You’re a real estate investor. Most of your marketing has been offline – bandit signs, direct mail, driving-for-dollars, and maybe even door knocking.
But, you’re thinking about getting a website.
More than likely, you know another real estate investor who’s seeing amazing lead-generation results on their own website and you want a piece of the pie.
Who could blame you?
Follow the cheese, right?
But, of course, there’s a lot to think about when it comes to building your very own real estate investor website…
Design, sales copy, SEO, conversion optimization, and backend code are just a few of the mind-numbing factors.
And truthfully, things have changed so much in the past three years alone that what was cutting edge 3 years ago is almost pre-historic, nowadays.
So, in this “websites for real estate investors” article, we’re going to walk you through why you do need a website, what you should look for when you’re either building your own real estate investor website, buying a real estate investor website template, or using one of the several services out there online (like ours :-)) that help real estate investors better leverage online marketing.
Let’s get started.
Why do Real Estate Investors like Yourself Need a Website?
It’s easy to think, I don’t need a website – I’ve been doing this for years and things are just fine.
And don’t get me wrong – offline real estate marketing methods are as powerful today as they were ten years ago. Direct mail, bandit signs, and cold calling all can work wonders in the right hands and in the right market.
That doesn’t mean you should limit your marketing strategies to offline tactics exclusively.
In particular, there are three reasons every real estate investor needs a website.
- Online marketing, once rolling, will save you time and money during the lead-generation process.
- SEO leads (Search Engine Optimization) tend to be higher quality because they’re inbound leads – which is basically just a cute way of saying that prospects came looking for you rather than you looking for them.
- Online and offline marketing strategies work best together. Our highest-performing members at Carrot use both in harmony rather than one in exclusion.
So, you know that you need a website for your real estate business…
But, you’re new to real estate online marketing with a website…
More than likely, you don’t even know where to start…
There are so many options and so many low-end platforms out there that you’re not exactly sure what you need for your real estate investor website.
So let’s talk.
What Kind Of Real Estate Investor Website Should You Pick?
There are a few different options when you’re getting your website set up. Should you have it designed from scratch, buy a template, or use a service? Really, all of those are great options. It just depends on your goals, your budget, and how much flexibility you want with your real estate investing website.
With that, let’s take a few minutes to look at the options you have.
Option 1: Real Estate Investor Website Templates
The definition of a template can vary drastically. At Carrot, a “real estate investor website template” is basically where you buy the website and choose from one of several of our templates. Then, you can customize things like images, videos, and sales copy.
You might be worried that, with Carrot or some other real estate investor website template, you’re going to look the same as everyone else. Fortunately, that isn’t true. With color changes, logo changes, and other minor customizations, you get all the benefits of conversion optimization without sacrificing your distinguishable brand image.
To prove it, check out these two side-by-side Carrot websites that are the same theme template, but look far different from one another.
Real estate investor website templates are great because you can still customize your website but the bulk of the design is already done for you.
Often times, templates come with your hosting accounts. The first website I built for my real estate business was built from a basic template from our host company.
Now, you can find templates or WordPress themes that give you a look and feel to start from with your own website. You can buy these all the way from the price of “free” (free is all relative… read on below on my thoughts on that) to a couple hundred bucks.
A template gets you a jumpstart. But with most website templates, you then have to dive in and basically build the site content, structure, lead generation pieces, do the SEO, and conversion testing all from scratch. These are great for someone who has zero to little (under $20) money to invest in their website, have more time than they do money, and who have some level of technical knowledge (or are willing to learn how to do some basic HTML, image editing, and learn the ins and outs of basic search engine optimization).
What we’re calling a template is when you buy the website files, put them on your own server, and you’re responsible for everything from there on out. That, though, is not how Carrot works. We offer you a website template with native hosting, conversion optimization, content marketing, and SEO potential.
If you choose to buy a website template that’s just a template, though, here are the pros and cons.
- Cheap. You can get into a real estate investing website template pretty damn cheap as far as out of pocket expenses. Under $100 usually.
- If you are a technical person or are willing to invest the time into learning how to build a website… this can be a great place to start.
- After you get a “template” or WordPress theme… you have to invest the time into building out the content, structuring the site, hiring a web and/or graphics guy to help you finish things out, and then you have to maintain the site and files on your server each month to make sure it’s up to date and is secure from hackers.
- “Cheap” doesn’t always mean low cost. Whenever we go into a new project we always like to ask the questions… “How much money does this cost? And how much time and effort will it cost us to get it to where we need it?” Too many people only look at how much money they’re paying and forget to value their own time. Often times these template routes cost you many times more than hiring it out or using a service that does it for you.
- The biggest part that determines an effective real estate investing website isn’t necessarily the way it looks… it’s the way it’s structured, the words on the site, and the strategy behind search engine optimizing the site for your keywords. Many templates look pretty, but when it comes to results, don’t deliver.
Option 2: Real Estate Investing Website Design From Scratch
Ok, so there’s always the option of hiring a web designer and having them design you a website for your real estate business from scratch. Truthfully, this is the option that any big players in the real estate game choose (by big players, I mean companies that do multiple million dollar transactions per year… all the way up to institutional investors and big guys like Donald Trump). Is this the best route for you?
It may be. If you want 100% control over every detail of your website from start to finish and want custom elements that you just can’t find in pre-made websites… then you’ll want to go the custom real estate investor website route.
You’ll also need to have a consistent budget for hiring a developer and designer to upload new content, make relevant changes, and consistently A/B test your conversion rate. Naturally, that’s going to be a big budget.
- You get everything you want exactly like you want it (so long as you can find a solid web designer who knows what they’re doing… this is the biggie).
- Custom means custom… you build it from the ground up with your web guy.
- You can have custom elements or functionality that most real estate investor website templates don’t offer.
- Your site will look 100% unique… i.e. – no one else will have a site exactly like yours.
- It can be expensive if you hire a web designer who actually knows what they’re doing. Don’t think you’ll get a quality custom design that will be search engine optimized, look good, and designed to convert your visitors to leads for under $5k.
- If you don’t know how to accurately relay (doing exact mockups of what you’re looking for is best) exactly what you want to a quality web designer… you may end up with something that is nothing like you envisioned (or a huge bill to continually tweak and fix the site until it’s what you wanted).
- As technology improves… you’ll have to pay more to have your website redone to get it up “in the times.”
Option 3: Real Estate Investor Website Lead Generation Service
This option is kind of a hybrid between a template and a custom designed website. There are a handful of credible options in the market — all have different pros and cons — many are not so good, a few are solid, and they can be a great way for you to get your real estate investor website up and rolling.
And they aren’t just great because you get your website started, but because these services continue to support your website with SEO, security, conversion testing, and support.
So long as your website exists, these services (like Carrot ) are ready to support you in any way that they can.
Like I mentioned above, a template is where you buy just the HTML files (or WordPress theme), then you’re left to fend for yourself putting them on your own server, doing the updates and customization yourself, etc. If you don’t want to do all that work but you also don’t have the budget for a custom website design, you’ll want to look at signing up for a service that has pre-built websites for real estate investors, other fancy features, and you pay either an upfront fee and hosting, or just a monthly fee to access the service.
For many of you, this option will make the most sense. It’s relatively inexpensive and has most the benefits of a custom designed website and a website template.
Here are all the pros and cons.
- Depending on the service you sign up for, you can get websites that look custom, let you customize many of the site elements easily. Just make sure you look for a service that lets you have 100% control over the way the site looks and your content… easily.
- May include other features built right in that would cost you thousands to build yourself. Like email marketing systems, squeeze pages, search engine optimized pages (this one is tricky, our InvestorCarrot system actually does get great search engine results… many systems say they’re SEO’d… but rarely show up in search rankings for their customers. Do your research)
- The service usually maintains the websites on their servers, saving you money, time, and putting the technical stuff in the hands of the techie guys and gals who like that kinda stuff (and are good at it). This helps you so you don’t have to worry about hackers, your site code going out of date, etc).
- You can usually get your websites set up quickly… the same day or within a couple days for most services.
- There is usually a monthly (or annual) fee associated with services like this. They can range from $25/mo – $200/mo+ depending on the number of websites and features. But, you just need to decide whether the time it saves you, the features it has, etc. will help you save enough time to offset the cost… or do enough extra deals to pay for the service. Usually, one deal can pay for the service for a lifetime.
- Most services that offer real estate investing websites were built 5+ years ago, look like a 10-year-old made them in his basement, and won’t let you customize your websites look and feel… or content very easily. Just make sure you do your research to see how easily you can customize your websites and how much you can customize (without paying extra) before you dive in.
5 Things to Keep in Mind When Creating your Real Estate Investor Website
Regardless of which option you pick to build your real estate investor website, these are the five primary things you should keep in mind.
How much money do you have in your budget?
This will have a big impact on which option you choose. If, for instance, you only want to spend between $500 and $1,000, then a well-designed custom site is probably out of the picture (unless you have a friend who’ll do it for less than usual). If you are willing to spend $5,000 to $10,000, though, and have a consistent relationship with your web developer (or you have your own tech team) then a custom website might be your best bet.
What you have to also consider when it comes to budget is how much time the option you choose is going to save you. Don’t just consider how much it’ll cost you…
Consider how much time it’ll save you…
Find a ratio where the money spent, results received, and time saved works in your favor.
2. Conversion Optimization
You could go find yourself a WordPress website, pay a minimal amount of money, and have your website up and running in the next 5 minutes.
But, you know as well as I that that isn’t what you’re looking for.
You want a website that drives traffic and generates leads passively. WordPress will give you a website, but they won’t promise much more than that… because they won’t give you much more than that.
Having a website doesn’t equal being a great online marketer.
You don’t just need a website. You need a website that’s built to convert visitors who arrive on it at a consistent and promising rate. At Carrot, we specialize in building just those kind of websites.
Yes, you want a website that converts visitors and drives results. And you definitely want a website that falls within your budget.
But… it’d be nice to have a website that looks pretty too…
Or at least a website that appropriately expresses that you you’re a professional who knows what you’re doing, not some sort of scammer looking for innocents to exploit.
A WordPress website might get you a nice-looking website, but it definitely won’t be optimized for conversion. And a custom-built website is just so darn expensive and difficult to maintain.
Which is why, at Carrot, we’ve created a reasonably-priced, high-converting solution for real estate investors who need a website.
4. Load Speed
The faster that your website loads, the better chance that people will stick around to see what you have to offer. With a slow website, though, people will leave before you can shout, “Give me a chance!”
In fact, 40% of people will leave your website if it doesn’t load in just 3 seconds.
That’s a big chunk of your visitors – almost half!
How do you know if the website you choose loads fast?
5. Search Engine Optimization
When it comes to driving traffic to your website, nothing is quite as powerful as search engine optimization. Basically, this SEO is the practice of optimizing your website to drive passive traffic through search engine queries (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc).
And it can be an absolutely business changing strategy for your real estate website. By optimizing your website for search engines, you don’t just set yourself up to drive traffic today (like with paid ads), but well into the future.
So long as you rank in Google, you’ll drive traffic.
A big part, though, of driving passive traffic to your website via SEO is the backend coding of your website and the keyword placement. Most website companies will just give you… well, a website.
At Carrot, though, we give you a website that’s primed and ready to rank in search engines. Which means passive traffic for your website and more revenue for your business.
So, Get Out There and Get Some Websites for Real Estate Investors Rolling!
Alrighty, now that you know the 3 options out there for websites for real estate investors and the 5 things you should take into consideration… now it’s time for you to do a bit of research on your own to see whats right for you.
Here’s a quick little guide to help you make that decision.
Pick the one that fits you best.
1. Technical (can do graphics and do some HTML or PHP) have a lot of spare time, have a very low budget (under $100 total). A Template may be a great route for you to go. Go to google and search “real estate investor website templates” to see what you come up with.
2. Have a hunk of cash (at least $3k – $7k), know exactly what you want and can relay that in detail to a sharp web developer, have found or can find a sharp web designer who has experience (and can show you samples and client testimonials) on website conversion and search engine optimization. If this is you, you may look at having your site built from scratch by a web designer.
3. Want custom features but don’t want to pay thousands, want ability to customize your site so it can look unique, don’t want to learn the ins and outs of SEO or web design and would rather piggyback on those who have created systems that do it already, and would rather have someone else take care of the heavy technical work so you can focus on doing deals… you may want to look at website services like Carrot.
In full disclosure, you’re on the Carrot blog… and we are a company (started by real estate investors) who created a kick butt real estate investor website system because we felt the options out there didn’t meet the needs of real estate investors. But, with that said, we don’t want to “trick” people into going with our service… because we know that our service isn’t right for everyone and frankly, we don’t want to work with everyone.
We Believe in total transparency – It’s one of our core values.
So, do your research… find the solution that is best for you. If it’s Carrot… awesome! If it’s not, awesome! All we care about is that you find the solution that fits your needs for your real estate investing business.
And if you have any questions, feel free to throw em’ in the comments. :-)