It seems that creating an entire website, domain and all, is becoming a really fashionable way to market a single, usually very special, residence online. Granted, you probably won’t have nearly enough time to set one up for each listing, but for the ones that could really use some exposure, it might just be worth your time to throw up a micro site and maybe get a few potential buyers interested that wouldn’t have known about the property before.
Admittedly, you don’t necessarily have to buy a domain for a micro site, but if you do buck up and spend the ten dollars, it will lend your page that much more credibility, you can buy a keyworded domain to help with your rankings, and customize it entirely for the property. Let’s be honest, the competition to represent some of these multi-million dollar pieces of real estate is tough, everybody wants the commission and prestige that comes with selling one, but you have to be willing to take that extra step for the client. Having a custom built website for the property is going to be just that.
You don’t necessarily want to stop at buying the domain and slapping up a picture or two with the MLS number. No, you’ll want to go full bore and get what you can from the property and the owner so that you can really market the place. The website you are creating is really only a container for the incredible content you should be putting up on the site so get all the content you can and make sure that its quality reflects that of the house.
In some instances, keyword domains will help you sell a place because of the ease of ranking for said keywords, but, similarly, you might be able to market a property entirely on its address, if it’s cool. I wouldn’t recommend buying a domain for “4152 12th Ave” but if it’s something cool and marketable like “1 Panorama Ridge”, go for it.
As far as content goes, you’ll not need much more than a few pages. First of all, you’ll want to throw up a few pictures of the house. I think you’ll find that white, clean themes with rotating headers will look best for showcasing a beautiful house. Good pictures are probably going to be the most important element in marketing these properties online. Although hiring a professional photographer will yield more desirable pictures, there is no reason that you shouldn’t be able to take a few stunning shots of the property.
Always keep the website in mind when you’re shooting, and even though a 15 megapixel image won’t do much for a website, a nice crisp lens and proper lighting are going to be a necessity. If you don’t have massive flashes that you can move all around the house, use natural light as much as you can. Open all the windows and, if you need to, bring a tall tripod so that you can take longer exposures for crisp photos.
I recommend having at least a couple good pictures of each room before you call it a day and when you’re shooting the exterior, the lower the sun in the sky, the better. You might have to take photos throughout the day to get the different shots of the house in the perfect light, but it will pay off.
Post-processing is also going to be a very important part of your pictures so get your skills ready and make those pictures pop.
Similarly, you’ll want to have a video for the house as well. In the age of super smart phones, anything less than 720p is basically not worth trying. You might be the creative type and really run with the video portion of the website, but if not, either acquaint yourself with a video editing program or have a video made by pros using the pictures you have of the house. Not every video needs to be of the “15 Queen Anne Court” level of quality, but something like that is certainly not going to hurt your chances of selling the house. Remember that everything you put up on the site is going to be very closely associated with the property, whether rationally or not, so make sure that you’re not just carrying your cell phone through the house with wobble and a commentary that happens at the same time.
If you are going to do a tour, keep your phone or camera (my phone takes awesome video and yours should too) steady and plan out the shots before you shoot them. Always record commentary later through whichever recording device you have that produces the best sound quality. Great microphones are $100 and if you’re planning on doing this often, it’s not much for a lasting investment. A few cheesy, but admittedly powerful, time lapse shots of sun rising and setting over the property with manipulative music for a couple minutes should be plenty.
Next, you’ll want to write about the house. People tend to get bored reading long articles so I don’t imagine you’ll need more than a thousand words to describe the house to any potential buyer. You will definitely want to have a few substantial paragraphs so that the search engines are friendly to the new website, but I think that the pictures and video will do most of the marketing. If the house has any really funny anecdotes or famous previous owners, that’s definitely something worth mentioning, but you don’t really need to do a room by room description of the entire property. That being said, if it’s not too much work for you, it might be an idea to create a page for each room with a few pictures arranged in a nice gallery and a small writeup for each one. You can create a menu item for bedrooms that drops down to all the bedrooms the house has and do the same for bathrooms, kitchens, pools, airports, whatever… It will probably be overkill for the average buyer, but the site will look nice and robust to Google and the customers who want to see the house from abroad can actually view every room.
Whatever Else You’ve Got
I’m sure you’ve used tools like 360 degree room views among others, but now is the time to whip out every tool in your arsenal that helps move houses. Use maps, schools, restaurants, community centers, and whatever else you can use to sell the house on the website. Try to put a little spin on everything you do for these special properties so that they stick out from the competition. Now is the time to put on your marketing hat and whip out all the good and creative ideas floating around in your mind. Spitball with friends, associates, and, if they’re up for it, the house’s current owners. The more minds on creative projects, the better, so get together with different types of people and we could be talking about your site when it goes up.
If you need help
Quite frankly, we’ve been providing this service to some of our clients in the past and they think we should offer microblog setup as a package on its own. Get in touch with us if you need to get some help putting everything together.