As I was writing yet another post on my home blog last week, it occurred to me that the blog itself is a loss leader. Trying to quantify the return I see for the time I invest is difficult at best – several Canadian clients have commented on the information I have onsite dedicated to their special circumstances – but at the end of the day, my greatest return comes from what would seem like an unlikely source:
Static webpages. Welcome back to Real Estate 1.0.
These aren’t static pages in the truest sense because they’re one highly dynamic element included, and that one element is all any of the sites really need – an excellent IDX feed (thank you Diverse Solutions). Mix that with a fairly user-friendly interface, and all the elements for the potential of success are in place.
The blog itself? Well, let’s put it like this … traffic has fallen off a bit as I’ve struggled with new concepts to write about. And registrations through my Diverse IDX are on the rise. So, honestly, how much does the blog really matter? Except for the fresh meat that the search engines crave, not so much.
Keeping an Eye on the Ball
And in all honesty, that’s fine with me because my blog never has been about traffic for the sake of traffic, or Technorati rank or other similar measures which have nothing whatsoever to do with real estate sales. My sole interest has been in what kind of traffic I can generate among those who wish to buy or sell real estate. Anything beyond that is superfluous.
In the quest to generate this traffic, many tend to overthink things somewhat severely. Some gurus out there would have you overthinking the real estate website even more. We work to create hyper-local blogs where we can prove our knowledge because we can tell you where the local fireworks show is going to be or when the next Chick-Fil-A or In N Out Burger will open.
Some in the public may demand this information of their real estate agent. But my personal opinion is the vast majority only care about the real estate porn – they want to see houses. Expertise belongs to whomever is high on the search engines and has the eye candy they need to get them through their day.
I’ve mentioned my Westbrook Village web site on more than one occasion. It’s a WordPress blogsite where I don’t use the blog functionality at all. Why? Because I don’t need to – #1 on Google for Westbrook Village Rel Estate, #2 behind the golf club for Westbrook Village on Google.
Catch Me if You Can
I’ve said since May (half jokingly) that if the Arizona Regional MLS would allow IDX providers to give us the ability to sort specifically for bank owned homes, I could retire by the end of the year.
That change came at the beginning of November. Within a week I had put together a website – an offshoot of the main blog, but a stand-alone site – dedicated solely to bank owned homes. Registrations started to come through within the next couple of days and now, less than three weeks after it went live, I’m sitting at #3 on page 1 for Phoenix Bank Owned Homes on Google.
And all without blogging. And all without writing about every detail of every city for which I’m displaying the bank owned listings. Because at the end of the day, it’s not the Farmers’ Market people want. It’s the homes.
You can argue that I’m an unemotional male looking at this in a rather cold, calculating manner. Al cheit shechetanu levanecha. I’m guilty as charged.
But the truth of the matter is, I’m not really asking you to believe me. I’ve tried in vain to get fellow agents both in this office and my previous office to see the potential the Internet has to offer, whether you attack it from a 1.0 or 2.0 point of view. From them I hear crickets chirping; from my clients, I hear the checks being cashed after they close.
Now that I think about it, and particularly if you’re in the Phoenix market, don’t listen to me. Pretend you didn’t read any of this. I’m cool with that, too.
Post-script: As I finished this post I received a call from someone trying to reach the Westbrook Village Homeowners’ Association. “I’m on their website and this is the only number there.” Sorry, but you’re not on their website, sir. You’re on mine.
Who am I? I’m just the category killer. And no, I don’t blog Westbrook Village to do it.