Among the topics discussed at the Inman Connect Conference in New York City last week was the need to get agents to create custom local content for real estate websites. As various speakers explained, this accomplishes a few things for a real estate website:
1. Creates unique content that search engines can read. Nearly every website has local listings. Creating custom community content is a way to separate your site from the competition.
2. Demonstrate local expertise. When agents write about market trends, or parks, schools and businesses around town, they are demonstrating their local expertise. When people search on Google for information related to any of those topics (and many more) there is a good chance that the content created by agents will pop up high in search results. This draws new visitors to the site and creates a rich first-impression. These prospective clients are not coming to your homepage first. They’re going directly to content deep within your website on community pages, blog posts, or agent sites.
3. Make a personal connection. While this type of content can demonstrate that agents know something about the communities they work within, quality community content can also show that they’re passionate about their communities. That turns community content from encyclopedic to interesting. For example, agents writing about parades they’ve attended with their kids, a trip to a local horse farm, or a report from a school board meeting are going to provide people with more than just the facts. It’s about being an active member of their community. This type of content keeps people reading even when they’re not directly in-market.
However, it also became clear that many brokers don’t have the technology they need to enable agents to publish this type of content on their websites. This appears to be one of the reasons that Twitter, Facebook, and 3rd party blogging platforms are so popular today: They give agents an outlet to publish content that they can’t publish to their own websites due to technology constraints. (Granted, there are still plenty of good reasons to use social media sites.)
At WhereToLive.com, we take this level of content very seriously. It makes up a critical piece of a complete broker website’s content pie. We also know that agents and brokers are very busy people, who are only willing to spend so much time in front of their web browsers. To address this, we’ve built a content management system that’s integrated, professional, scaleable.
Rather than having to go out to WordPress or other blogging platforms to get started, WhereToLive.com sites have blogs built in at the broker and agent level. Everyone has a professionally designed and branded blog built directly into the platform. This avoids integration headaches and design inconsistencies. It also allows us to easily syndicate blog posts throughout a broker’s site depending on the topic reach of a given article. For example, an agent’s blog post could appear on their own site, relevant community pages throughout the site, and even the site’s homepage, depending on the reach and quality of the content. It’s easier to get people to write great stuff if they are confident that people will read it.
Additionally, our community pages have a Wiki interface which allows multiple people to contribute information to community pages. Like Wikipedia, information on the pages expands and is refined over time, creating community content of greater and greater value. This lowers the bar for contributing to community pages since others will be able to come along to build upon what you’ve written. Contributing agents also gain additional online exposure within the sites due to their contributions to community pages and blog post, which creates an incentive to publish quality content on a regular basis.
This allows our clients to generate high quality information that addresses a wide range of prospective client’s needs (as demonstrated based on what they’ve typed into Google) from very high level geographic terms, to cities, neighborhoods, agent names, trend questions, down to the MLS numbers of specific properties. No matter how someone searches for real estate in your market, it pays to have a website that’s in the game.
At WhereToLive.com, we create the technology that allows you and your network of agents to create the content prospective buyers and sellers are looking for. For more information, contact us for a demo.