Should a Website be a Superstore or a Boutique?

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

Should a Website be a Superstore or a Boutique?Many, many years ago when the Internet was still in its infancy and few had even heard of the World Wide Web I was given, what was then, some very sound advice:

“If you want to be at the top you must narrow your focus and be the best in covering one topic.”

You see, at first I tried to have as much varied and diverse content as I could, thinking that there would be a myriad of possibilities for someone to stumble upon my site.

Instead of getting more visits, the site just languished alone and unrecognized by search engines.

After getting my good advice, I tried to decide what kind of content would separate me from others. I enjoyed the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and had a few film photos and “SmokyPhotos.com” was born!

To this day, any Google search using the term “photos” and any permutation of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park returns SmokyPhotos as the number one Smoky Mountains Photo site! Even the former President of the United States used SmokyPhotos as a source for background photos for a speech!

But alas, the days of the “boutique” websites are numbered. As more and more mega-sites continue to gorge on all kinds of content, the “little guy” must be content to scavenge the crumbs that fall of the table.

The “Superstore” sites that offer everything AND dominate the search engines and it will not be long before many of the smaller sites fade into obscurity.

I have lived through the entire evolution of the Internet and have seen many changes for the better, and some that I don’t like very much.

But I will continue on with my “boutique” sites as long as it is economically feasible to do so.

Which, at the rate we are going, may not be much longer at all!

Great Smoky Mountains National Park by Richard Weisser and SmokyPhotos.

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Re-Blogged 3 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Barbara Martino-Sliva 06/22/2012 05:56 AM
  2. C. Lloyd McKenzie 06/22/2012 12:52 PM
  3. Gabe Sanders 06/25/2012 03:37 AM
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Ambassador
1,909,297
Chris Ann Cleland
Long & Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Northern VA

Keep up the fight with your boutique web presence.  You are fighting the good fight.

Jun 22, 2012 12:17 PM #27
Rainmaker
494,150
C. Lloyd McKenzie
Prudential Allstar Realtors - Albuquerque, NM
MBA - Prudential Allstar Realtors -

Good Afternoon Richard:

Excellent Post. The Giants in the industry are battling it out for market dominance.  We as Agents are mere pawns in this fight. Sometimes I wonder  if it's time for agents to pull their membership from these MLS.  Afterall, we pay them money and they give our data away to the Big Guys,for us to then to either purchase the info or compete head-on with the big guys.  That's What's going on.  My little website cannot function against the big guy's. 

Six years ago when I decided that I was going to establish my webpresence my son, an MIT freshman warned me against  doing that...he said to do WordPress Blog, it will pay off... It was a very expensive lesson to learn.  Thanks to Active Rain a all the information sharing, I do not have that website anymore.  Hoefully by the next two months my blog will start picking up the the kind of traffic needed to run a successful business

Jun 22, 2012 12:47 PM #28
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Charlie Ragonesi
AllMountainRealty.com - Big Canoe, GA
Homes - Big Canoe, Jasper, North Georgia Pros

Richard this is probably the first time in the couple of years I have been reading your posts that youu  were down beat !!

The internet is the great equalizer and so we are equal with the beasts . I think

Jun 22, 2012 01:16 PM #29
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Tammy Emineth
Personal SEO - Website SEO and Real Estate Marketing - Marysville, WA
Content Marketer, SEO Teacher, Website Fixer

Just as the internet is getting smarter so are consumers. They want the personalization of a website that gives them exactly what they came there for. Not a lot of hype and empty promises but decent service and the facts.

Jun 22, 2012 02:44 PM #30
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Richard Weisser
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Metro Brokers - Newnan, GA
Richard Weisser Coweta Newnan Homes for Sale

Gary...

It is very important that content is refreshed often!. Thanks.

Steve...

It's a lesson I learned 13 years ago that has stuck with me. Thanks so much,

Margaret...

Probably better to do a website for each, but as we all know, the more narrow the scope the better in most cases! Thanks.

Fernando...

But you'll have to move to Bentonville AR! lol and thanks.

Jun 22, 2012 03:35 PM #31
Rainmaker
338,859
Lloyd Binen
Certified Realty Services - Saratoga, CA
Silicon Valley R since 1976;408-565-8177

In answer to your question in the title; if a massive website allows the user to find the detailed information they'e looking for in a few quick clicks, that would seem best.

Jun 22, 2012 06:03 PM #32
Rainmaker
808,502
Gail Robinson
William Raveis Real Estate - Southport, CT
CRS, GRI, e-PRO Fairfield County, CT

Richard - The future is social media, not web sites or blogs.  I am devoting much more time to social media and use it to drive traffic to my sites.  As a result I'm building traffic and still ranking in the #1 and #2 spots for my niche market keywords. 

Jun 22, 2012 07:33 PM #33
Rainer
307,049
Jennifer Chiongbian
Specializing in all types of Manhattan apts & townhouses - Manhattan, NY
Real Estate Broker - NYC

Localism is definitely key.  When I first set up my website and did keywords for NYC real estate, I got leads for all the other boroughs I don't even work.  I learned quickly and schift that specifically only to the territory I work in---Manhattan.

Jun 22, 2012 07:46 PM #34
Rainmaker
1,054,080
Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

This is an interesting question and I think the points of view expressed reflect the thing I am trying to weigh.  Of course, budgets are a factor here too!

Jun 22, 2012 08:05 PM #35
Rainmaker
954,720
Kathy Clulow
RE/MAX All-Stars Realty Inc. Brokerage - Uxbridge, ON
CNE - ASP - SRES .... Uxbridge Ontario Real Estate

Richard - and we continue to provide those super sites with all our information for free sometimes even paying them to put our information on their site ..... when will we learn!!!!

Jun 22, 2012 08:26 PM #36
Rainmaker
672,327
Pamela Seley, REALTOR®
REALTY EXECUTIVES OTF - Temecula, CA
Menifee Lakes California Real Estate

Richard, very timely post. I agree with many of the comments and you that we can't compete with the big sites. I have a site that costs alot of $$ that has not brought results promised. The big sites do better I'm sure. I believe social media and boutique sites like the one you have will be the future. Every person is unique like every real estate transaction. I'm realizing as an agent I may not be every customer/client's cup of tea, nor should I pretend to be. Thank you for your post today,

Jun 22, 2012 09:52 PM #37
Rainmaker
573,698
Phil Leng
Keller Williams Eastside Market Center - Kirkland, WA
Phil Leng Team - Residential Real Estate Experts &

Hi Richard,

Good post.

I like the comment:

The riches are in the niches.

I would add:

So you gotta scratch where it itches.

PHil

Jun 23, 2012 02:59 AM #38
Rainmaker
73,267
Gina NUGENT
Seiss Real Estate - Miami Beach, FL
Gina Nugent

I like #17(Eve): Riches are in the niches....very cute!

Jun 23, 2012 04:00 AM #39
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Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.265.3004 www.LizTour.com - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Richard, So far, it's not the general info that is getting consumer calls for us but the very specific, boutique type niche info.  We'll keep working that gap in info availability as long as it's available to work.

Jun 23, 2012 04:17 AM #40
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Tammy Lankford
Lane Realty - Eatonton, GA
Your Lake Sinclair Expert (706-485-9668)

Blog titles along with my niche lake sinclair site have continuted to keep my family feed. I'll never be mega, but that's okay by me.  I don't want ALL the money.  I just want to help enough folks to pay the bills.  Can't take it with you after all.

Jun 23, 2012 06:08 AM #41
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Erica Ramus
Erica Ramus - Ramus Realty Group - Pottsville, PA - Pottsville, PA
MRE, Schuylkill County PA Real Estate

I have several boutique sites, and one major supersite as well, for my area. Niche sites still dominate for google results when you go for a targeted buyer.

Jun 23, 2012 12:31 PM #42
Rainmaker
540,932
Eric Michael
Remerica Integrity, Realtors®, Northville, MI - Livonia, MI
Metro Detroit Real Estate Professional 734.564.1519

Richard, I heard something the other day about Walmart getting into the real estate game. Is this what you mean by "superstores?"

Jun 23, 2012 04:19 PM #43
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Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9663

Great advice Richard, with the sheer volume of information on the net, anything but a narrow focus just gets buried.

Jun 23, 2012 05:52 PM #44
Rainmaker
973,908
Sharon Alters
Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - Fleming Island, FL
Your Fleming Island Relocation Agents.

Richard, I agree with Renee - and also think that the riches are in the niches. Boutique sites, isn't that the hyper local that is being promoted so much?

Sharon

Jun 23, 2012 06:44 PM #45
Rainer
238,614
San Antonio Texas New Homes for Sale
www.sanantoniotexasnewhomesforsale.com - San Antonio, TX

Hi Richard ...Very good article ! It sure does raise questions for business strategies...

Quite a few great responses on different directions and perceptions .... 

Jun 25, 2012 04:18 AM #46
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