Recently, I wrote a blog post about whether or not agent websites were really worth it these days. Given the search engine optimization (SEO) power of the major syndication portals like Zillow, Trulia, Realtor, etc., the chances of an agent website showing up on the first page of Google is rather slim. Add to that the power of local or state associations, major brokerage sites, and the host of other providers out there and the water gets even murkier. I’m not saying that they are useless, but if your goal is to be found online, I am not sure that the agent website is the right tool.
That being said, I could certainly be wrong. It has happened before, once. So, if you’re going to have an agent website, here are my top ten tips on making it something worthwhile.
1) Have a Goal and a Plan
What is the purpose of the site? What are you trying to do to/for a visitor? Is it capture leads, prove your expertise, inform and educate, or maybe be a curator of content? Know what you are trying to do, build the site accordingly, and have a plan to maximize that purpose. Hint: It can serve more than one purpose.
2) Make it Responsive
Every stat we see these days is showing that more and more people are searching on a mobile device rather than a desktop or laptop. If your website isn’t responsive to the screen size that it is being viewed on, you’re lost before you get started.
3) At Least Try to Be Seen
SEO is still important even if you aren’t likely to make the first page of Google. Someone might find you based on a search term that appears on your site. Try a WordPress site or even a theme that has easy-to-use SEO tools built-in. I really like StudioPress. Also, take a class, webinar, or get help with understanding analytics, keywords, meta data, etc.
If you’re going for SEO, information, education, or to prove your expertise, you should blog. Blogging let’s you work a niche, show your experience and expertise, and get found by covering lots of good topics that someone might search for on Google. DO NOT use canned content. Write your own.
5) Make it Simple
It may seem like the best thing you can do is load your site with so much content that the user will never leave. Truth be told, it doesn’t really work that way most of the time. Make your site simple, visually appealing (a.k.a. lots of pictures), and easy to use.
6) Incorporate Video
Want people to stay on your site? Video is the best way these days. People would much rather watch a video than read a ton of content. On that note, great, professional videos are hard to come by and are usually expensive. Don’t be afraid to go homemade. People are hiring you to be their Realtor, not their video producer. Also, don’t be afraid to inject a little personality.
7) Have a Search Function
People want to see homes. Let them. Use IDX or RETS to get the information. I prefer to use those services that make my page own the info for SEO purposes. IDXBroker is a great service for that.
8) Understand Landing Pages
Landing Pages are designed to be used with other marketing campaigns for lead capture. Understand how they work and use them for powerful lead generating activities.
9) Know Your Audience and Adjust Accordingly
Once you understand analytics, pay attention to the demographics. If you’re trying to attract new home buyers and, according to analytics, it is working, have the tools that first-time buyers want. Make your site a resource to the people viewing it.
10) For the Love of God, Make it Easy to Find Your Contact Info
Post your number, email and any other contact info as prominently as possible on every single page. Make sure it is a click-to-call link on a mobile site. I can’t tell you the number of agent sites I see where you have to dig to find the agent’s number. Make it easy for them.
There you have it. Do the majority of these and you will have a good site for what you are trying to do. There are tons of other sites out there that can give you more information on building a great website, but these are based on what I have seen over the years. Like everything else, you’ll get out of it what you put into it, so don’t do it half way. Make it count and make it awesome.