Why get a custom real estate website when there are free template designs available? The drawback of free real estate templates is that having a website is not enough to generate leads. Custom real estate website designers know what designs and content create an Internet presence that translates into your financial success. Five reasons why you should invest in a custom real estate website design:
Custom real estate websites' structure has the benefit of a template's coding infrastructure upon which unique graphics and content can be added. In the more competitive real estate markets, ongoing success depends to a large extent on a real estate agent providing content that sells the sizzle. Though it creates some homework for an agent (or an opportunity to invest in professional copywriting), adding good content to a website is the best proven way to attract visitors by giving the search engines content to index.
In IMC's experience, another difference between a free or inexpensive template versus a custom design is the free solution provides a quick website creation with long term regret due to paltry returns versus a custom solution that has a longer creation cycle followed by a long term growing return on investment.
How can a $5000 or more custom real estate website cost less than a website created with a free to $500 template? Two areas to examine: overall website costs and income derived from real estate website marketing. The overall website costs include the initial design investment plus the ongoing maintenance and the pay-per-click advertising expense.
Templates keep the initial investment in the website design low, but generally create a "business card" site. This is a website that, without any pay-per-click advertising, draws its traffic from people seeing the address on a business card, printed advertisement or a real estate agent's verbal invitation. Often templates are database sites, that is, their content is dynamically created when visitors come to the site. These websites are faster to create, but they are usually not search engine friendly - their content is largely unseen by the search engine's indexing spiders.
Custom real estate website designs are usually in the $4000 to $5000 range. That investment covers a larger amount of market-specific content, valuable search engine optimization and ongoing search engine rank monitoring, and better graphics with greater market appeal. The graphics are an asset to retain your home buying or selling website visitors. More critical is the content and search engine optimization. These lead to "organic" ranking on search engines. Organic ranking means your real estate website shows up high in the search engine findings based on the keyword content of your site.
Real estate websites that do not have keyword-rich content or are not search engine optimized have to rely on pay per click advertising to gain visibility on the first page of a search engine's results. Pay per click advertising can have a place in an Internet marketing campaign, especially in high profile markets. Often pay per click keyword marketing campaigns can start at $500 a month and escalate to $4000 to $5000 a month. How can it cost that much? The cost is a multiple of the number of searchers who click on the advertisement. Pay per click advertising costs are a benchmark for the value of ranking on the first page of Google or Yahoo.
Custom real estate website designs call for a larger upfront investment, but over the long run, a custom website organically ranking on Google will hold your Internet marketing advertising budget costs down. Time is always on the side of the custom website. With unique "static" content (that is visible to search engines) and a pattern of growing website traffic, usually within 6 to 12 months of launch the website starts climbing on the search engine ranking.
In short, the custom real estate website is a less expensive long term cost, easier for ongoing maintenance and updates, and its age only increases its search engine visibility and the result and warm leads and return on your investment.
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