There was a post on Inman yesterday regarding the death of custom real estate websites. Here is my response:
Note – the article was written as a self-serving upsell for Placester. I would give the Inman post more credibility on this subject had it been from our peer group. I regularly talk with agents using this service and other cheap sites. They are never thrilled about their cheap site. These companies are practically giving away sites, which only helps them rank their own real estate portals.
Of course there are plenty of “free” and ridiculously cheap real estate sites, there has been for more than a decade. Back in the day it was much easier to rank, but you still had to put skin in the game.
In many ways it’s still the same with templates as it was years ago. Point2, Advanced Access, Homes.com and more dominated the space. Word Press made it an option to own your site, it has come a very long way.
There is a segment who wants a template and does not see the value in having their own branding and unique space. They have been sold that a cheap template will rock and roll. This is a mistake that agents buy into. Cheap doesn’t make it good and I guarantee that an agent going into a selling presentation with a stunning website and marketing strategy will pale the agent who doesn’t care about their online presence.
Who wants to work and add custom content on a cheap real estate website owned by someone else and literally gives you nothing in return? If you want to get serious, due diligence is your best friend.
Some can’t afford a custom design, and for a fact most agents would rather have a custom site than something that looks like everyone else.
I cannot tell you how many tell me they hate their template, the company made promises they don’t deliver on, it’s too generic. You can’t compete online if you look like everyone else, you can’t easily work on your site, you can’t get ahold of the company that helped you set it up.
I don’t want my marketing to look like everyone else. Especially in a highly competitive market.
Templates don’t bother me, there are some nice ones, but you still look like everyone else.
I love what I do and know there is a place for all of us. Custom real estate sites are not dying, they are evolving and setting the trends for template companies to copy our work. This in turn, pushes me to always strive for quality versus quantity.
Going with these cheaper sites hosted on big company servers, only boosts the companies rankings, NOT YOURS! It’s a smart strategy for the big boys as you are giving their real estate portals more power! I won’t mention names, as they are obvious and killing real estate agents sites. These companies are smart as it gives them thousands of additional backlinks and more POWER!
My sites are powered by WordPress and also Kunversion.com. Start with a solid foundation and build from there.