I have chosen a company to build my next real estate website, and it comes after a lot of shopping around.
In case you missed my two previous articles in this series (on how to choose your real estate website provider), you can get up to speed by checking these out:
- HELP! I Need A New Real Estate Agent Website (Chapter 1)
- My 30 Point Checklist For Choosing A Real Estate Website Provider
First of all, I'd like to extend a very gracious "Thank You" to everybody who has commented and made suggestions during this process. I have uncovered several solution providers that appear very good (as well as many that are not so good), and I've made my decision based upon the 30 point checklist included in my previous post.
The Value In This Article Series
When I began my quest to replace my not-so-good provider, I searched all over for a detailed analysis from somebody who had gone through this process. I really did not find anything of great value. Most reviews and comments regarding real estate website providers seem to be made by somebody with a brand new site, and most agents seem to be easily dazzled by the way a site looks on a computer as opposed to how it functions for consumers (with an emphasis on SEO and mobile device usage).
I decided I would write a series of articles that begins with my research, continues with my criteria and selection, and then also provides insight into "what happens" after I have made the purchase. Finally, it will conclude with an in-depth analysis of how the site performs compared with my previous sites, and how well the company lives up to what they sell me (a big problem with my current provider ... over-promise/under-deliver).
Don't Be Fooled By Sexy Sites
I looked at more than 20 real estate website companies (there are many more that I eliminated prior to this because I've evaluated their current customers sites and they just didn't warrant further review).
The biggest problem we have (as real estate agents) when picking a company is figuring out what really is important and who actually delivers a valuable site in the end. Believe it or not, most providers are very small operations and are not able to "deliver the goods" after the site is up and running.
I suspect those of you who do not keep up with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and other technical issues, you might be tempted to go with price or appearance, but if you want to make money with your real estate website, you need to pick a solution provider that can deliver, and that can service what they deliver.
There is one provider that I did not choose, but I felt it was worth mentioning them. Their site is simple, but it fails on some performance issues and is not so good with SEO. But I include them here nevertheless because they are out in front on marketing.
The company is called Curaytor, and they'll be the first to tell you their sites are built for paid-lead generation, and I have not seen anybody with more fresh marketing ideas than Chris and Jimmy, and if you are planning on a decent spend on Facebook, these guys are worth hiring.
In fact, I did a year ago, and while it is not my primary website, I've been happy with www.joemanausarealestate.com and it's ability to get people to register from Facebook. I plan on keeping this site even after the new site is up and running.
My Next Real Estate Website
The company that I have chosen to build my next real estate website is Sierra Interactive. They have plans for single agents all the way up to large teams. Their platform is the same across the board, so if you choose them and grow, it won't cost you an arm and a leg to upgrade (my current provider quoted me an exhorbitant price just to update to their current-year platform).
If you are in the market for a real estate website, I suspect the "Pro Site" will be a great fit for most people on ActiveRain. It is very reasonably priced for what it does, it includes the same engine and optimization under the hood as their more expensive team-level site, and it also includes fully managed PPC to help generate leads right out of the gate (you have a website so that you can generate leads, right?).
Finally, I chose Sierra Interactive because they demonstrated a lot of experience migrating large sites from other platforms to their platform, including the lead and content data import, 301s, etc. Sierra sites (regardless of which one I start with) operate from the same set of code so that I won't ever be faced with huge customization upgrade charges. I promise you that is NOT the case with all other providers.
Future Articles In This Series
The last time I chose a real estate website provider, I did so on the advice of two agents with whom I had spoken. I was SO BUSY ... I just couldn't find the time to do the research I knew I needed to do.
This time I've done my homework.
But I'm not done, I'm just getting started.
I probably won't go live on this site for another four or more months.
All the while working with Sierra, I'm going to post updates to this series. I suspect I'll make some mistakes, so I'll share those with you in the hope that I can spare you from making the same ones.
I'll share my expectations, then I'll share my experiences.
Hopefully, when all is said and done, this series of articles on ActiveRain can be a resource for those of you who want your own personal, branded site that sends you leads every day.
As always, I appreciate any and all feedback I get. If I leave anything out you think is mission critical, PLEASE comment below so we can all learn through the process. Also, please take the time to like this post and help me get it some traction! Thank you.
You can find the 4th article in this series here: LINK TO NEXT ARTICLE