If you are in the real estate investment business, you must have a strong internet presence. If you don't have a website, you will not succeed as a real estate investor. If you don't have a strong presence, you will not go to the head of the class.
Here is some of what your website needs to be doing for you:
Here are a few compelling facts to back this up. When buyers begin looking for a home, 87% begin their search online. In comparison, only 47% look at newspaper real estate ads. That's less than half of your potential audience.
As a result of online searches, 77% drive by a home to look at it and 63% walk through a home only after first viewing it online. If you're not online, the vast majority of the traffic is passing you by.
Unfortunately, there are no statistics about motivated sellers but I think the statistics speak for themselves when it comes to the importance of having a strong online presence for everyone in the real estate investment business.
With every investor and realtor online, the real question you should be asking yourself is how are you going to pull in highly targeted traffic? It's not easy but let me show you two of the most important things you can do to improve the results.
First, you need to search engine optimize (SEO) your site down to the locality that you serve. If you invest both locally and nationally, you should have two distinct websites attracting two different targeted groups of visitors.
For your locally targeted visitors, think about the search terms people are likely to be using. Are they searching by town names, counties, near by towns that you serve, and by specific neighborhoods? The majority are using search terms like 'cash home buyers in Reno NV' or 'homes for sale in Reno NV'. What you need to do is make a list of the terms potential clients are searching with and either optimize your website for them or have a web designer skilled in SEO do it. Localizing your SEO will dramatically improve your position in search engine results.
Now, do the same thing to attract national visitors but for a different website.
Next, you need to submit your primary URL to four major directories. You can submit it to Google at: http://www.google.com/addurl/. For Yahoo, go to: http://search.yahoo.com/info/submit.html. Another search engine to submit to is Bing at: http://www.bing.com/webmaster/SubmitSitePage.aspx. Once you submit to the search engines, they will come to your website regularly looking for new content to keep your site up to date in the search engines.
The fourth place to submit your URL is DMOZ or Open Directory project. This is a little more difficult. Most, if not all, of the major search engines use DMOZ to populate their own directories. DMOZ is among the highest ranked and visited websites on the entire internet. Being listed at DMOZ essentially gets you listed in every other directory.
Here's how to do it. Go to: http://dmoz.org/Regional/North_America/United_States. There you'll find a list of the states, simply follow the link to yours. Next, you'll find links to the counties, localities, metro areas, and regions in your state. I suggest you begin with counties but be sure to follow each one down to the category of 'real estate'.
As you follow the links, you will come to a list of categories from 'Arts and Entertainment' to 'Weather'. Obviously, follow the link to real estate. In large cities, it's divided into 'commercial' and 'residential'.
When you get to the right place, you will see a list of real estate related businesses and realtors. This is where you add your name, a brief description of your business, and create a link to your website. Towards the upper right corner, you will see a link labeled 'suggest URL'. Follow the link and follow the instructions. When you are done, be sure to click the 'submit' button at the bottom of the page.
I think you should post your investment business right along side the realtors because that is where most people look. However, each state has slightly different categories. Take a close look at all the categories under 'real estate'. You may find other categories that are also appropriate for you to post your link. If you want to attract qualified renters for instance, several states have a category for 'rentals'.
For your national website presence, all you need to do is follow the original link I provided above and stay at the United States level. On the page that lists all of the states, instead of selecting a state, simply scroll down to find the 'real estate' category at the national level.
Taking these actions will significantly improve your online real estate investment business.
Please leave a comment if this article was helpful or if you have a question.
Author bio: Brian Kline has been investing in real estate for more than 35 years and writing about real estate investing for seven years. He also draws upon 30 plus years of business experience including 12 years as a manager at Boeing Aircraft Company. Brian currently lives at Lake Cushman, Washington. A vacation destination, a few short miles from a national forest. In the Olympic Mountains with the Pacific Ocean a couple of miles in the opposite direction.