Does Your Real Estate Website Provider Really Matter?

Real Estate Agent with Joe Manausa Real Estate 8508880888

Before choosing my current website provider, I created a 30 point checklist to ensure that I ended up with the real estate website that I wanted.

This was motivated by a poor previous selection in 2013 when I chose the wrong company. I knew a few people who had similar sites and I did not do a thorough screening of their work (partially because they are a very well known name in our industry).

Prior to choosing that company, I maintained my own website using Wordpress. Back then, I absolutely dominated the search results for my local market. As you likely know, "organic" or free referrals from Google are highly valuable and have a solid conversion rate.

Little did I know that my rankings would get decimated when I went with the new company, and it was a costly and painful lesson to learn.

Lesson Learned

While SEO is not the only thing that the previous company did poorly (like when they charged me nearly triple the price that they had quoted me when I first signed up), it is obviously very important to me.

So, after three months, take a look at how my organic traffic has turned around.

The following graph shows just the organic traffic that my site receives from Google.

graph shows just the organic traffic that my site receives from Google

The graph has three segments.

On the left, you see where my Wordpress site terminated in March 2013 and the previous version took over. My 13,000 average monthly visits from organic Google searches declined to an average of 5,000 (a drop of 62%!!!).

On the right, you can see where my SierraInteractive website has turned this around rapidly, and January has already recorded 12,846 visitors from Google search results. I look forward to seeing how this progresses in the coming months.

If you are interested, you can see my site here: Of course, you can also find it easily on Google (again).


This is a follow-up article in a series that I wrote about the process I used to choose a new real estate website provider, you can view the previous installments on ActiveRain, which can be found here:

  1. HELP! I Need A New Real Estate Agent Website (Chapter 1)
  2. My 30 Point Checklist For Choosing A Real Estate Website Provider
  3. Who Will Build My Next Real Estate Website?
  4. Progress Report - New Real Estate Website Is Almost Ready
  5. Going Live In Just 9 Days
  6. SOLUTION! A Real Estate Agent Website That Works (Final Chapter)

I hope these tips help, I can assure you they are worth money in your pocket when you next decide to get a new real estate website provider.


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Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

You have abilites worth sharing....

Jan 28, 2018 10:30 AM #1
Corinne Guest
Corinne Guest, REALTOR® | Barrington Realty Company - Barrington, IL
Barrington Lifestyles

Very curious as I just bought a NEW REW site. Was not prepared to dump my WP site and likely never would as it is the money maker! But did you ever really work out why the traffic dropped? Was it a change in url style or somethng else. The research I spent a year doing got me to REW but I'll be brutally honest here and say I wish I have not invested in it, (stuck for 3 years now.)

Jan 28, 2018 10:30 AM #2
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Property Manager

Hi Joe.   I think most agents don't have a clue how to chose a website provider. Sounds like you've taken the opportunity to learn from your experience.  Thanks for sharing!

Jan 28, 2018 10:44 AM #3
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

Thanks for the sharing of experience. I love to study, and always consider the next website to do the heavy lifting of marketing the real estate listings, the local area flavor Joe Manausa !

Jan 28, 2018 12:11 PM #5
Kathleen Daniels
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
San Jose Homes for Sale-Probate & Trust Specialist

Thank you for sharing your experience.  I'm sticking with my WP sites which are currently being upgraded to php7 at the server level as well as other work to improve the sites.  Once that is done, there is other work scheduled to be done. I'm tired of being sold the moon and the stars and receiving a traffic light on earth.  It's a costly mistake. Yet making them teaches us so we can improve. 

Jan 28, 2018 02:17 PM #6
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Joe, Thanks for the update on your site work!  Great to see that bump at the end of your graph.  That's the challenge with web developers.  They pitch a good sale, but can they live up to it?

Jan 28, 2018 03:59 PM #7
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker and Attorney Licensed in DC, MD, VA,

Congratulations on a well deserved feature! I think you have some great suggestions here! 

Jan 29, 2018 04:20 AM #8
Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

Good for you in making a change and developing a checklist.  I've been hearing a lot of agents complain about REW.

Jan 29, 2018 04:52 AM #9
Minna Reid
Florida Homes Realty & Mortgage - Jacksonville, FL
Associate Broker

 I knew this was REW as soon as I started reading...I also left them (after 7 years+) just last August when they decided to quintuple my fees or shut me down...WOW...I was also highly unimpressed with $7500 of SEO work I had paid for earlier in the year which actually somehow killed my conversion. They are crooks over there and let me not get started on the CEO. I decided to start fresh on Wordpress. Quite the learning curve - but my leads are coming back and I am no longer  hostage of REW. Wish I had seen the light sooner.

Jan 29, 2018 10:23 AM #10
Corey Birger
Hilary & Reverie - Santa Rosa Beach, FL
Life's Short, Buy the Beach House - 850.499.0454

This is why I do it all myself LOL but I know that isn't everyones thing. This is a great article and very helpful info!!!!! Glad to know you're back on track!!

Jan 29, 2018 01:01 PM #11
Laura Filip
Laura Filip Broker , Opening doors for All Seasons of Life - Whitesboro, TX
What can we do for you today?

Oh my this is a subject that is so hard to read... So many of us have had a baddddd experience with web site providers. For me it was Marketing 360 do not use this company they charged me over 1800 a month for 6 months with none of what they said they would do being done. Checked out REW but thought the price was out of line. Corinne Guest, Managing Broker  why did you change website providers your site was amazing and provided what you were looking for. At least that is what it seemed from your posts. 

Jan 29, 2018 05:48 PM #12
Anna Hatridge
Goodson Realty - Farmington, MO
Missouri Realtor with Goodson Realty

Thank you so much for sharing your experience.  I think it will help me with a future endeavor I am working on.

Jan 29, 2018 05:57 PM #13
Jerry Lucas
ABC Legal Docs LLC - Colorado Springs, CO
Mobile Notary Colorado Springs, CO Notary Training

I have managed my own websites for many years, since Microsoft FrontPage was consumer software. I learned to use WordPress in 2013 for blogging and then to build a full website. My host was GoDaddy for many years. But my account was on an old server running obsolete PHP 5.4.

The only way to upgrade to PHP 7 was to migrate my account from the old server to a new server at GoDaddy. I paid them to do the file migration and they botched it, broke my website and left it in a degraded condition that took me 2 months of time and stress to fix. They advertise as "experts". I had to solve the problem.

I shopped for a new host provider and chose SiteGround which has high ratings for fast and excellent customer service, tech support, security and fast servers using SSD. I have moved all my domain names from GoDaddy to NameSilo, cheaper, better, more secure and more private.

Ready to migrate my files to SiteGround. Will report status when process is complete.

I used WP plugin PHP Compatibility Checker to test my plugins for PHP 7 compatibility. PHP 7 is faster and more secure. Be sure to backup files before migrating.

Jan 29, 2018 06:25 PM #14
Barbara Michaluk
Weichert Realtors | Silver Spring, MD Phone Direct 240-506-2434 - Silver Spring, MD
Top Producing / Full Service REALTOR in Marylan

Thanks for sharing your insight on this subject that pertains to all of us realtors. I'll check out your other posts on this subject. 

Jan 30, 2018 05:44 AM #15
John Wiley
Right Move Real Estate Group- EXP Realty - Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL, ECO Broker, GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

Joe, as you illustrate it can be a costly experience to find out you made a poor choice of web site provider.

Your sharing with us will hopefully guide us through the process of a more successful choice.


Jan 30, 2018 07:03 AM #16
Dana Wilson
Leah Dunn Real Estate Group - Fort Worth, TX
Let Dana Do It!

Joe-thanks for the post. FYI--your website has a typo-either grammatically or just spelling. I have copied and pasted it below to make it easier to find. I am highlighting because people make all kinds of decisions about "who we are and how we work" from a multitude of inuts. Spelling and grammar checks to me, signal "if he can't get that simple thing correctly done, how can he.....?"

just a share to help-not criticize.

Jan 30, 2018 08:19 AM #17
Dana Wilson
Leah Dunn Real Estate Group - Fort Worth, TX
Let Dana Do It!

dang it--I forgot to paste my share--laughing at my own inability to do the simple thing! Here you go-typo from your site:

"Find out what we do and how we spend more money each month marketing our listings that most Tallahassee real estate agents make in a year"
Correct read would be " spend more each month marketing our listings THAN most...."

Jan 30, 2018 08:23 AM #18
Robin Wells
RAW Chimney Sweep and Inspections - Penetanguishene, ON
Giving Peace Of Mind One Chimney At A Time

Yes website provider can matter in a huge way.  Two reasons - one technological wise - features of website and speed (which Google can factor in) - two would be the SEO benefits or lack thereof they put into each and every page.   I am thinking it may have been both that caused the huge swing.  Although it is possible to get somebody hosting and another doing the SEO.  Thanks for post and insight.  

Feb 01, 2018 03:57 AM #19
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