Real estate companies are fighting to keep agents from defecting to their rivals and are in a constant battle of trying to prove the value of their brand to attract new agents. Now more than ever, companies are pushing out more and more “offerings” for their agents to try and prove they are the leader, the innovative face of the future of real estate. Low cost (or even free) agent websites are the latest trend and perfect example.
As an independent contractor and small business owner, you should never rely too heavily on your brokerage for their technology or marketing support — especially your website. At the end of the day, real estate companies have little loyalty to the majority of their agents; unless you’re a top producer, most brokerages will care less about your success as long you keep paying the quarterly agent dues. Yet, real estate companies continue to promise more to their agents, especially when it comes to technology like email marketing or agent websites (and usually with nice profit for them). While it may seem convenient to save $20 – $50 a month by signing up for the template agent website offered by your broker, the truth is it could be extremely costly to your business, especially as time goes on.
You invest thousands of dollars into your business as a real estate agent in marketing, branding, stationery, signage, promotional materials and more, so when it comes to a public facing and important marketing tool like your website, you shouldn’t cut too many corners. In this article I’ll share the top 5 reasons why you should never buy your website from your real estate company or broker, and what to do instead.
Real estate company or IDX company real agent websites feel exactly like that — like the company that provides them and not you. For your main domain and most visited website, you don’t want to come across like every other agent. You want to be able to customize and invest more in the site as your business grows. One of the most important things to realize is that when we talk about design, it isn’t just about the colors or fonts. What information do you want to capture in your lead forms? What images or videos do you want to feature on your homepage — listings or lifestyle? What if you want to additional pages or sections, or build referral partnerships with area businesses? Without having control of how you want to tell your story in a visual way, you could risk coming across as everyone else to new clients, or not evolving or growing as an agent to current ones.
When you don’t have full access and own your website, you don’t have the ability to unlock powerful online marketing tools. For your primary site with REALA, we give you the ability to install what are called “conversion tags” so you can see results from online marketing campaigns on Facebook or with GoogleAds. It also gives you the ability to run online display and retargeting banner and video campaigns so you can stay top of mind with your site visitors. When you get that listing presentation you’ve been waiting for, you want to be able to show your client besides your company marketing offerings, you also have the ability to execute your own online marketing campaigns and provide results (and reports).
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is how you can get more traffic to your website and make sure your website appears how you want it to when people are searching. Generic template sites from online IDX or real estate companies don’t give you access to update or manage the metadata and control the content that is needed for good SEO. REALA websites give you full SEO control on every page of your website, including giving you a blog. Many broker sites will “iFrame” or embed their own company blog on all their agent websites, essentially giving them more SEO benefits that helping your own site increase in search engine rankings. If you are serious about trying to make sure your website appears at the top of page 1 in google without spending money, a blog is an absolute must and if you don’t have the option to add one on your site, you can’t grow.
What If You Leave?
One of the more obvious reasons, yes, but still one of the biggest reasons why you should never buy your agent website from the company you work for is what if you want to leave the company. Life and business changes, and talk to most agents who have been in the business and they’ll tell you they’ve switched brokerages at least once or gone through some company merger/transformation. When this happens, you essentially start from scratch in terms of your own web “real estate.” This can be catastrophic to your search engine optimization and how people find you when searching the web. Not to mention you then have to deal with building a completely new site·instead of just changing out a logo and some text.
No Control Over Security
Many broker sites do not provide SSL Encryption — this is the little green light in your browser window. It shows your visitor that your site is encrypted, including form submissions. It’s also an important factor in Google’s eyes, so it impacts your search engine optimization. If you don’t have an SSL, you should get one.
If you’re intersted in learning more about REALA agent website, sign up for REALA for Free!
Or email us an firstname.lastname@example.org.