Becoming a real estate agent is an exciting time. It’s a time when new agents start thinking about their marketing and branding strategy and how to differentiate themselves from the competition.
If you look at websites most realtors have, you may think they are all a part of the same team.
They often look identical with similar layouts and functions. But that's only because many realtors choose a proprietary website platform such as:
- Real Estate Webmasters (REW)
- Broker-provided websites
For a real estate agent who wants to rank organically on Google search, these website solutions may not be the best option.
The benefits of a custom website
A personalized real estate website is better suited for agents who want to:
- Build a strong brand of their own
- Generate warm real estate leads
- Distinguish their services from the competition
Owning and operating your own website isn’t as much work as you think it might be. You don't have to settle with a proprietary website if you don't want to.
Instead, you can easily brand yourself online on your own with the help of GoDaddy.
Keep reading to learn why you should consider having your own website as a real estate agent, along with tips on how to get started.
1. You are in control of your website
When you own your website, you are in control of everything. This includes:
- Creating a logo
- Features on your site
- Overall design
- Your leads
Proprietary websites allow only a limited number of customizations, so it’s not always possible to modify your website to your needs.
With a proprietary website, you can only make minor changes to the layout. Most companies have standardized layouts for all realtors on their platform.
But because you are technically leasing a website from a proprietary company, you never actually own it.
This means you cannot exert the same level of control as you would if you had your own site.
2. It’s easier for your website to rank on Google
If you create original and engaging content on your own website, it is much easier to rank than having a generic website.
This means it’s more likely you’ll come up when people search for a realtor in their area.
This is especially true if you have a site with your own original domain name that’s not a part of your brokerage domain (like JaneDoe.YourBrokerageNameHere.com).
Additionally, if your site features content that’s identical to many other realtor sites, you’ll likely drown in a sea of online competition. Many brokerages offer the same articles with the same content for agents to post on their site. This isn’t a good idea if you’re looking to stand out.
Google doesn’t consider text that’s used all over the internet to be high-quality. In fact, it will drop your site down in rankings if it features duplicate content.
When you own your site, you can improve your SEO (search engine optimization) strategy as you see fit. You can work on improving your Google ranking, knowing that nobody can take that effort away from you.
Proprietary sites give you very few ways of improving your Google search ranking. They also won’t give you access to their backend code.
3. It helps you stand out from the competition
Agents who stand out from the sea of other realtors have one thing in common — their own website.
Many companies offer “cookie-cutter” sites with content that’s copy and pasted. Do you think your client will remember your website if it looks identical to your competitor’s site?
Being memorable is key in real estate.
You want to make sure that the first impression is a positive one. The way to do this is to ensure your website doesn’t have the same look and feel as other sites. This will immediately set you apart from your competition and get you noticed online.
4. Easy to make changes and less costly
If you want to update your logo or layout on a proprietary website, you will most likely need to pay a hefty fee.
Updating the photos on your own site is much cheaper and easier once you learn the basics.
5. If you switch brokerages, your website stays with you
If you change brokerages, your broker site stays with the broker. Should you decide to start your own site and move away from the proprietary website, all your effort is immediately lost.
Once your relationship with the proprietary company ends, you lose out on all that time spent on:
- Writing blog posts
- Website customization
- Marketing efforts
- Search engine ranking
You may even lose money if you spent time investing thousands of dollars on updates or marketing for these proprietary websites.
6. Major savings in the long run
Owning your own website is cheaper in the long run. You’re not bound by price hikes or changes that you don't like. Plus, you don’t have to pay any monthly maintenance fees.
All you need to cover is a yearly fee for your domain and host.
You may also decide to add an Internet Data Exchange (IDX) plugin for a monthly fee, if you choose to get one. (NOTE that IDX/MLS Real Estate functionality is built into GoDaddy’s easy website builder.)
7. You'll get better-quality leads
Owning your own leads means you don’t have to pay for them. The leads you generate from your own site will be warm leads interested in you. They’re not the typical cold leads you usually get through pay-per-click (PPC) advertising — something that many proprietary sites use.
As you create content of interest to your ideal audience, you’ll get emails and messages from these clients — without paying for ads.
However, you can always add paid advertising when you're ready to extend your reach and attract even more clients.
How to start your own website
Owning your own website will save you thousands of dollars if you do it yourself. Here are three steps to help you get started.
Step 1: Start with the basics
If you have tech skills (or are willing to learn) the first thing you’ll need to do is buy a domain, Managed WordPress hosting, and a real-estate related WordPress theme from a website such as themeforest.net.
The theme is basically a pre-built website that you customize with your own text and photos. You can also install an IDX plugin if you want to have an MLS real estate search system on your WordPress website. Learn more about building a WordPress website here.
If you’re not comfortable with technology, consider opting for GoDaddy’s Website Builder.
This super-easy tool lets you build a website, adding IDX/MLS Real Estate listings with a few clicks. It is:
- Supremely simple to set up
- Allows you to have complete control over your brand
- Doesn’t cost a fortune
Best part is you don’t have to be technically-savvy to use it. From pre-made templates to a raft of saucy marketing tools, it has everything you need to launch your real estate empire.
Step 2: Begin blogging and creating content
Making your website’s content — videos, blog posts, graphics — interesting and valuable for readers will help bring in more leads.
An important key is to focus on topics that cater to the area you serve.
This will help boost your search ranking higher and higher, as more leads visit your website.
Remember, creating your own content will help you establish yourself as a real estate expert in your area. It may take time, but it is so worth it in the end.
Step 3: Make it user-friendly
Ensure you have a clear-cut way for potential clients to book an appointment with you. A few prominent buttons that link to your appointment booking page (such as Calendly.com) would be helpful for your real estate business.
NOTE that with GoDaddy’s site builder, you can allow future clients to book their own appointments.
Key notes to keep in mind for 2022
Most buyers look for properties online with information about the city they want to move to. They also tend to research realtors before choosing the professional they want to work with. Stay ahead of the game by making yourself available to them before they make that important decision.
If a potential client is unable to find you online, then you’ve just lost a lead.
Since more buyers are looking at properties online, you need to be there to serve those clients.
Start building today
Building your own strong and recognizable brand is one of the most important tasks for a real estate agent. Having an attractive website that reflects that brand is a necessity in our digital world.
Additionally, taking control of your website is easy to do when you build with GoDaddy’s easy website builder. Now’s the perfect time to improve your online presence and start building your brand.