Real estate website design and business consulting is still one of my favorites at Kool Web Dezign. Building a website for a brokerage office or for an individual agent is so interesting because site owners have varying levels of e-skills, design tastes, spheres of influence, marketing objectives, and more. It is so important to capture the personality of a website owner in their new web-based presence. My message to all of you real estate agents and brokers is to be aware that making an investment in a website is not a one-time expense of a few hundred or even a few thousand dollars. Sure, you may choose to launch a static brochure-like website. There are many websites that simply offer some general information about an agent and their affiliated real estate office along with phone number, email address, contact us form, and maybe even a Google map. Today, we can dynamically feed your website with an IDX data feed, and this feed will automatically populate your site with real estate listings from your market area along with advanced search features. My challenge to all of you new real estate website owners today is to plan to actively integrate your site with the social media. You need to be creatively preparing new content that is engaging to your sphere of influence, and you need to create natural inbound traffic to your site from this sphere of influence. If you want to build your customer base beyond your existing customers and personal friends, you are going to need to consider advertising. You should be building landing pages in the social media including pages on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and more. You need an advertising budget that will build your audience in the social media, and you need an advertising budget for Google Adwords which will drive more traffic from Google to your new site.
Does this sound overwhelming? Maybe, it is a little, but it is simply a roadmap of what it takes to build a website that is going to be a successful tool that will drive the growth of your real estate business. You need strategies that will successfully build your audience, drive this audience to your website, convert these visitors to new prospects, and finally convert these prospects to clients. Your website should be the primary tool that will drive this success, but your website must also be built properly to monitor these activities and to quantify your activities for costs and return-on-investment. Work with us at Kool Web Dezign and we will help you identify the key performance indicators (KPIs) that can be identified in your new website. We will then help you make HTML changes with tags that will monitor and measure these KPIs using Google Analytics and other tools. By measuring your KPIs, you will be able to establish and to measure customer conversion goals, advertising costs, client acquisition costs, and finally return on your advertising budget. For more detailed information about search engine optimization with Kool Web Dezign, please visit our SEO Strategy - SEO is Dead! page.
So, is SEO really dead? Not completely. It remains vitally important to have clear and accurate HTML markup with the delivery of your web content. Your HTML markup should be keyword rich, you should have unique meta titles, and you should have unique H1 tags on all of your pages. The meta titles and the H1 tags will be the primary target of the search engine robot for identification of the primary keywords on your page. Other content on the page should clearly enhance the definition of the primary keywords; but pages should never, ever be over-stuffed with these keywords. Page content today must be engaging to your human visitors. Google is watching your site for where your visitors are coming from, how long they remain engaged on your landing page, how many other pages that a visitor might visit during the same session. And most importantly Google monitors for whether or not your visitors are returning to your site. So, by the statement, "SEO is Dead!", I simply mean that SEO is clearly not what it was a decade or two ago. Google wants to maximize its own customer satisfaction, and we all know from our own search experience with Google that the bad sites seem to be gone. Google's brand depends on its robots returning quality content to its customers' search results. Google's search algorithms are so good today that you must be managing and running your new website every day like you would manage and run any portion of your brick-and-mortar business.
An investment in building your presence on the web requires a regular commitment. Only your budget can determine what level of investment that should be. Here is a real good article from Placester.com entitled, The Real Estate Agent's Guide to Setting an Advertising Budget. Statistics show that the average real estate agent spends approximately $200 per month and earns $42K per year. While we can help you at Kool Web Dezign, it is so important that any site owner assume primary control of their personal advertising strategy and the measurement of its success. We never take this away from you. Instead, we work as a partner and ultimately train you to manage your own advertising strategies. For starters, we always recommend doing some advertising with Google Adwords and also with Facebook. You can expand from their but these two giants are a must and their tools make the advertising EASY!.
New Real Estate Websites by Kool Web Dezign
If you are newly entering the world of developing a new website for your real estate business, we are likely going to steer you toward registering your new domain name with GoDaddy.com. Once your domain name is registered, we will also recommend to you that you create a new hosting account and to purchase an SSL certificate for your new website. Watch for GoDaddy promotions during the registration process. They often offer promotional packages that will significantly reduce your start-up investment in the hosting platform. Are you unsure as to what type of hosting account to choose from? Well we will recommend that you start your first website using the WordPress platform. So, you should choose the Linux hosting platforms, and I find that just about any start-up website will work very well on the Economy hosting platform at GoDaddy. Kool Web Dezign is registered with GoDaddy as a PRO Consultant, so this means that we can assist you with you GoDaddy purchases. We can send you an invite via GoDaddy which will allow you to grant us access to the management of your account, and you can select whether or not we have purchase authority or not. Unsure, you do not have to grant us purchase authority since it is quite simple for us to configure a recommended GoDaddy shopping cart and allow you to authorize the final purchase. This is a very "kool" and exciting new feature that GoDaddy built-in to simplify the process of allowing inexperienced account owners to share their control panel with experienced developers while not relinquishing the ownership rights of your domain, hosting account, and SSL certificate. Talk to us at Kool Web Dezign. We will help you set-up and create your new real estate website at entry level prices as low as $399.
Real Estate Website Design Updates
Are you already established with an existing real estate website and need fresh new updates? Is your website responsive to mobile platforms offering an optimized user experience on tablets and cell phones? Do you know if the HTML markup on your website is Google-friendly? Is your website being delivered via secure HTTPS protocol? These are all important design considerations for any website today, particularly today's real estate websites. Your real estate buying and selling customers are visiting the web today from their phones like never before. Websites that are not designed to be mobile-responsive are being penalized and tossed-aside by Google in favor of those websites that are mobile friendly. Website security is of utmost importance to Google as well, and Google is now taking action to favor sites which have been fully converted to HTTPS delivery. Websites which have been secured via SSL are less "hackable" and the cost today is very insignificant. Talk to us today at Kool Web Dezign. We have make-over packages for your website priced as low as $299.
HTML Audit for Search Engine Optimization
Trust me ... many WordPress and other distributed themes are NOT Google-friendly, even the premium themes. They may look pretty but the hidden symantic markup strategies often require some correction. There are lots of out-dated practices out there that have carried over on WordPress from a decade or more ago. Work with us at Kool Web Dezign and we will help you understand where your website needs improvement in order to satisfy Google's new design recommendations. It is very common to find multiple H1 tags within WordPress themes and often an H1 tag is deployed around your site logo. This is very improper HTML markup that needs attention. There should be a single H1 tag on each and every page and along with the page meta title, these tags should contain the primary keywords that identify the page for possible return within a potential customer query on the search engines like Google. Look further into a WordPress theme which claims to be search engine optimized and you will also likely find H3 tags used to identify the sections of your site with no H2 tags used anywhere on the page. This is also improper symantic HTML markup and requires correction. Let us help you at Kool Web Dezign.
Social Media Integration for Real Estate Websites
Connect a Real Estate Website with a Facebook Page
At Kool Web Dezign, we recommend that all real estate websites be connected to a Facebook page. Realtors can connect to personal pages but you will likely find that you will disturb your friends quickly. Facebook will allow you to create your own page which is specialized to attract and to engage a real estate buying and selling audience that is interested in your promotional activities. Create your new Facebook page and Kool Web Dezign can help you connect your website with this page so that you can automatically push/pull content to/from your Facebook page. The challenge with the creation of any new page is that you will have NO audience when you create your new page. But, this is where your business building skills begin. You want to create that new audience from scratch. Of course you can selectively invite some friends who can actively participate in the growth of your business. You can also start some Facebook advertising and my experience is that it costs about a $1 per like. Invest about $30 per month (or more) with Facebook and watch your audience grow.
Connect a Real Estate Website to a LinkedIn Page
If you are a real estate brokerage, you will likely want to create a presence on LinkedIn. Some agents would like to do so as well. Doing so will allow you to engage with new prospects for sales agents as well as for managing brokers. LinkedIn now has an awesome advertising package, much like the one available via Facebook. You can display banner ads but it is also quite simple to expand your audience with LinkedIn simply by asking others to connect with you. KoolWebDezign can then integrate automated scripts which will push/pull content both to/from your LinkedIn page. Pprepare yourself to write quality professional posts on your new WordPress website and publishing this new post is only a click of a button away. Once you post your new content to LinkedIn or other social media site, your hope is to engage your audience with an invite to come and visit your site. Hopefully that visitor sticks around on your site, reads, and Google sees this activity as a quality visitor to your site. This improves your ranking with Google and Google may be more likely to deliver a link to this page to search engine visitors.
Search Engine Optimization of a Real Estate Website
I invited you above to visit an article SEO Strategy - SEO is Dead!. I also advised above that effective search engine optimization requires a monthly commitment to the management and implementation of your online marketing strategies. You are going to need to establish a budget for this. The tough part is that this is the cold hard truth if you want your new website to be effective. You need to budget a monthly advertising budget and this can be a small one to start. You also need to retain an effective strategist, like us at KoolWebDezign.
WordPress Plugin for Real Estate IDX Websites
Kool Web Dezign now offers a new WordPress plugin that offers a host of features targeted for the management of a real estate website. Our plugin will completely automate the integration of IDX data services as published by the New England Real Estate Network (NEREN), and soon more. NEREN is the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) provider to real estate brokers and agents throughout New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine and parts of Massachusetts. Use of this plugin is restricted to properly licensed real estate salespersons and brokers, and further requires a paid monthly subscription for hosting and technical support. This plugin features a Google map-based search and allows for convenient user registration via Facebook login. A logged-in user can save their real estate search criteria and mark favorite listings. A logged-in user can then authorize email notification and/or text messages for property listing data sheets, new listings, price changes, open houses and more. MLS property data will automatically SYNC with your WordPress website via WP CRON. Expired property listings will deliver a custom 404 page which delivers the new HTTP 451 "Unavailable for Legal Reasons" response code to Google. This 451 response maintains ideal search engine optimization of your website, eliminating the typical 404 "Page Not Found" response. We have now integrated social media auto-posting into our newest release of this plugin. You can configure auto-posting of your MLS listing pages to Facebook and Twitter. Want to actively engage new sales agents for employment with your office? We automate the posting of your special WordPress posts for this use case as well. Our IDX plugin now even features a new Google Analytics dashboard and enables convenient visualization of your website performance to administrative users and content editors.
== Features Overview ==
- Full NEREN IDX data support.
- Dynamic Google Map Display and Advanced Search.
- Facebook Login and Social Graph Integration.
- Google Tag Manager Configuration.
- MLS Property Listing SYNC via WP CRON.
- Photo Gallery via Pretty Photo.
- Custom Property Listing Landing Pages with Unique Page Titles and H1 tags.
- RSS Feed with New Listings, Open Houses, and SOLD Property Listings.
- Social Media Auto Post to Faccebook, Twitter, and LinkedIN.
- Registered User - Email/Text Notifications.
- Customer Lead Capture and Email Campaign Manager.
- Google Analytics in WordPress Dashboard.
- Facebook Property Search APP (coming soon).
- Custom 404 page with HTTP 451 response code.