When the first online residential real estate transaction was completed in the early 90s, few would have predicted that the internet would become the place for generating leads. Yet today, an even smaller number of people would doubt that fostering a strong online presence is an essential component of a real estate agent’s business development.
The reason why is clear: according to NAR’s Real Estate in a Digital Age 2019 (PDF) report, in 2018 44 percent of all prospective home buyers searched online for properties for sale as their first step taken during the home buying process.
Clearly, having your own place online to market your business (and your brand) is no longer the nice-to-have vanity addition to your strategy it may have once been. While we’ve previously covered how to generate more real estate leads from your website, it’s important that real estate professionals are aware of the best practices for getting the right viewers to their websites in the first place.
Below, we put together a few of common mistakes made by agents eager to build their online presence, along with some tips for how to correct them.
Start a blog just to have one.
Start a blog that you can personalize and keep current.
According to research by web hosting company HostingTribunal.com, there are more than 500 million blogs online. While that number may shock you, it makes sense: a blog is the perfect medium for just about anyone looking to share something with the world. Blogs are especially useful for real estate professionals, who gain a prominent canvas on which to paint a vivid image of their market, their business and themselves.
Blogs are also a great way to generate traffic to your website – and leads. But a blog that only features outdated, shared content not only won’t do much for encouraging prospects to visit your website, it could actively harm your brand. That’s why it’s important that you have a consistent publishing schedule. It’s also vital that you personalize the blog by sharing your own insight and thoughts not only on real estate and the market, but also on the things that are important to you. There are few things more boring than a blog that only features shared content from elsewhere – make sure your voice comes through in your blog!
Tips for success:
- Timeliness is everything! Use your blog to share your personal commentary on relevant topics that matter to your audience.
- Build – and keep to – a blog calendar. This will not only help you ensure that you have a consistent pattern of posting, it’ll also allow you to easily refer to past posts and topics.
Inundate your social media followers with links to your website.
Integrate website promotion judiciously into your broader social media strategy, including links to your website.
As we’ve discussed, social media has become just as much of an essential lead generation tool for real estate agents as websites have long been. Like having a blog, however, it’s important that your social media presence is maintained according to best practices.
Nobody likes spam and if you’ve been on social media for long enough, it’s a near certainty that you’ve seen some, regardless of the platform. While it’s totally understandable that you’d want to highlight your website on social media at every opportunity you get, it’s important that you show restraint with how frequently it shows up in your posts.
Tips for success:
- Be a good neighbor and share other sites, too. While that may seem counterintuitive if your goal is to gain traffic to your website, your social media followers will appreciate that you’re providing a diversity of resources. Better still, if the owners of the sites you share have social media presences of their own, they may reciprocate and share your site with their followers!
- Just like with your blog, a content calendar can do wonders for charting your social media strategy, helping you track when you’re sharing your website – and the other topics you share. You can even search online for “free social media content calendar template” to get started with a ready-made spreadsheet.
Take part in “keyword stuffing” to try to have your website show up in searches more prominently.
Incorporate the right keywords into the text of your webpages, based on the principles of search engine optimization (SEO).
The algorithms used by major search engines like Google to rank search results are ever-changing, but they follow the same basic principle: the first sites that appear for a given search term are those that the search engine provider deem to be the most relevant for the term, largely based on the text of a given page. Simple, right?
Unfortunately, many take that idea to mean that the best way to appear early on in search results for a given term is to use that keyword inordinately, even where it’s not relevant – hence, “keyword stuffing.” While that may have worked in the early days of the internet, search engines are far more intelligent these days and will penalize you for any perceived stuffing.
While we could provide an entire blog on the principles of SEO and still not cover the true extent of what it encompasses, the basic thing to know is that you should incorporate the keywords relevant to your business within engaging, suitably detailed content; ensure you’re providing concise, relevant titles to your pages; use descriptive URLs; and link to additional resources from other sites.
Tips for success:
- Go to the source. Google’s Webmaster Guidelines is an excellent resource for breaking down how you can make your site the best it can be.
- Ask an expert. There’s no shortage of free SEO articles and services online that can help you get started as you develop a site that will rise in in search result rankings.
Have questions about ShowingTime products and services? The sales team is a great resource to describe how our products help you manage showings, feedback, reporting, recruiting and more – giving you time to spend on your blog. Click the button below to reach out, we’d be happy to answer your questions today.