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"Attracting Visitors to Your Site"

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Cathy Dupre Photo
2/6/98 Interview with Cathy Dupre

InfoScavenger Communications, Inc.
1153 Bergen Parkway, Suite 473<
Evergreen, CO 80439

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Web Site Tips for Realtors from a Buyer's Perspective

  1. Look beyond your own listings; offer to search others on behalf of an interested buyer.
  2. Position your Web site from the visitor's perspective; establish clearly what the goal of your site is so prospects can identify themselves.
  3. Offer visitors choices for moving around the site.
  4. Take advantage of Web technology.
  5. Keep in touch with qualified visitors.
  6. Personalize your site.
  7. Look beyond search engines and directories to attract visitors.
  8. Track where your visitors come from and leverage that information to generate more visitors from similar sources.
Considerations for Positioning Your Site

  1. The needs of distant prospects are different from those of local prospects; offer information about your area to acquaint visitors from elsewhere with basic knowledge about your area.
  2. Know if you want to attract buyers or sellers - sellers are often overlooked; perhaps split your page to address the needs of both groups.
Strategies for Site Navigation

  1. Avoid forcing a visitor to view too much information (especially maps and photos); provide means for visitors to screen by their own criteria (location/price/size, etc.).
  2. Too many graphics slow down site navigation; offer text-only information and allow visitors to select graphic detail.
  3. Organize listings into categories to satisfy your visitors' interests quickly.
  4. If you have a large number of listings, offer a searchable database; new software such as FileMaker Pro and other inexpensive relational database products can connect with your Web site and pull information directly into your server.
  5. Making sure your site opens fast is a cardinal rule; most visitors will be viewing from home, where they are less likely to have fast modems; slow-loading graphics and photos are a turnoff.
  6. RE sites tend to overuse maps; maps that fail to show street IDs are not helpful.
Automatic Site Analysis

  1. Free Web sites exist that will automatically critique your Web page - one good one is Web Site Garage; feedback includes loading time, server speed and links to your site.
  2. Many of the analysis packages also show how your site looks using different browsers; some browsers (such as AOL's) do not handle tables and forms well.
Ways to Take Advantage of Web Technology

  1. Include your email address on every page of your site to facilitate visitors contacting you.
  2. Use auto-responders to give prospects an immediate reply; the reply can act as an electronic business card/reminder to keep the visitor from forgetting you among other sites.
  3. Consider Sprint's "Give Me a Call" service, which establishes a button on your Web page that when clicked puts the visitor through to a live person by phone.
  4. Use more than one domain name to attract more Web site visitors - one could be company- related, but others could be more generic.
  5. Various entry ways into a site can be established (splitter sites or mirror sites); these may be a welcome page into the main site or very specific topical pages leading into the main site.
Cautions on Using Free Sites

  1. Before using free Web site offers as doorways into your main site, evaluate the time it takes to handle the set-up and updating.
  2. Experienced Web users may not take seriously companies that use the free sites.
  3. Search engines may not find you as easily if you have a page within one of the free sites as compared to having your own domain name.
Qualifying Visitors

  1. Get enough information from visitors to determine if they fit your client profile; otherwise, you will waste time responding to inappropriate leads.
  2. For residential prospects, ask where they live now, when they plan to move, what kind of property they seek, etc. the information you would ask in person.
  3. Make use of the log files maintained by your Web host company with statistics about your visitors - a low-cost, monthly report is probably available to you from your Web master.
  4. Software is available that can analyze this information to identify useful aspects that can be leveraged to generate more visitors; examine such factors as what other pages your visitors look at and what information they seek; on your own page, beef up what they are looking for and drop what they aren't.
Attracting Visitors to Your Site

  1. Publicize newsworthy aspects of your site to interest people in visiting; e.g.,content that is not commonly available, information that is especially thorough, an event that you are sponsoring, or a capability you offer that is unique (perhaps area-wide search).
  2. Take advantage of links from other area sites that out-of-towners may visit to learn about your vicinity such as TV station/radio station/newspaper/Chamber of Commerce pages.
  3. Strive to "brand" your business as unique or as the SOURCE for some product or service so that people remember who you are; having your own domain name is an effective technique for branding.
  4. Know why clients should do business with you instead of the competition (better service, better pricing, etc.) and act to make that clear to qualified prospects by delivering quick responses to their email questions.
Maximizing Publicity

  1. Look for low-cost media lists on the Web; send press releases by email, fax and/or snail mail.
  2. Learn to write effective press releases that will be read and used by publications; DuPre's site currently contains a useful section called "Press Release Pointers."
  3. If your area is appealing to certain other regions, target writers from those other regions and inform them of what you have available on your Web site.
Cathy has offered Society members a special discount on Internet Infoscavenger at $129 (published price, $197; Web site price, $157). The discount is good for 30 days.

Contact Information for Cathy Dupre:

(v) 303-674-2794
(f) 303-674-4184

Real Estate Sites & Tools in this Briefing:

Web Site Garage
Sprint's Give Me a Call
Low-cost media lists
Press release pointers