Help!?! My Website Is Killing Me

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Hamm Homes

angry computerFor many years, I have used iHouse to host my real estate website.  I always had the "basic" website and received hits anywhere from 1,200 to 1,800 per month.  Last year, I was informed that they no longer support the "basic" plan and I needed to upgrade to the "elite" plan.  The cost went from approximately $50 per month to $90 per month.  Of course, they showed me how much more professional and up-to-date my new and improved website would look www.hammhomes.com. They do have lots of nice looking templates, but nothing Colorado or Metro Brokers related.  I bought in to the sales pitch and upgraded my trusty old site so I could look more professional and tech-savy.  Since the upgrade, the hits have dropped considerably.  Over the past 12 months, hits on the website have averaged 500 per month.  The domain name stayed the same and the URL is still being published on all of my marketing materials including my For Sale Signs.  I am just baffled and completely disappointed in the drop in activity - but hey - I look fabulous.

I have been wondering lately if it is even necessary to maintain an outside website.  I have a free website with Metro Brokers and post all of my listings on other sites as well as ActiveRain.  Is it worth it for me to spend $1,080 per year on a site that generates no business? 

I would love to hear from the Active Rain community on this subject.  I was also wondering if anyone has a better website alternative.

Thanks for your input!!!!!!

Posted by

Will Hamm
Hamm Homes
Metro Brokers Marina Square
Denver, Colorado
HammHomes@ymail.com
303-358-1147

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Rainer
14,357
Adam Aguilar
Adam Aguilar (Reliantra-Reliant Realty & Associates) - Toluca Lake, CA
Reliantra.com/Reliant, Realty~Serving Southern California

Will, try opening a free Wordpress account. Then go to StudioPress or AgentPress and buy a real estate theme (under $100). Plug this theme into your Wordpress blog. Plug in more Wordpress widgets into your site such as a IDX plug-in, as needed. WordPress is economical and user-friendly to administrate and customize to your needs.

Take all the Activerain University Webinar Classes to gather insight on how to increase your Web presence and get more traffic to your website (blog).

Use RSS feeds or a Blogcast-type software to make blog posts in one place (Activerain) and have them syndicate to your other sites (Wordpress).

Keep your domain name and have it forwarded (with masking) to your new Wordpress site.

Your current website looks fine, but there is nothing for me (potential client) to do there. No relevant content. Standard cookie-cutter site. The information at your site is the same information I can get anywhere else, such as Trulia, Zillow, Realtor.com, redfin, homes.com, etc. Normally, as a potential client, I would start my search at these other places before stopping at your place, if ever. The key is to learn how to get potential clients to find you on the web and not leave once they find you.

 

Feb 04, 2011 04:26 PM #4
Rainer
27,594
Scott Cotton
Texas Inspected - Midlothian, TX

One of the reasons I chose my broker was because of his outstanding company site. Now I just point my personal domain to my agent site. You should be able to forward your domain to another site (ie your AR blog or Metro Brokers site) for very little money. If your domain is registered at GoDaddy, it's free.

Feb 04, 2011 04:29 PM #5
Rainmaker
1,464,364
Joan Cox
Metro Brokers - House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Will, I DO really like your upgrade.   I had not visited since your old site!    A site takes so long to get recognized, I would continue to add more information that google would find informational, or call your host provider and ask for them to add more data!

Feb 04, 2011 05:04 PM #6
Rainmaker
1,082,657
Belinda Spillman
Aspen Lane Real Estate Colorado - Aurora, CO
Your Colorado Real Estate Resource!

That is so nice to have so many comments from fellow AR members.

Feb 05, 2011 11:53 AM #7
Rainmaker
132,167
Douglas Belcher
RE/MAX of Nanaimo - Nanaimo, BC
RE/MAX, Nanaimo ABR ePRO SRES

The bulk of my advertising is done online and the # 1 source of leads is via my website. You need a good web site but it also needs to rank high in Google or it will never be seen. I design my own with Dreamwaeaver CS5

 

Doug Belcher
RE/MAX of Nanaimo
Nanaimo Real Estate

Feb 08, 2011 10:28 AM #8
Rainmaker
905,617
Will Hamm
Hamm Homes - Centennial, CO
Where There's a Will, There's a WAY!

Wow Doug, Great web site you have.

Feb 08, 2011 11:02 AM #9
Anonymous
Anonymous
Nic Turner

WordPress is a great solution as stated above. You don't have to be a designer to get a powerful website that is SEO optimized. AgentPress is a theme by StudioPress that comes packaged for real estate. Add IDX and you will have a system that you can manage without the major expenses you are referring to.

Nic Turner
<a href="http://www.wpidx.com">WPIDX.com</a>

Feb 13, 2011 12:18 PM #10
Rainer
104,897
Elizabeth Byrne
Keller Williams Realty - Arlington, VA
Arlington Virginia Real Estate

Will, I do not have any recommendations for you, but I was attracted by your topic. I am also looking for a website host. I've heard from several agents they were happy with Pont2, but I haven't tried it yet. Let me know if you come across a great website host.

Feb 16, 2011 07:31 PM #11
Rainer
22,993
Gordon Cuffe
Realty First - Rocklin, CA

wow, You were getting alot of hits. I just canceled my ihouse account. I was paying 67 per month. I didnt have a website with them. I just had the idx with them. I am now going to get my idx with my mls servicer for 15 per month. I will then just add it to my wordpress site. I am paying 9 bucks per month for hosting. I like to write about the real estate market in Sacramento CA in the hopes the search engines will find my site. I dont have the most elaborate site on the web but I like to give the stats and do have the mls search available. My site is www.thesacramentohomes.com

 

Feb 16, 2011 08:26 PM #12
Rainer
13,473
Damian Henry
Galtlinedesign - Yorba Linda, CA

All of the $50.00 sites in the world are great but driving serious Custom IDX Solutionstraffic demands a solution that can be scalable and can meet market changes. Welcome to the world of open source. For those of you not using Wordpress, Joomla or Drupal I can only feel your pain. These CMS products are driving the web and are the future of Information Technology. Products like Joomla have serious partners such as Sales Force and Sugar CRM. There isn't an IDX company that can even think about keeping up with the explosion of open source components and plug-ins.  The only missing component to open source is support. No worries, Galtlinedesign is one of the first supported open source IDX available on the market. If you feel like your hands are tied with your current IDX solution than come jump aboard the Galtline and Future Proof your IDX.

Feb 24, 2011 02:02 PM #13
Rainmaker
573,902
Phil Leng
Keller Williams Eastside Market Center - Kirkland, WA
Phil Leng Team - Residential Real Estate Experts &

Hi Will,

No solutions for you.

Certainly identify with the frustration.

Good luck

PHil

Feb 24, 2011 11:58 PM #14
Rainer
97,412
Hans J. Schindhelm
HJS Web Design - New York, Westchester, Putnam & Rockland - Tarrytown, NY
Realty Marketing, Web Site Designer & Virtual Assistant

Will... seriously give www.Point2Agent.com a try... but make sure you try it out first... you got three months to make your site stand out and workable... you can even transfer some of the good looking stuff from your old site to your new site... so people still recognize you... if you need help I can help... see my site at www.hjswebdesign.com... the savings will pay for the work done by me easily!

Mar 03, 2011 05:15 PM #15
Anonymous
Anonymous
Nic

Using and Agentpress Theme and some customization you can have a very user friendy search site that is optimized for SEO. Integrate IDX Broker to create target searches, etc. example: http://destinpropertyexpert.com  Let me know if I can assist you. http://www.wpidx.com

Mar 07, 2011 10:15 AM #16
Ambassador
786,659
Hannah Williams
Re/Max Eastern inc. - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise in NE Philadelphia & Bucks County

Great post..i am having similiar problem..I have enjoyed reading all the comments ..

HelpfulHannah

Mar 10, 2011 02:54 PM #17
Rainmaker
214,050
RealSupport, Inc.
RealSupport Inc. - Palatine, IL
- Virtual Real Estate Marketing

Hi Will- As Real Estate Virtual Assistants, we can honestly tell you that having a personal website is vital!!  Our job is to work with agents and help guide them in their marketing endeavors as well as give them new insight into the latest in marketing. 

Having a website is imperative for providing your clients with what they're looking for.  In today's technology driven society; you have to meet your clients where they're at.  Having a website allows all of your information to be in one place and gives the audience easy access to every service you provide, listing you have, advice and even community information.  You want to be seen as a well-rounded resource, and if people have to jump from site to site to really understand who you are and what you do; they'll quickly lose interest.

If you're interested; we'd love to talk with you about your website and your marketing needs.  We've been working with agents to help boost their business and increase their online presence.  We've even created completely customized websites for clients (www.judynewton.com).  I know you already have a site, but we don't charge for hosting.  Basically, you pay for the project of creating your website and that's it!  We can even help you maintain and update it whenever you need us to. 

Anyway- sorry for the long comment!  We're just passionate about what we do and how we can help!  Feel free to check out our website: www.realsupportinc.com, for examples, clients testimonials and all of our services.  We're a small company with a hard working team, which means very personalized service for our clients.  We hope to hear from you soon Will!

Mar 30, 2011 12:44 PM #19
Anonymous
Anonymous
Anonymous

Depending on how you get most of your leads, a personalized website is very important.  I get almost all my leads from my website and I do it myself. I know a lot of people don't have the time to build their own site, so I feel your pain. I hope you find a good company to go with. If you get most of your leads from online, or want to...then make sure you find a company that can give results! Good luck!

Mar 30, 2011 06:28 PM #20
Rainer
13,473
Damian Henry
Galtlinedesign - Yorba Linda, CA

The key to choosing a website comes down to one question.

Is it built on open source technology.

If you go with a proprietary system your options are limited. If you go with an open source IDX solution you can grow and change your site to meet the demands of the market. If you decide to go with a proprietary system plan on changing every 2 years. I have seen this happen with agents over and over and 2 years is the tipping point for most. If you start with a flexible system you can just build on as you go. Keep is simple live and work stress free !

 

If you are going to invest the money do it right the first time around - Build on Open Source !

 

The Galtline

Mar 31, 2011 07:17 PM #21
Rainer
4,933
Jean Marie Ragus
American Dream Realty - Santa Cruz, CA

#12, Gordon, I really like your site. There 's lots of white space, it seems like a nice clean blog not a magazine might have. Do you use that blogging software that has a link on your page?

Apr 01, 2011 11:33 AM #22
Rainer
13,473
Damian Henry
Galtlinedesign - Yorba Linda, CA

Galtlinedesign just launched there entry level IDX System. You can check it out here: www.drupalidx.com The cool thing about it you can buy up options as you need them. The entry starts at 500. Nice clean system with Indexable props.

Apr 04, 2011 08:38 PM #23
Rainer
11,850
Dominic Giusti
DIG Marketing - San Diego, CA

I think it's absolutely critical to have an outside website. You need a website effective at generating and capturing traffic. There are lots of options available but ideally you need a host who is willing to lay out all of your option on the table and show you some really nifty ways to drive traffic fro very cehap. however, since you are blogging you are already making a huge step towards driving traffic and I'm willing to bet when they changed yoru website you lost some organic ranking due to the change in content. If you interested in jsut discusssing some ideas on how to get back there and capture some of that traffic then fell free to contact me.

Here's an example of one of our clients. Ask him how he is getting so many leads. http://www.georgiaresidentialhomes.com

DIG Marketing

Dominic Giusti

800-977-9804

dgiusti@digmarketing.com

http://www.digmarketing.com

Sep 23, 2011 07:48 PM #24
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Will Hamm

Where There's a Will, There's a WAY!
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