seller who's searching the web.
Set it, forget it, upsell it
So how are the website developers and hosters hurting you? Well, it's simple really. Web development is a volume game.
Whether they're a big national outfit or the local web guys, the more sites they sell, the fewer expensive resources and time they use to support those sites, the more profit they make. Despite what their marketing says, they simply cannot afford to pay attention to you specifically enough and often enough to ensure your search engine visibility for $99 a year or $19 a month or even $7000 a year.
What does this mean? It means they must do as little as they can for each individual customer so profits stay high. There's more (and it gets worse).
They also don't really, actually want you to truly succeed. Yes, you read that right. Think about it this way:
if your site rocketed to the top of the charts in Google, would you spend any more money with them? Most website providers offer many other things for sale too - all with the same "keep costs low, profits high" approach.
Whether it's paid ads, social media advertising, CRMs, email campaigners, direct mail services, graphic design, t-shirts, flyers, blog posting, tweets, and likes and dozens of things in between, if you're getting all the leads you want, are you likely to buy something else?
Nope. Not ever.
In short, it's kinda like someone creating a problem for someone else just so they can solve it with a solution they already have on hand. I like to call it the old "creating a sickness to sell the cure" routine. It's not a very original naming, but I think it works here.
(NOTE: Btw, if you're paying for lead generation or ads or some other means of generating leads and DON"T have a good website? It's kinda like buying premium gas to put into your riding lawnmower - that you use to drive the family cross-country on vacation. )
How can HomePocket help?
We created HomePocket after many years of building other successful technology companies for consumers in other industries. Our focus has and always will be driving real value to our customers and solving their real problems. Just those problems. Period. Whether that customer ever buys anything else or not.
It's our philosophy that we simply solve a problem in as simple a way as we can for our customers - at the best value. We're kinda like the Dyson vacuum of real estate websites and digital marketing. It just works. No other bullsh&%.
That's why we offer our "Real" Websites for Real Estate Agents. Why do we call them "real" websites? And how do we help you avoid the problems I've illuminated above in this post?
For starters, we've spent years building web technology platforms to automatically analyze and crunch through veritable worlds of web and network data for some pretty important clients. As such, we've developed automated systems and integrated with the best tools on the planet to help us quickly and easily:
- Build and deploy your custom real estate website that looks good and gets leads (a recent example deployed just last week: https://www.discoveratlantaluxuryhomes.com/ )
- Make sure it has all the configuration and code to score well in Google and Bing search
- Continuously monitor the website and fix problems with your SEO and more
- Integrate with new web tools and technologies to keep you ahead of your competition for digital leads
- Report back to you via our mobileweb.homepocket.com mobile app in real time on how your site is doing
After all, as Lord Kelvin said, "If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it."
In short, we do more with less through the power of our tools and our platform so we can pay specific attention to your site, your leads, your search visibility.
All at a very affordable price.
Talk about ROI, what do you get when you pay $999 for a great site that rates well in Google, drives leads and is constantly maintained and updated so it continues to do so? I don't know, but to me, that's worth a lot more than a $19.99 website or a $7000 one that doesn't.
As my father always says, there are no free lunches out there folks and you should, indeed, get what you pay for. Simple. Real.
Want us to scan your site and tell you how good or bad you're currently doing? Go on. It's free. But it may....hurt.
About the Author
Jason Polancich is founder and lead architect of HomePocket, a data-driven, residential real estate marketing and listing network. Polancich also founded SurfWatch Labs, a cyber data analytics firm founded in 2013 that provides highly accurate, timely and actionable information to businesses regarding the cybercrime threats they face. Polancich is a serial entrepreneur focused on solving complex internet security and cyber-defense problems. Novii Design, a company he co-founded in 2005 with Rebekah Lewis-Polancich, was based on his contributions to cloud architectures, distributed computing, data analysis and systems integration. The company assisted the U.S. Intelligence Community and Department of Defense in building some of the largest data warehouse and analysis systems ever put into operation within the government and defense contracting sectors. Novii Design was sold to Six3 Systems in 2010.Follow on Twitter More Content by Jason Polancich