Does a good Web 2.0 site "Trap" visitors?

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Realty Arts NC Broker License #235526

My friend and webguy, Hal, mentioned I might reconsider how easily I offer multiple links in neighborhood profile blogs that take visitors off my site.  And I jumped up onto my personal Web 2.0 soapbox.  Hal should know by now that I always carry a soapbox with me, but he seemed to have forgotten.

I think that one of the fundamental defining values of a great neighborhood is the number of nearby amenities, retail, services, etc.  I am not helping my web site visitors if I try to restrict what they learn.  And, frankly, I don't have time to pound out 200 words on every shopping center.  Heck, they pay folks a lot more than I do to create websites for the shopping centers.  Why not offer my visitors the link to their professional site?

Here's my Royal Ridge Cary, NC, neighborhood profile, links and all.  I have been expanding the number of links in the later profiles.

Now, sure, I want people to stick to my real estate site and continue to learn about the local markets and about me, the "uber-agent."  So, despite the Royal Ridge example, now I try to always open the linked site in a new window.  But I consciously decided that I will live with the losses if someone is distracted by the Crabtree Valley Mall site, or the Research Triangle Park site, or the NC State University site.

I'll keep putting them in my profiles, and will expand that link posting.

Will Google fail to find me if I have over 120 links?  Possibly.  Or, more likely, maybe they will find me less.  But I am convinced that offering links to good information in my profiles is better service that makes it a better experience for my visitors, and that they will remember me for that experience.

If I "lose" someone by offering a link to an amenity, I think I didn't "have" them to begin with.

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Scan the QR Code with your Smartphone to Email MeQR CodeMike Jaquish, REALTOR®

919-880-2769 www.RealtyArts.com

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Independent Broker/Owner, Realty Arts

130 Towerview Court,

Cary, NC

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Rainmaker
786,727
Mike Jaquish
Realty Arts - Cary, NC
919-880-2769 Cary, NC, Real Estate

Mike,

Absolutely agreed!

Melina,

I caught the sarcasm.  And, that ARP designation is important to me.

Susie,

Thanks!  It helps to cut through some of the preliminaries via blogging, doesn't it?

Jul 06, 2008 10:25 PM #16
Rainer
12,906
Jerome (Jerry) Donahue
Prudential McHugh Realty - Maple Shade, NJ

Do what works for you we are all just drops of water in this internet bucket. If =I find a site that links me to many other sites that I need to use I will bookmark that site insted of all the individual sites. It saves me space. Good job.

Jul 07, 2008 12:03 AM #17
Rainmaker
786,727
Mike Jaquish
Realty Arts - Cary, NC
919-880-2769 Cary, NC, Real Estate

Thanks, Jerry!

Jul 07, 2008 12:22 AM #18
Ambassador
272,543
Eleanor Thorne
Equity Resources - Cary, NC
Equity Resources 919-649-5058

I had forgotten the name of that area!  I kept reading Royal Ridge... Cary Parkway - I go past it 2 times a day and couldn't "place it!"  THANKS FOR THE LINK TO GOOGLE MAPS! I like Hal - but I think you and your soapbox are on the right track!

Jul 07, 2008 02:42 AM #19
Rainmaker
786,727
Mike Jaquish
Realty Arts - Cary, NC
919-880-2769 Cary, NC, Real Estate

Eleanor,

I even took the Mrs. into Royal Ridge to look at a house last week.  No sale.  She has a lot of objections.  Might refer her out...

Jul 07, 2008 05:48 AM #20
Rainmaker
291,279
Kate Bourland
Marketing with Kate - Redding, CA
Onlilne Marketing Mobile Marketing

Gotta appreciate a man on a soapbox.  This is one of those things that we all struggle with, keeping our visitors while providing relevant content.  Seems to me that your visitors will be more likely to bookmark your site for frequent access.  I think that keeping the visitors on your site makes sense for some professions, but this profession is about sharing of community information.

 

Jul 08, 2008 10:35 AM #21
Rainmaker
786,727
Mike Jaquish
Realty Arts - Cary, NC
919-880-2769 Cary, NC, Real Estate

Kate,

I love my soapbox...

Jul 08, 2008 01:30 PM #22
Rainer
20,669
Hal Goodtree
Goodtree & Co., Inc. - Cary, NC
Web 2.0 for Business

My turn on the soapbox.

As always, Mike, I applaud your instincts to do the right thing for your audience. We can both agree that openness, honesty and reliable information are the key to long term success in any business. But here's why too many links in a blog post DO NOT help the customer and DO NOT help your business:

  1. If everyone packs their posts with links, all blogs are reduced to re-direct portals.
  2. A successful blog is built upon unique, quality content. You're a good writer, Mike, well worth reading. People who can't write (or can't think for themselves) are forced to rely on recycled content by others. Why diminish your value by playing to the lowest common denominator?
  3. Check out how many links your friend Scoble uses in a post. Usually, it's about two. One of those usually points to something else he (Scoble) has written.
  4. Consider "time on the site." You remember - this is a stat on Google Analytics. No doubt too many links reduces audience time on your site. They may love the content they find elsewhere via your links, but if they only spent a minute and a half on your site, will they remember where they found that excellent content?

Links are an important part of a quality blog. But keep it in context and focus on your virtues - unvarnished information presented in a lively, entertaining voice. Very few people have that talent - it should be your focus, your diffferentiator.

You might consider adding a "blogroll" to your site - that's a fancy name for a collection of links. I recommend you don't add every possible link, just the really good ones. That makes you a quality editor in addition to a quality blogger. You could say something like "for more info, see my blogroll" and link to that.

Dang, it gets windy up on that soapbox. I gotta go brush my hair or something.

Jul 09, 2008 01:32 AM #23
Rainer
20,669
Hal Goodtree
Goodtree & Co., Inc. - Cary, NC
Web 2.0 for Business

BTW - it's a fallacy to say that blog posts without links "trap" your audience. C'mon. We all know that your audience has the freedom to navigate away from your site at any time.

My point is that you needn't show them the door before they've had a chance to look around your house a little.

Okay, I'm really done now.

Jul 09, 2008 01:36 AM #24
Rainer
20,669
Hal Goodtree
Goodtree & Co., Inc. - Cary, NC
Web 2.0 for Business

Oh, by the way, thanks for the link :)

Jul 09, 2008 01:37 AM #25
Rainmaker
786,727
Mike Jaquish
Realty Arts - Cary, NC
919-880-2769 Cary, NC, Real Estate

Hal,

Why do my soap boxes all have "20 Mule Team" or "Lye" or "Murphy's Oil" on them and yours all say "Aromatherapy" and "Soothing" and "Herbal" or "Organics" or similar?  LOL

Good stuff and thanks for chiming in, as always. 

Shucks...  I'm still walking on air over "You're a good writer, Mike, well worth reading."

Jul 09, 2008 04:51 AM #26
Rainmaker
215,151
The Brewer Team - Benchmark Realty
Benchmark Realty - Franklin, TN

I can think of worse things than becoming a source of information for possible clients. I'n sure it's working for you, why would you change.

Jul 10, 2008 02:54 AM #27
Rainmaker
786,727
Mike Jaquish
Realty Arts - Cary, NC
919-880-2769 Cary, NC, Real Estate

Elizabeth,

Thanks.  I can think of worse things, too, but they keep me up at night...

Jul 10, 2008 05:13 AM #28
Rainer
7,578
Duncan Boan
Century 21 South Island Realty - Victoria, BC

Mike. I am first to admit that I haven't discovered the secret to 'converting' site visitors to living breathing  prospects who follow my contact information to get in touch.  Sending visitors away from my site at first seems counterintuitive.  Nevertheless,  I also believe that providing relevant, useful information to visitors has to be a positive factor and will be rewarded at some point, even when that information is at the end of an outbound link. 

In my other blog I try to have one link to an authority site relevant to my blog post, and one or more (not a lot) link(s) to other potentially relevant info.  I use a 'nofollow' tag for  the latter to try to stop Page Rank bleeding,  but not with my link to the authority site. My theory on this is the potential Page Rank loss from a link to a good authority site is worth the added keyword relevance that may be gained by that linking.         

Jul 14, 2008 04:39 AM #29
Rainmaker
786,727
Mike Jaquish
Realty Arts - Cary, NC
919-880-2769 Cary, NC, Real Estate

Duncan,

The wide variety of terms that folks use to find me seems to forgive any errors I make in linking.

Jul 14, 2008 05:38 AM #30
Rainmaker
416,365
Mesa, Arizona Real Estate Mesa Arizona Realtor
Homes Arizona Real Estate LLC - Mesa, AZ
AzLadyInRed

Mike, I agree that providing good, local information for your visitors is key. Perhaps by the time they're ready to purchase a home instead of just shopping around, they'll think of you as the local expert. ;-)

Pepper

Jul 19, 2008 03:00 PM #31
Rainmaker
786,727
Mike Jaquish
Realty Arts - Cary, NC
919-880-2769 Cary, NC, Real Estate

Terri,

Thanks for coming by on a quiet Saturday night!  Yes, folks like the local information.

Jul 19, 2008 04:03 PM #32
Rainmaker
197,146
Kathy Anderson
HomeSmart - Surprise, AZ
Arizona Retirement Homes For Sale, Sun City Grand

Mike, I offer outside links to information on my website.  I think nothing of it when it is opened in a new window.  I also mix it up with onsite links though and of course the MLS listings are what they really want.  I have clients contact me all the time with compliments on having "the best website for the area" and "the one with the most information".  It keeps them coming back until they are ready to commit to a realtor.  And guess who they call?  :)

Granted, I know I don't get them all, but my business is growing month by month.

Jul 19, 2008 06:11 PM #33
Rainmaker
786,727
Mike Jaquish
Realty Arts - Cary, NC
919-880-2769 Cary, NC, Real Estate

Kathy,

I think openness and information service begets business.  You seem to confirm that.

Jul 20, 2008 01:09 PM #34
Rainmaker
197,146
Kathy Anderson
HomeSmart - Surprise, AZ
Arizona Retirement Homes For Sale, Sun City Grand

Yes, Mike.  That has been my experience.  People appreciate the service (and info links) we provide and want to work with us as a result.

Jul 22, 2008 12:44 PM #35
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