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"Good Things Web Sites Must Have!"


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Terry Watson Photo
4/1/05 Interview with Terry Watson

Watson World, Inc.
Address: 1341 W. Fullerton Ave., Ste 303
Chicago, IL 60614
Biography

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Web Site Usefulness

  1. Gear your site to meet the expectations of the Web-savvy Generation X(born 1965­1980), who were raised to question everything and trust no one; they want information fast and like to be entertained.
  2. Most real estate web sites focus too much on agent history instead of on what the agent can do for the consumer; basically, an effective web site needs to have useful content.
What Should Be Included on a RE Web Site

  1. Definitely have an explanation of credit scoring; an 18-page report is available from the company that invented credit scoring; post that report plus the link to the company web site, www.MyFICO.com.
  2. Information about insurance scores relative to homeowner's insurance needs to be on a real estate site.
  3. Information on CLUE reports should also be on a RE site; the national CLUE database (Comprehensive Loss and Underwriting Exchange) is used by insurance companies to protect themselves from home insurance fraud; a house with a history of water damage is likely to be uninsurable.
  4. An invaluable link to include on your site is www.Epinions.com, an excellent resource to get information on anything, the site is a bootleg Consumer Reports for the public.
  5. Include a one-page summary sheet of phone numbers that buyers and sellers need to change all their services; list information and links about local sports teams and entertainment, the job situation (Chamber of Commerce) and local weather; list famous people who live in the area.
  6. Instead of using a glamour shot, create a photo gallery showing you assisting buyers and sellers all the way through the real estate process.
  7. Post a recommended reading list, not just about real estate, but including books that have changed your life.
Capturing Consumer Information

  1. Generation Xers rebel against being told they must give identifying information; Watson advises not to have a mandatory address book, but if you do have one, post your privacy policy for reassurance.
  2. Consider joining the Better Business Bureau ($200) and linking to the BBB privacy policy to add credibility to your web site.
  3. Offering something in exchange for contact information is a proven technique; negative teasers are more effective than positive ones, offer "Top Ten Mistakes Most Buyers Make That Cost Them Thousands" instead of "Ten Things Buyers Need to Know Before They Buy a House."
  4. Post a comprehensive Buyer's Packet and Seller's Packet on your site that are downloadable, have people register to get such value-added information but not for generic information such as listings.
Favorite Time-Saving Tech Tool

  1. Using a Blackberry is the most effective time-saver because it allows agents to communicate with buyers instantly; the average buyer is 32 years old and expects an immediate response, they email 4 or 5 agents and go with the one who is first (usually within three hours).
  2. By getting email instantly, agents can judge which messages require immediate response; agents are saved the task of going through numerous, accumulated messages upon returning to their office.
How to Drive Traffic to Your Site

  1. Put your web address on everything, including the license plate frame of your car.
  2. Use every opportunity to tell people to go to your site; for example, give your web address on your voice mail message.
Common Mistakes to Avoid

  1. Don't use a dark background on your web site; people who print out something from the site will waste printer ink.
  2. Don't let any page on your site take longer to load than 6 seconds; many consumers do not have fast Internet connections, so gear your design to the AOL user with a 56k modem.
  3. Don't give your phone number only as a word, 888-HOME; always include the actual number to make dialing easier.
  4. Don't forget to put your phone number on your home page, preferably in the header; visitors should not have to search for contact information.
  5. Don't forget to include a site map on your web site that shows every page so that people can keep themselves oriented, especially when returning to find a helpful page they used before.
Resources for Technical and Business Help

  1. Talk to people who work at computer stores; they may be willing to come to your house to help for a reasonable price.
  2. Read the book The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber; two important reasons he gives for business failure are (1) that people work "in" their business instead of "on" their business and (2) people do not have systems; your web site should be a system.
  3. An excellent source for web site content is www.realtor.org; the Field Guides accessible by searching from the home page cover amazing real estate topics in depth from Feng Shui and Starker exchanges, to negotiating techniques and working with first-time buyers and seniors.
More Favorite Sites

  1. Agents should check out REALTOR.com to be aware of what consumers are seeing; for example, the site advises buyers not to use a home inspector recommended by an agent because of conflict of interest.
  2. The Mayo Clinic web site is a great source for medical information and is a great link for your own site.
  3. Flight59.com is the best place to find last-minute travel deals; AuctionSniper.com is a resource for submitting last-minute bids on eBay.
Contact Information for Terry Watson:

(v) 773-404-7721
(e) Terry@TerryWatson.com
(w)www.TerryWatson.com


Real Estate Sites & Tools in this Briefing:

Watson's site: www.TerryWatson.com
FICO: www.myfico.com
Epinions: www.epinions.com
Blackberry: www.blackberry.com

Business success book:
The E-Myth Revisited, Michael Gerber

NAR Field Guides: search from home page at www.realtor.org
REALTOR.com: www.realtor.com
Mayo Clinic: www.mayoclinic.com
Flight 59: www.flight59.com
AuctionSniper: www.auctionsniper.com