Does Your Website Exploit Your Web Niche?

By
Real Estate Agent with Century 21 Camco Realty
In reading May DeLuca's blog How Well Do You Use Your Website , I noticed her item#3 was all about how folks find us on the web. Obviously, if an agent is only found by people searching for them by name, the site is not generating new business. Yet there are so many websites out there, it's easy for ours to get lost in the search engine rankings, unless we've got the big bucks to pay a high cost-per-click for traffic. Or is it??

Here's my thinking: I don't really want thousands of clicks from every user out there who is searching for "real estate." (I especially don't want them clicking through to my site if I'm paying for that click!) That's because 99.99% of those web surfers aren't ever going to be looking for the kind of property I work with! I'd much rather have 10 visitors each day who are really looking for the kind of properties I work with than 10,000 generic lookers who want other areas or other kinds of property. Even if I do get the 10,000 generic visitors each day, none of them is likely spend more than 2 seconds on my site, because they'll know at a glance I don't handle the areas and properties they're looking for.

So, I exploit MY niche, which happens to be horse properties in and around Albuquerque. If you visit www.LauraWarden.com you'll see that is what I concentrate on, with a specialized IDX search that searches only horse properties, with information about "horse-friendly" neighborhoods, and equine resources, etc. And at this moment, I'm working with 4 different buyers, all in the $300,000-$500,000 range who found me through searching online for "Albuquerque Horse Properties" just in the past couple of weeks. My husband and I have been generating between $30,000 and $70,000 in net commissions off our "niche" websites every year for the past 5 years, and we're paying exactly $0 per year for pay-per-click, SEO, or any other web marketing. Pretty good return on investment, there!

It works because there's much less competition in nailing down top placement for specific search terms than for general terms, and what all of us want is to get in contact with the folks who want to buy, sell, or lease the types of properties we actually work with.

So forget about getting to the top of Google for "California Real Estate." Think, instead, about "Bay Area Historic Homes," "Indio Horse Properties," or "South Lake Tahoe Ski Condos," for example.

Many web users soon discover that generic searches for "homes for sale" lead them to loads of sites that really don't help them locate the properties they want, and so they start to think of more specific search terms that will get them what they want. So be the expert they find when they get specific! Find your niche and exploit it!

 

 

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Rainmaker
87,192
Paula Henry
Home to Indy Team @ HomeSmart Realty Group - Avon, IN
Realtor - Indianapolis Real Estate - 317-605-4174
Laura - Good Post! In the process of developing my website, I kept my area in a very tight geographical area. Mostly, because I do not want to travel all over the city. I have also kept my market reports and additional data even more specific. I know, in time it will pay off. Thanks for reminding us!
Apr 11, 2007 07:39 AM #2
Rainer
54,515
Dave Cheatham
INC Financial - Bartlett, IL
Awesome post.  I like what you have told us.  I agree it is all abuout niches.  The drive traffic for that niche.
Apr 11, 2007 07:46 AM #3
Rainer
14,287
Margie Kaplan
MK Luxury Homes & Condos, Houston Luxury Homes - Houston, TX
Broker, CRS, CIPS, CLHMS, CNHS, TRC

Laura, excellent point. I specialize in luxury homes and high rise condos in Houston and point that out on my website. I really don't want all the extra time involved in explaining to someone looking for housing assistance that I don't work that market. It does happen though and I'm happy to refer them to other agents that specialize in that area.

 

Apr 11, 2007 07:54 AM #4
Rainmaker
81,376
Laura Warden Nordin
Century 21 Camco Realty - Albuquerque, NM
30-year Top Producer in Greater ABQ Real Estate

Bob,

For a complete office site, I quite understand that you don't want to limit your market by making the site too niche-specific. Having different pages that deal with different niches can work really well, with each acting as a separate "portal" to your overall site, but only if each really has a separate title, content, and meta-tags suitable for its particular niche, and is noticed by the search engines for its keywords. Another great thing to do with these "portal" pages is to buy some appropriate URLs and point them to the specific pages, then do some SEO work with each URL to promote it.

Laura

Apr 11, 2007 09:40 AM #5
Rainer
10,272
Mary De Luca
Long & Foster - Arlington, VA

Laura- You have great timing. I received my local Northern Virginia REALTOR magizine for April- the cover story?

Finding your Niche- Stand out from the Crowd by Promoting Your Specialty.

You're right on the money. I was wandering in the dark thinking that I was missing business if I didn't cover EVERYTHING. And ended up getting nothing because I wasn't showing up on any searches. So I stepped back, took a deep breath and focused on one community at the moment- Shirlington which consists mostly of condos. Arlington is made up of different "Urban Villiages" and I know all of them- which is a niche itself- but it's still too broad. Instead of trying to do everything at once, I focused on one village and provided detailed local content. I'm in the process of switching over to IDX- so I will keep your idea in mind about putting in a specialized search for that Shirlington page. When I have that page the way I want it- I'll move onto another village that I sell in.

Great post!

Apr 11, 2007 11:21 AM #6
Rainmaker
162,646
Christopher Webster
Carrington Real Esate Services - Columbia, SC
Columbia South Carolina Real Estate For Sale
Everyone needs aniche! We can't sell it all. New agents get into real estate thinking of getting rich. They think they can handle one big county or a Tri-state area.
Apr 11, 2007 11:36 AM #7
Rainer
13,646
John Cilladi
Keller Williams Real Estate - Exton, PA
REALTOR, EcoBroker, e-PRO

Laura,

Thanks for reinforcing what I already know about niche marketing. I am retooling my website and entire marketing plan to feature the eco-friendly side of my business. 

Reading your post was a great encouragement. 

Apr 11, 2007 11:48 AM #8
Anonymous
Sam Sneldon

Laura- great point to make.  I specialize in horse properties, and years ago use to find the selling time sometimes longer than I cared for.  But Internet niche marketing advertising has solved all that!  About 3 years ago, I found my marketing niche -- http://www.1horseproperty.com.

Now, there's a whole slew of similar sites that have appeared overnight.  A good place to find niche market sites is at http://www.equestrianrealestatenetwork.com.  Any real estate agent or site specializing in horse real estate is welcomed to join for free. This is a great place to get your name and website noticed.

Also, found another one for homes for the disabled -- another niche market -- and not to be forgotten.  www.barrierfreehome.com.   You name the market, and there's a website.

Keep up the good work!

Sam 

Apr 12, 2007 12:46 AM #9
Rainer
79,029
Gary Smith
Agent Marketing Today - Commerce Township, MI
Laura, thanks for the additional information. As a waterfront person, I found my niche a few years ago.
Apr 12, 2007 10:59 AM #10
Rainer
41,379
Yvonne Brown
Century 21 Northwest - Gilbert, AZ
Laura, I thik this is such a great post and something that is so easily overlooked. I have been working this angle utilizing my localism posts, but am still trying to perfect my subject matter. thanks for sharing your success!
Apr 12, 2007 07:11 PM #11
Rainmaker
81,376
Laura Warden Nordin
Century 21 Camco Realty - Albuquerque, NM
30-year Top Producer in Greater ABQ Real Estate
Thanks, all, for the positive response!
Apr 13, 2007 09:43 AM #12
Rainer
14,245
The Parsons Group LLC
The Parsons Group, LLC/ Keller Williams Realty - Manassas, VA
Real Estate for Real Life

Laura, great post and I agree, you cannot service the world. 

However, what we have included as part of our business model starting this year is looking at referrals to agents outside of our geographic area as an income stream.  In the Washington, DC metro area, as you can imagine, commuting to and from or around the Beltway and out to the suburbs can be hazardous to your bottom line, not to mention a real time-waster (and not part of our 20%). 

So, we capture and cultivate every lead as if we were going to sell a them a home at some point.  If they stray from where we are willing to commute to, we have very competent network of affiliated agents to handle that niche.  After all, they have to buy from someone, so it might as well be from us or someone we trust. 

 

Apr 13, 2007 03:41 PM #13
Rainmaker
695,383
Bob Force (REALTOR®)
Weichert - McKenna & Vane - Mount Airy, MD
The FORCE in Maryland Real Estate
Laura:
I have to agree with you building a niche is the best use of our time. 
I share Hap Parsons market and it can get expansive.  Hap would be happy to share a referral with you.
Apr 13, 2007 04:10 PM #14
Rainmaker
81,376
Laura Warden Nordin
Century 21 Camco Realty - Albuquerque, NM
30-year Top Producer in Greater ABQ Real Estate

You and Hap are both working in the DC area?

I might actually be interested in investment property there myself. We did some looking about two years ago, but didn't find anything quite right. Probably a good thing; looks like your values have slipped since then!

We were looking at College Park, Silver Spring, Bethesda, Hyattsville...

Would have to turn postive cash flow as a rental, or be a great prospect for a flip. If you've got such an animal, send me a link!

Laura

www.laurawarden.com

Apr 14, 2007 10:52 AM #15
Anonymous
Anonymous
Hey Laura, just wanted to tell you and everybody that I have found a gold mine!  (add to my previous post, if you can).  Free listings for horse properties - http://www.propertiesforhorses.com --  as many as you want. - Sam
Apr 20, 2007 01:06 AM #16
Rainer
60,063
Steven Shewell
Primary Residential Mortgage, Inc. - Ephrata, PA
The Mortgage Maverick

Good advice, Laura.  The problem is that a website is always a work in progress, always searching for bigger and better returns.  Unfortunately, I have not been able to exploit this enough to call it successful.

I am always looking for ways to improve my website to get more responses and qualified leads.  Now if only I could understand all these abbreviations and other "net speak" I may really be able to get somewhere.

Apr 20, 2007 03:01 AM #17
Rainmaker
227,627
Debi Braulik
www.roundrealestate.com - Maple Valley, WA
Selling Maple Valley to Fife WA Homes For Sale
I think niches are the way to go also. My best friend specializes in horse properties and does FANTASTIC at it!  My niche is historic homes in Tacoma. We are both happy and successful.
Apr 20, 2007 11:48 AM #18
Rainer
609
Gene Hammen
http://www.Philadelphia-Home-Mortgage.com - West Chester, PA

Great post!

There are "riches in niches". 

Apr 23, 2007 08:14 AM #19
Rainer
7,596
Molly S Ringer
Weichert Hallmark Properties - Mount Dora, FL
Realtor Lake County FL Luxury Homes

Great post.  I think narrow and deep is certainly the way to go!

Thanks for some niche advice for realtor sites.

 

May 10, 2007 03:53 AM #20
Rainmaker
81,376
Laura Warden Nordin
Century 21 Camco Realty - Albuquerque, NM
30-year Top Producer in Greater ABQ Real Estate
Thanks, Shai. It's really true that you can't be "all things to all people," and you sure can't SEO a website that's based on trying to be!
May 13, 2007 12:10 PM #21
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Rainmaker
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Laura Warden Nordin

30-year Top Producer in Greater ABQ Real Estate
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