One of the biggest concerns that any website owner possesses is how to drive more traffic to their website. The old adage “if you build it, they will come” was coined well before the Internet and does not apply.
Building a website is easy. Getting traffic to it is not.
Do not lose hope however, as there are small adjustments and changes that you can make to not only drive traffic to your website, but also keep those people there.
1. Content is King
People go to websites for one thing: information.
When using search engines, we all enter in search terms for the information we want to find, whether it be movie titles, band names, or listings in a particular city. These terms and nuggets of information will go a long way to attracting people to your site and keeping them there.
What information do your clients often ask for when speaking with you? That content should be on your website. What information do you ensure you give to new clients? That content should be on your website. What knowledge about your local area do you possess through experience? That content should be on your website.
One of the best things you can do with your Point2 Agent website is adjust the default content you received when you first created it. While it is great content to start out with, our content pales in comparison to the knowledge, experience, and expertise you have about your local market, its neighborhoods, its listings, and its people.
2. Search Engine Optimization
Each search engine possesses what they term “crawlers” or “spiders” whose job it is to navigate through websites and make note of the information they find. Again, content is king – and those crawlers love the king. They worship the king. The more custom content you have on your site, the better. While we don’t know the formulas those crawlers live by, we do know that they prefer fresh content that they cannot find elsewhere. Providing your own information that is different from everyone else will help you stand out to those crawlers.
Crawlers look at things like page titles, meta information, and the domain name you purchased for your website.
Ever taken a look at the list of ‘friends’ someone has on Facebook? That feature makes visible groups of people and how they network amongst themselves. You even receive suggestions as to people you may know through someone else, or a friend can suggest that you ‘friend’ someone. It’s all about forming bonds with others.
Linking of websites works in the same way. Website A provides a link to website B’s domain name, which tells the online visitors looking at A that they may also enjoy reading the information on B. Now, if B is nice, it will also have a link telling its online visitors to check out A. That linking and backlinking not only helps to drive traffic (sending people to another site and receiving traffic in return), but it also aids your SEO efforts . Crawlers recognize the linking and networking that is occurring and pay particular attention to the number of people who are following those links.
As an interesting note, referral traffic from website linking accounts for over 40% of the traffic we receive on our own Education Team website. I just created another link to our website…it’s that easy!
A great place to start linking between your website and others is a blog . While a website provides consistent information, a blog can be more “this moment now” in providing information on market statistics, open houses, local attractions, etc. It can also be a great way to quickly disseminate brief pieces of information that just don’t seem to fit in with your website (ie. roadwork construction, being out of the office for a few days, etc.).
This online web journal provides you the opportunity to not only talk more about real estate, listings, and market trends, but also about other topics that matter to you. Have a particular hobby that you are passionate about? Put it on your blog. Have an opinion on that trendy new restaurant that opened last week? Put it on your blog.
It may seem trivial and inconsequential, but remember that people go online for information. Often the information is related to entertainment, which may account for the incredible popularity of YouTube. Whether it is music videos, ‘stupid pet tricks’, or some dude doing an AC/DC cover in his basement, it’s on YouTube. Your blog can be business related, but it can also have an element of fun to it that showcases who you are outside of real estate.
Think of your blog as as your website’s mullet. Business in the front, party in the back. It’s all good.
Of course, no matter how much great information you have on your website or blog, no matter how much you link to other sites, and no matter how good your SEO work is, you will not see the increase of traffic to your site if you don’t market it.
What does “market it” mean?
It means that wherever you advertise yourself, your listings, your business, your website address should be there too. Business cards, email signatures, sign riders, bus benches, magnets, keychains, pens, listing brochures, listing presentations, mugs, shirts, hats…you get the idea. From this point forward, wherever you would put your name, put your website address with it. Your website is your twin. It is the online version of yourself.
This may sound extreme, but it will make your website stand out from your competitor’s websites. Chances are, those online visitors will form a relationship with that online version of you well before they actually meet or talk to you. With over 80% of the real estate market going online first to look for potential houses, this trend won’t be changing anytime soon. Learning more about online marketing strategies will be key in driving traffic to your website.
Online visitors are a lot like drivers on the road. They know what their final destination should be, so take the streets and avenues that they feel will get them there. The destination for online visitors is information. They know what they want to learn or find, so look for websites that are going to provide them that information. You can’t control where they go, but you can put up the road signs and help the search engines provide the maps to the information you provide on your site. With any luck, those visitors will love what they see so much, they’ll stay.
So build it. Customize it. Blog about it. Market it. They will come.