These days, having a website for your real estate practice is a no-brainer, as are a few components of it: great photography, fresh content, social media links. And, those are fun items to work on. Who doesn’t enjoy lovely pictures of homes?
But for your site to work most effectively, you’ve got to get into the nitty-gritty of technology. Because in spite of your cool social media and the number of followers you have, in spite of how interesting your blog is, if potential buyers and sellers can’t find your site, you won’t be successful.
Let’s take a look at three issues you must harness with skill – no matter how un-sexy they may be – if you’re going to convert leads to sales.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) or indexing. In layman’s terms, all this means is the process of ensuring search engines like Bing and Google can find your site. You want to ensure your website ranks highly enough that when an enterprising potential client searches for local agents, yours pops up high in search results. It’s easier to build a site with SEO in mind rather than adding it to an existing site, but either way, you can still make it work. There are several simple tools for boosting SEO, including social media – link your business profile to your website – or bookmarking it through sites like Delicious. For the more technically minded, create a sitemap on your website’s server that tells search engines when you make changes.
- Full IDX search. IDX is shorthand for Internet Data Exchange, the agreement by which listing and selling agents cross-list properties through the Multiple Listing Service (MLS.) One of, if not the, most prominent feature of your site needs to be a full IDX integration process. Using an IDX provider will cost you a monthly service fee but especially if you are just starting out or with a small company, the simplest way to make you competitive with other sites and to get online leads.
- Google Analytics. Used to be that measuring interest in your products was limited: maybe you could take out a classified newspaper ad and see who called. But today, Google Analytics offers the go-to platform for gauging the effectiveness of your online marketing. You can determine how visitors are finding your site, which pages are driving the most traffic, and which parts are generating the most leads. Don’t be intimidated when starting out: the program takes a little time to learn, but Google offers help pages teaching you how to set up an analytical program and generate reports from it, so you can hone in on the properties generating interest and the type of customers on whom you should focus.
Don’t be intimidated by these tips. Take a deep breath, carve out a chunk of time to focus on learning some tools, and don’t be afraid to ask for help if need be. You’ll be rewarded for your mastery come closing day.