By TAMARA PATZER
STEP 1: Put a little Zip in it!
When you add content to your Website be sure to include your address including city, state and ZIP CODE. Don’t forget to add the City, State, and Zip Code rules for all the areas you serve.
It’s important to include your address information and zip codes because this enables search engines such as Google to match your Website to geographical areas. If Google can’t find you, your potential customers can’t either!
STEP 2: What’s your number?
Not only should your telephone appear on the very first page of your Website, it should be on EVERY PAGE to ensure that your visitor can easily pick up the phone and call you.
Think about your Website visitor. They are cruising through information quickly and if, and only if, something grabs their attention will they stop. It’s vital in today’s fast-action world to have all the information readily available for your potential LEAD/CLIENT now. By placing your contact information, i.e., phone number(s) including your cell phone and email contact on every page, you are accessible immediately. A good place for this information is on the top right hand side of the page because that is the location people have been trained to look for details. We read from left to right, so something placed at the top of the page on the right side will stop their eye momentarily.
STEP 3: TAGS, You’re IT!
Photographs are valuable tools for your Website presence, so why not make them useful in your Search Engine Optimization mission? Most of you probably post photos and videos to your Website to help market your listings and to promote yourself and your agents, but have you “tagged” them? Tagging a photo or video means that you add “text” or written descriptions to them.
When search engines like Google search for information, they are looking for words not images. An untagged photo or video can not be seen by a search engine, so by tagging your photos and videos with written description, you have just increased your odds of being discovered and ranked higher in search-engine rankings. This in turn allows more people to find you when they look for information about real estate in your area.
What to include in a “Tag”
When tagging a photo or video, be sure to include the basic information about the photo. For example, if the photo is of a house, it should include the address, city, state, zip code and contact information for more details. Tip: When tagging, you can use the copy/paste function to copy tags to related photos, ie., photos of the same property. Note: Some MLS listing services don’t allow the name of the agent to be posted on the video that is provided and viewed on the MLS service website, but there probably is not a rule about promoting yourself on your own non-MLS fed Website. Check your local area real estate board for information.
STEP 4: Address the Issues
When producing a videotape of your property listings, or any other type of videotape (perhaps for YouTube) be sure to include your contact information.
When you add your contact information to the videotape production and tag it, you have just increases the odds of search engines and potentials clients finding you in the WORLD WIDE WEB…
STEP 5: Become the Expert in Town!
Remember, your Website is an extension of you. Don’t think of the people visiting your site as a lead, but as a person who is seeking information. With this in mind, think about information about your area that you can share with a newcomer. For example, where do they go to get the power turned on? Good places to eat? School information? Doctors and Hospital information? Become the resource!
You are a human being first, a REALTOR® second. Use your Website as a tool to provide quality information that matters to the people of your community. Soon you will be the “go-to” person for local information and the expert next door who can offer big savings on real estate transactions.
STEP 6: Making the Right Connections
Links to Community Resources
Be careful about linking to local information sites.
By linking to a community resource such as a Chamber of Commerce, you might be sending your visitor off to another site where there are paid advertisements for other real estate agents just waiting for your customer to forget how he/she arrived at the site in the first place. Your goal is to keep them on your Website and to keep them coming back for information time and time again.
STEP 7: Keep It Simple!
You will notice that the Help-U-Sell® corporate and broker Website Homepages are clean and easy to use. It’s important that your Website be easy to view and use.
People visit a real estate Website for many reasons, but mainly they visit to find information about properties for sale, local community information and financing. So once you have provided that information, your visitor will be happy to find their questions answered in one, easy-to-to use location: your Website.
STEP 8: Virtual Networking
Virtual networking or social media is fast becoming the preferred “networking” tool to engage people online to later lead to offline or personal networking.
Social media sites like Facebook LinkedIn, and Twitter are becoming common ways for people to make connections for both business and pleasure. Often these virtual encounters lead to in-person appointments or “Meet-Ups.” A Meet-Up is a networking event that is held for people of common interests. Check it out at meetup.com.
It’s Not Always About Business!
There is an important thing to understand about social media and meet-ups and other Internet generated introductions. Even though you are in the business of real estate and you do hope to meet people who will eventually do business with you. It is not JUST about real estate and business. Don’t join a real estate meet-up group just because you’re an agent. Why not join a local hiking group because you like to hike in the mountains or walk on the area beaches? Do things you enjoy and you will find people with common interests who will think of you when the time comes to buy or sell a new home.
STEP 9: Time is of the Essence!
We’ve all heard the time worn phrase: “Time is of the Essence!” Well, here what we mean is that you need to make time to get your Website and Internet presence up-to-date! First, like anything worthwhile, it takes more time to set something up than to maintain it! So take an hour a week to keep your Website fresh with up-to-date information.
To keep people coming back to you either on your Website or Facebook account, you have to have something new, exciting and different happening. Maybe your Facebook page has the latest real estate news or community news posted there. Maybe you have a blog that has your take on the new restaurant in town. Maybe you are the source for information about local sporting events or town meetings. The point is that you need to take time to keep your Website and social media accounts the place to go for solid, real-time information. Again, make time to make a dime.