Recommendations for stream-lined web-site.

Asked by Connie, Newport, MI Sat Nov 17, 2007

Going to get my .com up and running and would like recommendations on preferred providers and content. How do you drive visitors to your site, what do they see when they get there, and how do you get them to repeat visits. Is yours working? Are you getting quality leads? Is your site generating business ($$$) for you. Thanks

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13
Christopher…, Agent, Hemet, CA
Sat Nov 17, 2007
Connie, this is a great question that you are sure to get some great responses to. There are many solutions to web site creation and hosting. Too many! One will find it difficult to find the solution that encompasses all that you need in today's highly competitive market. For most agents the answer lies not so much in the solution but in how much time you are willing to commit. To have a successful site, you will have to commit a substantial amount of time to your chosen site for the duration that it is active. That commitment will be huge in the beginning ( 8-12 hours a week for 1+years) and then could be maintained with a continued commitment of only 3-4 hours a week after that. This is something that most are not prepared to do. Assuming that you are prepared and unable to create your own site, I would recommend that you contact Point2 or, have someone create a site for you that your have 100% control and ownership of. The first is free and the latter's cost is only limited by your budget and the functionality you wish for your site. We have more than 20 separate sites. 10 of them were self created and maintained, the others were either free or low cost solutions from Point2 and others. Utilizing multiple solutions has increased our traffic substantially and our web marketing is responsible for over 50% of our current business. The remainder comes from referrals and other, more "traditional" methods.
As for content, I would not buy into any plan that included generic content that will be shared with thousands of other agents. Create as much of your own content as you can and add to it over time. Hosting your own blog on your site and encouraging others to participate can be a great way to keep a stream of fresh content. We do not host a local blog yet do include feeds from some on a few of our sites. The main reason for maintaining multiple sites is that you can tweak one site and then watch the results. If they are positive, you can apply those changes to your most popular site. Some changes can have a negative impact that results in a major loss in visibility and you do not want this to happen to your main concern. Again, most agents do not have the time or desire to do what is necessary in which case, I would look for one of many free solutions out there and then focus your time on contributing to Trulia and Active Rain which can provide much more exposure with consistent results. Speak to the consumer and they will look to you for the answers in your area.
6 votes
Debra Drummo…, , Plymouth, MI
Fri Dec 14, 2007
I too am very curious to follow this thread. I've had Realtor.com, iHouse and Point2 sites, but I've made the most money on Realtor.com. Now I just use the R.com enhanced listings rather than pay extra for a Top Producer site.

I love the ease of use and bang for the buck of Point2, plus they syndicate your listings widely. We regularly have visitors sign up to receive listings, but since they only receive them from the Point2 community, I followup & set them up with the MLS also. Plus they have advanced features such as being able to assign each of your listings 'unique' web addresses.

Point2's drip program, however, leaves much to be desired and I'm looking for a great alternative.

Another web site provider I'm intriqued with is http://RealEsateWebmasters.com. Anyone had any experience with them?
Web Reference:  http://MichiganMoves.com
1 vote
Connie, , Newport, MI
Mon Nov 19, 2007
Hi Ginger - good question! I used to pay a photographer to do my virtuals. I wasn't happy with them as walls were rounded, etc. and you almost got sea sick looking at the tour. I purchased software that allowed me to stitch stills together to make a virtual. I was very happy with how easy it was to make a very nice virtual tour. What I found through traffic on web-sites that I had the VT on, was that there were much fewer hits on the VT and that the still shots were getting much heavier viewing. The tours take too much time to download and also too much time to view. I am no longer doing tours but offering as many stills as I can. Also, I've seen VT's cost anywhere from $45 to $350. I'll also be anxious to see what others think!
1 vote
Connie, , Newport, MI
Sat Nov 17, 2007
Thumbs Up & back to both Ginger for the compliment and Christopher for the great response. I'm not afraid of the time it takes to get going and maintain. I've spent too much time looking at what is available and am ready to go. I guess one thing will lead to another as far as how I drive consumers to my site after I get the initial site running. What I'm finding during my site investigations is that there's alot of free trial, etc. etc., going on to build a site but only after you submit credit card info. I'd like a free trial to work with to see what it might actually look like and then I'd be happy to invest. I'll keep you posted. Thanks!
1 vote
Paul Whiteho…, Agent, Melbourne, FL
Sat Nov 17, 2007
Connie i can not recommend highly enough the people behind "Point2Homes.com", who provide excellent web sites that are totally customisable. Call up my web site http://www.paulsold.com and click on the link at the bottom for agents, you will be surprised!!!!
1 vote
Ginger R., Home Seller, Massachusetts
Sat Nov 17, 2007
Hi Connie - I don't have an answer for you. I did just give you a thumbs up for this very good question. This question is very impt to me as a consumer. I have become convinced that internet is the most critical part of the marketing program. So I look forward to following this thread.
1 vote
Cheryl R. Su…, , Schwenksville, PA
Wed Aug 5, 2009
Try this link for free web traffic:

http://www.trafficwhirl.com/user.php?r=1150

Let me know how you make out. Good luck!

Cheryl Supplee
0 votes
Debt Free Da…, , 85260
Wed Dec 12, 2007
Trulia has no follow link, links on here are useless for indexing. I'm not going to write a novel on info I have already written.
0 votes
Ginger R., Home Seller, Massachusetts
Wed Dec 12, 2007
DAVE - You have dredged up about 30 old questions, some of them 6 months old, and posted the same answer: "Go to my website." What info on publishing? Your statement on yr website "If you have been to the GetPrequalified.com website you have seen numerous articles posted. This is some of the best spider bait for search engines and optimizing your site" tells it all. You are using legitimate Trulia questions as "spider bait."
Please stop spamming us. It annoys consumers and professionals alike. Oh you are getting exposure, all right. Really negative exposure.
This self promotion is againt community guidelines. In the interest of full disclosure, please change your designation to "Real Estate Very Unprofessional." Basically, that's the message we get from your spam.
Thank you.
0 votes
Debt Free Da…, , 85260
Wed Dec 12, 2007
I publish my own content on my own site and other sites. I have more info on publishing at http://getprequalified.com/forum
0 votes
Connie, , Newport, MI
Mon Nov 19, 2007
Carrie; thank you so much. I think I'm just overwhelmed by everything that is available. Im going to keep it simple and change as needed.
0 votes
Ginger R., Home Seller, Massachusetts
Sun Nov 18, 2007
I am going to expand the question if I may. How important do you find virtual tours on the web site?
I personally don't like them - I find them time consuming. Basically it looks like a camera panning around a photo. I prefer easy access to the photos. However, I hear that these are very impt so I would like to hear from both realtors & consumers if they find them helpful. Is there a typical/avg cost to set up a virtual tour?
0 votes
Carrie Crowe…, Agent, Southaven, MS
Sat Nov 17, 2007
Connie,
There are many of us struggling with this same problem. I have a website, and a domain name. I spend very little time updating and it is one that my company helps supply for us so it is very generic. I don't mind the generic. It is a great site as far as having others come look and see what is going on. It meets all of the necessary requirements. I have gotten a lot more traffic to my site since I have been participating in Trulia Voices, no lie. People just checking me out because I am giving posts....I am still generating activity and that is great. Make sure you have a way of tracking your activity so you know what is working.
0 votes
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