Technology Trends from the NAR Conference: Part 3 – Low Cost Agent Sites

Technology Trends from the NAR Conference: Part 3 – Low Cost Agent Sites

Welcome to the third in our series of technology trends from the NAR Conference held earlier this week in San Diego.

In Part 1, we wrote about how more and more website providers are offering realtors a mobile presence. In Part 2, we looked at the continued existence of video and virtual tours and discussed the relative merits of using them. In this article, we will look at the low cost websites being offered to realtors in the US and discuss whether they are worth the investment.

All realtors (agents, brokers and offices) should have their own websites. The website should be simple to use, have a clear call to action (i.e. get a lead from a visitor), and most importantly be optimised for SEO – after all this is free traffic. Finally, the web address (URL) for your site should also be simple and easy to remember.

When I look at realtor sites around the web, many of them extol the virtues of the realtor rather than the realtor’s listings. The home page has pictures of the smiling realtor and some text about why the realtor is great. However, if you look at why someone would contact a realtor, it is usually to buy or sell a house. Therefore, it is important that the realtor use the listings to entice the customers and then factually talk about their performance and why the customer should use the realtor.

In the US, there is the MLS – a market place where buyer’s agents and seller’s agents meet to match buyers with sellers. Therefore, if you are an agent in the US, your website can automatically have all the listings in an area even if you are not the seller’s agent or you don’t have any listings at all. Therefore a realtor’s website is very important as it can, in theory, compete with, and in your local market.

At the NAR Conference there were many different website providers offering fully customisable websites with all the latest gadgets from as little as $29 per month. These sites provide a good range of choice for the agent and even come with a mobile site.

This seems to be an incredibly good deal until you look beneath the covers. Firstly, the providers often offer a limited range of templates. This means that there is a chance that another realtor in your area will have a similar site. Secondly, you are limited to the functionality offered by the provider and adding new customised functionality on top of what is already offered may be a little costly. Finally, and most importantly, the quality of the SEO applied to the site is limited to the same quality applied to all sites by the same provider.

Taking all these concerns into account, for most realtors these template driven solutions are often the best. They allow the realtor to create a web presence quickly and easily and most importantly at a low cost.

1 Comment to Technology Trends from the NAR Conference: Part 3 – Low Cost Agent Sites

  1. November 19, 2009 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    Hey Simon
    Any particular provider at NAR that stood above others?

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