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RISMEDIA, April 30, 2011—As a real estate professional you know that you must have a website. There are many options for creating a website, such as a company sponsored site, a custom website, or a real estate website template with hosting. Regardless of where it came from, how do you get visitors to your site now that you have one? I say, let’s throw a party and invite them!

Here are five steps that you can do immediately that will bring more buyers and sellers to your website. And more importantly, these steps will keep them coming back for more! Think of this as getting ready for a big party!

1. Clean house for your guests: Be sure your website is search ready, or what is referred to as “Search Engine Optimization” or SEO for short. In a nutshell this means to have keywords on your website that visitor’s will be searching for when looking for a home for sale, or sellers might search for when looking for an agent. You can add these words to the website directly, such as in the introduction, in the articles on your site and also into the “Meta Tags”. If you are not sure what this means, you may want to get some help with this one from your website developer or office guru.

2. Create an Event: You probably wouldn’t invite your friends or associates over for a party without proper preparation or planning. And if you did, and they got bored, would you expect them to come back for the next party? Probably not. So, you might think about food, games, and activities that will entertain your guests. Let’s treat our website the same way. We need to have valuable content on our website to entertain, educate, provide a valuable service, or all of the above. Add neighborhood updates, property information, charity events, anything that has a value to your potential guests. We want to offer enough value to keep them coming back for more, again and again!

3. Write the invitations: You can’t expect people to show up at your party if you have not invited them, right? The best way to invite people is to write articles or blogs (short for weblog) on one of the highly trafficked real estate blog sites such as RealTown, ActiveRain, or Trulia (or any other with high traffic volume). These are usually free or with a premium subscription for higher visibility. It’s well worth it!

4. Get Social: Use virtual tours on all your listings with links to your website. Add one of your neighborhood videos to your virtual tour. Add personal narration to the virtual tour and mention your website for more information. Create a YouTube video. Add a “widget” on your site with links to all your virtual tours. Or better yet, find a virtual tour service that utilizes the latest technologies, social media, social networking, and integrates these services in an easy to use platform so you aren’t spending a lot of time learning something new on top of everything else. After all, it’s your party and you want to enjoy it along with your guests, right?

5. It’s party time! When your guests arrive, you want to offer refreshments and let them look around. You want them to get comfortable and enjoy themselves so they want to come back again. You can offer the typical Home Search and Information for Buyers and Sellers, but let’s also offer them something special and unique. Add some local flare, where to dine with reviews by yourself or even your guests, and maybe a video of the neighborhood or the parks, libraries, schools. Add your own personal video welcome!

And when the party is over, don’t let your guests leave without something to bring them back the next time. You can offer a “Custom Property List” or “Hot List” of fresh homes on the market if they are home buyers, or you can offer them a “Neighborhood Newsletter” or your next “By Invite Only –Open House” event. How about an Ice Cream Social at the neighborhood park? Be sure they “check back often” for your announcements. And by all means, don’t let them down! Keep content on your site fresh, update it weekly and stay connected. It’s your party, be a good host and your guests will come back for more every time!

Remember, the most recent National Association of Realtors statistics show over 90 percent of home buyers said they looked online for their home before purchasing! Are they looking at your website?

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