I was recently on a panel to discuss Web 2.0 principles and an interesting discussion ensued regarding if it was actually necessary to have a website anymore as an Agent.
What sparked the thought was talk around how expensive and labor intensive it can be to maintain optimum search engine ranking. Another challenge was keeping the content on website fresh and relevant, especially when it is necessary to go through a web developer to update them.
Ultimately, everyone agreed that the more marketing you are able to do, the better. But when you are dealing with limited time and resources, you have to make choices. This lead to the question, is a website necessary?
Fiduciary responsibility to advertising your Seller's listing- When you get a listing, it is your job to get that listing in front of an audience. The first thing you do is enter the information in the MLS, which automatically gets it in front of a large audience of Realtors. Further if your MLS or Brokerage has partnerships with other websites, the information is distributed to them. The listing also appears on your company's and/or Broker's website. Then we look at the top consumer sites, most of which are free to post to, and your listing can easily appear on all of these by subscribing to a listing syndication service. Getting the listing in front of millions of people- check.
Electronic Brochure- What about having a spot on the web to direct people to for more information? Take your pick of almost any site you listing is currently appearing on, and it is bound to have a unique URL (recommended to pick your Broker's site if possible). Next, simply to go to GoDaddy.com and purchase a web address relating to the property for a few bucks and point it to this listing's page. Electronic brochure with a customize URL- check.
Farming for new business and lead generation online- This is where a blog can pay off huge, as the benefits of blogging have exploded in the last couple of years. One could argue that a blog is actually a website. But this type of "website" optimizes incredibly quicker and often better than a traditional website ever could! You can take it a step further by easily including a widget in the side bar that searches the IDX, turning the blog into a lead generation tool. These leads are on top of those that you will receiving from conveying your personality and your expertise to the public through your blog.
These are just some of the reasons why I believe you can have a very effective internet marketing plan without a website. To take the plan to the next level you can add resources like: subscribing to lead generation services; commenting on other blogs; participating in Discussions and Real Estate Forums; and getting involved in social networks like LinkedIn, Facebook and ActiveRain.
There are so many resources available to as Realtors (most of them cost nothing or are a benefit from paying dues), you can cast a very wide net online without the trouble of maintaining a website strategy.
I am curious to hear if anyone has altogether forgone a website in lieu of listing distribution and Web 2.0 marketing techniques?