Real estate website companies run the marketing-term (also referred to as ‘honesty’) gauntlet. Many use every marketing buzzword in the book to promote their products the best they can. Of course, as they should…but how are agents supposed to tell which websites are the best, and which are the best value.
Well, we’ll tell you how. By following this no-nonsense guide to purchasing a real estate website…
Our No-Nonsense Guide to Website Buying: Discover the UNTRUTHS
Your first step to cutting through the marketing buzzwords is to understand what some of these truly mean. By understanding what they are and how they relate to your website and your business you can see them for what they truly are…fluff.
1. “SEO-Ready” / “SEO-optimized”
All the real estate website companies sell websites that are “SEO Ready” or “SEO optimized”. But—what does this actually mean. Every website on the planet is SEO ready. This simply means that it is ready to be SEOified. SEO-optimized is a different term altogether though. SEO-optimized means that certain keywords have been added to the website to help it rank better.
Sounds good right?
Well, sort of. Adding a few page titles and meta keywords is a good start, but it is about 1% of the SEO effort needed to actually succeed.
The Simple Truth: SEO is hard business. No website, out of the box, will offer you true SEO. Any website can be optimized just as any other—but it will take serious work on your part. As a super-short synopsis, you need a ton of SEO-optimized, unique and original content, and high-quality inbound links.
Many Realtors bounce around from one website company to another, trying to find one that will actually produce them leads.
The Simple Truth: The basic truth is that no website out of the box will generate you leads. Lead generation comes from being able to convert large amounts of traffic (which comes from top SEO or paid advertising) into names, phone numbers and emails.
For a website to be lead generation it first needs to attract a large amount of traffic, and then have a methodology to turn that traffic into leads. This can be accomplished through live chat, call to actions, new property sign up lists and more.
So, when evaluating real estate website companies solutions, look for those that offer a number of call to action options (and then try them all out to see what works!).
Many real estate website companies say that they offer ‘cutting-edge’ websites (or some other word meaning vanguarde).
The Simple Truth: Real estate websites are rarely cutting-edge. When they are, they are very expensive custom jobs. Our advice to you is to ignore the ‘cutting edge’ words and look at their overall look (do they look modern), and which features they offer (that aren’t just buzzwords).
4. Just $X a Month!
Stop paying monthly fees. It is expensive. Even if it is just $20/month, that is still $240/year and, $1200 over 5 years and $2400 over a decade (after all, you will surely be in the business for a while). While this sounds like a great deal, know that a website that is 5 or 10 years old will already look dated.
The Simple Truth: Pay once and get it over with. Then you can reinvest that money in more lucrative real estate marketing ventures.
5. Integrated Blog!
Adding a blog to a website takes all of 12 seconds. Every website can have a blog if you flick a switch. This isn’t a feature.
Also, will you even use a blog? If you aren’t going to write relevant, original articles on a regular basis, then don’t even bother with a blog as an empty blog looks like you aren’t putting in the effort.
The Simple Truth: Have a blog, or not. But don’t think it is a phenomenal feature they are giving you for free–it’s hard work on your part!
6. FREE File Hosting
It’s not free. You’re paying $X/month for that hosting. Every website needs hosting, and almost all of them have unlimited file hosting.
The real trick with ‘unlimited’ file hosting is that a website can only have so many bulky files on it before it starts slowing down. If you put gigabytes upon gigabytes of videos on there, the website will eventually slow down—regardless of ‘unlimited’ or ‘free’ hosting.
The Simple Truth: Every hosting package comes with free file hosting.
7. Search Engine Submission
Websites don’t need to be submitted to search engines. Search engines will find your website on their own. If you want them to find it faster you can manually submit them. It takes all of 2 seconds.
The Simple Truth: search engine submission isn’t important.They will find you if you have some good content on your website. If you don’t have good content on your website then you won’t rank with them anyways.
8. Free Analytics
Analytics are free thanks to the beautiful and benevolent minds at Google. Google offers a free tool called Google Analytics, which offers you all the information that you will ever need to measure your website traffic, issues and areas of improvement.
You can sign up for a free account here (then use our live chat to ask us how to add the tracking code to your website):
The Simple Truth: It’s free. Period.
9. FREE Lifetime Upgrades!
Free upgrades are great…the problem is they aren’t ‘free’. You’re paying for their services monthly, to the tune of hundreds of dollars (often close to a thousand) per year. They aren’t free.
Another problem with free upgrades is that you often don’t know when they have a system upgrade, and even if you do know you have to upgrade them yourself. So, before falling for the line of ‘free upgrades’ ask them how that process works. Also ask them how often they offer upgrades, and what the past few upgrades have consisted of (as some as such a minor detail that you wouldn’t even notice).
The Simple Truth: They SHOULD be giving you upgrades as you are paying an arm and a leg.
10.Social Promotion Tools
Every website can put a Facebook or Twitter link on it. REALLY not a big deal.
The Simple Truth: This isn’t a feature–it’s a simple, cheap, easy ‘must have’.
11.Up to X FREE Pages!
Pages should be free. This is the internet. It has boundless amounts of space on it, and all real estate website companies should offer unlimited amounts of pages.
The Simple Truth: If real estate website companies want to charge you per page….run.
We hope that the above synopsis helps you sort through the marketing mumbojumbo that exists out there on the world-wide web.
If you are wondering if a feature or promotion is a good deal—just ask us. We’ll be honest. It’s sort of ‘our thing’.