If you're a real estate agent looking to get a website, you're most likely doing so to get into the now all-important digital marketing game and grow your leads by providing a place where buyers and sellers can find you through Google search and social media.
You're also likely to find about 1000 very affordable choices to get your site from $9.99 a month to $99 a year, plus dozens of "do it yourself" options that cost almost nothing at all.
Sounds great, right? So where's the problem?
Well, all those quick and easy website options for real estate agents may cost next to nothing, but they're actually costing your business big hidden costs by not delivering on why you're paying anything for them at all - more leads.
Read on to learn why cheap websites cost more than you think:
- Getting a website doesn't get you noticed - Most agents think that putting up a website - any website - will automatically make them visible to customers. Not even remotely true. The analogy I like to use is one of looking up into the night sky and seeing beautiful, bright stars. Well, for every one of those stars you do see, there are billions you don't. Your new website is just like those billions of unseen stars without a great design, a well thought-out URL, unique features, well-written and dynamic content, and, of course, the all-important Google SEO (read on). Cheap website builders deploy your site as quickly as they can with the same templates they use for every other agent that's a customer, then they leave it alone. It's literally stale a day after it launches. Most don't even submit your site to be indexed by Google, so you are never able to actually get users to your site at all! You end up just one of millions of invisible real estate websites.
- Cheap real estate websites don't get Google search traffic - Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is hard. Very hard. And it takes building sites with the latest SEO approaches, core SEO software and - most importantly - continuous tuning, monitoring, and more tuning on a month-to-month basis. That costs money, time and resources. Web developers and engineers cost money, for certain. Lots and lots of money. As such, profit margins for these companies on each website they build is very, very thin. That means the affordable website builders can only stay affordable if they control the cost per website as much as possible. That means each agent or broker customer must get the minimum of effort and each site must be repeatable (in a very cost effective way, i.e. "cheap") for as many customers as possible for them to make any money at all. What's that mean? Well, it means your site isn't getting anything more than good-sounding marketing language when it comes to the expensive, time-consuming and continuous tuning required to get your site to rank at all in Google. Not gonna happen. Ever. The cost to you? That means no buyers and sellers find you.
- Search visibility is a constantly changing, dynamic world - SEO is both a technical thing and a "living" thing. Sure, your site's software needs to be built right from the start (with things like solid technical SEO, Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) and mobile responsiveness built-in), but most importantly of all in today's SEO world is dynamic content. In other words, if your site doesn't regularly have fresh content that engages your users and offers them real value, Google will drop you quickly from any ranked results. Why? Well, Google wants searchers to find the most accurate answer to any question they type in. If your website doesn't have quality content to answer the questions your buyers and sellers are asking, you won't be considered to have any "authority" on a subject matter. Think about it. If WebMD put up a site with a few pages on a few diseases and never updated them or added more, would anyone want to use them to find an answer? No. As such, Google analyzes your site's content with many different techniques, including artificial intelligence mechanisms to know what your site is about. Simply put, you rank higher and show up better for user searches by showing on your site you know - and are an expert - on a subject. That means lots of info, updated often that engages, informs and educates your site visitors. Think that $99 site you bought last year and haven't updated since registers as an authority on anything? It doesn't.
- Cheap sites never show you how you're doing - Cheap website builders never give you an app or web page you can log into to check how your site it doing. Yet monitoring your website's performance is the only way to know if you're on track or need to fix a problem. Do you think those affordable website builders want you to see how much traffic your site is getting? What top keywords it's rating for? How long visitors are staying on your site? How many pages they're viewing on average? What issues your site has right now versus Google's latest search algorithm changes? Nope. Why not? Well, let's just say not many customers would continue paying for their sites if they have full transparency into exactly how well their website was performing at any given time. Again, good SEO is a moving target and depends on staying vigilant and diligent in keeping up with changes in buyer search habits and search engine changes. If you're not monitoring, you can't fix. It's that simple.
These are just 4 of many ways those affordable websites you buy are actually costing you money in the form of lost leads (and thus revenue).
While very attractive financially, cheap sites lull you into thinking they're working for you, bringing people to your site and driving you leads. They give you the sense that you're efficiently engaging in digital marketing when almost no cheap website is getting visited or seen at all.
In fact, in 100% of cases, new customers for our Real Websites for Real Estate Agents and our LeadWallet exclusive lead generation app who switch from (often) years of getting nothing from their websites are getting 0 search visits or traffic from Google each and every month.
Think you can get leads with 0 visits from Google each month? Nope. Big price to pay for a small website bill.