I've been on a website kick lately. In the evolving process of having my website built, and my eight years of exploration into real estate websites I find that my blog serves as a great platform for me to lay down the tracks for a real estate evolution.
I am talking about a website revolution. Come and join me.
What is the gab that keeps most real estate websites in a state of past grace? Statistics that tell you,
"Eighty-seven percent of all home buyers and 94 percent of buyers aged 25 to 44 years used the Internet to search for homes."- NAR Profile of Homebuyers and Sellers 2008
Home buyers are online in droves and they are looking for real estate listings, home value information, community information. Who am I to disagree? I don't. What I do say is why be ordinary when you can be extraordinary. Home buyers (and sellers) expect to see the staples on your website. Real estate listings, home values, and community information are staples and they should be prominently placed, beautifully displayed, and updated often.
Can you name any business that was hugely successful by remaining ordinary? I can't. Even Krispy Kreme was hugely successful by selling ordinary donuts in an extraordinary way. When they stopped selling warm Krispy Kremes at stores and started stocking the shelves of grocery stores with cold, ordinary donuts they eroded their branding and became a muted label. Dunkin Donuts, on the other hand, has re-emerged in regular street conversations.
Are you with me now? Be an outkast. Build a website meant to last and outlast the competition. I'm reaching inside the archives of my blog to give you a step by step and show you how.
STEP 1- Research
You are never going to get the results that you desire unless you realize what a website can do for you. What do you want to offer to your customers? Dream and think big. If you were buying or selling a house what kind of information would you like in one place without searching a million places on the internet? Write those down.
Get educated on what website offerings exist to satisfy your needs. Write those down. Your list should be full now. Take that list and start shopping for website vendors. Interview at least three. Remember this is your prime storefront real estate.
STEP 2- Plan
Real estate buyers are coming online primarily to research real estate listings. Except for the national websites outside of the industry real estate buyers do not know that they can expect anything else from a real estate agent or brokerage's website. The expectation for the home buyers just isn't there based on their general experiences.
You will get leads from having listing information on your site. I am moving this conversation beyond the age old debate of the lead form. Go one step further and give home buyers a pleasant surprise by giving them more than they had anticipated.
STEP 3- Touch Up
Existing websites need maintenanceand touch ups. Here are two posts with 7 ideas you can use for new or existing websites. I hope they trigger your real skillz. You've got some great information to share with home buyers and sellers who need guidance now more than ever. Don't hold back anymore.
Here's one more idea to round out the list to an even number eight (the number or prosperity, yes I have a lot of modern day hippie in me). Continue to keep yourself abreast of trends in other industries that you can translate to your real estate website offerings. You will find plenty of inspiration in other industries, read ReadWriteWeb, WebsiteMagazine, and Revenue .
Three steps, a little reading, and an action plan. Be an Outkast and build a website meant to last and outlast the competition.
Start a revolution and build a generation of new websites that REALLY connect with home buyers and sellers.
You have GOT THIS. You know you'll be just fine.
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