By Peyman Aleagha
RISMEDIA, Oct. 22, 2008-In order to begin attracting visitors to your real estate website, it helps to think about the website. I’ve had a few websites in my career, and each has had varying degrees of success. But a few things I’ve learned apply to just about any site. Regardless of how you get the visitors, the end result is to give them something worth stopping by for. The following four rules have held true for me with every website I’ve launched.
1. Know What Your Site is for. The first rule to follow in attracting prospects to your site is to figure out why you want them there in the first place. Don’t waste your time and energy to lead a group of people to your site for them to find nothing. Have your site serve a purpose.
2. Know Your Site’s Service Area. The second rule to follow is to recognize your sites geographic limits. Most Realtors work in a relatively small geographic area in terms of the Web. For example, Realtors in Des Moines have little interest in the San Diego market unless their working Relo.
3. Have High Quality Content. The third rule to follow is to make sure your site has high quality content. The importance of quality content can’t be overemphasized. The Web thrives on content. Search engines have an insatiable appetite for new and original content. They crave it.
4. Keep Your Site Focused. The fourth rule to follow is to keep your site focused. Both people and search engines do better when the website deals in a specific area. It’s okay for a real estate website to talk about a great golf course in a local market area, but it’s not okay for a real estate website to become a course about golf!
Upon following the above rules your site will not generate any search engine interest at first. Part of the equation to get page one search engine ranking is to be around a while. Search engines want a site to be aged, and they want it to age with style. That means consistent quality content over time. So keep posting content, even in the face of search engine adversity.
In the time between your launch and when the search engines start ranking your keywords, there are some things you can do to get traffic to your site. Some are cheaper than others, but they all work. Keeping our four rules in mind, let’s start cheap and work our way up.
Business Cards, Signs and Flyers. Make sure your website address is on your business card, your sign and all your print advertising. Not only should you have the Web address, but you should write a little copy to go with it. Wherever you put something that has your name on it, make sure it also has your website address on it, too.
Write and Submit Articles to Article Submission Sites. If you’re a community expert, then share that expertise in the form of a well-written article. Article writing is highly effective and it won’t cost you a dime. For more information on how to write and submit an article head out to www.ezine.com for details.
Organic Search Engine Hits. Scoring an organic search engine page one hit is huge. Getting one is a combination of keyword optimization, traffic history, website age, link ratings and content quality. Chances are you’ll get organic hits at some time in your site’s life, but don’t expect them for a while. The search engines have complex algorithms that filter and index all the sites in your category. If you’re the new kid on the block, be patient. It’ll happen if you keep to the four rules, but it takes time.
Local Newspaper Advertorial. Promote yourself. Hook up with the local news paper and write an advertorial about a subject of interest and tie it to your site. If there is a blight of REPO’s in your area, write an advertorial about it and link to your site with a marketing teaser.
Launch a Give Away on Your Site. People are always down with ‘FREE.’ So if you advertise a giveaway, people will be attracted to it. But if you do this one you may want to tie the giveaway to generating an opt-in mailing list. Have people register on your site by leaving their e-mail address with the rest of their information.
Pay-Per-Click Campaigns. Pay-per-click campaigns generate sponsored links on the popular search engines. When users key in a string that you have reserved, your link is displayed at the top of the page. It almost looks like a regular search engine hit, but it’s a paid advertisement. If a user clicks on the link, you pay. The rates vary based on the popularity of the search string you request. So the good news is you’re only competing with local Realtors for the positioning. It’s not as expensive as you might think and it’s pretty effective.
Full-Blown Marketing Campaign. Break out the check book and bleed money. This one is probably the least effective of all the techniques for a Realtor. The cost per lead would be outrageous.
Putting it all together. Internet and website marketing is complicated. Juggling listings, website content, lead capture forms, SEO, syndicating listings in other sites, and keeping up with Internet advertising, is not a small task. It is particularly daunting if these things must be performed separately. An integrated approach, like that of RealtySoft.com or other all-in-one website providers, may well be the only way to get good sales results from a real estate website and still have time left over to be a successful real estate agent.
Peyman Aleagha is the founder and President of RealtySoft.com. RealtySoft provides Realtors with Real Estate Web Design, Real Estate Print Marketing and Free IDX solutions.
For more information, visit www.RealtySoft.com.