Thursday, November 1, 2007

Web Progressions

photo courtesy of got to thinking after responding to a post, and I thought I would expand upon that and write a whole new post.

Gayle Rogers points out the drawbacks of a company website for real estate practitioners in her post Websites that Your Company Provides. She outlines her experience with building the SEO and traffic for a site, only to abandon it when she changed brokers. I think that many of us have been there. I know that I was. This was my reply:

There is a path, and a few of the stops along the path are:

  • company branded site and email ( and
  • Personally branded, but company templated site ( and
  • Our name as a domain ( and
  • Separate domain which would be more directed towards our niche, and could be sold upon retirement ( and

>>Please note, in the actual comment, all of the links were dead to make sure that no one could say I was just self promoting<<

It seems that these are the steps most of us go through in order to get to the final goal, a site that resonates well with out consumers, and can be a stand alone business when we decide not to be in it any more.

So, what could I add?

Every broker that tries to recruit me tells me about their fabulous website, and all of the cool things that are going to happen as soon as I join their firm. Most will even give me a FREE site, much like the first example. But, if I were to leave, the traffic that I generate with my marketing (postcards, business cards, ads, etc.) will all go to the brokerage. The site is also LOADED with the broker's branding. So, in effect they are giving me a free site and I am building their brand.

Photo courtesy of to the second example. I thought the first address was clunky, and it was. So, like many agents, I transitioned to a catchy name. But, I didn't actually change the site. So, I am still building my broker's brand as much as my own (if not more). But, at least now I own the domain name and can take it with me. However, because of the platform, I couldn't have the domain in my email address.

Iteration three. I bought my name. I will never let it go, because I think that in this business I need to own my name. I can use it for my email, and there are a tremendous number of benefits that come with owning a domain that includes mail. I use disposable and trackable email addresses (ePro folks will understand this.. but I haven't taken the course). There are also ways to use third level domains and other tweaks ( is a third level domain). This is where many agents settle, and there is nothing wrong with that. It is a nice place to retire.

But then there is number four. I didn't understand this, even though I read Millionaire Real Estate Agent. But, if I ever want to pass the business along, or sell it, it is MUCH more marketable if the domain and the business aren't quite as tied to me. So, concentrating on my niche, I came up with a name that would mean more to clients. My name (even though I like it) doesn't mean anything more to them than what I provide. So, if I pass this along to my kids, or sell it outright, the business can survive without people asking who I am.

My advice to rookies is to just start out with the fourth one. Get the third if you can, but if you can't you'll be ok. Tie your website to your business, not to yourself.

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