Are You Marketing an Ineffective Website?

Effective marketing requires a cohesive, considered strategy. Only when all of your marketing efforts are working in concert do you get the best results.

However, most of the real estate agents that call our office are in some way, unsatisfied with their existing real estate website. Of course right? No one ever called us to tell us how happy  they were with their website vendor …apart from our customers!

It seems that each week we hear the same thing:

I hate my website… it’s an embarrassment… I dread my clients asking me to show them my website…

Yet, in their marketing efforts they are still attempting to drive people to it by including their web address on their mailings and printed materials.

In addition, agents tell us they have had a website from another vendor for 2,3,4… years and have never seen anything remotely resembling a lead during the entire time.

It seems clear that some real estate “websites’ are incapable of converting a visit to a lead. This is because these sites were never designed to be a real estate lead conversion tool. Those sites are typically designed to enable the lay-person to be able to upload their resume, link to the township website and little more.

The danger though is that agents continue to spend good dollars  marketing a resource that isn’t working.

If the conversion point of your marketing is ineffective, the entire point of your marketing is being lost.

Speak to us today. We can show you how our real estate websites are different with our free demo. Call (908) 443-1141 or email.

Agents Who Make More Than $100k+ Believe In Web Marketing & Technology

The National Association of Realtors, conducted a survey that reveals the qualities of real estate agents who earn more than $100k a year. Their finding were as follows:

  • High earners spend more on marketing.  63% percent of high income earners spent more than $2500/year on marketing
  • High earners spend more on technology.More than 50% spend more than $2500/year, 25% spend more than $5000/year

What was really fascinating was the use of websites and social networking. 

  • Nearly 50% say they updated their website more than once a week
  • 39% of mid income earners update their website or blog only once a month

It’s critical to note a few things. It’s not simply a matter of spending money and assuming that the results will automatically follow. What is most critical is that any dollar spent has to be part of a structured goal focused approach. Spending money without a strategy can be as ineffectual as not spending money at all.

Also, agents who are getting most out of their real estate websites recognize that the project is never finished, and it is the on going addition of new relevant content that is critical to achieving long term goals.

Domain Name Expired?

real estate domain name expirationAnyone who has ever had their domain name registration lapse unintentionally will know only too well the feeling of panic that can set in when you find out, or are told that your website is down.

For many agents, their website is the primary conversion point of their marketing efforts. When their site is down, the marketing $ are all wasted.

Typically speaking, most domain names are set up to “auto-renew” on a yearly basis. This is achieved through your chosen domain name registrar having your credit card information on file. You’ll receive an email saying that your domain will expire or renew in 90, 60, 30, 5 days. You may also see that those emails also say, “If you credit card on file has expired” or has been rewed during this time you will need to update the one on file to ensure there is no break in service…or words to that effect.

In our experience in real estate web design, this is the most common reason for domain names unintentionally failing to renew because, let’s face it, when you get a new credit card in the mail do you immediately think that your domain is directly tied to the old one?

So, to avoid this happening to you, why not log into your domain name registrar today and make sure that the domain name on file is currently update to through the renewal date of your domain name!

Real Estate Rental Websites

Real Estate Rental WebsitesWith the sluggishness of the economy dragging on, the opportunity that the real estate rental market offers is being taken up by real estate agents.

It is estimated that by 2015 home ownership will drop to the level that it was towards the end of the 1960’s. In this time 10,000,000 homeowners will become real estate renters.

This represents both a loss of units in real estate sales inventory but also an increase in the number of rental transactions.

Getting into the rental real estate market has been seen in the past as being an opportunity to catch the first time home buyer while they are still tennants and also as a way to engage landlords with their services both in finding tennants and assisting in purchasing rental properties.

The real estate websites for real estate agent we are building are increasingly featuring rental sections or even dedicated rental real estate websites such as rentals in Princeton NJ and Westfield rentals.

 

 

NEW* limeyboy WordPress Real Estate Theme

limeyboy real estate wordpress themeWe love WordPress. We’ve been integrating WordPress blogs into our niche focused community websites for a few years now. We’ve been able to style the blogs to match our websites design and we’ve just taken this to the next level.

We have now replicated the design and functionality of our hand coded sites and created a version of it using the WordPress platform. What you get is the the same customization, style, and functionality but now at a fraction of the cost of our hand coded sites.

We can still theme each site to suit your individuality. We create a custom tailored banner image, (which we give you to use in your offline marketing), if you can think of a color scheme you can have it and we’ll train you how to add all your content.

Our IDX feed integrates seamlessly into your site as well your niche focused jump searches.

The WordPress open framework allows you to add new sections, pages and posts whenever you are ready. If you get stuck, are are unsure of anything were are here with our ongoing support.

 

[Check out our live demo here ]

[Read more about it here]

Protect Your Domain, Buy .co Today!

buy .co version of your domain name

Hurry up and get your .co!!!

(This is a post we meant to write a few months ago. )

.CO is a new domain name suffix. And it’s a good one, it may become a great one. There are many countries that use .co to denote business online. .co.uk for example is used in the UK for business websites.

We are not sure how readily .co’s will be used. Many are just being snapped up to add to the list of other ending versions people may already have, .net, .info etc . In those instances they may not ever really be used, choosing instead to promote their .com. However with any new suffix, the potential for new sites being built using them increases.

In those cases, the question really is, will it be regarded in a better light than .net, which has always been the poor cousin of .com

If your .com had gone, .net was the next best thing, or least worse, which of course is .biz :)

Today .com still holds top spot, but in 5 years who knows…

It may be that .co becomes widely used and adopted. If that’s the case you might want to pop along to your domain registrar and pick up the .co version of your domain names before your competition or a speculator does!

Buy the .co version of your domain today!!!

Google analytics & your real estate website

Ok, so first off. What is google analytics? Remember a website stats counter? That small line text on the bottom of webpages showing you how many visitors your site has had? Well it’s like that,…but on steroids!

Google analytics offers you an invaluable insight into your website’s performance. For example, when you send out a mailer, you can count the number of calls you get on your phone. But did it bring any more visitors to your website?

Which are your most popular pages on your website? Which are the least popular?
Which pages are the most common entrances to your site, which pages are the most common exit pages. Can you improve those?
Do you get more hits on your site from a postcard than a local newspaper ad?
Where did your visitors come from?
What keywords did they type in to find your site?

Google analytics answers these questions for you, and more.

Real estate website as a tool for your business

By tracking and analyzing this information, your website becomes a tool for understanding the effectiveness of your offline and online strategies.

If you can measure where and when you leads arrive you can begin to figure out where best your marketing $$$ are being spent. Say for example you were thinking about doing a series of offline marketing pieces. You where going to a regular postcard mailer, and an ad in a newspaper. By staggering the launch of each campaign, say by two weeks, and following the spike, or not, of hit on your site, you can compare the effectiveness of both methods.

Where are your are you visitors coming from?

Fancy a slice?

Google analytics has this really nice pie chart that shows where visitors to your real estate website came from. They are all grouped into 3 categories: direct, referral, search engines.

Direct hits: these people came to your site by typing in it’s full domain into a browser. We can assume that they probably received an offline marketing piece, a post card, a mailer, a market update flier, a business card.
Referrals: these show the which websites feature a link to your website. These maybe self generated from your blogging, facebook, twitter account etc. Ideally they would be from other sites that link to you and your real estate website because they think you are fabulous!
Search engines: these show which hits came from search engines.

Ideally we like to see an even distribution between these 3 main sources.

Look out for the up coming “HOW TO…” on setting up analytics on your website.

Technology = $$$ For Real Estate Agents

Hiring the right company to build the right website is very effective in generating more business

The National Association of Realtors 2010 member survey suggest that their agents are becoming more tech savvy, and for those who are increasing their spend on their websites are getting returns!

56% of agents are now using a smart phone daily compared to 42% in 2009,  of which 66% were agents who had been in the business 2 years or less, compared with 48% usage for those with careers 16 years or more.

Social media, (twitter, facebook, etc) and  personal networking in general rocketed up to 51% in 2010 compared with 35% from 2009.

10% of agents reported having a blog (i wondering what % are actively blogging :), 63% reported having a website, with a median of 3% of their business being reported coming from it.

Interestingly, agents who spent  $1000 or more to build & maintain on their site said that it generated 19% of their business.

Suggesting that simply ‘having  a website’ misses the mark by a long way. Agents who embrace the web and create a substantial and effective website site get significant returns.

Domain Name Bonanza!

This week marks the 25 anniversary of the first registered domain name, or dotcom, for mere mortals. Before then, the domain names were for government or educational use.  Since then, many, if not most domain names have been bought, sold, and expired a few times.

Anyone looking for that great domain name a few years ago would have had a hard time finding what they were looking for. Back in 2005 when the $$$ was flowing in real estate, there was a domain name land-grab.

Agents who were looking for a new domain name wouldn’t just buy one, they would buy 10.

Roll forward a few years, and when those bills from their domain name registrar each year, people are being more selective over the domain names they are actually using, versus the ones they meant to use, but didn’t really do anything with after all.

Were agents going to re-up their 10 domains for $100, or pay the cell phone bill?

They paid the phone bill.

What we are seeing now is opportunity. Whereas finding a great domain for your real estate website was a frustrating task a few years ago, it’s now fun again. There are some great domain names out there again.

Why You Should Be Blogging: Reason # 1,694,564,321

To blog or not to blog...I think it's pretty clear, BLOG!

Still not blogging? Well, we’re not going to rest until you are. Are you blogging, but not really sure why?

Here’s yet another reason why it is such a good thing. It might get a little geeky here, but we’ll insulate you from the worst of it.

Ok, on a fundamental level websites and blogs are typically constructed using different frameworks. This is essentially because historically speaking they have been built of different purposes.

The Typical Website Model

Generally speaking websites, at worst, are rather like pretty fleshed out yellow pages ads. A series of pages who’s content seldom changes, (disclaimer: this is not the approach we approve of :)), how many times does a Contact Us, or About Us page really have to change. So whenever a page changes or new pages are added, its wise to update your sitemap.

In short, a sitemap is a file that features all the links to pages on your website. When you have an updated site map, you notify the search engines that it’s updated and at some point they’ll pop over to take a look.

There is often a delay, of days if not weeks for search engines to come by and check out the changes. Frustratingly there’s not much that can be done to encourage them to by any sooner.

The Blog Model

Blogs are about being current, what’s happening now, or what’s just happened. Their MO is to get news out there.

The whole point of news is that it’s…that’s right, NEW.

When you write a new blog post and hit ‘publish’ something amazing (you might have to be a geek to use ‘amazing’ in this context) happens. Hitting publish, not only publishes your content to your blog but, importantly it sends out a ‘ping’ to the search engines to notify them that some news has just been reported.

Newness is what search engines crave.

By writing content on your blog you are giving search engines what they are looking for. Is it starting to become clear?

The Difference is Remarkable

Whereas it can be days if not weeks for search engines to find your new page on your website, you can get them to see (or index) your new blog post in minutes, which is frankly, astounding. Simply give search engines what they want and be rewarded.

See For Yourself

Click to enlarge

The blog post you are reading was published to the web at 9.15am this morning. It’s now 9.25am and google has already indexed or seen the post and this can only help our relevance in search results… That took 7 minutes.

Most Realtors call us to complain that they can’t be found at search engines. I think we both know what you can do to change that.

We can help you design and configure your real estate blog and coach you in your blog-craft.