Before you put on your real estate thinking cap, take a minute to think like a consumer. Would you want a one-stop shop or a different place to buy each product?
Based on the popularity of Amazon, Target, Sephora, and other establishments selling various products, I dare say most of us like to shop at one place or on one website.
Now put your real estate cap back on.
Individual property websites are a Web 1.0 relic. That’s not to say there isn’t some value to them: They can be quite effective in marketing a high-end property, for example. But if this old-school technique is your only online marketing method, you’ll miss out on opportunities that help you to work smarter instead of harder.
Individual property websites typically don’t capture long-term attention online, and they force you to recreate the “marketing wheel” every time you have a new listing to promote. Best practices today teach us to build our “Google juice” (what techies call search engine optimization, which helps your brand rank higher among search engines). You want to do things that build your online history and presence, so it works well to layer your online marketing efforts. Thus, having a web page that is live for only a few weeks while the property is being marketed means you are not thinking long-term about your brand.
The more you can build your online notoriety and credibility, the more likely your listings will gain better exposure because of your higher search engine ranking, making this a win-win for you and your home seller clients.
Have you ever gone to a website that no longer existed? I am sure it turned you off to whatever was being sold. That is what happens when you create URLs such as 123Main.com. At some point, you stop paying for it, and the link goes dead. Yet, as you know, people will search online for things months and years later, and that broken, defunct website may pop up for eager home buyers (in other words, your prospective clients or potential buyers). They click the link only to be disappointed by a blank screen. “Next!” is what they’ll think as they cross your services off their online shopping list.
If you choose to do standalone property sites (typically because you want people to separate your brand from your product for the lure), you would do better to have a page, post, or site that focuses on a community, subdivision, or complex that you can update with your listings. That will allow the URL to stay the same. This is a smart move because communities and the subdivisions within them resonate more with people than a single address.
Instead of 123Main.com for a home listed in the make-believe Picket Fences community, your URL link could be PicketFencesHomes.com. Now, you will be seen as a specialist in that neighborhood, and you’ll be able to update the pages to reflect what is current. What’s more, that URL will never become old and useless. Picture this: Someone is scrolling through your social media feed and sees his or her perfect home in a post that is several months old. If they clicked on 123Main.com, they would get zip, zero, nada, and you would likely lose a potential lead. However, if you have PicketFencesHomes.com, now the potential home buyer gets your actual, live, working site and can see what is current. Boom!
Better yet, I encourage you to use your own company or brand site as your online anchor and make it the authority for the neighborhoods, complexes, and subdivisions you sell by having dedicated pages or tabs for each. Torontoism.com is a great example of a real estate website that features the neighborhoods the team services while building notoriety as the local real estate expert.
Your business is not fly-by-night and neither are your URLs. This is your online footprint, and broken, outdated links sabotage your public image and exposure. In essence, position your business to have a lasting presence.
Have any questions? Ask away by following me on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Google+ or by visiting LearnWithLee.Realtor. And, be sure to get a copy of the 5-star rated workbook, Plan to Win, to transform your real estate sales game plan. Here’s to your success.