How do you know when your website is making an impact? Of course the easiest and perhaps most satisfying way is when a you get a customer that you know came directly from your site. Even better is when that customer buys or sells a home and tells you your website was the reason that they chose to work with you. Another way is to look at visitors and try and track the number of people who are returning to the site. Real estate websites have an advantage over a lot of other industries because the listings make our sites "sticky". Make it easy for people to search for homes and they will come back over and over, many times earlier in the process than they would feel comfortable with personally contacting an agent.
Another great way to know when your site is making an impact is when it gets quoted in the newspaper. My friend Wayne Long from Columbus GA just had his site used in a local newspaper's website. Wayne just recently went through a redesign of his site and it looks great.
The local Columbus newspaper, The Ledger-Enquirer's story was not about Wayne's website -- wouldn't that be nice if the newspaper reviewed real estate websites, but instead the story was about a multi-million dollar mansion that is headed for foreclosure owned by a former car dealer named Bill Heard . Wayne's site was featured in the related content section of the story and there is a link directly to his Columbus GA Real Estate site.
I haven't seen any of my local or regional papers link directly to any real estate websites, but someday they might. If I keep working hard enough on my site, maybe they will link to mine.