Lazy, cheap and dead in the water

Blog_vegas_neon_boneyard_1thumbIn 1997, when I started using the web to aid in my relocation, I viewed hundreds of California real estate websites. Many of them were identical to one another.

Back then, I thought Genstar was a brokerage. Little did I know they were the website developer hosting so many of the sites I visited.

You would think most of those sites would now be retired to some desert junk yard like half century old Vegas neon.

Not true.

Too many are still floating in the ether, the worst from the class of ’97. And their owners are still lost.

I never quite understood why a real estate person would sooner co-brand with a website company than their broker. And become part of this electronic house of mirrors where every agent, every broker who uses these products look the same.

There’s plenty of reasons to love template websites:

? They are cheap
? They are a “set it and forget it” product
? They are, generally speaking, reliable
? They contain a ton of content
? If you need to make changes, the big companies can usually make them happen within days.

This is what their customers will tell you. But these are the reasons why they I don’t like them.

Cheap does not necessarily mean good. Or even cheap for that matter. If a $50 per month site doesn’t rank, doesn’t draw inquires, looks like crap and requires $1,000 in SEO surgery, our respective definitions of cheap differ.

“Setting and forgetting” means lazy. It may not matter when roasting a chicken, but you can be certain it does when it comes to how you present yourself online.

Reliability. Granted. But most of these well established companies offer platforms created a decade ago. The site might be “reliable” like a ’71 Ford F-100 on the Autobahn.

Wealth of content. Yes. All of it boiler plate displayed on every one of their sites which does little to support your claim of being special.

Making changes. Is 48 hours fast enough for you? How about 24 hours? How about 12? How about instantly?

Lazy, cheap and dead in the water

Maintaining your web presence adds more work to a busy schedule. But it pays huge dividends. It’s where your customer is. It’s the cover they judge your book by.

So what does your cover say? Well if it never changes, looks like 100,000 other covers, is obnoxious to navigate it probably says, “I am lazy, cheap, and don’t really care much about my customer — in other words, dead in the water.”


It was inevitable that these simple self publishing tools would one day grow up to be fully functioning websites. They are nimble. Customizable. Google loves them. And they are cheap — or free.

Granted, you must manage these sites, breath life into them. And that’s what you need to do today if you have any plans to compete with the agent and brokerage next door already doing this.

Options abound. And new ones emerge all the time. Just this week, Michael Rahmn, who ran IT at Windermere shot me a link to his new product, a branded broker blog product that looks great.

In 2008, there is no excuse for failing to create a site that tells your customer: “I will stop at nothing to deliver you a great experience. I’m invested in my company and I am an independent thinker.”

My good sense tells me, people are attracted that.