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Your Website Sucks

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It Sucks

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

No, really.  It does.

Mine does, too.

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.

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.

So, what are we going to do about it?

Photo Credit: practicalowl

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19 Comments

19 Comments

  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

    pointless.

  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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Social Media

*New* TikTok Insights launch: Content creators finally get audience analytics

(SOCIAL MEDIA) The popular short-form app, TikTok, finally launches the anticipated Insights feature, where content creators can view target audience data.

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Two girls filming on TikTok.

Marketers searching for the zeitgeist which means TikTok scrollers pause to watch their content and then click through to buy a product have a new tool to help make that happen.

  • TikTok Insights offers marketers bite-size bits of user demographic information that will help build content that leads to sales.
  • With TikTok Insights you can learn more about your audience’s behavior, their interests, and their general sentiment toward brands.
  • TikTok Insights is free to use. Marketers can find TikTok user demographics by using filters to determine what they’re looking for.

The demographic info can be age-focused, focused on specific types of marketing, or even as specific as holiday or event marketing.

This is a step in the direction marketers have been asking for as they create content for the TikTok platform; however, creators looking for detailed analytics like they get from meta need to wait. Insights doesn’t offer that for now.

Like TikTok says in its own analytic information,

“While analytics are helpful in understanding the performance of your videos, you don’t need to create future videos based primarily around them. It’s best to consider the bigger picture, lean lightly on analytics, and use them as a source for insight rather than strategy.”

Marketers trying to key into reaching TikTok’s billion users worldwide are left, right now, searching for the magic that leads to consumers making the jump from the platform to using their purchasing power.

For marketers that means keeping things creative and collaborative, two key factors in TikTok’s success. And that success is huge. Users spend an average of 52 minutes on the platform when they log in and a staggering 90% of users say they log on every day.

TikTok Insights will help marketers find ways to connect, but the content TikTok is looking for is authentic.

And while entrepreneurs can bid for advertising like other social media platforms, they need to remember when planning that spend, that most TikTok marketing success stories are more accidental than planned. Have fun with that knowledge. Instead of pressure to create the perfect plan, TikTok Insights allows marketers to keep it creative and to find a way to tie it into what they enjoy about the platform.

Like all other social media marketing, focus on creating content that stops the consumer from their continual scroll. Make it a challenge and keep it real.

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Social Media

Grindr got busted for selling users’ data locations to advertisers

(SOCIAL MEDIA) User data has been a hot topic in the tech world. It’s often shared haphazardly or not protected, and the app Grindr, follows suit.

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Grindr on phone in man's hands

If you’re like me, you probably get spam calls a lot. Information is no longer private in this day and age; companies will buy and sell whatever information they can get their hands on for a quick buck. Which is annoying, but not necessarily outright dangerous, right?

Wrong.

Grindr has admitted to selling their user’s data, however, they are specifically selling the location of their users without regard for liability concerns. Grindr, a gay hook-up app, is an app where a marginalized community is revealing their location to find a person to connect to. Sure, Grindr claims they have been doing this less and less since 2020, but the issue still remains: they have been selling the location of people who are in a marginalized community – a community that has faced a huge amount of oppression in the past and is still facing it to this day.

Who in their right mind thought this was okay? Grindr initially did so to create “real-time ad exchanges” for their users, to find places super close to their location. Which makes sense, sort of. The root of the issue is that the LGBTQAI+ community is a community at risk. How does Grindr know if all of their users are out? Do they know exactly who they’re selling this information to? How do they know that those who bought the information are going to use it properly?

They don’t have any way of knowing this and they put all of their users at risk by selling their location data. And the data is still commercially available! Historical data could still be obtained and the information was able to be purchased in 2017. Even if somebody stopped using Grindr in, say, 2019, the fact they used Grindr is still out there. And yeah, the data that’s been released has anonymized, Grindr claims, but it’s really easy to reverse that and pin a specific person to a specific location and time.

This is such a huge violation of privacy and it puts people in real, actual danger. It would be so easy for bigots to get that information and use it for something other than ads. It would be so easy for people to out others who aren’t ready to come out. It’s ridiculous and, yeah, Grindr claims they’re doing it less, but the knowledge of what they have done is still out there. There’s still that question of “what if they do it again” and, with how the world is right now, it’s really messed up and problematic.

If somebody is attacked because of the data that Grindr sold, is Grindr complicit in that hate crime, legally or otherwise?

So, moral of the story?

Yeah, selling data can get you a quick buck, but don’t do it.

You have no idea who you’re putting at risk by selling that data and, if people find out you’ve done it, chances are your customers (and employees) will lose trust in you and could potentially leave you to find something else. Don’t risk it!

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BeReal: Youngsters are flocking in droves to this Instagram competitor app

(SOCIAL MEDIA) As Instagram loses steam due to its standards of “perfection posting,” users are drawn to a similar app with a different approach, BeReal.

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social media - bereal app

BeReal is one of several “Real” apps exploding in growth with young users who crave real connections with people they know in real life.

According to data.ai, BeReal ranks 4th by downloads in the US, the UK, and France for Q1 2022 to date, behind only Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest.

BeReal flies in the face of what social media has become. Instead of curated looks that focus on the beautiful parts of life, BeReal users showcase what they’re doing at the moment and share those real photos with their friends. Their real friends.

It’s real. And real is different for a generation of social media users who have been raised on influencers and filters.

As the app says when you go to its page:

Be Real.

Your Friends

for Real.

Every day at a different time, BeReal users are notified simultaneously to capture and share a Photo in 2 Minutes.

A new and unique way to discover who your friends really are in their daily life.

BeReal app

The app has seen monthly users increase by more than 315% according to Apptopia, which tracks and analyzes app performance.

“Push notifications are sent around the world simultaneously at different times each day,” the company said in a statement. “It’s a secret on how the time is chosen every day, it’s not random.”

The app allows no edits and no filters. They want users to show a “slice of their lives.”

Today’s social media users have seen their lives online inundated with ultra-curated social media. The pandemic led to more time spent online than ever. Social media became a way to escape. Reality was ugly. Social media was funny, pretty, and exciting.

And fake.

Enter BeReal where users are asked to share two moments of real life on a surprise schedule. New apps are fun often because they’re new. However, the huge growth in the use of BeReal by college-aged users points to something more than the new factor.

For the past several years, experts have warned that social media was dangerous to our mental health. The dopamine hits of likes and shares are based on photos and videos filled with second and third takes, lens changes, lighting improvements, and filters. Constant comparisons are the norm. And even though we know the world we present on our social pages isn’t exactly an honest portrayal of life, we can’t help but experience FOMO when we see our friends and followers and those we follow having the times of their lives, buying their new it thing, trying the new perfect product, playing in their Pinterest-worthy decorated spaces we wish we could have.

None of what we see is actually real on our apps. We delete our media that isn’t what we want to portray and try again from a different angle and shoot second and third and forth takes that make us look just a little better.

We spend hours flipping through videos on our For You walls and Instagram stories picked by algorithms that know us better than we know ourselves.

BeReal is the opposite of that. It’s simple, fast, and real. It’s community and fun, but it’s a moment instead of turning into the time-sink of our usual social media that, while fun, is also meant to ultimately sell stuff, including all our data.

It will be interesting to watch BeReal and see if it continues down its promised path and whether the growth continues. People are looking for something. Maybe reality is that answer.

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