All great comedy has an element of truth to it.
Before the Internet we had the Phone Book, commonly referred to as the Yellow Pages, or, The Giant Yellow Book which would arrive every year at your front door.
Today, having your own Real Estate Agent Website is like being in the phone book. Let’s have Steve Martin demonstrate this point…
What’s Included In This Training Article…
1. You can listen to the latest Podcast Episode here or on iTunes.
2. Below you can read the article and get your starting point for building your own real estate agent website.
Podcast Episode No. 5
Several times a month I get emails and phone calls from real estate agents about websites. Most agents are looking for some advise and direction on what do about their own websites. In many cases they don’t have one but are looking to get one started.
Some of the questions I get are…
- What are the best real estate agent websites to use?
- Do I even need my own website?
- How much do websites cost?
- If I get a real estate website, how do I get leads from it?
- What is the IDX?
- Do I need to have the IDX on my real estate website?
- Should I use my broker supplied generic website?
These are all good questions.
However, before you get into costs, features, and designs you should be asking yourself one single question first.
What do you want the website to do for you?
You should first establish a set of objectives for what you want the website to do for you and your business.
Just putting up a website alone will not bring in more business. Plus, not all real estate websites are created equal. They are all very different in terms of what they can and cannot do for you.
Once you establish your objectives for the website you can then start looking at all of the options you have available to you. Unfortunately, there is no single perfect answer for what is the “Best Real Estate Agent Website” out there for agents to get.
This is exactly why it’s important to establish your objectives first.
My Own Opinion About Real Estate Agent Websites
I do believe every agent should have a website. It’s 2016!
It’s never been cheaper and easier to have a website for your business. Furthermore, there are a lot of website solutions available for agents to have one at an affordable cost.
Your website is just has important as your cell phone number and your email address. You simply cannot do business with them. Clients and prospects need to see some type of an online presence about you and your business.
It’s like during the days of the Yellow Pages before the internet. If you weren’t in the “Yellow Book”, then you were nothing. Just like what Steve Martin said in the movie clip.
A real estate agent website should be one piece of the whole marketing plan puzzle you have for your business.
Here’s a copy of the Marketing Plan I use to train real estate agents all over the country. You can see the real estate website is under Stage 2, which is, in an advanced level of marketing. Before you get to putting together a real estate website, you should have all of your basic marketing squared away first.
The Real Estate Agent Marketing Plan
So do you need a website? No. You can still run an effective real estate business without one, but I would highly encourage you to plan on getting one in the future.
If you really want to take your business to the next level online and have a presence there, you’ll simply need to have a website or a plan for getting one.
What a Real Estate Agent Website Should Be
Your real estate agent website should be the focal point of all your online marketing. Traffic is redirected there from Social Media and real estate search websites like Zillow & Trulia.
At a minimum, I believe your website should meet the following are objectives….
1. It Should Be a Source of Valuable Information
Your website should be source of information for your Buyers & Sellers. It should provide information in the form of ebooks, videos, blog articles, and/or audio, which answers questions.
Think of the most commonly asked questions you get from them. You’re a walking, talking, living book of real estate information, so share that knowledge online at your website.
2. It Should Be a Portfolio of Your Previous & Current Listings
This is the place where your sales record of listings should be. You should be using professional real estate photography and virtual tours for all of your listings.
There is no better way to show off your brand as a professional real estate agent than showing off how you “market” your client’s homes. Each listing should have it’s own page on your website. This page should be directly linked to the active listing both Zillow & Trulia thru virtual tour and external links. These linkbacks are also phenomenal for the SEO benefits to your website. Bringing in traffic from Zillow & Trulia should be a major goal of each one of your Active Listings.
3. It Should Tell Your Story
Your real estate website should show clients and potential clients who you are. It is the place to bring your own personal branding to play.
Don’t be like every other agent out there. Be Yourself. Be You. This is what they want to see.
Here are two great resources you should check out when creating your “About Me” pages and Bios: Sally Hogshead and Mellissa Cassera.
Sally Hogshead and Fascination
First, you should check out Sally Hogshead and take her Fascination Advantage Test. This will change the way you look at your personal branding. She is all about taking an assessment on your personality traits and then applying those traits into your business and using that has a differentiator in your marketing.
Take the Fascination Advantage Test… CLICK HERE!
In this video you can see her TEDx talk on this subject. It’s pretty awesome.
Melissa Casserara’s “My Story” Page
Second, if you want a great example of an “About Me” webpage then you have to check out Melissa Cassera’s website. Her “About Me” (called My Story) page rocks and I pretty much used it as a template to redo my own “About Me” page on this website.
Click Here to see her “About” page on her website.
What You Should Do Now
Figure out what your websites objectives are going to be first. Next, make sure you have complete all of your basic level marketing before you spend time and money (your resources) on a real estate website.
Once you’ve completed this you’ll need to begin to explore all of the options agents currently have available to them, and there are a lot of them.
I’m going to leave you with some additional information which should help you in answering some of the other questions you’re most likely going to have about real estate websites.
What are the Best Real Estate Agent Websites to Use?
There is no single best answer for this question. So I’ll give you the list of what’s available out there.
In my opinion WordPress is the best. I love WordPress. I believe it’s the single best solution not only for Real Estate Agents, but all entrepreneurs. However, that’s just my own personal opinion. There are some other really good alternatives out there.
Real Estate Website Choices
There are several companies which supply agents with basic template websites. Some of these site offers features like IDX and CRM functionality. I’m personally not a big fan of these but for certain agents this is all you need.
You can also go the WordPress route with an agent website. In this case you’re taking on a more advanced level of marketing because you’re going to be pouring in more resources to get it started and maintained.
Which ever platform you decide to use you will still have to ask yourself the first question: What is the Objective/Goals for having your own website?
Here is a breakdown of some of the most popular agent website choices you have available to you today.
A. Z57, Point2, and Market Leader:
These are usually the top choices for the basic template websites available for agents. I’m not a big fan of these sites and wouldn’t expect that you’ll get very much out of them in terms of lead generation.
Each of them have some level of CRM functionality Listings Syndication services. The customization features of these templates are usually pretty limited.
In my experience, agents that get a website from one of these companies usually don’t keep them over the long term and eventually search out for a better long term solution.
However, this doesn’t make them bad alternatives. It comes down to what you NEED and WANT to get out of your agent website.
B. Agent Websites from Zillow:
I don’t hate or love Zillow. They simply are the most viewed real estate website in the world. However, their website solutions for real estate agents are very “Not Good”.
Zillow offers Premier Agents a WordPress site, but it comes with very limited functionality. They are also very weak in design and look very generic. In my personal opinion, I highly recommend NOT to use these for your business merely because of the lack of Functionality and Design.
I still think Zillow is a very important tool and website to use for your overall marketing plan and you should be engaged on this website. Before you pour time and effort into setting up and using one of their websites, think about it clearly first.
C. Placester, SquareSpace, and Wix:
If you want to step it up a little then I like these alternatives better. They have more functionality and better design. You can call these a “happy medium” for all of the website alternatives out there.
If you’re going to use Wix or SqaureSpace you don’t actually need to use a “real estate template”. You can go with another design. You’ll just have to be more creative about it. It’s not necessary for you to have a “real estate themed” template, or the IDX on a real estate agent website. Go with a design that fits your brand and style instead.
Placester has some of the most attractive real estate website designs out there. They have 4 different packages with different levels of CRM capabilities to them. This is where it starts to get costly, especially if you don’t intend on using their CRM services.
I’m not a big fan of using your website for also being a CRM, but it comes down to what works best for you and what your goals are.
D. WordPress for Real Estate:
I’m totally biased here, but it’s how I feel and look at real estate websites. I just think WordPress is the best solution in the LONG TERM for any real estate agent.
However, WordPress is not perfect. WordPress, takes some work to set up and some more work to develop the content you’re going to put into it. There’s also maintenance costs which carry over into the future.
WordPress is FREE software but you will incur other costs for keeping your WordPress site up and running. These include: Hosting, Backups, Security, and Theme Purchases. The good news is you can run a WordPress website for under $100 per month depending on which companies you are using for these other services to run your WordPress website.
I will have some more info about putting together your own WordPress real estate website coming soon.
Have More Questions?
No problemo, I’d be happy to answer them for you…
What does your current website look like? Do you love it, or hate it?
Or, do you even have one?