Back on the trail of North America's realtor engagement of the web, we landed in Vancouver today. And, like her sisters to the South, it appears Vancouver is severely lacking in online savvy and real estate engagement.
Type in Vancouver real estate, and Voila! Up pop 10 striving Realtors (theoretically) just dying to help locate something dreamy - well sorta. Let's see Vancouver's real estate movers and shakers online.
It's pretty sad the way idiotic, Web 1.0, low tech, BS sites somehow get to and stay at the top of Google search pages - realtylinkonline is just such a remnant of the past. Inteas of realty link, this site should be called realty yuk.
No images to speak of, no Facebook, no Twitter, videos, agent faces, and the navigation is horrible on the site. This is like asking people to buy a house - sight unseen. Rating: 1 of 10
JayBanks.Ca has gone a step further in "engaging" property buyers and sellers in the Vancouver area - but just a step. His smiling face adorns the top of his archaic website. But, Jay is missing out on the other 2 million customers who get turned off by his antiquated online footprint.
Jay has done two things right. First and foremost, he branded the site with his image. People want and need to see who they are dealing with - this is crucial. Secondly, Jay added some decent size images to the site. Big images are another key engagement tool. No Facebook, Twitter, let alone Google + engagement - Rating: 3 of 10
West Coast Realty, or realestatevalley.ca is a cookie cutter template site which fooled me with its less than stunning graphics for a second. This is sad though. A metro area of over 2 million people, one of the most beautiful places on Earth, and the top real estate companies there cannot even put up a decent website? Just finding out who owns West Coast Realty took some doing.
It's interesting how as we move down the top SEO'd sites for Vancouver, the engagements get slightly better? Even though the $6 million dollar property you see only has one image - the format of the listing is crisp. Let's bail out on more digital pain and suffering here form Rick Clarke here. Rating: 3.5 of 10
Richard Morrison and Remax discovered Facebook and Twitter and the online real estate business! The number 4 spot belongs to another ugly example of brand carelessness over there in Vancouver though. Morrison gets points for putting his agent's faces up there for all to see, and for the aforementioned social media try.
"What is it people are looking for when they come to your real estate site?" A used car? The $1.188 million dollar high rise condo below has a wonderful view. But what are people who can afford a mil for property used to? Dark images (like below) of nebulous properties on antiquated web interfaces? And then you are forced to add Richard as a FB friend via request? Or follow his upside down Twitter feed (I wonder if he will know what I mean?) Point is, Richard risks giving the wrong message with a limited digital branding effort like this. Rating: 5 of 10
Next we have Point Grey Now, agent Ken Wyder's place mat phone ad to garner your business. At least Ken is going green, riding his bike up there in the Canadian woods. Rating: 2 of 10
Affordable Vancouver is Maggie Chandler's fair effort at hooking up digitally. Maggie is actually making an effort despite first impressions. But demanding friendship on FB - an instant turn off. Rating: 4 of 10
Vancouver Residence, Lorne Goldman's endeavor into The Matrix? Lorne "gets it" using video to capture visitors - but like 99 percent of real estate people, he does not go the extra mile. Imagine a nice looking guy dresses in Armani, with his Rolex, stepping from his Jag - the Armani tattered, the Rolex around his ankle, stepping from the trunk of the Jag. Rating: 3 of 10 - don't half do it Lorne.
I just read where Chinese investors are flocking to Vancouver to snatch up properties. True or false, the idea makes a good example. Chinese business people are some of the most "wired" individuals on Earth. Can you read my mind here? Imagine some wired Chinese billionaire, he wants 10 properties in Vancouver - do these guys just ask their manservant Kato to look for deals? Somehow I doubt it. I hope the reader sees the lost opportunity cost. Phil out for now.
This is a great site and a terrific resource. keep up the great work.
Superb article and Bang on !!
Thanks so much for the post: https://realtybiznews.com/vancouvers-real-estate-evolved/9874267/ but more importantly the review will be helpful for the next website update in early 2012. Your generous feedback and suggestions have already been passed on to my agency, http://ArmadaDesign.ca in preparation. Very much appreciated Phil. Take care, John
My pleasure John, you are doing great work, let us know if you ever need us or have news.
Thanks for the feedback Phil, I appreciate it. As far as having limited engagement via facebook and twitter on my website, I concur that it is mostly broadcast on my home page, albeit that I absolutely do listen when someone takes the time to click the corresponding social media link. It is in this forum (on the social medial site itself) that I interact with most clients. I also have a comments section on by daily blog which I encourage readers to use and make suggestions for future posts and/or critiques of my content.
As far as my finish carpentry business, it is extremely localized (Edmonton, AB) and really only has a website because I believed every company needs to be online. The client base of that company is entirely compromised of repeat and referral business through commercial contacts and does not aim to acquire new business from said website given I would not mind if it did but as it stands the company is quite large and content dealing with a limited number of larger commercial clients.
Also, as far as your "50 visitors a month" guess, I am not sure if you are speaking of the finish carpentry business or my Real Estate business (www.KoryPrince.ca). I don't track the carpentry business' analytics because I do not deal with the day to day of that business and as I mentioned, we do not deal with the public, focusing instead on large commercial contracts cultivated through existing relationships. In my Real Estate business (www.KoryPrince.ca), I do oversee the day to day and I actually exceed 50 unique visitors a day but I would encourage and suggestions on how to increase that number.
Again, thanks for your honest and professional opinion, Phil.
@Kory, I am really glad you and some others understand I am not being overly critical for no reason. The thing is, and most do not realize this at all, Internet success, be it marketing or otherwise, is an active activity, not passive. A great many people still think there is some magic going on here. You put up a web site and Voila! You are rich, people see you, you have done your job. In today's economy, the storefront has moved to the Internet and you had better tidy up the shelves before the doors open for business.
I like to think of business on the web as if anyone's website is a new car dealership say. Some dealers build theirs out in the middle of the outback, not even a dirt road leading to it. And then, there are dealers who not only built in Timbuktu, but who decided to fill the showroom with clunkers that won't run. Project to Twitter and Facebook, let's call them salesmen. They can have 6 billion followers and fans, but even though everything is like P.T. Barnum described still, even though there is a sucker born every minute - sales are just not going to skyrocket. An infantile metaphoric here, but...
And then there is the branding. How do you feel about say, an attorney whose website is full of grammar errors, one who puts up an image that looks like Jimmy Hoffa, catchy use car salesman headlines that proclaim you can get $50,000,000,000,000 for your whiplash injury? More "suckers" may ring the phones off the hook, but that attorney will never, ever be thought of as a true professional by those who know, or by his contemporaries. FOREVER. The web is funny, 100 people click on your site a month, no one calls to buy a house, but the first time you need to look professional online - Mr: Big with deep pockets hates something you put on here. Call if Murphy's Law - it happens all the time Kory.
So ends my soap box session for today. I hope it helps some. There's no free rides - marketing is marketing no matter. Cheers and please come back and comment + read when you can Kory.
http://www.myrealsearch.ca/ is another real estate social website that brings realtors, buyers and sellers together. Their questions and answers section is like zillow that really helps users to get into real estate market quickly.
Unlike many REALTORS® my goal isn't to be a top producer but rather just to keep a manageable active client base. Based in Port Moody, a suburb of Vancouver that attracts more and more younger couples, I'm really interested to receive your feedback (good or bad). Most of my business is helping buyers, although I've also been very successful with listings. Thanks Phil. Take care.
Thanks for the info. About my site, I think you're getting those numbers because the site included in my email is a forward with mask.
Please contact me when you get a moment as I would like to discuss this further and possibly get a quote.
@REaltor, as you suggest, it is only a frame showing content from your other site. Whoever advised of this, did you no favors tho. I will mail you asap, but no matter what, you need to have this site on its own, optimized domain - or it is money down the drain.
The reality is that the Vancouver market is a very competitive one. Many of us realtors spend thousands of dollars yearly or monthly even to try to break on top of google rankings especially for Vancouver Real Estate. If you, or someone you know, can achieve this with my website by all means let's talk!! I will gladly pay for your services after I've seen the result.
You see we get constantly harassed by callers promising us page 1 of google. None of them are able to actually produce what they promise. If it was so easy everyone would do it... I wonder what agents in other big cities are doing so differently? Please share we would love to know.
@Realtor, I understand and commend you for telling it like it is. One huge problem on the Internet, scams and BS artists. In most industries, and for most key terms, words, etc. ranking atop Google is, as you say, much more difficult than anyone our there imagines. Our PR and Marketing firm owes its successes to my partner's expertness in all things SEO. However, with a bit of resource, I am just about willing to effort this on a results basis for Vancouver. Of course if we were successful, it would not be an el cheapo effort, as you might imagine.
As for other agents in other cities - as far as I can see, only about one percent of them are even skimming the surface where really doing any good on the web is concerned. I do not speak idly here either. We have cumulatively, something on the order of 100 years experience with these things, and a bit over 20,000 analyses of various sectors to boot. No need for trumpet blowing, let's talk turkey and realistically what can be achieved. Here is our corporate site PR site
You Alexa ranking, BTW, is at about 13.5 million - and no search traffic what-so-ever, I am wondering if your site is even indexed in Google - I will have my partner check this. I know one thing for a certainty, I can personally move you up 12.5 million places in about a month or less 🙂
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Yes, vancouver real estate is very competitive. It requires more work than other keywords. However, I would suggest you work around vancouver real estate keywords and that will help your website to rank high and improve your traffic.
Anyway, the website is in the centre of our focus (as you can see, we especially try to add fresh, non-generic and interesting content. However, you are completely right that our push towards social networks is certainly lacking something, and sure we can do something about it.
@Jay, you are most welcome, we do not criticize to harm actually, only to inform. Not many people out there have 50,000 hours on the Internet and still have a brick and mortar business to go to. Ergo our sometimes cutting critiques. I personally believe anything worth doing.... or else stay on the porch. As real estate sites I have looked at go, your efforts seem to be in the top 20 percent or so Jay. This says nothing for conversions tho.
Look into a more minimalist design, look up F pattern as for visual adaptation, the term "above the fold" - and make a Facebook and Twitter account, add buttons so peeps can talk to you like almost face to face J - put your LinkedIn account up there - get in the 21st century. 1 Internet user in 5 million is going to scroll down the page to find even a great story on your blog/listing site. Bottom line, redesign and/or switch to WordPress thematic. ShareThis buttons on articles no one sees is not not "engaged" as my friend Brian Solis expounds. And first of all, research who is talking J. 🙂
I stumbled across your post and was surprised that you found the sites that you came across so archaic and unimpressive. I would be interested to hear your professional opinion in regards to my site:
Have an absolutely incredible day!
@Kory, So far, cursory look, very unique compared to most real estate sites, tailored even. Social buttons there, delving deeper - limited engagement in FB and Twitter - broadcast mainly. Same for Twitter - you are talking Kory, not sure if you are listening tho.
So far, I cannot see your site even being found in Alexa rankings. The same holds true for your finish carpentry business - at least online - while it is older and more prevalent, something is wrong for there not to be any pagerank or Alexa. I doubt seriously if you have 50 visitors a month.
It looks like you are making the effort tho Kory. Keep going forward, but I would look into whether or not your site is optimized and etc.
All the best,