This is part 1 of a 5-part series called “5 Website Mistakes That Will Kill Your Business”.
For mistake #1, I have to talk about one of the biggest misconceptions people have about having a website.
Many people have the mindset of “If I build it, they will come…” But that’s not the way it works. Having a website is a lot like having a phone number. If you don’t tell people you have it, they won’t know about it.
You have to advertise your website, the same as you would your phone number. So, for example, if you’re using bandit signs, business cards, flyers, etc., in addition to (or instead of) putting your phone number, put your website address.
A website should be part of your marketing, not a replacement for it.
What leads to the misconception that putting up a website is going to lead to people automatically coming to it?
My guess is that it’s a combination of a couple wrong ideas. I think people assume Google and other search sites automatically know about new web pages as soon as they are created, which is not the case. You can search on Google for a specific website, even putting in the domain name like “MyNewBusiness.com” and Google may say there are no results, or your site may not be listed in the results. Why? Because no one has told Google about your site.
The other wrong idea people may have is that Google (and other search sites) are going to automatically like their site better than all the other sites out there and put them right at the top. Maybe people don’t realize how much competition there is for certain words. When it comes to real estate, there is a ton of competition! Especially when you’re talking about general phrases like “buy a house”, “sell my house”, etc. In every city there are lots of people and companies who buy and sell real estate. On the internet you’re competing globally.
Fortunately, Google does sometimes try to favor local listings more than global ones, but still there is a lot of competition. If you just put up a website and there are other websites that have been around for years and have built up a good reputation, Google is going to favor them over your site, which means they will be listed higher than your site.
Some people may say…
“But what about SEO (Search Engine Optimization), doesn’t that get people to my site without marketing?”
In case you’re not familiar with it, SEO means your website is optimized or set up in a way that make it more likely that people will find you on search engine sites like Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.
Basically how it works is that your site is set up in a way that makes it easy for search sites to know what your website is about – buying/selling real estate as opposed to how to knit a sweater, for instance. But also for the search sites to like your website and think it’s a better match for what people are searching for than your competitors’ websites, so that they list your site higher in the list than your competitors.
So does Search Engine Optimization take the place of marketing?
Far from it! Search Engine Optimization is really a form of marketing in itself and is not something automatic. It’s a long-term strategy that takes time to build up and is certainly not something to expect results from right away. To get results from it you have to learn how it works and make adjustments to your site and also try to get owners of other websites to add links to your site on theirs. It takes work and it takes time.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you shouldn’t be interested in SEO. I get leads and customers on a weekly basis that found me on Google or other search engines, so it works. However, that wasn’t the case when I first put up my website and I had to work on getting to that point.
Does that mean there is no way to tap into the people searching on sites like Google when you have a new site?
No, that’s not what I’m saying. For one, doing some basic SEO makes sense and, in certain cases, I have seen people get good rankings quickly for certain search phrases, especially when there isn’t a lot of competition for a certain phrase. What I would suggest is adding the name of your city or area to your pages. That way you’re not competing globally, which you’re probably not interested in anyway, but only competing locally. The chances of someone in your local area having a well-optimized site are smaller than competing nationwide or even with your whole state.
Simple Changes You Can Make to Your Site to Improve SEO
There are two main places you want to add the name of your city: to the “Title” tag and to a headline a the top of your site.
Depending on how your website is set up, that may either be easy to do or really difficult.
On the ALLREI All-in-One Real Estate Investor Websites I provide, it’s very easy. You just go to the page you want to change, click Edit, and add the name of your city to the Title at the top. You can also click on the body of the page and add your city name to a headline on the page, or add it to a couple spots in the text of the page. If your website is not with us, you may have to do it a different way. It may involve editing the code of your website.
Paying for Search Engine Traffic
Another way to tap into people who are searching on Google is to pay for an advertisement on Google. Google has a service called Adwords where you can have your ad displayed when people search for certain things. One great feature is that you can only have your ad show up when people are searching in a certain city or state. That way you’re not competing with everyone, but just in your local area, which lowers the cost a lot.
So maybe you’re thinking all of that sounds like too much work and you don’t really care about optimizing a website for search engines or paying for ads on Google. Does that mean there’s no point in having a website?
Definitely not. Having a website has lots of advantages.
For example, here are just a few benefits a website offers:
- The ability to do business 24/7. By sending people to your website, they can give you their information any time, regardless of what time of day or night it is.
- Make it easier for people to contact you. There is less pressure involved with going to a web page as opposed to calling a stranger on the phone.
- Build Trust. People expect legitimate businesses to have a website these days. Having a professional-looking website helps you look more established and can help people to trust you.
If you don’t have a website, check out our ALLREI All-In-One Real Estate Investor Websites.
That’s all for Part 1 of this series. Be sure to watch for the remaining 5 parts soon.
To your success,