What does an Internet user expect to find online?

By
Real Estate Agent with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Metro Brokers

What does an Internet user expect to find online?Ask anyone that uses the Internet on a regular basis what they expect to find when searching online and the answer will almost always be something akin to: “free information.”

The boom of the Internet is also its bane. The constant struggle with Internet entrepreneurship has always been devising ways to monetize a site.

The SOP for new developers is to first build a site, generate sufficient traffic, and then once a site is popular, try to figure out how to make money.

More often than not this approach fails. Advertising revenues will rarely support an enterprise. There must be a way to change the user mindset from “free” to “glad to pay.”

In the meantime companies are floated by speculators with venture capital that hope that one day the site will be profitable and yield some kind of return.

The majority of websites are no more than online pamphlets, and offer little value beyond delivering address and contact info. Surprisingly enough some do not even do that very well.

Users want information. Fast and free. If you provide it, they will return to your site.

Will it translate into more business?

Indirectly yes. But it takes time and patience, because it’s a numbers game.

And the more numbers, the better!

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  1. Lenn Harley 03/30/2012 05:47 AM
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Rainer
227,815
Carie Shapiro
Managing Broker-IL; Pre-License Instructor-IL; Broker-TX - Chicago, IL

Yes, fast and free information gets people to your site.  Getting them to your site on a regular basis definitely helps to build more business.  As you said, sales is a numbers game and can take time.  Sometimes a lot of time :)

Mar 30, 2012 10:22 AM #20
Rainer
200,519
Cheryl Thomson, REALTOR, Retired (U.S. Army)
Buyers Advantage Real Estate Corp. (c: 703.216.5635) - Woodbridge, VA
Real Estate in Northern Virginia

Yes that is true in this day and age everything is NOW. I want it now, instant gratification someone said already, especially the younger generation like my son in their twenties.  If you can't give it to them, they will surely find it somewhere else.  I also believe too much on a website loses you.  No one want to sift through information to find it so I believe it needs to be eyes friendly...to keep them there.

Mar 30, 2012 10:31 AM #21
Rainmaker
202,929
Barb Merrill
Cactus Mountain Properties, LLC - Tempe, AZ
GRI, Associate Broker

I have found that the successful real estate websites offer their viewers something for nothing to attract their business.  For example, access to the MLS to search for properties, amenities offered in a specific subdivision or community specialist, coupons to local retailers, and rankings of local schools.  Rather than trying to swim upstream, go with the flow and offer something valuable.

Mar 30, 2012 11:17 AM #22
Rainmaker
313,710
Sandy Acevedo
951-290-8588 - Chino Hills, CA
RE/MAX Masters, Inland Empire Homes for Sale

HI Richard,... and why not fast and free? This has been the internet culture from the beginning. And it is still perpetuated by Google and others. Me, too - guilty as charged!

Mar 30, 2012 11:25 AM #23
Rainmaker
799,307
Mike Cooper
Winchester Real Estate Sales, Cornerstone Business Group Inc - Winchester, VA
Your Winchester, VA Real Estate Pro

I use the Internet for information more than purchases, but I like free info.  It does seem to be the nature of the Internet to provide info without always asking for something in return.  Good thoughts, Richard.

Mar 30, 2012 01:21 PM #24
Rainmaker
699,049
Gene Mundt
www.genemundt.com - 708.921.6331 - New Lenox, IL
Chicagoland Mortgage Lender - 37 yrs experience

Richard:  Not that I don't want people to find me via my website .. I obviously would love that.  But I also realize that one small independent loan officer is probably not going to pull the number of visitors to his site to garner huge numbers of leads or business.  Not in ratio to mega-lender banks.  So my focus is a bit different with my site.  I use it as a convenience and source of info for primarily those that I have already come in contact with.  I keep info there that will help them as they go through the homebuying and lending process ... as reminders, resource.  It works well for me that way.  So is my website a huge success in the typical manner?  No .. but it's a success for me ...

Gene

Mar 30, 2012 03:07 PM #25
Rainmaker
333,515
Vern Eaton
Askov, MN
Realtor 320-630-6995

 Think people expect to find the answeers to every problem they have and everything they read is the truth.

Mar 30, 2012 03:32 PM #26
Rainmaker
180,245
Cameron Wilson
Labrum Real Estate - Murrieta, CA
The Short Guy - Murrieta,Temecula,Menifee California

Not only do they want it for free some folks take the stuff they read on the internet for the Gospel truth.

The higher the numbers the more business.

Mar 30, 2012 03:44 PM #27
Rainer
145,431
Raymond Denton - Casta del Sol Realtor®
Your Casta del Sol Agent - Mission Viejo, CA
Casta del Sol is all I do

I stopped building websites that try to answer everybodys questions years ago.  Now, I just give them what they want - pictures of homes in the area they're interested in.  They'll ask questions if they have them, and the questions will be specifically about the home or area.  That type of website doesn't generate a lot of leads, but the quality is higher.

Mar 30, 2012 04:25 PM #28
Rainmaker
130,244
Markita Woods NMLS#190699
WestStar Mortgage Inc NLMS#2925 - Woodbridge, VA
Queen of Mortgages - FHA, VA, Conventional, USDA

Ditto of what Gene Mundt said, I use my website as a resource for clients I have already been introduced to my services. But I do like it when I am found on the internet by a buyer that needs my services.

Mar 30, 2012 05:58 PM #29
Rainer
17,165
Larry Gatti
The Gatti Group at Keller Williams Realty - Louisville, KY

Three words..... CONTENT, CONTENT, CONTENT. Users want to be able to find information on not only houses, but how the home buying process works, areas of town, and generally good information surrounding the real estate experience.

Mar 30, 2012 06:49 PM #30
Ambassador
1,098,783
Joni Staples
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services - Anderson Properties - Huntsville, TX
Your Huntsville / Lake Livingston Area REALTOR®

What do I look for on the Internet? I look for answers. So... I need to be answering more questions on my blog posts. Thanks!! ☺

Mar 30, 2012 07:47 PM #31
Ambassador
1,897,480
Judi K Barrett
Judi Barrett~Integrity Real Estate Services~Idabel, Oklahoma - Idabel, OK
Broker/Owner, Integrity Real Estate Services -IDAB

I'm always looking for free information too, just like everyone else. 

Mar 30, 2012 07:49 PM #32
Rainmaker
656,987
Evelyn Kennedy
Gallagher & Lindsey, Alameda, California - Alameda, CA
Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA

Richard:

People want information and they want it to be free.  And if they don't get it on one site they got to another.  They don't stick around very long if they don't find what they want.

Mar 30, 2012 08:40 PM #33
Ambassador
1,240,676
Tammie White
Benchmark Realty, LLC (615) 495-0752 or www.TWRealtyGroup.net - Franklin, TN
Franklin TN, South of Nashville

With sites like Zillow and Trulia, I find it hard to compete. One of my buyers contacted me the other day about a listing he'd found on Trulia. He told me it had been on the market for 4 years and he wanted to know what the deal was. I looked it up. Sure enough, the home was listed in 2008 for six months. It expired. The seller brought it back on the market last month but Trulia is showing it listed that entire time. It may be free information but it's not correct information.

Mar 30, 2012 08:58 PM #34
Ambassador
1,568,393
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 800-610-7253 DRE01267479 - Costa M

Richard - Free information and content is what they we want from the internet.  And, you're right; it's numbers that allow us monetize eventually.

Mar 30, 2012 10:48 PM #35
Rainmaker
1,649,391
Debbie Gartner
Floor Coverings International Westchester NY & Stamford CT - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl - Westchester hardwood flooring

Yes, it is very challenging to monetize a new site and I'm not surprised that so many fail in this endeavor.

Mar 31, 2012 03:34 AM #36
Rainmaker
1,885,826
Gabe Sanders
the BlueWater Realty team specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

Richard, Internet searchers want everything, they want it for free and all too many feel it's the gospel.  Many, many are being deluded by the net.  Especially in real estate.

Mar 31, 2012 04:19 AM #37
Ambassador
340,940
Emily Medvec
Keller Williams Santa Fe - Santa Fe, NM
Realtor, Santa Fe NM |CNE CRS RSPS | 505-660-4541

Excellent post on what people expect from the internet. I am sure many of us expect the same when we are seeking new info on the new iPad or car or anything we may be thinking about period. What is important to remember is in the end, so far at least, people do business with people they know, like and trust and not the internet.

Mar 31, 2012 09:49 AM #38
Rainmaker
1,129,333
Li Read
Sea to Sky Premier Properties (Salt Spring) - Salt Spring Island, BC
Caring expertise...knowledge for you!

Well said...you remind us all of the "it's all data till someone turns it into information" aspect of the raw internet.   How to get that info connection is what we are all struggling with, I think.   Needs our editing function?

Mar 31, 2012 10:19 AM #39
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