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Your Website Sucks

It Sucks

Don’t talk to me about how great your website is.  It sucks.

No, really.  It does.

Mine does, too.

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Sure, it has all the bells and whistles.  It has this really slick IDX search function, with a really cool lead capture feature that sends you an email within seconds so that you can respond to your customers in record time.  It has a listings page that shows off all of your properties in all their photographic glory, with descriptions more eloquent than Shakespeare.  There is page after page of information describing you and your services, and your promises, and the neighborhoods you work in. Heck, maybe you even have a blog, pushing interesting content to folks every day.

Well, it still sucks.

It Can’t Deliver

It sucks because it isn’t you.  It can’t deliver what you can deliver.  It can’t deliver your expertise or insight to the individuals who need it without even knowing it, it can’t deliver the personal relationship that you can deliver, no matter how many IM widgets it has.

You are far better at selling real estate than your website is.  You are far better at finding homes for your clients than your website is. You want it to do what you can’t, won’t or don’t have time to do– but it won’t.  It never will.  Stop trying.

Your website isn’t going to make your life easier, or more convenient, or better.  Your website isn’t going to do a damn thing– not without you.  You make your website better, not the other way around.  You are what is valuable, not your IDX search, not your widgets, not your blog.  You are what matters.  Not what your website can offer, but what you can offer.

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Brain Freeze

You cannot be defined by Page Rank, unique views, or subscribers.  You are much more than that.  You just had a brain freeze for a little while and forgot that.  You forgot for a moment that Google was not mentioned in the book of Genesis.  You forgot that behind every “unique” there is, in fact, a unique person.  You forgot that behind every “lead” is someone with a problem to be solved or a need to be met.  You got distracted by all the cool gadgets and whizz-bang electronics.  You have spent so much time searching for the next freaking awesome web app, that you managed to forget about you and how freaking awesome you are.  You let everything else get in the way.

You somehow erected an electronic barrier between you and everyone else under the guise of actually wanting to make things better for both of you; and now, it sucks.  Now everything is complicated, and hard to understand, and cumbersome, and sometimes annoying to put up with.

Don’t Worry

Don’t worry.  I’m there with you.  I did it, too.

Like I said, you are freaking awesome.  It’s just your website that sucks.

So, here we are.  A bunch of really awesome people with a lot to offer who are hemmed up by sucky websites.  A bunch of people who know what we need to do, but don’t always know how to do it.  A bunch of people who have been given the tools necessary to acheive sucess beyond our wildest dreams, but without instruction on how to use them.

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So, what are we going to do about it?

Photo Credit: practicalowl

Written By

I'm a REALTOR, basketball referee, happy husband, and Community Manager (in no particular order). I have a passion for the real estate industry and officiating, a passion that I try to turn into inspiration on my blog, The Real Estate Zebra. I am also the Community Manager at Inman News. When I'm not blogging here on AG or the Zebra, you can usually find me on Twitter.



  1. Eric Bramlett

    August 21, 2008 at 9:27 pm

    Does a carpenter’s hammer suck? Websites are tools. I try to use the best & most effective tools available. The best tool for me comes with lots of pagerank & pageviews, which help drive traffic to my slick IDX interface that then delivers me leads.

  2. Eric Bramlett

    August 21, 2008 at 9:42 pm

    *edit* pagerank turns into pageviews….

  3. John Lockwood

    August 22, 2008 at 12:48 am

    Which one? I have several of them.

    Actually my clients tell me over and over again that they work well, have good information, and are user-friendly.

    More to the point from a business perspective, they consistently have made me money since 2002.

    Speak for yourself. You’re not “there with me.” My web sites work just fine.

    Of course I can’t be defined by unique views. I can’t be defined by what I had for lunch, either, but it doesn’t follow that eating sucks.

    Book of Genesis? Did you expect the Internets to be in there? Yikes.

  4. Paula Henry

    August 22, 2008 at 6:48 am

    Daniel – I get it! My website is an extension of me and right now – I am looking at an overhaul. personally and professionally. My site is not bringing me the business I want; maybe because it does suck, but I won’t take that personally.

    Yes, I am freaking awesome, but my sites need some work. I’m thinking more simplistic – I don’t think the comsumer cares about all the tools and gadgets.

    A good website does give us the first point of contact with many clients and if we blow it after that, then maybe it;s not our website that sucks.

  5. Bob

    August 22, 2008 at 7:21 am


  6. Mark Eckenrode

    August 22, 2008 at 11:02 am

    a website that doesn’t contribute to a guiding strategy sucks hard. one that does, will work for you all day and night and on holidays and weekends.

  7. Dan Connolly

    August 22, 2008 at 11:51 am

    Hmm, Not really sure what you are looking for here. My website generates clients and sales on a pretty consistent basis, are you saying that you don’t think anyone’s site is successful? Websites are like yard signs. They make the phone ring or the email come in, what happens after that is up to the agent. If your site isn’t generating clients, maybe you should rework it!

  8. Carolyn Gjerde-Tu

    August 22, 2008 at 1:24 pm

    Can a website replace personal contact? I hope not, but I hope my website is seen as an extension of my business and demonstrate to someone I have had no prior personal contact with that I am someone they want to work with.

  9. Daniel, the Real Estate Zebra

    August 22, 2008 at 3:07 pm

    GM was once the most profitable, succesful auto manufacturer in the United States. They did what worked. People were buying their cars. Slowly, the whole world was changing. They ignored it, or didn’t want to acknowledge it. By the time they got on board, the consumer had left them behind. Now, Toyota is king, and the beat goes on . . .

    I want you to stretch your brains, I want you to think beyond, “my website generate leads, therefore it works.”

    Can’t we come up with something more than that? Can’t we do more than what we are doing now? Is this it? Really, is what we know as the real estate website the best we can really do?

    I don’t think it is. But, if we are going to find out what is possible, we are going to have to admit that “good enough” isn’t good enough.

    When I was at NAR last November, I heard famous football coach Lou Holtz speak. Lou Holtz said that the thing he regretted most about his career was his early success at Notre Dame. He said that his success made everyone in the program, himself included, complacent. They stopped trying to get better because they already thought they had acheived everything they could acheive. Next thing you know, Notre Dame is struggling for national relevance, and most recruits don’t even think of it in their top 5 programs. That is what can happen when you rest on current success.

    We should always strive for more. Demand more. More from vendors, more from our associations, more from our brokers (or agents), more from OURSELVES.

  10. Eric Bramlett

    August 22, 2008 at 3:20 pm

    I want you to think beyond, “my website generate leads, therefore it works.”

    Really, is what we know as the real estate website the best we can really do?

    Lead generation is exactly what I want out of my websites. What more do you suggest we strive for?

  11. Bob

    August 22, 2008 at 3:29 pm

    I do not understand where you are coming from with

    I want you to think beyond, “my website generate leads, therefore it works.”

  12. Dan Connolly

    August 22, 2008 at 6:36 pm

    Personally I do not aspire to be a Nobel Laureate of all things Real Estate. I just want to sell houses…One or two a week. With honesty and ethics. period. If a site makes the phone ring and keeps me as busy as I can be, then it’s working and I’m happy.

  13. Kelley Koehler

    August 22, 2008 at 7:29 pm

    Hiya Zebra – I’m trying to understand where you want us our minds to go. If I may summize:

    a) the site sucks because it isn’t me and can’t deliver a personal relationship.
    b) you want us to demand more from our websites, but not fancy gizmos if they don’t reinforce a).
    c) but even if we demand more, a site can never make life easier, more convenient, better, or do what I can’t/won’t have time to do.

    c) is where you loose me. But here are my thoughts, FWIW:

    I think that as the internet and technology – and the general level of ‘tech’ ability among people – evolves, our sites must evolve as well. A fabulous lead generating site today may not do the same thing in 10 years. Or sooner. So I see value in imagining the next evolution and working towards it.

    If we say the next evolution revolves around the whole social media movement, around the development of relationships online, then there’s an inherent difficulty with creating a unique, personal experience given the medium. It’s a one-to-many, not a one-to-one medium.

    As an agent who wants to do business, I need to hold back some personality or I risk appealing to too small of an audience. I need broad appeal.

    However – I think that if I want my site – as a business tool and relationship builder – to deliver more and/or more commited people to my doorstep, then I think the best appeal that I can make is one that attempts to deliver the kind of information that person wants to see, at the time they want to see it. The right information, to the right person, at the right time. There was a discussion about DISC assessments and their usage over on Bloodhound a while back, and while I’m not incredibly familiar with that particular broad quantification of personality, I can say that people make decisions either fast or slow, and based on logic or emotion. And I can design a site that will make sense for all of those types of people. So that they feel more comfortable, and so that the site acts more human in that it interprets a user’s previous choices, and provides future choices based on past real action.

    Given the one-to-many nature of the medium, I’m not sure we can do much better than that. Or at least until the next paradigm shift.

  14. Eric Bramlett

    August 22, 2008 at 9:05 pm

    I think the next evolution will involve lots of holograms & robots. Let’s all work towards that.

  15. Bob

    August 23, 2008 at 10:26 am

    Kelley, that was absolutely brilliant.

    A fabulous lead generating site today may not do the same thing in 10 years. Or sooner.

    I would say sooner. Much sooner.

    deliver the kind of information that person wants to see, at the time they want to see it. The right information, to the right person, at the right time.

    Exactly. IMO, this is the highest and best use, and what the blog component of a site does better than anything else.

    I see value in imagining the next evolution and working towards it.

    Not just with online evolutions, but with market evolutions. If you think in those terms, then this attitude dovetails with the previous quote about delivering the right information to the right person at the right time. This has been my approach to blog content. I could care less if agents read it – I want clients, and I get them via the listings or as a result of delivering the information that they were specifically looking for and then found on my site. That person receives immediate gratification, thus perceiving greater value, expertise, etc.

    I took Daniel’s point to be that of d) we have tools we don’t know how to use. If he meant c) then I disagree because d) would apply. In order to determine either, you have to define your end goal as Dan has done. Once you have the goal, exam the results. For Dan and most others, if they are getting buyers to sell or sellers to list, then the tool is doing the job.

    If you are not getting the desired results, I would suggest that d) applies and the tool is being used incorrectly or inefficiently.

    A bunch of people who have been given the tools necessary to acheive sucess beyond our wildest dreams, but without instruction on how to use them.

    So, what are we going to do about it?

    Start by
    a) defining the goal. Once that is clearly defined, then
    b) analyze the results. In the context of the results,
    c) evaluate the methodology in light of
    1) increasing conversion if results are satisfactory, then look for ways to increase conversion.
    2) increasing leads If conversion is maximized, then look for ways to reach more potential leads to convert.
    3) results that are not satisfactory – are you
    (please no flames about “people are not leads” – this is marketing and ‘lead’ is an appropriate term for the purpose of the discussion).

  16. Mack in Atlanta

    August 24, 2008 at 8:44 am

    Between Dan, Kelley and Bob there is nothing else to say on this. Superb points folks.

  17. Glenn fm Naples

    August 24, 2008 at 9:06 am

    Have to agree with Mack the subject was extremely well covered by the comments – hats off to all.

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