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Real Estate Agent Websites: Why Some Succeed and Some Fail – Miserably

real estate agent websites

Why do some real estate agent websites succeed and some fail – miserably?

This is something I have thought long and hard about. 2012 marks my 11th year in the title industry. As a title rep, It was my job to help real estate professionals – real estate agents and loan officers grow their business.

Years ago my initial consultation with a real estate agent would focus on postcards, flyers, labels, call capture, data lists, geographic farms, databases and of course SERVICE. These were the tools that were available in the industry to help real estate agents. Websites were around but the barrier to entry [cost] was too high for most individual agents. It wasn’t until about 6 years ago that websites really took off in the real estate space. Suddenly, it was possible for every agent – ANY agent to have a website. All they had to do was plunk down their $30-$150 a month and they were dangerous.

Over the years I have heard from many agents that had websites, most of them got no leads from them. They were great to direct consumers to [in their offline marketing] but not so great for search engines. Not so great to get “found”.

Fast forward to 2010 and I was still having the same conversations with real estate agents. 5 years in, at $30-$150 a month and most still didn’t get any leads from their websites. It begs the question: Why do some real estate agent websites succeed and others fail?

There are hundreds of reasons a real estate agent should have a website. Recently I have come to the conclusion that not every real estate agent should have one.  Getting found online, ranking on a search engine like Google , Yahoo, Bing or YouTube is not easy. It takes work. It’s very competitive. There are thousands hundreds of thousands of people  – companies [,,, etc]  trying to rank for the same keywords  and keyword phrases as you.

They are all aiming for 1 of the 10 coveted spaces on the 1st page of search engines like Google. That is where the eyeballs are. Over 90% of them anyway. Over 90% of consumers start their home search online. This is also where many will find their next real estate agent. Will that agent be you? It depends. I’m sure that all real estate agents initially think they will do what it takes to make their website a success. Initially.

The fact is there are some websites that will succeed and some [most] that will fail. It’s Darwinism, “survival of the fittest”. Many real estate agent websites are not – fit. So the logical next question is, “what makes one website successful and another fail?” Good usability, good design and good code are a necessity.  So is unique, dynamic, engaging content with strong and specific calls to action. Everything has to come together seamlessly to make a website succeed. [Craigslist is the only exception :-)]

You have probably heard the term “content is king”. This is true. Without good content there is little for search engines to index. It’s search engines that direct traffic [consumers] to your website. Once these consumers experience your website, the feel of your website, the value  [content] they will come back again and again to hear or see [video] what you have to say.

There are many problems with real estate agent websites, one of the biggest is content. Remember when I said search engines direct consumers to a website largely based upon content? Most real estate agent websites have none – no good, unique, engaging, dynamic content anyway. In fact, most times the content is a copy of a copy of a copy of something else, or even worse…the content is all about the agent – EPIC FAIL.

There is nothing wrong with having a section of your website about you or your team but that is not what will bring a consumer to your site over another. It won’t bring them to you because by and large, consumers don’t look for real estate agents in search engines [there are exceptions to every rule of course]. Consumers look for valuable content. Home prices, home sales, homes for sale, subdivisions, taxes, schools, transportation, short sales, bank owned, what their home is worth, what does it cost to sell a home, what is a title company – why do they need one, homes near jobs, schools, freeways, market forecast etc.

These are some of the things consumers look for online. Properly written [engaging] content could help them find your website – find YOU. The problem is, many real estate agents don’t have time, don’t know HOW, or don’t want to create content. The ones that do most likely have horrible websites  -[poor design, poor code, poor functionality, poor calls to action].

Of course, I have a solution.

I have made it my mission to help real estate agents grow their business. Because over 90% of consumers start their home search on the internet – this is the logicalk place to start. They just need to learn HOW. I teach real estate marketing classes here in Phoenix, let me rephrase that. . .I teach FREE real estate marketing classes here in Phoenix. Come. Learn. and SHIFT you business. I can help.

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Hi I'm Stephen Garner, I'm just a guy in the title industry {in Phoenix} trying to change how real estate agents market themselves and their services. To that end, I teach my clients HOW TO leverage sales technologies like WordPress, Content, Video, Camtasia, Final Cut X, iMovie and indexable IDX solutions to convey value and help your ideal client find you online when they are most interested in learning about you and your services. I work for escrows. Hire me!

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  • Katharine K. Whiting

    Good information, Stephen. I am curious why you don’t provide your phone number in your video or blog…….

  • Katharine K. Whiting

    I do see your phone number in the header at the top of the page but no call to action to call you in the article or video itself and want to understand the strategy behind that….because you do ask them to check you out on your website in both the article and video…

    • Stephen

      The call to action is on the inside pages as that is where anyone that finds me through facebook, twitter, Google, Yahoo or Bing will land. I don’t want anyone to land on the home page.

  • Anonymous

    Hi Katharine, I have my phone # on the home page and in the “about” section. It’s there but it needs to be dug for. Most people that contact me [over 90%] do so via the contact us form, real estate, title company form or email. Most people don’t call.