Connect with us

Business Marketing

Does your website need a facelift? Take the test

Even new websites may be missing some basic elements – take the quick test to see if you have any more work to do on your own site.



website facelift

website facelift

Some sites are good, others are ineffective

Throughout my many years of assisting real estate agents with their marketing efforts, I have seen a number of real estate agents’ websites. Some are great. They have clear call to actions, quality content, an eye-catching aesthetic and they’re easy to navigate.

Others have a website that is, for lack of a better word, ineffective. The site doesn’t have the power of speech that is needed to get today’s consumer interested in finding out more about what they have to offer as an agent.

Take the test

Before deciding whether or not you need to give your site some serious work, answer the following questions:
•    Do you have a blog?
•    Do you have testimonials on your website?
•    Does your site include a community or news section?
•    Is there clear call to actions on your site?
•    Do you have a section of your site where viewers can opt-in to email updates?
•    Do you offer video content?
•    Do you have a mobile version of your site?
•    Does your site encourage feedback, commentary or sharing?
•    Does your home page change often?
•    Do you use analytics to view how visitors use your site?

If you answered “no” to any of the above questions, then I have news for you: your website might need a little bit of improvement. Before you go about making the necessary changes to your site, however, it’s important to understand why you need to make them. I’ll take it one update at a time.

Understanding why changes must be made

The blog. If you don’t have a blog either built in to your website or linked from your website, this is the absolute first thing that you need to change. Blogging will increase your website traffic, boost your rankings in search engines like Google and Bing and give you authority in your industry. If you’re not blogging at least once per month, you need to start. You’ll soon find that you will get more traffic to your website and more leads coming in.

Testimonials. People like to hear what others have to say about your services, so having a testimonials page is crucial. It gives your website visitors the opportunities to find out more about how you do business and hear your success stories. You should be asking your clients for testimonials after you’re finished working with them and always add new ones to your site.

Community information. As a real estate agent, you want to establish yourself as more than just a housing expert. Remember, you’re assisting people as they move to a new community. You should be marketing yourself as a neighborhood expert in your area. That’s where having community pages, all of which are optimized with keywords and hyperlinks, will be helpful on your website. You can market yourself as an expert and boost your SEO at the same time.

Clear call to actions. When you first visit a website and are looking for service, you want to know what it is that makes the business you are looking at stand out from their competition. Whether you offer first-time home buyer seminars or a complimentary coupon book, you need to advertise what makes you special on the front page of your website so people will see it right when they first visit. Once the calls to actions are clicked, there should be the section where your website visitors can “opt-in” to your newsletter and email updates, as well. This will bring you more leads.

The latest technology. There are two well-known facts about today’s consumer. The first is that they’re more visual. People are more responsive to video content than they are to written these days, hence the success of sites like YouTube. The other well-known fact is that people are using their mobile devices and tech tablets more than their laptops. With that in mind, you need to tweak your web content to keep up with the trends. Offer video content that is easily accessible to website visitors and make sure you have a mobile-friendly version of your site or app for smartphone and iPad users.

Switching it up. You should always be adding new content to your website. Whether it’s through updating your blog regularly or creating various monthly promotions, it’s the little changes that will keep visitors coming back for more. One way to monitor the changes you could or should be making is by using analytics programs to see your website’s stats. You can monitor the activity on your site and see what its visitors are really doing. Using these as a guide, you can make certain features of your website more prominent and make the appropriate changes.

Now that you know why you need to make these changes, make a plan, get in gear and start giving your website a little TLC. It will take your site from ineffective to a fully-functioning roadway between you and your leads. No excuses. Now that you know what you need to do, it’s time to start doing it!

Carrie Gable & the Real Estate Virtual Assistant team at RealSupport, Inc. work virtually for many top real estate agents & brokers nationwide, offering marketing campaigns, branding, website & logo design, listing marketing efforts, lead management, technical support, marketing presentations, social media setup & management, copywriting, blogging and much more.

Continue Reading


  1. genemundt

    July 5, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    Excellent reminders in this article @RBergeronMRED Thank u for tweeting!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Business Marketing

5 ways voice is changing the SEO game

(TECH NEWS) As voice assistants take over our lives, you may worry how your SEO fares in this new, uncharted territory. Let’s discuss.



voice and SEO

SEO is a moving target. The standards change constantly so, despite years of experience, many web designers struggle to meet all the optimization guidelines. How, then, can any business confidently approach the web design process? It starts with recognizing those evolving norms, the newest of which is voice search.

Why Voice Search Matters

For years, the dominant SEO rule has been mobile first. The introduction of voice recognition systems, like Siri and Alexa, to smartphones has dramatically changed how we interact with devices. In fact, 20% of Google searches are voice searches with that number expected to grow rapidly over the next few months. Businesses and web designers, then, need to make sure their sites are voice ready if they want to stay relevant. Though the sites may stay the same visually, they need to gain a new edge functionally.

From The Ground Up

Modifying your website to support voice search isn’t as simple as many other SEO transitions, but if you take a ground up approach to the process, you’ll be able to reshape your website around those changes. Still, you’ll need help to do this correctly. When adapting your website for voice, SEO consultant Aaron Rains recommends hiring an expert for a full site audit and analysis to maintain your page ranking. You don’t want your page to take a rankings hit because you’re trying to keep up with the trends.

Expanding Your Device Options

In addition to its advantages from a mobile perspective, making the move to voice search also means expanding your site’s horizons by making it more accessible to new devices, particularly the smart home speakers that are gaining in popularity. Users are particularly comfortable with these devices because they rely on natural speech patterns rather than half-formed search terms. Children growing up with these smart speakers in their homes seem to view them as part of the family and will be native voice search users as they grow.

Snippets For Search

Part of updating your website for speech is optimizing the content to match changing search patterns. One of the key ways to do this is through the use of featured snippets.

Featured snippets are designed to help put your website in the #0 spot – the top ranking. To do that, you’ll want to put the answers to your most popular queries in the first few sentences on your page. This is especially for purchasing and local search since people frequently use voice search to find local businesses. If you can optimize for the most important snippets early on, you’ll be way ahead on the competition and have a greater ROI.

Rebuild and Reassess

After modifying your website for voice, you may find your rankings initially drop. That’s because you need to request your site be re-indexed. Otherwise, search engines won’t be able to match queries with your new site content. Re-indexing will put all of your new information into effect and make it possible for users to search using the featured snippets. Re-indexing your site will also help you ensure that you haven’t interfered with the crawl-ability of your site.

Experts expect half of all searches to be voice-driven by 2020, but since 50% of users with voice search access already use it at least occasionally, now is the time to act. Even if many users are still wary of voice search, you can’t afford to fall behind. Those users will still be able to rely on traditional text search mechanisms, but that won’t help voice enthusiasts. If you lose those early adopters now, they might not come back when you’ve caught up with the voice search revolution.

Continue Reading

Business Marketing

How to use offline marketing to your advantage in a digital world

(BUSINESS) We often become obsessed with new marketing strategies, favoring the internet over some traditional methods that continue to drive traffic timelessly.



offline marketing open sign for small business

Everywhere you look, people want to talk about digital marketing. In fact, if you don’t have a digital marketing strategy in today’s business world, you’re not going to last long. But just because digital marketing is popular, don’t assume that offline marketing no longer yields value.

When used together, these strategies can produce significant returns.

“Some people will argue that traditional marketing is dead, but there are several benefits to including offline advertising in your overall marketing campaign,” sales expert Larry Myler admits. “Combining both offline and online campaigns can help boost your brand’s visibility, and help it stand out amongst competitors who may be busy flooding the digital space.”

How do you use offline marketing in a manner that’s both cost-effective and high in exposure? While your business will dictate how you should proceed, here are a few offline marketing methods that still return considerable value in today’s marketplace.

1. Yard signs

When most people think about yard signs, their minds immediately go to political signs that you see posted everywhere during campaign season. However, yard signs have a lot more utility and value beyond campaigning. They’re actually an extremely cost-effective form of offline advertising.

The great thing about yard signs is that you can print your own custom designs for just dollars and, when properly stored, they last for years. They’re also free to place, assuming you have access to property where it’s legal to advertise. This makes them a practical addition to a low-budget marketing campaign.

2. Billboards

The fact that you notice billboards when driving down an interstate or highway is a testament to the reality that other people are also being exposed to these valuable advertisements. If you’ve never considered implementing billboards into your marketing strategy, now’s a good time to think about it.

With billboard advertising, you have to be really careful with design, structure, and execution. “Considering we’re on the move when we read billboards, we don’t have a lot of time to take them in. Six seconds has been touted as the industry average for reading a billboard,” copywriter Paul Suggett explains. “So, around six words is all you should use to get the message across.”

3. Promotional giveaways

It’s the tangible nature of physical marketing that makes it so valuable. Yard signs and billboards are great, but make sure you’re also taking advantage of promotional giveaways as a way of getting something into the hands of your customers.

Promotional giveaways, no matter how simple, generally produce a healthy return on investment. They increase brand awareness and recall, while giving customers positive associations with your brand. (Who doesn’t love getting something for free?)

4. Local event sponsorships

One aspect of offline marketing businesses frequently forget about is local event sponsorships. These sponsorships are usually cost-effective and tend to offer great returns in terms of audience engagement.

Local event sponsorships can usually be found simply by checking the calendar of events in your city. Any time there’s a public event, farmer’s market, parade, sporting event, concert, or fundraiser, there’s an opportunity for you to get your name out there. Look for events where you feel like your target audience is most likely to attend.

Offline marketing is anything but dead.

If your goal is to stand out in a crowded marketplace where all your competitors are investing heavily in social media, SEO, PPC advertising, and blogging, then it’s certainly worth supplementing your existing digital strategy with traditional offline marketing methods that reach your audience at multiple touchpoints.

Continue Reading

Business Marketing

The science behind using pictures of people in marketing to convert more leads

(MARKETING) People fear using their picture in social networking profiles, but we make the case not only for using pictures of yourself, but of scrapping stock graphics for photos of people that studies show improve conversion rates in marketing.



photos-of-people in marketing

To avatar or not to avatar?

After all of these years of people using the web, the debate continues about whether or not people should use their headshots as their profile pictures and avatars on their blogs and their social networks. Many people are uncomfortable with the way they look in photos, and some are never satisfied with their picture, so they settle for their company logo, a cartoon image, or a random photo to share something about who they are. While some believe the argument is subjective, we would argue otherwise.

It is advisable to use a photo of yourself as your profile picture wherever you go, no matter how unsatisfied you are and how uncomfortable. There are many reasons from making it easier to connect with people offline after talking online, to giving people a better way to connect with you, but a personal side has become expected on social networks and blogs, making a profile picture culturally mandatory.

Throw culture out of the window

So let’s say you’re still uncomfortable advertising your face. I personally hate every picture of me taken since I was 11 and had a bad perm, I get it. Profile pictures can send some people into full fledged panic, and at that point, who cares if web culture dictates a photo?

You should, and here’s why… science.

Science? Yep. Any parent knows intuitively, and scientists have studied for years that babies love pictures of other babies, and part of socializing a child is giving them books with pictures of other babies to connect with, learn from, and see other ethnicities. Babies love looking at other babies, it helps them connect and learn, and believe it or not, many studies show that we don’t evolve past that point in our lives, so, adults love looking at other adults.

More science

If that isn’t enough to convince you to use a profile picture, a recent study shows that a website’s conversion rate can be skyrocketed by using human faces. According to, using human faces “get your prospects to focus more and this causes them to draw towards a common point of interest. It doesn’t get more real than that.”

The company cites an A/B test on, an online art shop, which presented paintings from artists on their homepage, and during testing, they swapped out the photos of the paintings with photos of the artists hoping to increase user engagement. KISSmetrics said, “Making this small but relevant change sent their conversion rate through the roof – something they didn’t expect. Their site experienced a whopping 95% increase in conversions!.”

Reading between the lines

Using a photo in your profile pictures is important, it allows people to connect with you, just like babies connect with other babies through photos, and website viewers are converted by human photos. But, read between the lines here – using photos of people in marketing is a concept as old as the idea of marketing, and your using people in your blog photos and marketing can improve your conversion over outdated stock graphics. There are legal ways to obtain photos of people (through creative commons), and using photos of your own can have the most meaningful impact.

Whether you’re nervous to share your face with the world or not, web culture dictates that you should and studies show that a percentage of people distrust social networkers without a face shot. Independent of all of that, conversion rates improve when people see other people, as it is easier to connect with over stock graphics or abstract images, so take a leap of faith and put your picture out there, and while you’re at it, try to find ways of using photos of humans in your marketing and blogs.

Just remember – babies love looking at pictures of babies, and we’re all just babies when you boil it down.

This story originally ran here on March 6, 2012.

Continue Reading

American Genius
News neatly in your inbox

Join thousands of AG fans and SUBSCRIBE to get business and tech news updates, breaking stories, and MORE!

Emerging Stories