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Your Real Estate Website Is Talking About Your Credibility

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confusing_signsThis post may fall on deaf ears for most regular Agent Genius readers and that’s a good thing. Most of the regulars here are completely on their game and have some of the nicest most beautiful and effective web sites in the business.

However, this AG group represents only a tiny percentage of the real estate web sites out there, and we’ve all seen a bunch of interesting sites to say the least!

Personally, I enjoy checking out web sites. Any time someone leaves an interesting post on one of the 30 or so blogs I subscribe to, I typically click through and take a look at their site. You can get all sorts of ideas for use on your own site by just looking at hundreds of other sites.

Whenever I see a really bad one, what that says to me is that the person behind the site has a very low attention to detail. Also, they are apparently not overly concerned about their on-line credibility, as is being conveyed by their website.

I think we all know why on-line credibility is important, but just in case: if you are seeking leads from your web site and your site looks like garbage, then the potential lead will likely come to the same conclusion and hit the BACK BUTTON!

This business is already competitive enough without running potential leads away from your site!

Ok, so what are some of the major factors to be aware of and possibly improve upon to increase your online credibility?

Navigation – When users are on the hunt for something, if they can’t find it within a few clicks, they are outta there, period. This has been proven time and time again and I do it myself. If your main lure is the ability to search homes, then this needs to be above the fold, top left or center, and big, not buried in some horizontal navigation bar.

Design – Is your site ugly, or is it shiny, attractive, pretty and interesting looking. Does it say “look over here, and here, and here, this stuff is interesting and attractive” or does it say “I was designed in 1999 using WordPerfect?” Let’s face it, web sites are not people so surfers are not going to dig any deeper to see if there’s a good personality hiding inside. Ironically though, sites do represent their owners, who will end up with the same treatment as the site!

Error Free – This is so self explanatory, it’s tough to type here. However, let me assure you that there are many sites out there with: misspelled words, broken page links, functions that do not work, missing images, misaligned elements, incomplete pages, inconsistent fonts, etc., etc.

I’m sure as a web developer myself that I’m harsher than many, but when I see ANY of the above error items, I usually laugh or shake my head, mumble something like “you gotta be kidding me” and click away ASAP.

Theme, Logo, Brand – Every site should have at least one of these. For most real estate sites, this is not an issue as everyone has a Broker and this information is required to be on the web site, so there’s your brand. But this is the minimum and I recommend trying to come up with at least a logo or something to be remembered by. Sites without any branding whatsoever are going to be pretty bland.

Hit the Target

There’s no magic bullet here but if one can avoid at least the most basic mistakes above, this is a great start. Recently I saw a site that was so simple it was laughable, but the site was unbelievably beautiful and its main reason for being was right across the entire top of the site – probably quite effective.

Oftentimes, visitors are not looking for everything slightly related to their target; they are looking only for their target, and as fast as they can find it. Design your site for these folks. The rest of your visitors, the lookie loos and curios types will find everything else on your site on their own.

Rob is the founder of The Georgia Realty Group, a real estate company focusing on the five large counties north of the 285 perimeter in Atlanta. Out of USF in 1991 as an Electrical Engineer, he then quickly shifted into software sales. For 12 years, he sold enterprise level Engineering Design Automation (EDA) software to Fortune 500 companies. His current focus is web site design, SEO and lead management activities and he also takes on the occasional excellent client. Find him at AtlantaRealEstateInfo.com

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22 Comments

22 Comments

  1. Eric Hempler

    November 12, 2009 at 10:37 pm

    I think my site is pretty basic since I’m using a Keller Williams’ template for a website, but I would like to think I have a lot of useful information at least. I’ve been in Real Estate for a number years, first as a remodeler and then recently as a Realtor. I’ve also noticed much more experienced fellow Keller Williams agents have next to nothing or have poorly executed information even though they’re also using a template. One thing I would like to do down the road is incorporate some aspects from the game of Monopoly, not over kill, but some little things here and there that might be neat, but I’ll leave that up to the web guys and we’ll go from there.

  2. Eric Hempler

    November 12, 2009 at 10:46 pm

    Another thing I realized is some people have no idea what’s on their own site. Whether it’s a template or designed by a company they really have no idea what’s on it. Shouldn’t they be monitoring this?

  3. Fred Romano

    November 12, 2009 at 10:46 pm

    I think my site redesign has helped to increase my overall image an business volume. I have noticed an considerable increase in renevue generated from my website since the redesign.

    I use WP with a free template (CORE) from https://www.briangardner.com that I have modified and customized to suite our company’s needs.

    I also had a professional logo designed using https://logotournament.com which was a great investment! It was fun to see all the ideas and pick the winner.

    I focus on SEO all the time and have seen serious results over the past year in our website rankings on Google and Yahoo for prominent keywords relating to our business model.

  4. Greg Cooper

    November 13, 2009 at 7:34 am

    Sometimes the simple can be the crucial. We all assume we have great sites (AG fans anyway) but when you test them they sometimes aren’t as strong as we perceive. I’ve got all but one of those working the way I want it…but the last one (max seo) is not getting it done. Thanks Rob…..a gentle reminder can make a difference and for me in 2010 it probably will.

  5. Harold Scott

    November 13, 2009 at 1:21 pm

    Great post! A website has to have a professional look to it and must be easy to navigate. It is easy to tell the difference between a professional site and a mom and pop site. It is especially important to have a top site if you are in the luxury market. I am very happy with my RealEstateWebmasters site. They really do a nice job whether it be their templates or a custom site.

  6. Portland Condo Auctions

    November 13, 2009 at 4:48 pm

    Great web design is one of the keys that we focus on. A pretty website that is informative and easy to use keeps the leads rolling in constantly.

    -Tyler

  7. MIssy Caulk

    November 16, 2009 at 3:24 pm

    One of my big complaints is this:

    When I visit other sites, I will see the name of the city but no state. Now there is only one Ann Arbor in the country…but what about Brentwood?
    There are so many of them…I’m not sure which state it is.

    It would be helpful for consumers to know which state the real estate is in…don’t ya think?

    • Fred Romano

      November 16, 2009 at 3:42 pm

      Missy – If you are referring to listings from my site flatfeepro.com, the full address can be found on Realtor.com, Trulia, and many other websites, so I don’t know what site you are talking about.

      • Jay Thompson

        November 17, 2009 at 9:04 am

        Fred – I think Missy is talking about HUNDREDS of sites…. I’ve seen real estate sites and blogs with no city, no state, no phone number, no email. What’s the point?

  8. MIssy Caulk

    November 17, 2009 at 8:17 pm

    Thanks Jay, that is exactly what I was talking about. I’ve never visited your web site Fred.

  9. David Pylyp

    November 18, 2009 at 4:14 pm

    Client said Wow you’re all over the internet
    Uhuhh Ok https://tinyurl.com/y89rcb8 But what a handy tool to send ahead of your arrival.
    Get Proactive.

    [ NOTE FROM AGENT GENIUS: we have tested the above link and it is legitimate, so go ahead and click, it won’t bite you! -Lani ]

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Business Marketing

Amazon attracts advertisers from Facebook after Apple privacy alterations

(MARKETING) After Apple’s privacy features unveil, Amazon adapts by taking a unique approach to targeting, disrupting revenue for the ad giant Facebook.

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Two African American women work at their desks, one viewing Amazon's advertising landing page.

As a de facto search engine of its own persuasion, Amazon has been poaching ad revenue from Google for some time. However, disrupting the revenue stream from their most recent victim – Facebook – is going to turn some heads.

According to Bloomberg, Apple’s recent privacy additions to products such as iPhones are largely responsible for the shift in ad spending. While platforms like Facebook and Instagram were originally goldmines for advertisers, these privacy features prevent tracking for targeting – a crucial aspect in any marketing campaign.

Internet privacy has been featured heavily in tech conversations for the last several years, and with Chrome phasing out third-party cookies, along with Safari and Firefox introducing roughly analogous policies, social media advertising is bound to become less useful as tracking strategies struggle to keep up with the aforementioned changes.

However, Amazon’s wide user base and separate categorization from social media companies makes it a clear alternative to the Facebook family, which is perhaps why Facebook advertisers are starting to jump ship in an effort to preserve their profits.

This is the premise behind the decision to reduce the Facebook ad spending of Vanity Planet by 22%, a home spa vendor, while facilitating a transition to Amazon. “We have inventory…and the biggest place we are growing is Amazon,” says Alex Dastmalchi, the entrepreneur who runs Vanity Planet.

That gap will only widen with Apple’s new privacy features. Bloomberg reports that when asked in June if they would consent to having their internet activity tracked, only one in four iPhone users did so; this makes it substantially harder for the ad campaigns unique to Facebook to target prospective buyers.

It also means that Amazon, having demonstrated a profound effectiveness in targeting individuals both pre- and post-purchase, stands to gain more than its fair share of sellers flocking to promote their products.

Jens Nicolaysen, co-founder of Shinesty (an eccentric underwear company), affirms the value that Amazon holds for sellers while acknowledging that it isn’t a perfect substitute for social media. While Nicolaysen laments the loss of the somewhat random introduction charm inherent on Instagram, he also believes in the power of brand loyalty, especially on a platform as high-profile as Amazon. “The bigger you are, the more you lose by not having any presence on Amazon,” he explains.

As privacy restrictions continue to ramp up in the coming months, it will be interesting to see how social media advertising evolves to keep up with this trend; it seems naive to assume that Amazon will replace Facebook’s ads entirely, tracking or no tracking.

Apple's privacy landing page showing iPhone users ability to shut off location services and a desktop image of a user's ability to control how their data is managed.

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Business Marketing

How many hours of the work week are actually efficient?

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Working more for that paycheck, more hours each week, on the weekends, on holidays can actually hurt productivity. So don’t do that, stay efficient.

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Clock pointed to 5:50 on a plain white wall, well tracked during the week.

Social media is always flooded with promises to get in shape, eat healthier and… hustle?

In hustle culture, it seems as though there’s no such thing as too much work. Nights, weekends and holidays are really just more time to be pushing towards your dreams and hobbies are just side hustles waiting to be monetized. Plus, with freelancing on the rise, there really is nothing stopping someone from making the most out of their 24 hours.

Hustle culture will have you believe that a full-time job isn’t enough. Is that true?

Although it’s a bit outdated, Gallup’s 2014 report on full-time US workers gives us an alarming glimpse into the effects of the hustle. For starters, 50% of full-time workers reported working over 40 hours a week – in fact, the average weekly hours for salaried employees was up to 49 hours.

So, what’s the deal with 40 hours anyway? The 40 hour work-week actually started with labor rights activists in the 1800s pushing for an 8 hour workday. In 1817, Robert Owen, a Welsh activist, reasoned this workday provided: “eight hours labor, eight hours recreation, eight hours rest.”

If you do the math, that’s a whopping 66% of the day devoted to personal needs, rather than labor!

Of course, it’s only natural to be skeptical of logic from two centuries ago coloring the way we do business in the 21st century. For starters, there’s plenty of labor to be done outside of the labor you’re paid to do. Meal prep, house cleaning, child care… that’s all work that needs to be done. It’s also all work that some of your favorite influencers are paying to get done while they pursue the “hustle.” For the average human, that would all be additional work to fall in the ‘recreation’ category.

But I digress. Is 40 hours a week really enough in the modern age? After all, average hours in the United States have increased.

Well… probably not. In fact, when hours are reduced (France, for instance, limited maximum hours to 35 hours a week, instead of 40), workers are not only more likely to be healthier and happier, but more efficient and less likely to miss work!

So, instead of following through with the goal to work more this year, maybe consider slowing the hustle. It might actually be more effective in the long run!

This story was first published in January 2020.

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Business Marketing

Jack of all trades vs. specialized expert – which are you?

(BUSINESS MARKETING) It may feel tough to decide if you want to be a jack of all trades or have an area of expertise at work. There are reasons to decide either route.

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jack of all trades learning

When mulling over your career trajectory, you might ask yourself if you should be a jack of all trades or a specific expert. Well, it’s important to think about where you started. When you were eight years old, what did you want to be when you grew up? Teacher? Doctor? Lawyer? Video Game Developer? Those are common answers when you are eight years old as they are based on professionals that you probably interact with regularly (ok, maybe not lawyers but you may have watched LA Law, Law & Order or Suits and maybe played some video games – nod to Atari, Nintendo and Sega).

We eventually chose what areas of work to gain skills in and/or what major to pursue in college. To shed some light on what has changed in the last couple of decades:

Business, Engineering, Healthcare and Technology job titles have grown immensely in the last 20 years. For example, here are 9 job titles that didn’t exist 20 years ago in Business:

  1. Online Community Manager
  2. Virtual Assistant
  3. Digital Marketing Expert
  4. SEO Specialist
  5. App Developer
  6. Web Analyst
  7. Blogger
  8. Social Media Manager
  9. UX Designer

We know that job opportunities have grown to include new technologies, Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality, consumer-generated content, instant gratification, gig economy and freelance, as well as many super-secret products and services that may be focused on the B2B market, government and/or military that we average consumers may not know about.

According to the 2019 Bureau of Labor Statistics after doing a survey of baby boomers, the average number of jobs in a lifetime is 12. That number is likely on the rise with generations after the Baby Boomers. Many people are moving away from hometowns and cousins they have grown up with.

The Balance Careers suggests that our careers and number of jobs we hold also vary throughout our lifetimes and our race is even a factor. “A worker’s age impacted the number of jobs that they held in any period. Workers held an average of 5.7 jobs during the six-year period when they were 18 to 24 years old. However, the number of jobs held declined with age. Workers had an average of 4.5 jobs when they were 25 to 34 years old, and 2.9 jobs when they were 35 to 44 years old. During the most established phase of many workers’ careers, ages 45 to 52, they held only an average of 1.9 jobs.”

In order to decide what you want to be, may we suggest asking yourself these questions:

  • Should you work to be an expert or a jack of all trades?
  • Where are you are at in your career and how have your skills progressed?
  • Are you happy focusing in on one area or do you find yourself bored easily?
  • What are your largest priorities today (Work? Family? Health? Caring for an aging parent or young children?)

If you take the Gallup CliftonStrengths test and are able to read the details about your top five strengths, Gallup suggests that it’s better to double down and grown your strengths versus trying to overcompensate on your weaknesses.

The thing is, usually if you work at a startup, small business or new division, you are often wearing many hats and it can force you to be a jack of all trades. If you are at a larger organization which equals more resources, there may be clearer lines of your job roles and responsibilities versus “the other departments”. This is where it seems there are skills that none of us can avoid. According to LinkedIn Learning, the top five soft skills in demand from 2020 are:

  1. Creativity
  2. Persuasion
  3. Collaboration
  4. Adaptability
  5. Emotional Intelligence

The top 10 hard skills are:

  1. Blockchain
  2. Cloud Computing
  3. Analytical Reasoning
  4. Artificial Intelligence
  5. UX Design
  6. Business Analysis
  7. Affiliate Marketing
  8. Sales
  9. Scientific Computing
  10. Video Production

There will be some folks that dive deep into certain areas that are super fascinating to them and they want to know everything about – as well as the excitement of becoming an “expert”. There are some folks that like to constantly evolve and try new things but not dig too deep and have a brief awareness of more areas. It looks safe to say that we all need to be flexible and adaptable.

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