CREATING YOUR WEBSITE
If you were creating your website in 2000, you were ahead of the game and stood out with an IDX on your website. It helped with search results on sites like Google, and it just put you at the top of your online presence. Nowadays, everybody, including non-agents, have an IDX search, and it no longer has the impact it once did. In fact, studies show that branded websites in our day and age will win you over a client over any lead generating IDX plugin. Which is a win-win for you. That's one less expense you have to come out of pocket monthly for yet another tool, that has been proven to be not necessary. As much as we may abhor Zillow, users go to sites like Zillow and Realtor.com to do their own house hunting, and if they aren't searching there, then they are waiting for you to send them a listing from the MLS. Yes, some big time agents have a ton of leads pouring in from their IDX websites, but these agents established their sites at the turn of the century when it was brand new, and now they are at the top of the page on Google.
If you are just starting off building your website, or you didn't build it 10-15 years ago, you'll get a lot further emphasizing on blogging on your website than adding an IDX to it. Blogging is HUGE for websites, and can be one of the reasons your brand goes viral. Blogs, especially localized ones, can go viral within your community if they are feeding your client base entertaining information. Check out a list of things to blog about below:
LOCAL BLOG TOPIC IDEAS
Top local restaurants to eat at.
Local events coming up.
Any new attractions being built.
Weekend getaways close to home.
The process that goes into selling a home.
The process that goes into buying a home.
Different loan options for home buyers.
Myth vs. fact about qualifying to buy.
Myth vs. fact about selling a home.
The best times to sell in your area.
Best shopping areas in your community.
Local meetups for niche groups.
Celebrities that may live in the area.
Top things to do in your area.
Buyer question and answer blog.
Seller question and answer blog.
The difference of buying a foreclosure.
The difference of buying a new construction.
Discuss historical parts of town.
Give tips to FSBOs.
Understanding whether to rent or buy.
The lifestyles in different parts of your city.
How interest rates are doing and buying while low.
Blog on great home DIY topics.
Create a blog on home decor/staging tips.
You want your website to tell your story, your brand's story. Most agent websites that I review are outdated, hard to use, not mobile friendly, and all together an eye sore. Can't say sorry for dogging those websites, because it's true. I think our industry has some of the worst looking websites around! And most agents always complain that their website doesn't even work, it was a waste of money, etc. It can and WILL work, if it's done properly. You need to make sure, no matter who you use to do your website, that the design they will make for you is going to be bright, modern, and easy to use. Use a lot of white space, scatter your brand colors throughout, make navigation easy to follow, and make your blog the focus of you website. This is going to be good for you in two ways. You won't be limited to website sources that are a must because it's the only one that supports an IDX, and you don't have to pay as much money to get a website that has an IDX feature.
If you get a blog style website done, it'll be a lot cheaper, and you can get some beautiful looking websites! Have you ever scoured through Etsy for getting a custom site? Or even one based around their templates? You can get a good looking 5 page one that you will have access to blog on for about $500. And it will be GORGEOUS, and have consistency to your brand. And if an IDX is important, get the one for your Facebook business page for $69/year like we discussed in the prior module, or go to Placester and get one from them for $10 a month and connect it over to your website with a button. You don't have to have a fancy IDX site these days. Just a simple, yet beautiful, one will do the trick. In regards to it's SEO power, it'll take you longer to fight against sites like Zillow or already established agents with an IDX than it would to find success with blogging. Blogging will get you a lot further and get much more traffic to your site these days.
TOO CLUTTERED, OUTDATED.
And in everything you do for marketing, your website is just another tool, like your Facebook business page. Your database is in your email. So make sure your website, along with a beautiful design and blogs, has a decent amount of call to actions. You want to offer the usual home valuations and list of homes for sale with your call to actions, but you also want to offer more entertaining content. You can turn one of the blog topics above into a list on a word document, and offer it as a call to action. Like: Sign-up and get a list of the top 10 places to eat at in Nashville. Or, sign-up and get a list of 25 new stores opening in Nashville this year. Stuff they'll find value in as a local consumer. Or you can even ask local businesses for coupons and use that as an incentive to get emails. Your goal is to obtain their information for your database, and they may be a cold lead to start, but that's where the conversion factor comes in.
Wrapping it up, you don't need to waste money on an IDX, make sure your website's focus is built around blogging, make sure it's beautiful and clean with a lot of white space, and make sure it's easy to use for customers with mobile functionality. You don't have to complicate your site or pay out an arm and a leg to afford one. Go see what popular bloggers are doing with their websites today, and draw inspiration from them, and flip the script to make it about real estate. Here are a list of my favorite blogger websites, not with a focus on real estate I should add, but so you get the right sense of web design style:
See how their websites are centered around blogging for their niche? This type of website will have the best results! And not very many agents are taking this route, so be sure to start with the avenue while you still have this chance to be a leader in it.