Is Your Real Estate Website Generating Business?
Is Your Real Estate Website Generating Business?
Many Realtors are satisfied just to have any web site. As time passes they are realizing that they would just have a site is not enough and would like to generate leads with their web site. Some studies have shown that the average real estate agent’s web site generates less than 45-55 unique page views per month. A unique page view may also be referred to as a unique visitor. Many people confuse hits with visitors or page views. A unique page view would be a page viewed by a unique URL or IP address during a specified period of time (or session). Many less advanced tracking tools only track hits. A hit usually includes the unique visitors and the total number of files and graphics that load when a page is visited. A visit of one page may show as 15 hits if the page visited has 14 graphics!
Below are actual screens shot of the stats tracking software for a real estate site that utilizes our search engine marketing strategies. These graphs shows the number of Sessions (or actual unique visitors), Hits, Page Views and Referrers per day for a 5 day period. This stats software also allows you to track how visitors go though your site and how long they stay in any one given section. You can view screen shots of the Sessions, Page Views, Referrers and Hits graphs by clicking on the images in the slide show below:
In a one month period, this web site generates 9-14 closings.
This example shows the potential business a properly developed web site can generate. Please note that just having a web site, may not even pay for your hosting fees. As with any business a web site needs regular search engine optimization, promotion and fresh content in order to generate business. Located below are a few tips that may help you generate more traffic (and business) to your web site.
1. Select a Good Domain Name – A good domain name should do three things:
a) Say What You Do – When you tell someone your domain name they should automatically know what you do.
b) Be Easy to Remember – A domain name should be easy to remember even if it is a long name.
c) Use Keywords in the Domain Name – Select a domain name that incorporates some of your key words. Web surfers usually search by key words, such as the area they want to live in. Even if you spend a lot on advertising in the local print media, someone looking for property that lives outside of the area does not know you. Incorporating key words into your domain name can increase your chances of being found in a key word search (especially with search engines that use real name search technology). You can also have more than one domain name for a single web site.
2. Be Careful How You Link to Other Sites
Links to other sites can take visitors off your site. If the external links are not set up properly your visitors may never return. You may have money on getting visitors to your site. You want to keep them there. You want your web site to be a destination and not a billboard for other sites. If you have external links to other web sites your visitors should always have a way of returning back to you. Whether you use frames or other mechanisms, make it easy for them to get back to you.
3. Have Your Site Built by a Professional
People hire you because you are a professional with experience in selling and marketing homes. Your time is valuable. Unless you can dedicate the time learning how to create an effective we site we recommend that you hire a professional web design firm. Make sure you see several examples of their work before hiring them. Having a site with custom features can also reflect your uniqueness in the real estate market.
4. Promote Your Web Site
Having a site built is only part of the equation. You need to let potential customers know you exist. Make sure that the company you hire understands this and can provide services you need to properly promote your web site. Here a few things one can do to promote their web site:
a) Search Engine Optimization – You should have your design company understand how search engines index web sites (such as Google, Yahoo!, MSN, AOL, etc.) . There are many things that need to be built into a web page so that it can be indexed properly by the search engines. Search engines use unique algorithms to add web sites to their databases. Algorithms are always changing so regular monitoring and optimization is critical to effective search engine optimization.
b) Paid Placement – Search engines offer several types of paid placement in their directories. Per-per-click is one option. You pay to have your site show up in a specific key word search (also known as a “sponsored link”). When someone click on your “sponsored link” money is debited from your account. Depending on which keywords you bid on the monthly fees for this will vary ($.25 per click to over $14 per click).
c) Banner Ads – Banner ads are another form of paid placement. You are normally billed on impressions – the number of times the ad is displayed on a page. Most search engines and many high traffic web portals offer banner ads. The main thing to remember when choosing this type of marketing is to use sites that are visited by your potential customers (follow the eyes). You can better target your marketing dollars this way. Prices can vary widely so its best to contact web sites directly for information about their banner ad placement.
d) Print Marketing – There are many forms of print marketing from local and national ads to direct mail. Print marketing is usually many times the cost of the electronic marketing methods mentioned above. If you already use print marketing in your business, for little or no extra money you can add you domain name to your print marketing campaigns. As with any marketing its always a good idea to run tests before committing a large portion of your budget to any specific campaign. You may have noticed companies that advertise over and over or ads that seem to be “everywhere”. This is typically a sign of an effective marketing campaign. They are most likely generating business from these ads, otherwise they would not continue to spend the money. You can learn a lot from from these repeat campaigns (placement, frequency, good copy, etc.).
5. Add Fresh Content
Frequent additions of good content to a web site will attract repeat visitors. The search engines will also have new pages to spider and index. The search engines like to see fresh content and web sites that have “mini sites” within the main site. These types of web sites typically rank higher. The additional pages can give visitors more unique ways to find you when using the search engines. At IMC we offer tools to our customers that allow them to add content to their web site 24 hours a day via an easy to use web based interface.
6. Think Twice Before You Purchase a ‘Cookie-Cutter’ Web Site
These site may cost very little but they have many disadvantages. Many of these types of sites have pages dynamically generated from a data base and are almost impossible to optimize and for the search engines to index. These sites are generally the same for hundreds of your competitors and do not provide you the ability to add unique content. We receive a lot of calls from customers that once had these types of sites because they did not generate any business.
We hope that you found this information of value. Please feel free to contact us with questions about our services.
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