My Thursday blog entry starts with some homework. Review your website and your competitors and ask this question – Is your site a destination for unique information or just another website serving your area? This is a topic I have spoken about several times before but as more and more websites and your competitors are coming online what does your site actually offer compared to the rest. I read a very interesting blog post by the great SEO guru, Aaron Wall earlier this week that got me thinking. The header and topic of the post, “You Must Build a Destination if You Want to Create a Fully Valued Sustainable Business Worth Buying” spoke directly to individuals trying to leverage their websites to potential buyers and investors. This topic, while not directly speaking to real estate websites, presented an important issue confronting realtors in the online market. I am sure your competitors tried to put up a site as soon as they found out you had one, more so they probably reviewed your site and pillaged. So with all of the same websites out there what does your site offer? My advice is to take a step back and try not to directly compete with the copy cats out there. Lazy people are always trying the quick fix and will soon realize they aren’t going to get anywhere with rankings or retaining visitors unless they offer something different. This is where you as a site owner have the upper hand. If you are willing to put the work into your site, have some patience with your natural rankings, and dedicate funds into online marketing visitors will come and come in droves over time.
The term “Destination” presented earlier is an obtainable goal for your site. You don’t want to be just another website; you want to be a destination. When thinking about real estate websites I am sure Zillow and Trulia come to mind. They have the ability to dominate the national market. They present themselves as destination sites, but do you know you can as well? If you look at what visitors are actually offered for the most part they are all the same: listings, pricing, and images. I am pretty sure your site offers these as well.
You can compete with the big boys. A national website doesn’t know or have the experience you can offer visitors. In smaller markets and even in your area the playing field is level. These destination sites offer the same thing as you do, but in your market you have the competitive advantage. You have relationships with brokers, builders, and even other agents to take care of potential clients on a personal level. Your site needs to speak to these strengths, but more so it is time to think of your site as a destination for everything related to real estate in your area. Start doing your homework on your site and for helpful tips on an outdated website please take a look at this previous blog entry.