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"Make Your Site Sizzle!"


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Sandy Teller Photo
8/5/05 Interview with Sandy Teller

Sizzling Studios, Inc.
4364 Montalvo Court
Naples, FL 34109
Biography

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Elements of a Successful Web Site

  1. The bottom-line definition of a successful web site is one that makes money for its owner; the first requirement is decent, if not great, information,including good area information and property listings; Teller recommends using IDX (broker reciprocity) for displaying properties.
  2. Web sites also need to have lead-generating mechanisms such as auto responders (a MAIL TO link), forms and anything else that can inspire web visitors to become leads.
  3. Teller suggests offering articles to web visitors by way of auto responders;the auto responder link delivers the article to the visitor’s email box and captures the email address for the web site owner.
  4. The articles should have compelling titles that appeal to people emotionally—e.g., "The 10 Things You Must Know Before You Sell Your House" or "Don’t Hire a Real Estate Agent Without This Advice;" a negative slant that plays into people’s fears is especially powerful.
  5. If the web site has a back end program, captured email addresses go into a database; good back end programs for real estate include Top Producer 7i and Dan Gooder Richard’s Real Estate Rainmaker (Teller’s preference).
  6. The advantage of a strong back end program is that it not only holds contact information, it launches a follow-up program automatically that otherwise would require a lot of agent time; staged contacts can be scheduled for either buyers or sellers, depending on what triggers are activated.
Marketing a Web Site

  1. Search engine optimization is search engine marketing or positioning; Teller prepares web sites to be found by search engines, does search engine submissions and reports on search engine results.
  2. Web site owners should not depend entirely on search engines for business; market your web site yourself—include your web address on every piece of paper that goes out of your office and in every print advertisement.
  3. Email can be a good vehicle to drive traffic to your web site, but only if used properly; ISPs are cracking down on spam, so unless your list is 100% opt-in, you are at risk to be accused of spamming.
Avoiding Spam Accusations

  1. Comcast has a tough policy with zero tolerance; unless you have a business account rather than a personal account with Comcast, you are not allowed to send anything of a commercially promotional nature—including an e-newsletter that would be considered a promotion of your business.
  2. If Comcast receives even one complaint, the company will blacklist your web site and email address; anything else you send to a Comcast subscriber will not get through.
  3. The Society uses its account at Realty EGenius—cost-effective services designed especially for Society members; by way of a template, users can send a message to a list of thousands with the push of a button and without going through their own ISP.
More on Search Engine Positioning

  1. Search engine positioning falls into three categories: pay-per-click, organic and illegal; e.g., for most searches in Google, two links at the top of the page and links down the right side are sponsored (pay-per-click) listings.
  2. The rest of the listings are organic links, which is what Teller focuses on getting for her clients; she begins by doing keyword research at Wordtracker to discover what terms people are actually searching on.
  3. Then Teller and the site owner decide on the three best phrases; usually "real estate" and the geographic location are in the wording; what applies changes around the country.
  4. The site owner needs to provide text for the first page of the web site that uses the key search phrases so that the copy appeals to people as well as to search engines; using a professional copywriter is advisable—Teller recommends one but is not directly involved.
  5. An illegal trick once popular was using "invisible text" (e.g., white text on a white page); that strategy no longer works with search engines.
Effective Metatags

  1. Metatags—a list of phrases behind the page—are also picked up by search engines; many metatags can be used but only three are important: the title tag, site description tag and keywords tag.
  2. The title tag actually appears along the top browser bar—it should have your top two keyword phrases in it.
  3. The site description tag should also use the keyword phrases; some search engines display this tag, so it should read sensibly and grab people’s attention—e.g., "A real estate guide to the Boston area including Beacon Hilland Back Bay."
  4. The keywords tag is not as important as it once was, but some search engines still pick it up; this tag is a long string of search phrases—be sure to include your geographical location.
Pay-per-Click

  1. If you are willing to pay enough, you can be guaranteed #1 listing on the search page, but this can amount to a lot of money because you pay the search engine every time someone uses its link to reach your web site.
  2. Set your pay-per-click budget carefully and choose keywords carefully so that your audience is well targeted—instead of using "Miami real estate"(a huge market), narrow it to "South Beach Miami real estate."
  3. With pay-per-click, you set a monthly budget, and when the limit is reached, your site no longer comes up; you don’t want to exhaust your budget too early in the month.
Search Engine Placement Companies

  1. The only way to guarantee top-of-the-list placement is by pay-per-click, unless the search phrase used is so narrow that it wouldn’t be useful (such as your name); be suspect of any company that claims it can get you top listing for a broad phrase.
  2. One caveat a company may use is to guarantee placement only among a limited group of people—e.g., those who have downloaded a certain plugin(which might be only 1,000 people).
Favorite Places on the Web

  1. OpenOffice.org offers a free, quasi-clone of MS Office Suite; the presentation software turns a presentation imported from PowerPoint into Flash, a much better medium for the Web.
  2. Wordtracker.com is the premiere resource for keyword research; use of the site is by subscription (for as little as one day), and a free trial is available.
  3. HighRankings.com offers a free, easy-to-understand newsletter on search engine optimization and forums for answering questions.
Contact Information for Sandy Teller:

(v) 239 593-3607
(e) websites@sizzlingstudios.com
(w)www.sizzlingstudios.com


Real Estate Sites & Tools in this Briefing:

Teller’s Sizzling Studios: www.sizzlingstudios.com
Recommended backend programs: Top Producer 7i; Real Estate Rainmaker
Realty EGenius: www.realtyegenius.com
Open Office Software: www.openoffice.org
Wordtracker: www.wordtracker.org
HighRankings: www.highrankings.com