My Biggest Mistake--Using a Broker's Website

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Franklin Homes Realty LLC
https://activerain.com/droplet/4T6m

My Biggest Mistake: Using a Broker's WebsiteWhen I first began selling real estate in late 2007, I knew nothing. Not only was I entirely new to real estate, I was also new to the area. We had moved here from the Chicago suburbs and didn't know a soul. Tom was retired and my kids were home schooled. Are you starting to get the picture?

Other than people I met through my church, I knew no one. Suffice it to say, my sphere was non-existent. As such, it wasn't going to provide me with ANY business.

I joined a big box brokerage, Keller Williams, primarily for the training. But it did offer some other services like a website. Given that funds were low, that was a real money saver for me. 

The majority of my business in the first year came from floor duty but as the years began to progress, floor duty offered fewer and fewer buyers and sellers. I knew I had to find another way to secure leads. Cold-calling FSBOs and expireds wasn't for me. That free broker's website was calling my name and I learned through someone in my office that I could build out the site to rank in the search engines. 

I set about doing just that. I created dozens upon dozens of content pages on that site. Those pages included buyer's content, seller's content and neighborhood pages but my most visited pages were for neighborhood pages. Internet competition was far less back in 2009. It was so much easier to get the attention of Google. That coupled with my ActiveRain blog started to get me noticed.

Although, I was getting a little bit of traffic to my broker website, I didn't have indexable IDX or forced registration. People could see all the information and listings without providing me with any contact info. 

Finally, in 2011, I knew I had to make a change. By this time, I had created over a hundred pages on my broker site. And to top it all off, I was considering making a move to a different brokerage.  

My decision to leave KW was precipitated by several new listings I had coming on the market. I wanted those listings to be with my new brokerage. I went into KW to let them know I was leaving and before I had returned home, my broker website was gone. All that data lost.

I quickly found a template company that offered a website, indexable IDX and CRM all in one. Once again, I quickly began building out the pages. That site had forced registration and I began to acquire leads. Not many but a few.

What I didn't recognize at the time was that the site had a limit to the number of pages I could create. Unfortunately, I didn't realize it until I was two years into building out that site. Once again, I was going to be forced to make a change. 

I know what you're thinking--I should have created a Wordpress site. While I'd learned a lot over the years about populating a website, creating a website from scratch wasn't for me. I think that's a wonderful option for some. I consciously decided not to go down that road.

The biggest advantage I had this time was what I'd learned from my previous website mistakes:

1. Indexable IDX was a must. There are two types of IDX; frame-in and indexable. Frame-in is not visible to Google. You could have a hundred listings on a page but if you have "frame-in" IDX that information is invisible to Google.

Indexable IDX can actually rank in the search engines. For example, below is a frame shot for the search term "Franklin TN homes for sale with hardwood floors." As you can see, our website ranks in five spots on page one of Google for this search term. (I performed this search "incognito" as not to skew the results.) That's because not only did Google search MY content, but they searched the content provided in the MLS description by the listing agents. Each agent included hardwood floors in his description. Therefore, MY indexable website ranked for that search term.

My Biggest Mistake: Using a Broker's Website

2. Forced registration was necessary. You'll have agents argue for and against forced registration. I am a strong proponent of forced registration. Buyers and sellers can look at hundreds of content pages on my site without registering but if they want to see a listing, they'll have to pay the toll which means they'll be forced to register. I get a lot of registrations each month. I don't believe this practice hurts my business in anyway.

My biggest mistake--using a broker's website. I currently spend $205 a month on my website. A mere pittance in comparison to the business this site has brought me in the last three years. Plus, a website is a lot less expensive than direct mail or print media.

The advice I give new agents now is spend the money and develop a website first. If done right, it will be a great lead generator for you. Don't waste your time with a Broker's free website or find a less expensive option until you get on your feet.

Do your research! Find a reputable website provider who can provide proof that their agent sites are found in the Google searches. Make sure they provide indexable IDX and forced registration as an option. 

My website works for me 24/7/365. Even when I'm not working, it is. It will be the best money you've ever spent. 

Posted by
Tammie White, Managing Broker/Owner
CLHMS, CRS, GRI, SFR
Franklin Homes Realty LLC
Franklin, TN
(615) 495-0752 
GET REAL. GET LOCAL.
 
This posting with the content written here and photographs displayed are the intellectual property and opinions of Tammie White of Franklin Homes Realty LLC. Any party who uses this material without the written permission of Tammie White is subject to copyright infringement and possible lawsuit.
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Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Carol Williams 06/05/2016 12:15 AM
  2. Winston Heverly 08/25/2016 02:36 PM
Topic:
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Rainmaker
861,593
Jennifer Mackay
Counts Real Estate Group, Inc. - Panama City, FL
Your Bay County Florida Realtor 850.774.6582

Yep, that's a lesson all agents need to learn right from the start! Thanks for sharing Tammie White 

Jun 01, 2016 08:31 PM #30
Rainmaker
1,493,504
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

This is wonderful information, thank you for sharing!

Jun 01, 2016 08:31 PM #31
Ambassador
440,053
Bill & Cyndi Daves
Hiawassee, Young Harris, Blairsville, Hayesville, Murphy and Beyond! - Hiawassee, GA
TeamDAVES - Your REALTORS In the GA/NC Mountains!

I am always amazed at agents who use both the company website AND email address. Both of which are lost if/when you make a brokerage change.

Jun 01, 2016 09:01 PM #32
Rainer
547,245
Sham Reddy CRS
H E R Realty, Dayton, OH - Dayton, OH
CRS

Great lessons learned!!!

Find a reputable website provider who can provide proof that their agent sites are found in the Google searches. Make sure they provide indexable IDX and forced registration as an option.

Jun 01, 2016 09:31 PM #33
Rainer
180,243
Melissa Spittel
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Westminster, MD
"Achieving Results Together "

You have perfect timing! I am in the process of researching website providers. I have a broker's website that I can control, EXCEPT the IDX is frame-in, which I recently discovered. I was planning to switch to a website through our MLS, but the inability to have a dedicated blog killed the deal for me (they would only allow me to link to a blog). So, now I'm on a mission to find an affordable website provider that is Google-friendly. Any suggestions?

Jun 01, 2016 11:21 PM #34
Rainmaker
503,444
Terry McCarley
REMAX Realty Team - Cape Coral FL - Cape Coral, FL
REALTOR, SRES, CDPE - Cape Coral, FL

What a shame - all of your hard work gone!  I never used my brokers sites - I bought my domain almost immediately after getting me license so I have always had control.

Jun 02, 2016 12:58 AM #35
Rainmaker
3,281,576
Nina Hollander
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Charlotte, NC
Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor

Hi Tammie... I've never, ever used my brokerage's website in lieu of my own. I have no idea what made me think about this in the first place, but somehow I always wanted to be independent enough to be able to move my business elsewhere without skipping a beat.

Jun 02, 2016 02:52 AM #36
Rainer
69,338
Shawn and Angela Miller
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Amabassador Real Estate - Lincoln, NE
Lincoln and Omaha, NE REALTORS®

I completely agree!  All agents should also have there own personal business email and not a broker provided one.  You've got to change a lot of things when it comes to losing your email address.  Having your own means it goes with you.

Jun 02, 2016 03:01 AM #37
Rainmaker
489,227
Diana Dahlberg
1 Month Realty - Pleasant Prairie, WI
Real Estate in Kenosha, WI since 1994 262-308-3563

Hi Tammie:  Great Post!  Wow, a great lesson learned but well worth it because now  you are on the way to complete control.  And the value of your sharing this experience with all of us ... priceless.  Thank you!

Jun 02, 2016 03:01 AM #38
Rainer
31,566
Olesa Islamova
Royal LePage Your Community Realty - Toronto, ON

Tammie thank you for a wealth of information. I didn't go with the company's website exactly for the same reasons and, of course, thanks to my collegues from the ActiveRain. However, I need to revamp it based on your post. Thank you for that as well!

 

Jun 02, 2016 03:55 AM #39
Rainmaker
1,048,787
Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe

Yea, if internet is one's mode of getting the traffic then it is imperative it needs to stand out and be independent.

Jun 02, 2016 08:43 AM #40
Rainer
290,496
Ron Aguilar
Continental Mortgage - Saint George, UT
Mortgage & Real Estate Advisor since 1995

Agents, Use RealGeeks all the way. I promise you will like them. Jeff Manson the owner truly understands the importance of IDX.

Jun 02, 2016 10:29 PM #41
Rainer
145,875
Barbara Murphy
Tartan Properties, Pensacola~Pace~Milton~Gulf Breeze~FL - Pace, FL
GRI, e-PRO, GREEN, FMS, MRP

Thanks for sharing the great reminders and considerations for our websites!  I'm in process of updating mine, and am looking for simple solutions among the many options out there.  Your website is AMAZING and a model worthy of emulation! :-)

Jun 04, 2016 03:50 AM #43
Ambassador
3,984,175
Debbie Reynolds
Platinum Properties - Clarksville, TN
Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent

Excellent advice Tammie and you have played catch up and now are leading the pack with your webiste and presence in Williamson County. Thanks for sharing your lesson learned.

Jun 04, 2016 01:12 PM #44
Rainmaker
1,300,779
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

You learned a huge lesson Tammie White and are so much better off for it. Everything we do in life creates a lesson for us.  The key is what we take away from it.  

Jun 08, 2016 07:45 AM #45
Rainmaker
1,349,402
Wayne and Jean Marie Zuhl
Samsel & Associates - Clark, NJ
The Last Names You'll Ever Need in Real Estate

We don't have our own website - we have a page on our broker's domain. He generates/purchases content and the IDX. There is minimal lead generation. While I'm not up to the task of creating my own website, your mistake might be a good lesson for us and we're going to have to do some more research.

Jun 08, 2016 07:58 AM #46
Rainmaker
598,059
Pamela Cendejas
Second Self Virtual Assistance - Kingman, AZ
Second Self Virtual Assistance (928) 692-3235

It's best to start with your own brand and build from there.  You've obviously learned, Grasshopper, from your past mistakes and retakes.  I read your post about lead generation and it is spot on!

Jun 23, 2016 06:09 AM #47
Rainmaker
1,525,900
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

Agreed. Your own website with IDX is a must. Email address is not so important.

Jul 04, 2016 07:13 AM #48
Ambassador
2,137,431
MichelleCherie Carr Crowe Just Call...408-252-8900
Get Results Team...Just Call (408) 252-8900! . DRE #00901962 . Licensed to Sell since 1985 . Altas Realty - San Jose, CA
Family Helping Families Buy & Sell Homes 40+ Years

Yes, I recently lost 10 years worth of data due to WS change.

 

Aug 25, 2016 05:03 PM #49
Rainmaker
5,186,141
Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Franklin, MA
Marketing Agent for The Todaro Team

Good monring, Tammie White having a wordpress site created for me was a wise choice.... congrats on the feature....

Aug 25, 2016 08:49 PM #50
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Franklin TN Homes for Sale
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