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RISMEDIA, November 13, 2010—Having a Web presence is half the battle in any real estate market. However, if your website isn’t generating leads and reaching your clients, you may need to change a few things so that your website can work for you. Here, Cary Sylvester, Executive Director of Technology at Keller Williams Realty, offers five tips to help you get your website to bring you the leads you are looking for.

Cary Sylvester
Executive Director of Technology
Keller Williams Realty

The most common question I’m asked is “Can you fix my website? It’s not working!” Immediately, we run to a computer, pull up their website and voilá, there it is…working as expected.

So, what isn’t working? It’s not generating leads. So, then I ask—who are you trying to reach with your website? This is inevitably the time I get the blank stare and hear “well, leads.” If you want to “fix” your website and reach your clients, here are my five tips to make your website work for you:

1. Determine Who Your Audience Is
Are potential clients looking for foreclosures, their first home, or a neighborhood by a certain school? You don’t want to limit yourself when setting up a website. But, instead of jumping right in to add content or design your site, answer a few questions to help you build out a site that works for you:

• What’s in it for them?
• What type of information are they looking for?
• What questions are they asking you?

You’ll notice that all the questions are about your audience, not you.

2. Pay Attention to the Long Tail
On Google you appear as result number 12,365. How do you get on the first page? It takes time, a lot of content and money to drive business to your site for the most popular keywords (i.e. “Homes for Sale in [Your City]”) These broad terms will result in about 20% of your traffic at the most. Some 80% or more of your traffic from Google will come from less popular, obscure keywords, such as “Lakefront Homes for Sale in [Your City].”

3. Pick the Right Keywords
The biggest mistake I see is using the word “Listings.” Do your clients call and ask to see listings? No. They ask to see homes for sale, houses for sale, etc. Think about how your clients ask for services to craft the words you use on your site.

Use keywords naturally, as if you are in conversation with someone. Adding awkward keywords to your webpage to attract Google will only do two things: give you strikes with Google and annoy your clients. Finally, add your keywords to your page title, meta-description and possibly as part of your domain name.

4. Focus on Having a Great Landing Page
Sending that potential client to your home page or other generic page doesn’t tie the program together. Let me give you an analogy: you receive an advertisement for the best shoes at XYZ store. You drive over to the store and it’s all clothes and hidden away is that one pair of shoes. Do you think you’ll stick around to find it? Well, your website is your storefront and if you attract an audience looking for a particular niche, you’d better give them what they’re looking for quickly.

5. See Your Website as Part of Your Marketing Plan—Not a Technology Plan
This is no longer technology. Let me repeat…this is no longer technology. These strategies are part of your overall marketing plan—only online. Don’t be afraid of mastering this because you’re not a “techie”—you are a marketer and that’s all that matters.