“Why Have A Website At All?”

QuestionmarkLast week’s article: The Business Blog vs. The Real Estate Website prompted the same question from both Bonnie Erickson and Teresa Boardman:

“Why have a website at all?”

It seemed like a great opportunity for a blog post, to defend the standard website, so thanks ladies.

We, who are avid bloggers and proponents of blogging may feel that there is no longer a need for a standard real estate website.  You remember the good old website; static pages of relevant content, lead generation forms, contact info, branded homepage, some IDX and featured listings sprinkled in…  Oh the memories, right?  Don’t be so quick to stick a fork in them just yet.  The standard website still has a place for many (if not most) in the real estate industry.

Here are 4 BIG reasons why.  You got anymore?

1.  Blogging is not for everyone.

“To blog or not to blog?” is a good read on this topic.  Basically, successful business blogging is not easy, and fortunately it is not a requirement to have an effective online presence.  The complete, standard website will have all the branding you need and all the real estate tools your audience needs.

2.  Sometimes the business card is better that than the newsletter.

As of late 2006, most internet users over 30 have not embraced the blog.
They don’t know what one is, they don’t recognize or read them, and they certainly aren’t writing them.  I don’t care what the stats say, we are trailblazing with the business blog.

Because your audience may not recognize what they are seeing when they come to a blog, the first impression you want (or intend) to create may not be the one they receive.  An active blog can look cluttered, and
confusing.  A poorly maintained blog will appear forgotten.  The article seen on the homepage may have nothing to do with their reason for the visit.   Unless you can address these issues with a clean, clear message and a well organized and brilliantly branded first impression, then it may just be better to maintain the standard website.

3.  Plug-and-play can fill the void and serve your needs.

We now train all new blogging clients with a 10-hour blogging success course.  That is a lot of work, knowledge and understanding on all our parts.  Before even getting started, I need to qualify my clients to see if this is a commitment they are willing to make.  If not, then the blog is not for them.  An easily set-up plug-and-play model, that fills the void of not having an internet presence, is a better solution.

Not only will plug-and-play have all the tools, but in most cases they come with customer service (including a monthly fee) that you can tap for all the training and marketing help you need.  Blogging itself is free, and in exchange, you are on your own.  So if you think you can just drop your old site, grab a free blog and ride the wave of real estate 2.0 to emarketing success…I got news for you.

4.  Pay your way in to the search engines.

Bottom line, the efforts you put into online advertising is to generate business.  Blogging your brains out doesn’t guarantee it.
However, if done correctly, it can be a fantastic content generator and in turn, a perfect  Search Engine Optimization tool.  However, buying your way into the search engines with pay-per-click campaigns such as Overture (Yahoo) and GoogleAdwords is quicker and offers a more focused result.  This approach coupled with good website landing pages (read: lead generation forms), although costly, is a proven technique for targeting high traffic and quality lead capturing.

(Hat tip to John Lockwood and Chris Daley)