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.