The fall season tends to beckon a new interest in real estate when kids start school, holidays roll in and would-be home buyers take interest in real estate now, with action in the spring of next year.
If you haven’t started building your real estate web presence yet, or you’ve put it on the back burner, now is the time to take a second look so you can begin making contact with buyers before they purchase next year. Here are five ways to start building your internet presence today:
1. Choose a niche – We all know you can’t be all things to all people, so look back on your real estate career and uncover what types of home buyers or sellers you enjoy working with. For example, if you have 50 new home listings, you’ll want to position your website as the new home resource for your local area by writing blog posts and sharing videos/photos of new homes.
Share your expertise on the pros/cons of new homes and offer your website visitors an inside look at what new home sales are like behind the scenes. Website visitors will love this, and it will help cement your reputation as the local new home expert online.
2. Plan out your website promotion and strategy using mind mapping – I love using mind mapping, which is the concept of starting off with a core idea and branching sub-ideas off that idea. You can continue to grow your ideas off of those sub-ideas, and in no time you’ll have 20+ ideas that all grew from one core idea. One of my favorite tools for mind mapping is a Mac app called MindNode Pro, but you can just as easily mind map using a large piece of paper and pen.
3. Host your website on WordPress.com or use a self-hosted service – If you’re completely new to websites, signing up for a free WordPress.com blog is a great way to get started without having to learn all the techno wizardry associated with building a website/blog. Self-hosted services like Dreamhost and GoDaddy are ideal for agents/brokers who already have some knowledge of website building and will give you much more flexibility when building your website. All of the above services will make it easy for you to complete our next step.
4. Choose a domain name and buy it now – Your domain name (in our blog’s case it’s bhgrealestateblog.com,) will be one way home buyers and sellers find your web presence and make contact with you. Since this is the most memorable part of your web presence, it should be short and sweet.
Look for domains that are 3-4 words maximum, and try to avoid connector words (in, and, the, of, etc.) and hyphens in your domain name. The services listed in point #3 above all offer ways to get your domain name to point to their services quickly.
5. Begin getting the word out there about your website – Once you’ve started writing, photographing and sharing videos about your niche (point #1), planned your website launch strategy (point #2), hosted your domain (points #3 and #4,) it’s time to begin promoting what you’ve been working on. Facebook and Twitter offer the least expensive and most effective means of sharing content about your local area so start with them.
Tip: Be careful not to over promote your blog to your Facebook friends and Twitter followers. When first starting, you may want to share one blog post per week and move up from there. If you’re very active on both networks, I recommend linking your blog updates to your accounts as you’ll likely have enough non-business updates to balance out your business updates.
You can link your blog to your Facebook account using a tool like NetworkedBlogs and on Twitter with a service like TwitterFeed. Beyond social networks, consider advertising your website/blog using Google’s AdWords service, which puts your sponsored ads above and to the right of relevant search results. Before jumping into AdWords, I highly recommend reading up on how to save money by optimizing your AdWords campaigns. One of my favorite books on this topic is AdWords For Dummies by Howie Jacobson.