So what is your website worth, anyway? This is a much more philosophical question than it may sound at first glance. Add the words “to you,” and maybe you’ll get my drift. Think about this for a moment; what is your website worth TO YOU?
If you’re like most website owners, the question is easily answered by checking your credit card statement for last month: $29.95 per month, no more, no less (or $49.95, or $99, etc.).
Now let’s ask the question a different way. What long term value have you invested in your site to make it perform better than the other agents who are forking over $29.95 or $49.95 for the same cookie cutter site? And you wonder why you are suffering such dismal results from your website?
Your website is an asset
If you look at your website from purely a business perspective, you should put your website into the asset column, not the liability column. You don’t need to go talk to your accountant, because I’m not talking about changing your QuickBooks setup; I’m merely talking about changing how you think about your site. Your accountant may disagree with me, but I like this definition of asset: an item that produces revenue. If it’s a drain on your budget, it’s a liability; if it produces revenue for you, it’s an asset.
It’s true that most agent websites are a liability, not an asset, but that is because that’s all their owners consider them to be. If you consider your site to be a liability, guess what? It will perform like one–which is to say it won’t perform at all. Treating your website as a necessary evil and putting it in the expense column–especially in this market–is a lot like a baseball team benching its best hitters when they most need them to come off the bench and play like there’s no tomorrow.
Everyone in real estate needs to make cuts and trim the fat off of operations at times. We’d be foolish not to. Your current website, if you are “renting it” from a cookie cutter website factory, may indeed be a valid place to make a cut and trim some fat.
Investing in your website’s results
Whatever cutting and trimming takes place, however, savvy agents will continue to invest in their real estate websites, because the web is where most leads are lurking. The tough reality is that most agents do not give their website enough of a budget to produce results that can pay back that return on investment. They spend disproportionately on offline advertising, while consumers are going almost exclusively online to search for their next home.
The old adage that it takes money to make money is certainly true. If agents could sell tons of real estate by renting a $29.95 per month boilerplate site, don’t you think there would be a lot more wealthy agents out there? Agents who are struggling are doing so precisely because those boilerplate solutions don’t work.
How much should custom real estate sites cost?
You can be cynical and write me off when I say that you need to invest more in your site because I stand to gain from that investment. Yes, that’s true, and I’d love to have your business building a custom real estate website for you. But I speak the truth around here, and nothing else. The truth is that to get long term results from your website you need to become an owner not a renter.
There are always higher entry barriers to ownership than there are to renting, whether you’re talking about a car, a piece of real estate, or a custom real estate website. Because “custom” means each project is unique, it is impossible to put a general price on a website without knowing specific details. However, you can expect to invest $4-10K for a quality custom solution, complete with built in SEO and top of the line search engine friendly IDX search integration.
If this sounds like a lot for your budget right now, that’s okay. Just hang out on my newsletter and you’ll get plenty of free tips to get better results from your web marketing. But when you decide to make a serious investment in your site and treat it as the asset it should be, contact me and let’s talk strategy.
You shouldn’t be asking if you can afford to invest in your site. That’s what all your competitors are asking who are still on cookie cutter websites.
The better question is if you can afford NOT to make that investment and still survive this market.