Got questions? Here are some answers.
A couple years ago a new home builder asked me about how to start blogging. I responded to his question with the following response. I have receive many thankful comments on my reply, and I would like to pass it on to those needing help.
From my website - FloridaHomes239.com
I built this website using the WordPress.org platform (free) and requires finding a web hosting company ($10/month), plus buying a domain name and keeping it up ($12/year). With WordPress.org, you are the owner and can design the website however you want plus there are many “plugins” you can add to increase functionality to your website. Your website will be named something like “NewHomeBuilders.com”, However, if you’ve never done this before, it will all look ‘Greek’ to you. I spent a couple months figuring it out by “trial and error” before I was able to use it. If you want customers to find you through Google searches, this is the best way to go…but, you’ll have to understand and utilize SEO (search engine optimization). Since my industry is highly competitive, I chose keywords “Advanced Property Search Naples Florida”. So when you type that into a Google search, it will appear on the first page. Variations of these and other keywords will also yield some first or second page results. My website will not rank high if you type in “Homes For Sale in Naples Florida” – the competition for these words are extremely high and I would have to hire the $best of the best$ to rank well. However, for those people who do ‘long tail searches’ for an advanced property search tool for Naples Florida, I will do well.
If you want something free and easier to use, sign up to WordPress.com and get a blog free. Your blog will be named something like “NewHomeBuilders.Wordpress.Com. This is probably the best way for most people to go if they want a blog, but aren’t concerned about rankings in Google searches. With this free and easiest version your blog wont be discovered by Google searches, say for instance, for New Home Builders, but you can direct your clients to your blog for information.
Or, you can buy a template website for $29/month and higher. It’s fairly easy to add your own pictures and wording, but you are limited to the design of the template. You are usually limited to a certain number of pages and options. Because of SEO issues, it will be hard for this kind of website to rank with the search engines.
Last and most expensive, is to hire a web designer. Yes, it will costs you hundreds, maybe thousands just to get going. If you are in a competitive industry, such as “New Home Builders”, you will spend thousands every year with your programmer trying to get or keep your ranking within the first few page results. Several years ago, another real estate agent in a Keller Williams office said she spent at least $20,000/year trying to get her website on the first page – and it didn’t always work.
Your needs and vision for your website should determine which way to proceed. If you only need a place for your customers to go for information, use the WordPress.com platform or a website template. If you want more functionality and search engine potential use the WordPress.org platform, but this requires that you (or one of the geeks in your family) learn to do it yourself. Or hire a good web designer if you want it all, and someone to do it for you. Caution! Alot of people out there do web design. Ask alot of questions and get referrals before you spend the dollars.
Before I dove in, I had the same question that you presented me. After spending a couple months researching it, I chose the WordPress.org platform and glad I did.
I can’t believe I spent this much time on this reply, so I hope this helps you. Daryl Kniep