By Kayla O’Brien
RISMEDIA, Sept. 23, 2008-Not all real estate websites are created equal and the same holds true for the agents who create them.
“Some agents are afraid to dive into something they don’t know anything about-they simply don’t have the time to do so,” says Charra Bennett, founder of YourSiteNeedsMe.com.
While many agents have long parted from the idea of not owning at least one website, many still do not have the time or background to maintain something that’s competitive. To ease the burden, many agents consult with experts who specialize in search engine optimization (SEO) and successful real estate websites, like Bennett. For her, however, one particular website company makes her job-and other agents’-a piece of cake.
“a la mode offers a key way to stand out,” she says. “It’s so easy to use that Realtors no longer have to be afraid. They can go in and make something fabulous and effective for capturing online visitors.
“Considering the fact that over 80 percent of home buyers shop with their mouse before their feet, agents want to work with the 90 percent who choose the first agent they speak with online. It starts with the website,” she says.
As Bennett specializes in customizing websites and making real estate websites search-engine friendly, she says that a la mode understands that at a time when agents are navigating through rough terrain, they need the tools that will put them on top while other agents get stuck. That being said, the company offers two levels of Agent XSites-the first is free.
“The standard option is the basic level that starts with a free domain name,” says Bennett. “When I first heard this, I was floored. Who gives away something for free? They offer 10 custom pages that agents can either make themselves or use prewritten content.”
What’s more, Agent XSite Standard offers hundreds of themes to build and customize their sites with. These can be enhanced with company colors, logos, photos, sounds, buttons-you name it. To get started, agents can use the Wizard to walk them through the set-up step-by-step or watch instructional videos to troubleshoot any questions they may have.
“Everything is customizable,” says Bennett. “They include a contact database, unlimited listings on the site, slideshows, virtual tours and listing syndication to different real estate sites like Trulia and Zillow-for free. Who wouldn’t want that?”
The other option-Agent XSite Professional-opens up over 100 templates, listings features, tracking, unlimited pages, and even offers lead-capture forms.
“It’s very simple and yet so advanced,” says Bennett. “All of the products are integrated and can be used together. It’s so automated that some Realtors say, ‘I don’t have to do anything?'”
Another perk to the Professional XSites is the “Live Chat” option. Something typically achieved by outsourcing, agents with XSites can monitor live Web traffic and chat with site visitors.
“That’s probably one of the most requested items that my clients ask me about,” says Bennett.
Having worked with a la mode sites for over three years now, Bennett believes that compared to other agent sites, they offer more advanced features for those who want to have custom sites and everything that goes along with it. At a time when those who are serious about their sites are getting competitive, a la mode offers many options standard to their clients.
“The sites make it easy for the Realtor to get in touch with the client or vice versa,” says Bennett. “Not only does it look beautiful, but it’s interactive with a call to action to get the lead to the agent as fast as possible.
“It’s all very easy to set up-there’s nothing complicated about it. I could not be happier to have found a la mode,” says Bennett. “I feel so blessed to be associated with them. I have worked with all of the companies out there, but I can’t say enough about a la mode. We’re all working toward a common goal and you feel it when you talk to them. This company got it right.”
For more information, please visit www.alamode.com.