How to Choose the Right Website for Your Target Market
Websites – What Kind of a Website Should I Get?
What kind of website do you need to have?
What kind of website do you want to have?
Before you answer either of those questions the first step to choosing a website is to find out:
- Who is your avatar?
- Who is your ideal client?
- Who is your target market?
- What are they hungry for?
The famous copywriter Gary Halbert would ask his students:
“If you were to open a restaurant what would be the single most important factor for your success?”
The students would give answers like:
- have the best tasting hamburgers
- offer the highest quality ingredients
- have better service than the other nearby restaurants
Gary Halbert would say they were all wrong.
What you need is a bunch of HUNGRY customers!!!!
It is the same thing with opening up a website.
You need to be in front of the customers that want something that you have to offer.
If you have these words at the top of your website:
“Our real estate company works with integrity and we are honest” Who cares? I am not saying that people want to work with crooked salespeople but that is just not what they are hungry for when they are searching on the internet.
I highly doubt this is the search being put into google right now by buyers and sellers:
” hard working honest real estate agent full of integrity in Wellington Florida ..”
You MUST first and foremost KNOW what resonates with your avatar, what is she or he really looking for? What kind of information do they crave that they are not finding on the other sites?
Choose a website design that serves a purpose not your ego.
The biggest mistake that REALTORS® make is they go out to buy a website BEFORE they even know who their target market is. They buy a website based on what THEY like!
Get over yourself. Your website is not about what you like and want unless it is your vanity page.
If you are going to choose a website for your ideal customers – do your research and find out what they want the site to look like.
Don't buy websites because your other real estate friends are buying a certain site. Don't buy websites and pay for high design fees just to look pretty on the internet. That is a recipe for disaster. When agents hire me to coach them many of them have spent over $10,000 on websites that will never rank in Google or be very very hard to rank.
Make sure that your site is mobile friendly.
There are millions of websites that are not mobile friendly now. It has become such a problem that Google is actually sending out emails to website owners to warn them that their websites are not mobile friendly. Read more on this post I wrote about Google sending out mobile friendly notices.
If you are starting all over again or are at the stage of choosing a website there are different options and most of those options now have a mobile friendly version that is a click of a button and some edits. There is no reason to have to pay for two websites, one that is mobile friendly and one for computer screens. A small upgrade in price for custom designed sites to add on the mobile compatibilities is normal.
Choose the website platform that is going to resonate with your avatar and be easy for you to use and add content to on the blog page at least.
There are many different platforms and we have tried most of them. After using different platforms and with Mary McKnight's design input when she was here – these are the best suggestions we have:
1. Custom designed wordpress sites that are high end and highly functional will cost you around $6,000 and up. We know a fabulous custom designer for this area of design- Inna Hardison. Not all agents need a site such as this because not all consumers are looking for this style of a site. Let me know if you need an introduction.
2. Semi-custom designed wordpress sites that you can build yourself or have us build for you. If you want to build your own site with a very flexible theme that can have the blog page running down the home page or on a blog page and then have a home page design with a call to action- these will run you around $2,900.
You will need to have your own hosting account on Bluehost, not godaddy. You can get a hosting account for a very low price. I have seen sales at about $3.95 per month which you pay annually.
This style of site works well in Luxury niche markets and to market to sellers. We do not use IDX on our sites anymore. Instead of a lot of pages of unimportant content and duplicate content from IDX providers- we use home search widgets that serve a higher purpose.
Here is a screenshot of one of the websites that I designed for a REALTOR® in North Carolina:
Her home search widgets go right to her Market Leader site where she can capture them in her Market Leader CRM. That way, everything is in one place, saving a lot of time, effort and money.
The website is not totally finished yet. I am still waiting for items from her in order to finish the site.
Here is a brand new site that I am currently building for a REALTOR® in Canada. Again, the focus on this site is for sellers to contact him. Here is a screenshot of the home page which is the only page nearly completed at this time.
We re-designed his sell my home page and turned that into a squeeze page.
A squeeze page has ONLY one call to action and NO menu bar or navigation to be able to click around. The purpose is to either get the person to call you or give his email address. The email address part is not functional yet. They had a very outdated website before we started this one:
The only cost to these websites is your design services and then yearly hosting fees and on the back end you should have a CRM or at least a place where the visitors land for their home search. You can use RealBird for this as well. Many of you have direct MLS home search widgets that you can use and will do the job just fine.
3. DIY yourself Themes in WordPress: you can build your own websites if you have the time and some eye for color and design.
- Don't use FREE themes UNLESS they are the ones that wordpress offers- You get what you pay for here. Most developers who create free themes do not keep up with updates for security breaches. They put out a free theme and rarely update it. If you have a very old free theme it is most likely not mobile friendly and also may have been hacked. However, the free themes you get when you install wordpress on your hosting account- the “twenty-thirteen” and “twenty-twelve” are safe. They are consistently updated and they are also mobile-friendly.
- Don't buy a theme expecting that when you upload the zip file to your wordpress account that the theme will look like the one you saw before you paid for it!!! That was the toughest lesson I learned. I spend hundreds of dollars over the years buying themes that I was hoping would be ones that I could just add my photos to and it would look like the demo site. Unless you know some html language or some CSS you are not going to have it be looking the same way as the demo.
The theme that I recommend for faster building is ThriveThemes. ThriveThemes has a very nice variety of themes that you can purchase very inexpensively. They also have a wordpress plugin that you can purchase and edit all your themes in a visual drag and drop format that is quick to learn and easy to implement.
Shane, the developer is from Sweden and is very exacting and methodical in his design and applications. He provides great tutorials on how to use his themes and he also have a membership forum where you can ask questions about how to do this and that. The team is very responsive. I always get an answer back within a few hours with our time difference. I suggest the yearly membership because it is very very low cost but high support and also you can use ALL of his themes within your membership and the WP plugin.
Here it the link to go to to get ThriveThemes: Thrive Themes WordPress Website Builder
(I am an affiliate of this product.)
4. Wix Websites: Wix had a great Super Bowl ad this year. If you want something simple and fast, then Wix sites may just be for your audience.
Wix sites are in html5 and with just a couple of tweaks to their mobile friendly site you have a great looking site. Wix sites are templated sites with full customization options that you just drag and drop, hold handles to resize and a lot more. You can customize to your heart's content or be very simple.
The sites are free but for SEO you need to upgrade from the free version. You also need to upgrade if you are going to use your own domain name. The hosting is very reasonable. It runs about $8 per month when you wait for a holiday sale. They offer their sites for 50% off on holidays.
Click here to learn more about creating your own Wix website.
Here is a screenshot of a website I created in Wix for a dentist. He is already getting patients from this website and it was just completed a couple of weeks ago.
Here is the link to his site if you want to browse the menu tabs and see how the rest of the pages were built: http://BestBoyntonBeachDentist.com
You can build these yourself but if you want us to build one for you – the pricing is based on what you want on your website. The site prices for us to build one start at $997.00.
5. If your audience is only buyers, if you are a buyer's agent then you can start with a very inexpensive site at Placester.com at only $10 per month.
The placestor option offer templated clean designs for you to choose from. There is no customization available and you can not add a bunch of widgets etc to the sites. But heck, you can't beat that price!!! It does include a blog page. They have a library of content that you can add to your site but I don't recommend that at all- it will dilute the authority of your website. Create your own content!
Your MLS gets pulled in through their home search results pages and of course, your MLS must approve the site. You can use domain names that you already own on the site.
This is also a great option if you want to test a specific niche market before you spend money on site design.
Here is a screenshot of the home page of the placester site that we just started:
Now that you have chosen which website you are going to run with get ALL of your content together at one time.
The biggest complaint that REALTORS® have about web designers is that their sites are unfinished. Most of the time, the agents have not provided necessary items that are requested by the web designer. Make sure you stop and take the time to put together the items that you will need.
Here is a partial list:
- Your Logo
- Your mobile phone number you want prospects to call you on – include area code
- Your photo in high resolution and in a png or jpg file format
- Your company Logo if your company requires it
- Your company broker name and company name per state requirements
- Your company address per state requirements if applicable in your state
- Your geo market! I can't tell you how many times that is not provided. We can't read minds:).
- Images that YOU have taken or you have the license to use of homes typical of your area and the price points of your avatar
- Images of your community- parks, shopping centers, etc.
- Your community information
- Your email address and fax number
- Your social platform links
That is a partial list but it is always good to have all of those items in a folder labeled with your name on google drive.
Now you are off to a great start with getting your new website!!
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