• Choose a hosting service, domain name, blog template and add WordPress, plugins and widgets as well as a lead capture form. When you’re alls set up, it’s a good idea to have your broker take a look to make sure you are compliant with all the rules in your area.

As a new real estate agent, you’re ready to set the world on fire with all your new knowledge. But before you can strike the match, you have to get your marketing plan in order. An essential part of that marketing plan is your website.

Your website is where you will drive traffic to showcase who you are, what you offer, and most importantly, where you will capture leads.

If you’re not familiar with creating websites, this task can be intimidating. The good news is that creating a personal website is probably easier than you think, and experience is not necessary.

Choose a hosting service to publish your site

A self-hosted website relies on hosting services. These services, offered by companies that allow you to place your site on their servers, are diverse.

For example, some hosting companies provide unlimited support while others do not.

If you are new to creating a website, support will be vital. PC Magazine has a recent list of the top 10 hosting companies with a breakdown of what they offer. Consider your needs before choosing a host.

Choose a domain name

It is easiest to choose your domain name with the host company you choose. As a new agent, your domain name should identify what you do, and not who you are.

Choose a name that explains what you offer and your area if possible. Names such as (your city)homes.com or (your city)living.com describe what you offer and where.

If at all possible, choose a name with a .com because that is the most remembered extension.

Add WordPress to your new website

Most self-hosting companies now offer one-click installation for WordPress. Think of WordPress as the Microsoft Office for personal websites.

Once you add WordPress, you will be able to personalize your site with content and plug-ins. WordPress allows you to be creative and brand yourself with the information you want to be forward facing.

There is a difference in WordPress.com and WordPress.org. WordPress.com is a fully hosted site. You cannot add widgets and plug-ins to WordPress.com so for website building purposes, so always make sure you are working with WordPress.org.

Choose a blog template

Here is where you can get really creative. On your WordPress dashboard, you can choose a free theme. Or you can upload a paid theme specially designed for real estate.

Once you choose your theme, you can play around with adding content and even begin a blog.

Start off with the basics. Keep content simple and clear. You can continually add to and tweak your content if you feel you need to add more detail.

Add a form to capture leads

There are many WordPress plug-ins available for lead forms. In the beginning, keep this simple.

Add a contact form that can capture a name and email address and report the information back to an email database. Companies such as Mail Chimp or Constant Contact are economical and allow you to begin building your database from leads captured from your website.

Other widgets and plugins

After you’ve got the basics added to your website, you can begin getting creative with plugins and widgets. There are more free WordPress widgets and plug-ins than you will ever need. You can choose widgets for IDX, social media, video, images, forms, website performance and more.

A word about compliance for new agents

As a new agent, you must comply with all local, national and company rules regarding compliance. Compliance usually means making sure that your branding includes the company that sponsors you.

After you create your website, it’s a good idea to have your broker take a look to make sure you are compliant with all the rules in your area.

Once you have your website up and running, it’s time to strike that match and begin setting your world on fire.

Missy Yost is a Realtor with Weichert Realtors Coastal Properties in Hilton Head, South Carolina. Follow The Yost Group on Facebook or Twitter

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