Don't Bother To Create A Website...

Education & Training with U.S.: I specialize in helping agents who have been in the business 2 years or less create a thriving business.

"It would have qualified as a business crisis if I had to leave that behind when I made a change."
-Carol Williams

In 2008, when I was still an active real estate agent, I wrote the following blog post.  It is as true today as then, so wanted to pass it along again.  Please heed the advice.  You won’t be sorry!

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“Last week I was in a Business Management class.  I enjoy these out of town classes because, besides the learning experience, they are good opportunities to network with other agents, share stories, and exchange business cards.  As I looked at the various cards, it struck me how many agents have their e-mail and website addresses tied to their company.  If they leave their current company, they would have to start all over promoting their new contact information and building their web presence. 

Most agents, myself included, plan to stay with a company when we sign on.  But, unfortunately, the best-laid plans usually change and, since you’re the one paying the marketing and advertising expenses, you need to be sure to protect yourself in case you go a different direction.  If your e-mail and website are tied to the company, you are (literally) going to have to start over when you make a change!   

As a full-time real estate agent, I am always looking for the most cost effective way to promote my team and our inventory.  It has become abundantly clear that the most cost effective form of advertising for me is my website and blog(s).    I don’t spend a lot of money for any of them, but I do spend a lot of time (which IS money too) trying to maximize my search engine rankings… so I actually get business from the expense of money and time. 

The website costs $69 per month (with IDX features) and the blog is $17 per month.  And, I get 75% of my business from my internet presence.  This amounted to several million dollars in closed transaction last year.   That, I calculate, is a pretty darn good return on investment.... my most cost effective marketing strategy.

The rest of my business was from referrals, repeat business and a random buyer or seller who stumbled upon me in some other way.    

Other forms of “old time” advertising (such as newspapers and the homes guide) are not nearly as effective for generating actual business.  I’ve come to look at them as more of a name recognition tool instead of expecting many real buyers or sellers to come from them.  

The real point of this post is to beg ALL agents to get your own domain name and tie your e-mail address to that.  You can keep it and promote it forever without worrying about what will happen in the future. Do NOT. I repeat Do NOT take that FREE website and email address the brokerage offers you." 

Above is an old screenshot of my website when I was an active agent. Sorry for the poor quality.  I pulled it out of my 11 year old archives.  The point is, you can see by the name “CarolsWenatchee”, this website branded ME, not my company. You must identify yourself with the firm you are working in, but you must brand yourself, not them.  My websites  ranked multiple times on the first page of Google… holding as many as 7 of the top 10 spots at any given time. I was competing with the large franchises.  Me, a small independent agent. It would have qualified as a business crisis if I had to leave that behind when I made a change. 

I hope this gives you some food for thought… so you don’t waste your time creating and nurturing a website that will be useless to you when things change in the future... and they almost always do.  Leave your options open. Promote and brand yourself for the long haul."

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"The best way to predict the future is to create it!" -Peter Drucker

Carol Williams: 
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Corinne Guest, Managing Broker
Barrington Realty Company - Barrington, IL
Barrington, a Luxury, Country Suburban Lifestyle.

Have been preaching this for years but it seems only the best of the best understand this. I have been coached to use gmail, I laugh, no way! I want to be a pro and look like one and gmail does not qualify. I have 2 websites one for me and one for the comapny. I encouraged agents to get theor own, but sadly laziness sets in. Back to the 90/10% rule again, eh? Great post though.

Feb 22, 2018 08:51 AM #77
Carol Williams
U.S.: I specialize in helping agents who have been in the business 2 years or less create a thriving business. - Wenatchee, WA
"Customized Mentoring & Marketing Services"

Hi Edward Gilmartin
You said it:
It is definitely worth the time and effort to have your own website 

When I hear people say they don't want to "hassle" with it, I figure they can't be too serious about the future of their business.  It's just a day to day grind.

Feb 22, 2018 08:56 AM #78
Carol Williams
U.S.: I specialize in helping agents who have been in the business 2 years or less create a thriving business. - Wenatchee, WA
"Customized Mentoring & Marketing Services"

Hi Erik Lilyquist .
This absolutely applies to mortgage lenders and, any independent contractor regardless of industry. 

Feb 22, 2018 08:57 AM #79
Carol Williams
U.S.: I specialize in helping agents who have been in the business 2 years or less create a thriving business. - Wenatchee, WA
"Customized Mentoring & Marketing Services"

HI Corinne Guest, Managing Broker ,
Yes, the 90/10 thing again, for sure.  Those who don't want to bother aren't really serious about the future of their business, are they?

Feb 22, 2018 08:58 AM #80
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

This woman has much to offer....

Feb 22, 2018 09:21 AM #81
John Wiley
Right Move Real Estate Group- EXP Realty - Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL Real Estate GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

Great tips from a worthy member.

Thanks for sharing.

Feb 22, 2018 11:23 AM #82
Jill Murty, Realtor - Orange County, CA
PREA Realty - Laguna Niguel, CA

I agree with you completely Carol Williams.  The free things that most brokerages offer will cost you. 

Feb 22, 2018 11:37 AM #83
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

you know even though I am NEVER going anywhere... I build websites with geo in mind and not just me and nor just company branding. Who knows I might want to sell them when I leave the business.  And I might want to just refer people out and keep my license active when I retire.

Feb 22, 2018 11:56 AM #84
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents
Lyon Real Estate - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Actually, I think the more websites an agent has, the better. So I keep my company website active. But that's not where most of my business originates. My business comes from my own website. I started a long time ago when I bought my domain name and pointed it to my company website. Then one day I said, screw that, and I created my own and pointed my domain, which had already been in existance for a long time, to my own website. Bonanza.

Not to mention, most agents have no idea of the power of their own IDX. I promote that to my clients all the time because it elevates my site as well.

Feb 22, 2018 12:17 PM #85
Kat Palmiotti
Grand Lux Realty, 914-419-0270, - Monroe, NY
The House Kat

This is a great point. I started in real estate, using my company website and email because I thought I had to. Well, actually, I DID have to for certain things - the company required it. But then I realized the error of my ways because I wasn't going to be able to leave easily if I wanted to. So I made sure to set up my own web site and email address. And for a year or so before I left the company, I used my new site and email and when I moved, people could still find me easily.


Feb 22, 2018 01:16 PM #86
Dave Werth

Excellent advice!  Godaddy has domains for $9 and you can tie your own email to that domain!  Best move I made in Real Estate. For that matter, Best move any agent can make.  Don't promote anything but yourself, your name, YOU!!!! 

DO NOT SHARE YOUR EMAIL DATA BASE WITH ANYONE, EVER!  Some companies want you to share your email contacts with their systems, plain and simple, DO NOT DO IT! 

I agree with your entire blog!!!  Best post today!





Feb 22, 2018 01:23 PM #87
Mike Frazier
Carousel Realty of Dyer County - Dyersburg, TN
Northwest Tennessee Realtor

Carol, many many years ago I purchased the domain name Dyersburg real estate mainly because it is the top search term in my area for people looking to purchase. I am so glad I bought that when I did.

Feb 22, 2018 01:33 PM #88
Dana Hollish Hill
Hollish Hill Group, Keller William Capital Properties - Bethesda, MD
Lead Associate Broker

So true. My former broker told me he'd give me time to transfer to my new email address - I'd had it for over 15 years. He turned it off the day I left. It was devastating. 

I hope people take your advice.

Feb 22, 2018 02:52 PM #89
Kezie Odunukwe
Fathom Realty AR, LLC - Bentonville, AR
Real estate agent serving Northwest Arkansas

Very true. You should always keep your own site and email.  

Feb 22, 2018 03:01 PM #90
Diana Zaccaro
Veterans Realty of Brevard - NOT just for Veterans! - Cocoa Beach, FL
Your Brevard County, Florida coastal connection!

One of the first things I learned as a new agent was not to use the company email and to establish my own presence. Most new agents either don't know to do that or just don't bother so I hope your story motivates all agents to do so.

Feb 22, 2018 03:08 PM #91
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

Oh Lordy, when are we going to learn. WE are the brand, not our franchise of the moment. The sooner folks realize the power of independent branding, the closer they get to true independence.  A big one in my book. D 

Feb 22, 2018 04:52 PM #92
Hannah Williams
Re/Max Eastern inc. - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-953-8818

I am so Glad this was Featured brilliance my friend  -Helpulhannah my be linked  to the company but can with a few calls be redirected .Helpfulhannahs well she has her own direction .com ..Just remembered have to do some checking . Make sure all is well with some other domains

Feb 22, 2018 10:05 PM #93
Janice Hope Zaltman Realtor,LEED AP
United Realty Group - Fort Lauderdale, FL

Hi Carol Williams I saw your post come up the other day and it grabbed my attention. When we are beholden to any company, we lose all the hard work we have invested when we leave. 

Feb 26, 2018 10:59 AM #94
Ramesh Anthony
Annie Mac Home Mortgage - Los Feliz, CA
FHA 203k and Homestyle Renovation Specialist

Thanks Carol for reiterating the importance of online presence through your website. I have recently launched mine.. to help borrowers and others in the industry with our mortgage solutions.

Mar 13, 2018 01:37 PM #95
Dori Zamarripa
HomeSmart Realty Group - Naperville, IL
Naperville Real Estate Agent

What are the terms you are ranking for?  I've tried Naperville Realtor and various other local terms but dont Zillow and take all the top spots?

Do you outsource or do it yourself?


Mar 18, 2018 05:02 PM #96
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