There's an anonymous old joke that photographers like. "If you saw a man drowning and could either save him or photograph the event ... what kind of film would you use?"
Obviosly, photographers tend to view everything they see as a potential photograph, and the best of them also have the imagination and skill to properly compose their shots and capture them in a way that elicits reactions from those who see them. And, that old saying that a "picture is worth 10,000 words" holds value for real estate professionals as well.
There's money in that camera in your desk drawer. Sure, we all know that people like photos of our listings, and they want as many of them as they can get when they're viewing listings on the Web. But, images have as much or more value for buyer sites or any real estate professional's website. While many are scrabbling around trying to figure out content for their sites, and even hiring writers in some cases to create articles and blog posts about real estate, there's a simple way to add a great many SEO friendly pages to your website, and they'll be quite popular.
Wait you say! Video is more popular these days, and with mobile becoming the way to go to the Web, mobile video is what you need. OK, so hold on, as I'll get to that.
Let's just stick to photos, photo albums, and the SEO value of them on your real estate website. Instead of trying to figure out some new and original content for your site, take a look at your MLS and the grouping of listings by location and area.
I know in my rural vacation market, I have in town neighborhoods and subdivisions, as well as small villages and rural MLS Areas by name out of town. Every one of these neighborhoods or areas is going to be seen by website searchers doing IDX searches on your site. We all know they go to that IDX search page in droves.
However, when they find a listing there, no matter how good of a job you do with home or land images for each listing, they're not getting much visual information about that MLS area and the surrounding countryside or neighborhood. If they're not from your area, they can't just drive around to check it out.
Some of my most visited pages are those where I drove into an MLS area, mapped it with a Google map on the page, and then display either a photo album or video slideshow of a dozen or more images of the area. If it's primarily rural, then it's mostly scenery. If it's urban, it's the different types of homes and more popular business or shopping locations. I write text about the area, which isn't difficult, as it's just my description of the area, it's popularity, the things that draw people to live there.
Now let's get to the video discussion. I use Google's Picasa free software and website to group my thousands of photos into albums, some private, most public. Picasa will create a movie slide show for me with interesting transitions between images, and I can upload it to YouTube, then embed that video on my site. I want it on YouTube for the extra exposure. If you're using Windows XP, and some other Windows systems, go to Accessories and look for Windows Movie Maker, as it's free and in most installs. There's also a free download here that I think will work with Windows Vista and 7, but check it out. Posting photo albums and videos both is the best approach to make sure you cover all the bases with your site visitors and their varied hardware.
RealtySoft makes it easy. For the photo album side, you don't need anything but RealtySoft. The Photo Gallery Gadget takes care of uploading the images for your neighborhood and displaying them with several choices of format for your slideshow. Here's the gadget gallery construction window:
Simply choose a theme, upload some photos and you're done. Of course, you'll want to install this gadget on a page optimized with text for your area's real estate key phrases and for neighborhood key phrases. As far as video, you can embed your YouTube videos created any way you wish into your RealtySoft page with ease.
So, get into the car and start driving around and taking photos. With digital photography, it's some of the least expensive marketing you can do for your website.