Total Independence is the New 2012 Business Attitude

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with 3:16 team REALTY ~ Locally-owned Prosper TX Real Estate Co. #9001154

I work on my real estate website, Frisco TX Homes everyday. If I wasn't with clients or family, you can be sure I'm working on my website or some form of business marketing. Yes, some might think I need a life - however, working on my website or other work-related activities such as time spent on AR are times I enjoy, it refreshes my soul.

2 years ago, I paid LinkURealty good money to build a custom website for me. Completely customizable on my end so I don't have to wait for Tech Support to work on things myself. Although it is a website, I run it as if it's a blog/ news portal - if you will. Google LOVES it.

Prior to this custom website, I bought a semi-custom site from LinkU and that too got lots of Google Juice. I have been with LinkU for the past 5-6 years.

For the past 2 years, I work on it almost daily. Late last week, as I was making updates on it, I made a huge mess. I deleted some stuff I shouldn't have. Not a big problem. I'll just call them to restore my settings to the night before and I can start over.

Came to find out - in one statement, that's not how they work. Yikes!!!

When I need some help, I want help immediately. I can't do from Friday until Monday. That's almost 3 days of no-production. Ouch, ouch, ouch.

Don't get me wrong. LinkU by far has bend over backwards supporting me and my craziness of support requests. These are some of the nicest people. They didn't throw a fit whenever I send support requests. I've never heard a gripe. And let me tell you, everyone there knows me with my support requests.

But not until my recent hang-ups did I realize how vulnerable I am with a real estate website company. Almost anyone don't ask about their back-up system when things come crashing down. Heck, I dont even know how Active Rain backs their servers up - daily, nightly, several locations, etc.

So many agents run their businesses on Point2, their own brokerages, etc.

It feels like I just woke up from a deep dream and found my vulnerability. Hence, over the weekend I spent my time investigating the best system to pave my next path on. Moving onto Wordpress is slam dunk but within the Wordpress platform, there are lots of "themes" and "frameworks" to build on. They are not equal in terms of SEO power and as I have found out, while playing with it the past few days, some are easier to use, versus others who need a little more training on customizing. Some are so hard and a waste of my time to figure out (to a point where I'm agitated), I've called several developers to give me a quote on what I want.

So, here's what I learned too while porting over to Wordpress:

  • In case you didn't know, Wordpress.org is definitely the way to go if you want total independence. Wordpress.com is free, just like other blogging platform but you have no control over who takes over someday.
  • If you went down Wordpress.org path, you'll have to find a web hosting company.
  • You must buy the Domain Name in your name (with Registar, Godaddy, etc.) Dont let someone else do it for you.
  • Decide on which framework you want. Research points me to Thesis or Genesis. But equally as powerful. Thesis is easier to use, more intuitive. Genesis more powerful, customizable - if you knew how to do it.
  • Within these 2 huge frameworks, there are lots of "themes" you can select from. I went with an Agent Press child theme of Genesis.
  • Decide what layout suits your taste. 2 or 3-columns. Plan out what you want to display on your site, then play away.
  • Here's where I stopped because it took too much of my previous time. I'm hiring a Developer to work on getting the layout/ look I want. I literally spent all day on Monday, trying to figure out how to change the height of the banner, background, etc. Couldn't figure out how to display the navigation menu, etc. I got iritated because my job is to put out content for the new site, it is NOT to figure out how to make things work.
  • As you decide which developer to use, there are many out there. Some focus on certain child themes. Some focus on certain industry. My advice will be to hire someone who has real estate experience.
  • However, here's what I'm going to say based on my research - Our real estate websites are far too boring in the website world. Everyone and his grandmother have a dark blue or black background (no offense to those who has). Almost everyone uses the Agent Press child theme. Hence, the layout and structure looks the same.

I haven't quite figure out how to do it completely different and when I do, I'll write about it again.

So, here again is my very long winding method to tell you to get off your dependence on those you feed every month. Total independence is the New 2012 Business Attitude. Are you with me?

 

Additional Pointers:

  • Every agent should have their own website.
  • Every agent should have their own domain name and email. Do not use YourName@YourBrokerageFirm.com unless you own the brokerage. What if you went to a different company next year? Will your contact lose you too?
  • Buy your own stuff even if you hired someone to help you get started.
  • Find out how your web host company backs up their stuff.
  • If possible, run your emails on an exchange server for better stability.

Now, you thought when you signed up at real estate school, you were going to sell real estate did you? Little did you know you're in for a little surprise - if Internet is the way you want to go. Good luck and God speed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Re-Blogged 1 time:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Frank Rubi 11/17/2011 04:04 PM
Topic:
Real Estate Technology & Tools
Groups:
Realtors®
Rainmaking - Internet Marketing Strategies
Internet Lead Generation-How Best To Capture Your Audience
WordPress Blog
Best Business Practices
Tags:
realtor success tips
blogging active rain

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Rainmaker
1,431,717
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

These are things I am working on right now.  Thanks for a great post and the information.

Nov 18, 2011 04:49 AM #68
Rainer
39,542
Seana Yates
Thrive Homes and Estates - Encino, CA

Thanks for the great info Loreena!  I noticed your web saavy-ness right away and modeled my activerain signature after yours because it's so killer!  I completely agree that we need to be self-sufficient.  I'm lucky enough to have a husband who does IT stuff and he has set up my e-mail for my domain seanayates.com, but my website is still through another company.  Now you've got me thinking about back-ups and scary stuff like that so I'm going to e-mail them immediately to ask how they are protecting my website.  Will all the money and time we spend on these things, it would be devastating if they just weren't there one day!  I have copies of my blogs in word format, but it's not the same.  It would still be a massive undertaking to rebuild everything from the ground up.  Thanks for bringing this up!

Nov 18, 2011 04:55 AM #69
Rainer
255,449
Mary Stewart
HomeTrust Real Estate, LLC, Homes for Everyone - Wilsonville, OR
Wilsonville and Surrounding Portland Metro Areas

What great insight and information for all of us.  I am in the process of building a new website and I am hoping it will be what I see it in my head. This is a post I am bookmarking.  Thank you so much.  One read is not nearly enough.

Nov 18, 2011 05:46 AM #70
Rainmaker
128,774
Victoria CB Trees
Victoria CB Trees Real Estate Services - Chiloquin, OR
Principal Broker

Thanks for the great post!  How did you know that I need to revamp our entire site?  LOL!  Where's the time...  Maybe now that winter is upon us (and it is presently snowing steadily), I will fret less about getting outdoors.  :)

Nov 18, 2011 06:09 AM #71
Rainer
69,042
Gloria Matthews
Principal Property Brokers - Vancouver, WA
MAKING CLARK COUNTY HOME

Thanks!   I too am working at being  totally independent. and have built wordpress sites with Word Press,   I have been using various templates available thru  Studio Press, with loads of built in features.   I have my own servers at HOSTGATOR and they have been very helpful...their support is terrific, and will do auto back ups and restores, for those times when I have done a boo boo.  Their support for a standard hosting account is exceptional as well.  There are many benefits to having your own servers, including unlimited extension urls, such as http://www.vancouver-portland-realestate.ggmatthews.com, which is a separate template and site from the ggmatthews.com where I have a "REAL ESTATE TAB" which re-directs to the real estate website.

Then I went to AWEBER for an email, CRM, web capture forms, and more.  its amazing what can be done, on your own, which YOU own.  

I have learned to do a little HTML, CSS, and learned to manage sites for other people who host on my servers... and when I get stuck, or want to put up a new site in a hurry, or ramp up SEO on a particular listing, I have engaged the services of http://heavymedal-marketing.com/   Todd Scully.   He has been a lifesaver and time saver...!!!

for samples go to http://www.Felidahomes.com

http://www.ggmatthews.com

http://www.vancouver-portland-realestate.ggmatthews.com

 

Have fun, you wont regret it!

Gloria Matthews
Realtor in Vancouver 

Nov 18, 2011 06:22 AM #72
Rainer
241,977
Justin Dibbs
Pearson Smith Realty - Ashburn, VA
REALTOR® - Ashburn Virginia Homes for Sale

It certainly is a challenege to keep up.  Sometimes I let my WP site go for several days at a time.  It needs some consant attention right now.

Nov 18, 2011 07:43 AM #73
Rainer
386,195
Kate Akerly
Kaminsky Group - Manhattan Beach, CA
Manhattan Beach Residential Sales

Great, gread advice.  I'm running a WordPress.org site on an AgentPress child theme.  Once it's all up and running, it's smooth sailing.  Add some great plugins for additional functionality and start focuing on that content!

Nov 18, 2011 08:32 AM #74
Rainer
121,281
Greg Haraksin, North Orange County Homes
Prudential California Realty - Brea, CA

Our websites are never complete.  There are always improvements to be made.  

Nov 18, 2011 08:35 AM #75
Rainmaker
810,239
Evelyn Kennedy
Alain Pinel Realtors - Alameda, CA
Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA

Loreena:

Such a great post.  So much information.  I have a Wordpress site, but it is a Wordpress.com.  I set it up a year ago and haven't even looked at it since then.  I got involved with AR and forgot about it.  I am always trying to work on my website to improve it.  I think I need to follow your guide.  Thanks so much. 

Nov 18, 2011 12:29 PM #76
Rainmaker
908,388
Pamela Seley
West Coast Realty Division - Murrieta, CA
Residential Real Estate Agent serving SW RivCo CA

Loreena, thanks for taking the time to share this information. It really is more than we signed up for in real estate school. There are so many choices...

Nov 18, 2011 05:09 PM #77
Anonymous
Stacey Saladin

I am in the process of doing the exact same thing! I feel my current site is too difficult to get changes made because I had someone else build it (I host it on godaddy) and he did so in a way that is not intuitive to the average joe (not to mention it's a very dark background that I don't like anymore - ha!). I spent all day yesterday building my wordpress site and I probably have one more day of work to do. I used the Thesis theme and it is great!! I love it and it's so easy to change something. Lots of good user guides and forums out there to help answer any wordpress or thesis question you might have. Good luck with yours!

Stacey

Nov 19, 2011 01:43 AM #78
Rainmaker
301,055
Jim Paulson
Progressive Realty (Boise Idaho) www.Progressive-Realty.info - Boise, ID
Owner,Broker

Great blog.  I have not yet converted to Word Press but thought about launching it for one or two of my websites.  I am off to research Genesis and Thesis since I had not heard those terms until now.  Thanks!

Nov 19, 2011 02:26 AM #79
Rainmaker
580,027
Chris Smith
Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage - New Tecumseth, ON
South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta

Good tips Loreena, obviously this is working for you, and we can all learn from this.

Nov 19, 2011 02:49 AM #80
Rainmaker
848,807
Bob Miller
Keller Williams Cornerstone Realty - Ocala, FL
The Ocala Dream Team

Hi Loreena, Great post.  I wish I had the time to work as hard on my site as you do!

Nov 19, 2011 10:12 AM #81
Rainmaker
90,354
Dee Neal
Palmer House Properties - Alpharetta, GA
Atlanta Area Real Estate

i so needed to read this. sites from the company and template sites work me over and just dont do it for me. i need to have presence and a stand alone presence to boot. and you are correct about all sites looking the same. i have to gather my vision and sit down and tackle it all. whenever i try i get flustered and leave it be. i have been teetering back and forth with the idea of a wordpress site. i need to brush up on my site building skills and then i will be a grown up.

Nov 21, 2011 08:42 AM #82
Rainmaker
288,656
Tim Bradley
Contour Investment Properties - Jackson Hole, WY
Commercial Real Estate Expert in Jackson Hole, WY

Yay Loreena - great post! Since I DO own the company, I encourage my agents to use the company email! But I don't require it. I built my own website two years ago, and am just sitting down to re-evaluate and redesign it. I'll look into Wordpress.org - thanks for the tip.

Nov 21, 2011 03:50 PM #83
Rainmaker
508,586
Sylvie Stuart
Realty One Group Mountain Desert 928-600-2765 - Flagstaff, AZ
Home Buying, Home Selling and Investment - Flagsta

Fantastic and thorough post! Good luck with working out the kinks, but you are well on your way! Taking ownership of our business can get a lot more involved than we ever thought! Here's to a fantastic 2012! I'm excited to read your next post about issues you resolved! This is very helpful, thank you!

Nov 23, 2011 12:50 AM #84
Rainer
33,333
Gene Donohue
Only Way Realty / UpstateHomeSeller.com - Greenville, SC
Flat Fee Service...Exceptional Results!

Reading this post is perfect timing for me.  After a false start with a cookie-cutter real estate website company I've been looking around for solutions.  WordPress seems to be the way to go and I was thinking I was going to pull the trigger next week.  I was poking around yesterday and today and I came across another solution that seemed to meet my SEO needs that made me think I need research some more.

Then I came across this post.

With solution B I would not own my website and would not have the control I need.  Thank you Loreena for such a timely post as you saved me from making a major mistake!  As I like to say, everything is in Divine order.

 

Nov 24, 2011 05:35 AM #85
Rainmaker
525,364
Regina P. Brown
MBA Broker Consultants - Carlsbad, CA
M.B.A., Broker, Instructor

Loreena, it sounds like a great web site service, we should check it out!  It may be in our budget.

Apr 18, 2012 01:17 PM #86
Anonymous
eduardo


I use https://www.zz.com.ve and it´s work perfetly also they have
good vip and pro plans with low prices. free host for
new users and Php, mysql, unlimited storage email accounts
and antivirus...

Oct 17, 2017 01:32 AM #87
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