WEBSITE OPTIONS YOU CAN UNDERSTAND
WEBSITE OPTIONS YOU CAN UNDERSTAND
Did you know that your website (or lack of one) makes more of an impression on a potential client than your office space, your agents’ smiles, and your “For Sale” signs? You need a good website to compete in the realty business. Building or redesigning a website doesn’t have to be confusing or frustrating. I’ve learned some tips during 14 years in the website business, and I’d like to give you clarity about the pieces of the website puzzle.
This is the first of four articles that will run in Lands of Texas over the next few issues. This first article will discuss why you need a website and what your options are. The second article will consider the content of your website. The third article will focus on how to get found online, otherwise known as Internet marketing. The fourth article will give you ideas on how to combine Internet marketing with traditional marketing to get the most bang for your promotional buck.
WHY YOUR WEBSITE MATTERS
Websites are the new business cards. Similar to a business card, your website should tell potential customers who you are, what you do, and how they can reach you. A website done well accomplishes even more than that. It can also establish “likeability” and trust. Websites create credibility. Many of your potential customers are searching the Internet before making buying decisions, whether they’re considering products or services. You want them to find your business online. Websites are sales tools. A well-done website is your home base for increasing business. Give your customers a great website they’ll be proud to send to their friends, increasing your referral business. Drive phone calls and appointments with your website. Capture the leads who are doing their research, and convert them to customers.
WHAT YOUR WEBSITE SHOULD DO FOR YOU
Your website should present you in a professional manner. Like curb appeal and beautiful staging, your website should attract your customer’s positive attention. The design of your site should convey professionalism, be up-to-date, and follow current web design practices. Your website should show your customers how you can help them. The layout of your website should help people find what they need easily and quickly. For example, when potential customers go to your website to find your phone number, they should see that right away on the home page. Don’t make them scroll or click endlessly to get in touch with you. Your website should set you apart from your competitors. What is the unique value proposition you can offer your customers? What makes you different from other realtors in your market? Your website is the best place to start showing your potential customers what makes you worth doing business with. Your website should offer your property listings. Keep your company in front of your potential customers by integrating property listings into your website. You do not want potential customers going to another website to get information about your property listings. This reinforces your brand and your name and gives them more connections with you. The second article will talk about this in more detail. Your website should increase your visibility online. Your website needs to be found when people search the Internet for properties in your region. A strategic approach to Internet marketing is key in getting the right people to your website. You need a website that is well optimized for search engines, laying the foundation for future Internet marketing, which will be covered in the next two articles.
WHAT ARE YOUR OPTIONS FOR YOUR WEBSITE?
Think of website options in terms of housing options. The variables you choose determine the cost.
OPTION ONE: PRE-DESIGNED WEBSITE
Your clients, Joe and Sharon, could buy a ready-to-move-in home. They’d just have to paint their name on the mailbox and hang a wreath on the door to personalize it. In the same way, you can get a professional template for your website, add your logo, contact information, and listings, and be ready for business. A pre-designed website is the easiest and least expensive option. Someone has already taken care of the up-front cost of doing designs and then resells that template multiple times. Pro: good looking site for low price. Con: not totally customizable. This is a great option for all but the biggest companies. For them, we would suggest getting a customdesign, not a template that could also be used by other companies.
OPTION TWO: SEMI-CUSTOM WEBSITE
Another option for Joe and Sharon is to buy a house they can finish exactly how they want. The home is built, but they can paint the walls, put down carpet, and add granite counter tops. This is like a semi-custom website. You can start from a pre-designed site and then customize it. Pro: you can change the colors and rearrange some elements. Con: just as homeowners have to be careful about modifying walls that could be load bearing, website clients using customized templates may not be able to get things exactly as they would like.
OPTION THREE: FULLY CUSTOM WEBSITE
If Joe and Sharon know precisely what they would like in a home, they could hire an architect to draft blue prints then they can build a fully custom home. You can build a website from scratch customized exactly how you want. Pro: you will get the website you want down to every detail. Con: this is the most expensive and time consuming option. When deciding which website option is best for you, consider your personal preferences, your budget, and the size of brand and territory. Most real estate agencies do not need a fully customized website that costs ten grand.
A good pre-designed site is a great starting place. Making use of pre-built templates and listing tools can save you a lot of time and money. Plus, you will be able to get your new website up and running in just a few weeks.
SO WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?
GET STARTED ON A NEW WEBSITE TODAY!