A template website. You all have one. (And for those of you who do not have one anymore, guess what? This post is not for you. But you can still read it if you would like to…) A template website (Advanced Access, Number1Expert, Point2, z57, etc… ) is a relatively inexpensive (and free in some cases) way to have your real estate presence online.
However, template websites are inherently IGNORED by search engines and largely disliked by internet surfers. Online home buyers and sellers can smell a (canned) template website a mile away, and will more than likely click [X] as soon as the page loads … if they even wait that long. Because of this, you may be considering dumping your template website in favor of a custom (or semi-custom) website or blogsite in favor of getting better search engine ranking and better customers. Smart move.
However, don’t cancel your account until you continue reading this post. I am about to share with you …
5 steps to turn your template website into a high-ranking business tool…
Now, this is not intended to convince you NOT to graduate to bigger and better sites. If you are ready to maintain a bigger and better site, Congratulations! I just want to share with you how you can supplement your new site (and business) by keeping the site you already have.
Although, if you are NOT ready to graduate to a custom site, but you DO maintain an auxiliary blog somewhere, this tutorial could also help you…
Now, I can talk to you about converting your template website into an effective business tool because I have done this. What I am about to say is NOT THEORY. It is not something I heard somewhere. It is substantiated fact and something that I HAVE DONE. Twice. I have a template website that ranks #1 and page #1 for all kinds of awesome keywords: www.MonumentRealEstateConnection.com (aka WagnerProfessionalGroup.com – old team name, same great flavor…) I also have a template site that I “niched” to Stetson Hills – a large community in eastern Colorado Springs. www.StetsonHillsRealEsateConnection.com (aka stetsonhillsrealestate.yourkwagent.com) I followed the steps below and am now #1 in Google for almost all things
Step #1: Define the NEW Purpose of Your Template Site
Like I just said (were you paying attention???), your “old” template site does not have to swim with the fishies. This can now be your new NICHE SITE … or an auxiliary site.
For Example: I am a Colorado Springs Real Estate Agent, but I also help people buy and sell homes in Monument, CO – a beautiful area/city to the immediate north of Colorado Springs. My “newer” main site is pretty Colorado Springs exclusive. SO, I took our previous “main” site (an Advanced Access site) and “niched” it to Monument Real Estate.
You could make it a geographical farm site – or any other niche that you work. Just make sure it has a clear and defined new purpose.
Step #2: Dump All the Canned Content
Get rid of all the buyer and seller reports … Get rid of everything that came with your website originally. All you really need is:
- Search For Homes – IDX tool
- CMA Request form
- Area Information/ Area Links
- About Us/Contact Us
- Links to Quick Searches (optional)
- Featured Properties – Most template websites also have the ability to upload all your listings, so that would be another feature to keep.
- Buyer and Seller Information – ONLY IF YOU WROTE THEM YOURSELF. Remember, I told you to DUMP your canned content.
Just keep it simple.
Step #3: Submit Your Renovated Template Site to Google
As I mentioned above, search engines inherently IGNORE template sites. So, chances are Google (the most important search engine IMHO) does not even know you exist. You need to nudge Google and let them know that your site is worth revisiting.
Go to www.google.com/addurl
and submit your site. Yes. It is THAT easy…
Step #4: Link to Your New “Niche” Site Whenever Appropriately Possible
Did you note that I said “appropriately“? I mean this: DO NOT SPAM. Whenever you write about something (on Active Rain, Trulia, your blog …) that is related to your niche, link to it with relevant keywords.
For example: If I am writing about market trends in the area, and I mention Stetson Hills, I may write something like, “The Stetson Hills real estate market saw some increased activity …” with “Stetson Hills real estate” linked over to my “niche” site.
Additionally, I link over to my niche site when I create virtual flyers for a listing I may have in that area, and I also make sure I have a link from my main site over to my niche site. Just a couple more ideas …
Step #5: Wait Patiently for Results
How quickly you start seeing search engine results will be determined by:
- How much competition you have for relevant keywords, and
- How often you promote and/or update your niche site
After we renovated our Monument niche site, we made it to the top of the search engines in about 7-8 months. This site gets over 100 hits and about 1-2 VALID registrations per day. Our Stetson Hills niche site started ranking #1 on Google in about one month. This site gets an average of 70 hits and 1 VALID registration a month, which is expected, as Stetson Hills is a WAY smaller niche than Monument.
So, if you are thinking about dumping your template site … you may want to reconsider. It may still have some life (and business) left in it if you are willing to take the time to give it a makeover.
The secret to self improvement isn’t always about improvements
(EDITORIAL) Self improvement and happiness go hand in hand, but are you getting lost in the mechanics of self improvement?
Think back to your New Year’s resolutions. Now that it’s summer, how many of them are you still keeping? Think about which ones stuck and what went by the wayside.
If you’re like most of us, you had big plans to make yourself better but didn’t stay the course. I’ve only managed to keep one of my resolutions, but it isn’t always easy.
I want to take a look at why we can’t keep our goals. I think we’re always on a journey of self-improvement. It’s easy to get obsessed with reading self-help books or trying to learn new things. We want to be better. This spring, I went through a Lent study with a group of people. Lent is a time of growth and self-reflection, just six weeks. And yet many of us are struggling to keep up with the daily reading or maintaining a fast of something we willingly chose to give up.
Why do we fail?
I think we fail because of three things.
You might think I’m going to say something like we fail because we don’t have willpower, but I think that is the farthest thing from the truth. I’m no therapist, but I’ve read the literature on alcohol and drug rehab. It’s not willpower that keeps a person sober. It’s community. One reason I think we fail at our goals is that we don’t have a cheerleading team. I believe that we need people on our side when we’re trying to improve.
Secondly, I think we fail because we want immediate results. We have this mentality that things should happen quickly. I’ve written about this before. It’s like you workout once and want that swimsuit body. We get frustrated when we don’t see results right away. So, we move on to the next pursuit.
Do your goals lead to happiness?
Failure can also be because self-improvement goals don’t always lead to being better person. We do a lot of things because “we should.” Your doctor might think you need to lose weight. Maybe your boss wants you to be a better speaker. Meditation should make you a better person. Maybe you ran a marathon, and now you think you need to run an ultramarathon because that’s what your best friend did.
What makes you happy isn’t always what you should be doing.
Your doctor might be right, but if you’re choosing to lose weight because you want to make your doctor happy, you’re probably not going to stick with a program. If you’re trying to learn Spanish to make your boss happy, again, you’re probably not going to enjoy it enough to really learn. If you’re chasing after goals just to say you’ve done it, what value do your achievements bring to your life?
If you’re obsessed because you “should” do something, you’re going to get burned out and fail. Whether it’s New Year’s resolutions, a self-improvement project or giving up meat for Lent, you need solid reasons for change. And if you give something a try that isn’t for you, don’t soldier on. You don’t need to spend years taking yoga classes if you don’t enjoy it.
When something becomes a burden rather than bringing benefits, maybe it’s time to take a look at why you’re doing it.
When you don’t know why you’re knocking yourself out to be better, maybe you need to figure out a reason. And if you feel as if what you’re doing isn’t enough, stop and figure out what will satisfy you.
I’ve been doing a lot of meal prepping on the weekends. Sometimes, I want to quit. But it pays off because I have less to do throughout the week. It might seem like a burden, but the benefits outweigh the burdens. I’ve been able to eat much healthier and use more vegetables in my meals, which is the one goal I’ve been able to keep. I have some good friends that help me stay on track, too. I choose to eat more vegetables for my health. I think it’s a combination of all these things that is helping me meet my goal this year.
Don’t give up on making yourself a better person. Just don’t become obsessed over the program. Look at the outcome. Are you pursing happiness on a treadmill or are you really working to find happiness?
What I wish I knew about finances in my 20s
(EDITORIAL) They say money makes the world go round. So, let’s discuss how to be smart with finances before it’s too late.
Being in my early twenties, something I’m still getting used to is the fact that I’m making my own money. This is not to be confused with the babysitting money I was making 10 years ago.
Twice a month is the same routine: I get my paycheck and think, “Wooo! We goin’ out tonight!” but then I snap back to reality and think about what that money needs to be put towards. The smallest part of it going towards fun.
It’s been tricky to really start learning the ins and outs of finances. So, I do what I usually do in any type of learning process? I ask for advice.
I used to be fixated on asking those more advanced in age than I what they wish they knew when they were my age. Now that I’m determined to learn about finances, that question has been altered.
I reached out to a few professionals I know and trust and they gave me solid feedback to keep in mind about building my finances, about what they wish they had known in their 20s. However, I don’t think this only applies to those just starting out, and may be helpful for all of us.
“It’s important to simply know the value of money,” says human resource expert, Nicole Clark. “I think once you start earning your own money and are responsible for your housing, food, etc. you realize how valuable money is and how important it is to budget appropriately and make sure you’re watching your spending.”
Law firm executive director, Michael John, agrees with Clark’s sentiments. “I wish I had kept the value of saving in mind when I was younger,” explains John. “But, still remembering to balance savings while rewarding yourself and enjoying what your efforts produce.”
There are so many aspects of finance to keep in mind – saving, investing, budgeting, retirement plans, and so on and so forth.
In addition to suggesting to spend less than you make and to pay off your credit card in full each month, Kentucky-based attorney, Christopher Groeschen, explained the importance of a 401k.
“Every employee in America should be contributing everything they can into a 401k every year, up to the current $18,000 maximum per person,” suggests Groeschen.
“401ks present an opportunity for young investors to 1) learn about investing and 2) enter the market through a relatively low-risk vehicle (depending on your allocations),” he observes.
“An additional benefit is that 401ks also allow employees to earn FREE MONEY through employer matches,” he continues. “At the very least, every employee should contribute the amount necessary to earn the employer match (usually up to 4%) otherwise, you are giving up the opportunity to earn FREE MONEY. Earning FREE MONEY from your employer that is TAX FREE is much more important than having an extra Starbucks latte every day.”
Whether we like it or not, money is a core aspect of our daily lives. It should never be the most important thing, but we cannot deny that it is, in fact, an important thing. It’s tricky to learn, but investing in my future has become a priority.
This editorial was first published in May 2018.
How strong leaders use times of crises to improve their company’s future
(EDITORIAL) We’re months into the COVID-19 crisis, and some leaders are still fumbling through it, while others are quietly safeguarding their company’s future.
Anthony J. Algmin is the Founder and CEO of Algmin Data Leadership, a company helping business and technology leaders transform their future with data, and author of a new book on data leadership. We asked for his insights on how a strong leader can see their teams, their companies, their people through this global pandemic (and other crises in the future). The following are his own words:
Managers sometimes forget that the people we lead have lives outside of the office. This is true always, but is amplified when a crisis like COVID-19 occurs. We need to remember that our job is to serve our teams, to help them be as aligned and productive as possible in the short and long terms.
Crises are exactly when we need to think about what they might be going through, and realize that the partnership we have with our employees is more than a transaction. If we’ve ever asked our people to make sacrifices, like working over a weekend without extra pay, we should be thinking first about how we can support them through the tough times. When we do right by people when they really need it, they will run through walls again for our organizations when things return to normal.
Let them know it’s okay to breathe and talk about it. In a situation like COVID-19 where everything is disrupted and people are now adjusting to things like working from home, it is naturally going to be difficult and frustrating.
The best advice is to encourage people to turn off the TV and stop frequently checking the news websites. As fast as news is happening, it will not make a difference in what we can control ourselves. Right now most of us know what our day will look like, and nothing that comes out in the news is going to materially change it. If we avoid the noisy inputs, we’ll be much better able to focus and get our brains to stop spinning on things we can’t control.
And this may be the only time I would advocate for more meetings. If you don’t have at least a daily standup with your team, you should. And encourage everyone to have a video-enabled setup if at all possible. We may not be able to be in the same room, but the sense of engagement with video is much greater than audio-only calls.
We also risk spiraling if we think too much about how our companies are struggling, or if our teams cannot achieve what our organizations need to be successful. It’s like the difference in sports between practice and the big game. Normal times are when we game plan, we strategize, and work on our fundamentals. Crises are the time to focus and leave it all on the field.
That said, do not fail to observe and note what works well and where you struggle. If you had problems with data quality or inefficient processes before the crisis, you are not fixing them now. Pull out the duct tape and find a way through it. But later, when the crisis subsides, learn from the experience and get better for next time.
Find a hobby. Anything you can do to clear your head and separate work from the other considerations in your life. We may feel like the weight of the world is on our shoulders, and without a pressure release we will not be able to sustain this level of stress and remain as productive as our teams, businesses, and families need us.
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