Almost 90% of people begin their search for a home online. That's a sharp contrast to the slightly less than 50% that look in newspapers and real estate flyers. If you want your investment business to be the best it can, you simply must have a strong online presence.
As a result of online searches, 77% drive by a home to look at it and 63% walk through a home after first viewing it online. If you're not online, the vast majority of the traffic is passing you by.
If you are using your website to both buy and sell properties, it's a good idea to make those two completely different websites. These are two distinctly different business activities with distinctively different target audiences.
Business credibility is something you want to promote on your website. On your buying website, you want to let birddogs and anyone you've asked to provide leads know whenever you buy a house. They need to know that you do pull the trigger when you find the right house. You also want them to know what neighborhoods and the types of houses you're currently looking to buy in. You should also have an email list of these people and send the information directly to their inboxes.
A few of the other things your website should be doing for you include:
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? There are two important things you need to do to improve your 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 keywords that people are likely to be using. Are they searching by town names, counties, near by towns that you serve, even by specific neighborhoods? The majority are using search terms like "home sellers 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 by and either optimize your website for them or have a webmaster 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 hand submit your domain URL to three major directories. You can submit it to Google at: http://www.google.com/addurl/. The other search engine you want 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.
Another place to submit your URL is http://www.dmoz.org/docs/en/add.html, known as 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. Being listed at DMOZ essentially gets you listed in every other directory.
Here's how to be listed locally on DMOZ. 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". Once you find the exact location, you want to be listed for, look for a link at the top of the page that says "Suggest URL".
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 appropriate for you to post your link. If you want to attract qualified renters for instance, several states have a category for "Rentals". Many also have the category "For Sale By Owner".
For your national website presence, all you need to do is follow the original link 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.
Congratulations, taking these actions will significantly improve your online real estate investment business.
Author bio: Brian Kline has been investing in real estate for more than 30 years and writing about real estate investing for seven years. He also draws upon 25 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.