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In need of a new television stand, I recently made a sojourn to a popular discount store for an inexpensive, viable piece that would do the job. After making the purchase ($49.95) and lugging the flat, 3 ft. x 2 ft. box back to the house, assembly was the next task. Once all the parts were removed from the box and laid out on the floor, it was easy to examine exactly what the product was made from: particle board (not even very good particle board at that), a black plastic veneer, and formed plastic wheels. During assembly, it was not even possible to tighten the screws well, as they would immediately break loose from the particle board and fall out. This thing is supposed to hold up a TV set, a DVD player and quite a few accessories? Needless to say, this would cause anyone to worry.

Now, would you contemplate this same quality product when developing your Web presence?

Everyone is looking for the best price in all purchases these days. But that doesn’t mean you should settle for an inferior product or one that does not meet your performance standards and expectations—most certainly those of your prospects and customers. This is especially important when the service being purchased is your Internet marketing site and Web presence.

Setting performance standards is critical to your decision-making process. Your website is your online presence and more than likely the first contact a prospective customer will have with you today. A few items to consider when developing your Web presence are whether the site is easy to navigate and whether it can be populated with useful information that prospects desire. Does the service provide automated responses to consumers? Items such as easy access to reports on listing views, where your listings are syndicated and how leads are routed to you are also important concerns in building and establishing an effective Web presence. But they don’t have to cost an arm and a leg.

And how about ease-of-use and setup? Imagine a simple, powerful website that you can set up in as little as three minutes, compared to the TV-stand nightmare scenario.

It’s also important to consider a good brand. The underpinnings of well-respected brands, such as Point2—a name you’re likely familiar with and a company relied upon by tens of thousands of users in 120 countries—mean reliability, quality and, most importantly, flexibility in a number of ways. The solution you choose should provide you with options to build your Web presence around, in addition to product alternatives designed to grow with you as your business develops and grows, not stick you with a swath of tools and functionality you pay for but just don’t need right now. The company’s newly released Point2 Express Tools suite of products offers new thinking, including the three-minute website solution, Site Builder—all designed to give you the edge in your real estate business.

Make the smart, cost-effective choice when building your Web presence. After all, you don’t want the wheels to come off the first time you use it…which, by the way, is exactly what happened with the TV stand.

Walt Baczkowski is vice president of Sales and Marketing for Point2. For more information, please visit