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Why Your Broker’s Website Doesn’t Matter (To YOUR Business)

October 09 2014

website leadingagentWhether you work for one of the "big brands," a smaller regional chain of real estate offices, or even a smaller yet "boutique" firm, they all have various levels of things that they offer agents that work for them.

These things range from items like free marketing collateral (e.g. listing presentations, company brochures, etc.), integrated web-to-print portals for your print marketing, or a page on the brokerage website that the agent can use as their own web page.

Before I jump into the meat of my article, let me say first that I think there is absolutely nothing wrong with working for a brokerage, rather than setting out to work on your own. Working at brokerages gives you many benefits. Besides things like the examples above, brokerages also give you extra resources and manpower that you may not as easily have access to if you were your own broker, running your own firm.

So why is it that I am saying your broker's website doesn't matter? Because it absolutely doesn't. Even though the prospect of a free page on your broker's website that you can redirect your URL to could sound appealing (after all, who doesn't like free?), it will literally do nothing for your business, at all. There are some very good reasons why this is the case, so today I thought I would share a few of them with you, and give you some alternative suggestions that will end up helping your business.

1) That "Free" Website Comes With a Hidden Price: SEO

The way search engines work is the more pages a website has and the more relevant content it has, the more authority the search engine gives it. This means it shows up more frequently in online searches and at higher rankings than other sites with fewer pages.

So if you are an agent that uses your broker's free website offering and have tons of listings linked to your page, or even have been posting tons of blog posts, you are going to get tons of SEO credit, right? WRONG! Simply put, you can post thousands of listings and thousands of blog posts on that page. At the end of the day though, the only person getting search engine credit for all that content is the main domain (your broker).

The hidden cost in having a free web page hanging off of your brokerage's website is that you are helping prop up the firm, making them more popular in search results and therefore more valuable on the internet. In these types of scenarios, your hard work does not go into building your business.

2) The Law of Averages Says You are Eventually Going to Change Firms

Many, many years ago, a client called our office to inform us that they were changing firms and needed us to update color schemes on their branding and contact info on their collateral to coincide with the new firm. This happened to be a time when the economy was down and we were seeing many agents make such moves. I jokingly asked this agent, "You too, huh?"

The response he gave has never left me. He quickly replied, "Yes. The one constant in the real estate industry is change."

Since the law of averages says you are most likely going to change firms, do yourself a favor. Get your own website from the outset. Skipping over the very important issue of SEO, look at it from a purely practical standpoint. What if you are using your brokerage's website and then end up switching firms? You will have to pull down copies of every blog post and every customization you've put into that site so you can take it with you and put it on the new site.

This is time you don't need to spend if you start out by having your own website in the first place.

3) Even Though You Work at a Brokerage, You Still Work for Yourself. Where's YOUR Brand?

Lastly, and just as importantly as the SEO implications of using your broker's site as your website, is branding. Using your broker's website, you are limited to what they have set up for their corporate branding. This makes it great for the brokerage to spread their brand identity and become more well known, but in terms of you and your exposure, you will blend into the background.

Again, I'm not against brokerages, but I do think all these freebies come at a costfreebies come at a cost. As a real estate agent, you are your own business. To those ends, it is my belief that you should market yourself first and your brokerage second. If you are using your brokerage's website as your own, you can never accomplish this.

By having your own website, you can set it up with your brand in mind first. This is paramount if you want to build your business and become well known in your marketplace.

Building your website yourself isn't cheap. That said, I advise you to truly get a CUSTOM website. In other words, don't rent one from a website company. Sure, it's nice to a pay a low monthly fee, but at the end of the day, you don't own that site. If you ever decide to switch to a different provider, all those links you built up on the search engines will die. You don't want that. If you actually own your own website, you will never have to worry about not being able to spread your brand and build your business.

To view the original article, visit the Leading Agent blogLeading Agent blog.