Having a professional website in no longer “one way to go” in the real estate industry….it is a necessity. Today, over 95% of people searching for a home for sale, start their home buying process online.
With the huge amount of website options available to REALTORS today – how do you know what you need? From IDX to Facebook Marketing, CRMs to choosing an SEO Agency for organic rankings, simply reviewing what is available can be overwhelming.
Having a website by today’s standards is a necessity. Websites for real estate come in all varieties from FREE to a thousands of dollars. In some instances, you own your website, in others you pay a monthly fee and ultimately are “renting” your place on the web.
There are different TYPES of real estate websites. Lets break down modern real estate websites.
The All-In-One Real Estate Website
One of the most popular types of real estate websites is the All-In-One. This is because you pay one fee and get a full website, with IDX (internet data exchange) to search listings, a CRM (client relationship manager) and other features all in one package. You don’t have to worry about making everything work together since it is all put together into a package.
For many REALTORS, this can be great. The better of these real estate platforms include online training on how to use their features and functionality.
There is a downside, that is lack of customization. If you are looking to build a hyper-unique brand this may not be the best choice for you. Although the convenience of having everything “just work” is hard to overlook, the lack of customization on the website side is quite common.
For many agents, this is fine. They look at their online presence as simply a lead generation machine. If that is the case, an all-in-one type of real estate website may be perfect for you. If you have a unique value proposition (maybe you specialize in waterfront homes) and are looking to highly customize your website around your branding and your messaging — this may not be the best answer.
The Custom WordPress Website
WordPress is the 900 pound gorilla when it comes to modern websites. With very little web development experience, just about anyone can build a decent website.
One thing to look out for when pricing out a custom WordPress Website for real estate is that you OWN the site after its complete. You want to ensure that you own your domain and your hosting is in your name…not the web developers.
Custom websites can be more expensive to build, but less to maintain. You will come out of pocket a big chunk, but then just need to pay for hosting and possible some maintenance on the site itself. In many instances, if you are somewhat technically savvy, you can handle the maintenance yourself.
The challenges with a custom site is that you need to choose all the pieces and make them work with each other. You will need an IDX Vendor such as IDX Broker so you can display listings online. You will want to invest in a good CRM such as Follow Up Boss — so when you get a lead from your website, you can incubate them with follow-up emails.
If you want something that is unique to you and your brand, a custom website may be your best bet. You need to be sure you are up to the task of having it developed (we do recommend a professional) and that you are willing to piece everything together.
Choosing the Right CRM
SEO For Real Estate
There are multiple ways to drive traffic to your real estate website. You can look into Facebook Ads – which have become very popular, but a little less effective. There is always Google Ads, or pay per click advertising. This is where you pay to show up when someone searches “Memphis Homes for Sale“. The last, and most elusive option, but the one that can make your business, is Search Engine Optimization or SEO. SEO is the work involved in having your website show up ORGANICALLY when people put certain search terms into Google.
Challenges with SEO
SEO is not something that gets “done” to your website or something that can be added with the website design, it is ongoing work. For most real estate agents, we strongly recommend hiring a professional SEO agency. This in itself can be a challenge.
SEO is a promise that the work you pay for today will eventually provide you with results down the road. Because of that, the entire industry of search engine optimization is filled with untrustworthy “bad actors”. It is very easy to be taken advantage of. Choosing the right SEO agency can be a challenge in itself but can have HUGE payoffs if they can do what they promise.