Make the Most of Your Website

If you research real estate websites you will find that some are pretty good. Others are not so good, and almost every site could do more to improve search engine visibility.

Everyone should care about their website because it is a reflection on you. It works for you 24 hours per day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year. Hosting costs are minimal. Once the site is up and running, incremental costs are low. For a potential client, it may be the first impression they have of you. The impression your website makes is under your control and direction.

A large budget makes for a better website. However, there is a certain level of professionalism and search engine optimization (SEO) you can obtain with very little effort. Below are some basic, inexpensive suggestions:

  • If you are going to have a website it must be populated. A site with the banner “Under Construction” or “Coming Soon” might as well say “I don’t care about getting your business – just go someplace else.” A crisp, one page site is better than nothing. It can be as simple as a PDF (Portable Document Format) of your brochure. It can cost as little as $50. It can be a single picture with your name, address and telephone number.
  • Your website should work properly. I know that sounds crazy, but many websites don’t work or give visitors an error message. Everyone should browse their website looking for glitches. Better that you find the problem than a potential client or business partner.
  • At a minimum, your website should provide your personal name and company name high rankings in the search engines. Use your full name within the website; use it often and place it on the website as text and not an image. People routinely use search engines instead of the telephone book. For example, type “Evergreen Management Group” into the Google search engine. Our website should appear at the very top of the list. Our website is at the top of the list for several reasons. One reason is because we use the company name throughout the site. Remember that text within an image does not get “read” by the search engines. Your name within an image equates to a lost opportunity for free advertising.

Now for a quick SEO lesson. Another reason our website is at the top of the search engine is because we understand the important connection between the text “Evergreen Management Group”, the domain names and, the names of the web pages and something known as meta tags. All of this information, and more, is used by the search engines to determine the credibility and placement of your website. However, for the beginners out there, just get your first and last name on the site as often as possible.

If your picture is on your website, get a new photo of yourself and make it a quality headshot. Why a headshot? Headshots do not show outdated clothing and styles. With a headshot, you will not have to update the picture as often to keep your website looking current.

The above suggestions are simple and inexpensive. For those of you who want to spend a little more time and money to generate business from your website, consider the following.

Create a links page and take advantage of reciprocal links. Search engines will find you more often and easier when you have links to other websites on your site. Search engines will assign your site more credibility when other credible sites link to your site. A link from another site to your site is called a reciprocal link. That is an opportunity for free advertising and improved search engine credibility. Another example is the various business networking sites, like LinkedIn. Links to/from those sites can improve your search engine rankings. Do not waste an opportunity to obtain a reciprocal link. Do you see how our company got two, free reciprocal links within this article?

Revise your website using current website software. As an analogy, think about your cell phone from 10 years ago. How does it compare to the cell phone you have today? Not very well, I would guess. That is because technology changes, and there is nowhere that technology changes faster than the World Wide Web. Today’s web development software is designed to be search engine friendly. This software is specifically designed to promote your web content. Fresh web content, above all else, is what feeds the search engines.

Add meaningful content to your site and add it frequently. Meaningful content is content that people want to read. Creating meaningful content is not difficult. An article’s page or FAQ page designed using current web software does wonders to improve search engine rankings and visibility.

Coming up with quality content is not difficult if you go about it the right way. Think about how many questions you answer each and every day. Every time you are asked a question about your business, that is an opportunity to add content to your website. Take that question, answer it and post the text on your website. The text can be as short as a paragraph. What matters is the substance of the question, your answer, and the frequency that you update your site. Search engines pay attention to how often you add content or make changes to your site.

Site updates = fresh information = more search engine credibility = higher search engine placement.

Track visitors to your website. All of the major search engines provide free tracking software. You just have to install that software. Tracking software will tell you the keywords used to find your site, the content viewed and other valuable information. However, be forewarned. When you initially hook up the tracking software, you may be very disappointed in what you see. As you add content to your site, two things happen. First, you will see more visitors. Second, you will start to understand what keywords people are using to find your site. Once you know the keywords, you can construct your articles and FAQs around those keywords. There is an art to writing SEO content. More on that topic next time.

Douglas A. Turner, President
Evergreen Management Group, Inc.
602 Park Point Drive, Suite 245
Golden, Colorado 80401
720-746-3004; 877-750-0006

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