When you work in real estate, a quality website is a must. It’s your conduit between you and the people you work with, between homes and their new owners, between uncertain clients and the answers to their questions. No one needs to tell you that choosing your website is an important part of your business.
We might be living in a modern world, but real estate very much depends on old-fashioned relationships between agents and customers. Your clients choose real estate agents they feel they can trust to help them with one of the biggest financial and emotional decisions of their lives. If you are remote, seem cookie-cutter or spammy, or are misrepresented by those around you, potential clients may look elsewhere. Below are four reasons to avoid a website provided by a franchise, MLS or real estate portal.
Any time you’re lumped in with the rest, you lose your ability to stand out in a crowd. One-on-one relationships with your clients make them like you, feel well-served, and tell others about you. Even in the Internet age, with all the bells and whistles afforded by digital media, word-of-mouth referrals are still an extremely powerful marketing tool. All franchises and real estate portals have one thing in common — they are all real estate consumer-facing products and are competing to gain a relationship with your customers. When you depend on these organizations to host your website, they can become a third wheel in your relationship with your customers, making it easy for your leads to be 1-click away from choosing another agent.
Similarly, you want to control your Web presence so that you can pursue your own business philosophy and adopt your own online aesthetic. Your own website allows you to do this, while adopting a piece of a provider’s platform doesn’t.
Even if your MLS or franchise offers you your own dedicated website, you still cannot engage in SEO practices to help grow your online presence. Well, that’s not technically true. You can use good SEO tactics to boost rankings, but all of the benefits of your hard work will accrue to the provider. While cnames and forwarded domains make it possible for your website to look as though it is only dedicated to you, the search engine robots will see a very different picture. According to them, all your hard work is made in the name of your provider, so they’ll reward them while ignoring your site and, in turn, your online presence.
Customers want to know the person they’re working with lives in and is knowledgeable about their area, so they tend to avoid sweeping franchise websites or portals when they reach the late stages of browsing for homes. Plus, those websites can’t keep up with inventory as quickly, so customers will look for smaller ones that can.
Taking these reasons into consideration, it’s obvious to see why franchises, MLSs and real estate portals have a keen interest in hosting real estate agents’ websites. They get the most benefits when they host your website. Some will go as far as providing you a website for “free.”
While a website is more important than ever these days, you want to make sure you have the right website. Stick with these tips for a better chance to stand out, please your customers and grow your business.
Zealder provides a Web Presence Suite that allows you to have complete control of not only your website, but your entire web presence. Zealder is not a real estate consumer-facing product and has no interest in having a direct relationship with real estate clients. Therefore, our only goal is to help real estate agents succeed with their website.