Editor’s note: This is the first part in a three-part series.
One of the common problems I hear about from real estate professionals is that they don’t have enough time to create content for their websites. There are already enough things occupying their time, and adding new pages of relevant content to a website can be a chore, or forgotten, or both.
There are a couple of reasons that getting content on your website is a good thing to do. It can demonstrate to search engines that you indeed are the local expert — you’ve got the most information available on your site.
Making fresh content for your website is also a way to demonstrate to site visitors that you are actively engaged with your real estate market and continuing to solve problems and help people in your area.
How the content on your site works for you is going to depend on your business goals. If you want more new site visitors, then you’re probably going to want to increase visitors from search engines.
Don’t think that’s true? Open up your Web analytics package to the "all traffic sources" report and sort by percent of new visitors (if you have the option to weight the results, do so).
Making more content for your site will expose you to more search visitors, which tend to be new visitors to your site.
If you already have enough visitors to your site but want to keep them coming back or otherwise demonstrate your value in your community, adding more content is a way to do that.
For many of you, your real estate search feature or your new listings will be enough to keep people coming back.
In these cases, more content on your site gives people more reasons to come back or helps move them from a searching mindset toward a "let’s call someone and look at real estate" mindset.
OK, so we get it: Making stuff for our website is good for our business. But that just adds a ton of extra time and chores. Who is going to make all this content? Just turning on a blog doesn’t get new content on the site — it just makes it easier for you or someone else to get new stuff on your site.
For the next couple weeks I’m going to discuss some techniques that I’ve seen succeed for real estate professionals in terms of getting new content on their site without killing them.
If you don’t want to write or don’t have time, hire a real human to do it for you.
If your time is better spent doing something other than writing about the topics that attract good customers, then you’ll want to consider hiring someone to make content for your site. This technique obviously frees up the time you would have spent creating content.
There are several services out there that can feed you content for your site. Some of them are OK and some are not so OK. If you choose to go with a content service, be sure to investigate thoroughly and match up its offerings to your business goals.
Are you blogging for search-engine optimization or for increased engagement? Does the content service provide something that helps with that goal?
Be extra wary if the content service seems to have some "secret sauce" technique for increasing the SEO value of generic content.
Keep in mind that Google employs 20,000 people, some of whom have doctoral degrees in mathematics or logic. Do you think the content service provider has come up with something those 20,000 people don’t already know about or won’t soon discover?
What do you think Google’s reaction will be should one of their 20,000 employees feel that the content service provider is trying to trick them? You get the picture here, right?
The advantage of working with a content service is that it’s quick for you in terms of the time it takes to find someone: You look at the firms and make a decision. Done.
But if you spend some time to find a real human who can make content for your site, I think you’ll find the results to be better.
What about "authenticity?"
There’s a common misconception that it’s wrong for anyone other than yourself to make content for your website, especially blog posts. As much as I love the people who tend to say this, they’re wrong. It’s your website, and you can do whatever you like with it.
The logic behind creating all your own content usually equates to something about your own personality being the same as your branding. Since real estate is a profession where people often think that the only thing that separates them from everyone else is their personality, this idea of blogging "authenticity" tends to spread.
However, I would like to point out that politicians have speech-writers and their industry is far deeper into the "personhood equals brand" mentality.
Yes, you need to have an awareness of what content is going on your site, but that’s easily handled by reading the stuff your real human writes for you — and probably providing a little feedback here or there, or better yet direction from the outset.
The real cost of hiring a real human to make content for you
The real cost for hiring a real human is finding that person. That’s going to take the most time. You’re really exchanging a writing/content-creation problem for a human resources problem.
But once you solve the HR problem, you’re done — until you need to find someone else.
Here are some things to look for if you want to hire a real human to solve your content-making problem:
- Write well, including grammar and spellchecking;
- If your objective is getting new visitors via SEO, then your human will need to understand the SEO capabilities of your website platform;
- Genuine curiosity and interest in the topics that attract the best customers for your practice;
- Technical savvy, at least as far as using your website platform. You don’t want them to be sending you Word documents for you to upload to your site;
- Enjoy working with them.
Next week I’ll detail a do-it-yourself technique for getting content onto your website that eliminates the need for outsourcing.