Whether you’re new to online marketing or you’ve had a website for years, making your website work for you, even when you’re not working on it directly, is a great way to continue spinning the online marketing wheels long after you’ve left the computer screen.

Setting up a website to be properly optimized from the beginning is sometimes a lot easier than trying to fix an old website that has had issues in the past. Even working with an aged domain may not be effective if the site it’s been attached to is swimming in errors. The first place you need to start is to determine which is the best direction; start fresh with a new website and domain, try to fix the old one, or attach the mature domain to a new website.

Start with a solid foundation.

It doesn’t matter how beautifully staged the inside of the house may be, if the foundation is crumbling and the roof is about to cave in, there’s no point in dressing up the inside. Make sure your domain (URL) is not piggybacking on any other websites. If you can get to the homepage from a variety of different URL variations, Google will have a hard time figuring out which page is the actual website.

For instance; if you purchased the domain www.youwebsite.com yet your brokerage or MLS provider requires you use their web host or is simply a cheaper website, be sure that they don’t attach their name to the website as in www.yourwebsite.ourbrokerage.com you will also want to make sure there’s no additional codes after the URL such as www.yourwebsite.com/home or www.yourwebsite.com/home.php?.

The best way to determine this is to click on the link from your brokerage’s website, check the link once you are on your website by clicking the home button, or just trying a variety of URLs. If you can get to the homepage with the same content through any other way but your basic domain, www.yourwebsite.com, Google may see several copies of your home page on different domain URLs. This alone can hinder your rankings from the beginning. At this point it may be better to start fresh with a new domain and a new website than trying to repair and redirect all of the existing URLs.

Create content that is custom, unique, and searchable.

When you start to build your website make sure that every title, description, tags (if applicable), and keywords are intentional and purposeful, specifically talking about what your article is about. You don’t need to bold keywords or keep a high density of keywords in the content itself so long as you are writing quality content that is unique (never been talked about before in this exact manner) and on topics that someone would be looking for.

Cover more ground for leads by writing blog posts and pages about specific neighborhoods and styles of homes within those neighborhoods, events and activities from your perspective, market reports that are titled with the detailed month and year you’re focusing on, and answers to questions buyers and sellers may have. More people tend to research answers to questions than simply the information on a topic.

Keep readers on your site as long as possible.

If you’ve done the first two basic steps, the final step should be keeping those readers on your website as long as you can. Check your Google analytics and make sure that people are staying on your site at least 3 to 5 minutes or longer. If your bounce rate is over 40%, try to find a way to keep people on your site by offering more information that links to additional information. If you’re talking about selling a home in a particular neighborhood, provide links and teaser tags to other information on your site such as staging tips, pricing strategies, and getting the home sold quickly. This leads the reader from one article to another and before they realize it, they have viewed 5 to 10 pages on your website and have stayed 15 to 20 minutes. Google monitors this and ranks the site according to the user experience.

By completing these three simple tasks and setting up your website properly, it will work long after you’ve left the desk. People will continue to find your articles, your blog posts and your information, stay on your site longer, and eventually contact you directly.

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