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Geek Build 2012 — Building a Local Real Estate Website from Scratch

Here at Geek Estate, we’re going to undertake a fun iniative in 2012, which will be called “Geek Build 2012” (maybe we’ll do this again next year). What is it? Building a local real estate website/blog (or several) from scratch, with all decisions voted on by the Geek Estate community. And documenting the entire journey here on Geek Estate.

Over the past few years speaking to agents all over the country, I often get asked how to build a local blog that consistently generates leads over time (and hint: it’s not easy nor is it fast). Rather than continue to field those questions one off, why not just build a local real estate blog from scratch — publicly? This is an idea I’ve been brewing in the back of my mind ever since I ran across the Million Dollar Blog Project. And then the comment thread on Daniel Beer’s a Brutally Honest Case Study turned the idea into a real initiative. If you so desire, you can follow along and build a site yourself. Of course, to do it yourself you’ll need the design and development skills (or money for them) — but we’ll get into all that later. First, let’s be clear what we are setting out to accomplish.

The Goal

Build a real estate website from the ground up, sourcing input from the tech-savvy Geek Estate community, with the following goals:

  • Maximize lead generation (signups, blog or IDX)
  • Maximize lead conversion (phone calls, requests for showings, specific property requests, track closings from site long-term)
  • Maximize time on site, page views/visit
  • Minimize bounce rate

How it Will Work

Let me start by saying I don’t want to finalize any details of Geek Build 2012 without the help of the Geek Estate community. There are some amazing talented individuals that follow this blog regularly, and I certainly want your feedback. After all, this project is owned by the entire community — not just me.

I’ve spoken about the Geek Build 2012 project with several individuals, including Daniel Bacon, as a result of the discussion on Daniel Beer’s post — and here’s what we’re thinking makes the most sense:

  • There will be between 2-5 actual local real estate sites built (or rebuilt).
  • Sites will be built on top of WordPress.org.
  • Everything from the branding to the domain name to the title tags to the design to the IDX solution to the calls to action to the the wireframe to the content strategy will be discussed publicly and all decisions will be voted on by the Geek Estate community.
  • There will be a steering committee that will make final decisions after reviewing all the feedback from the community. It will consist of several experienced technologists and at least two active real estate agents/brokers who make their primary living from selling real estate.
  • The development and design will be crowd sourced to the Geek Estate community (a few tech-savvy passionate participants, and who ever else is willing and able to help), and participants will be expected to pick up the cost of design or development that they cannot do themselves (or cannot be shared across all sites).

What We Need

  • Participants – so far, Daniel Bacon is the only confirmed participant who will be building a website. The details regarding what is required of a participant are not totally final — but unless you are able to handle both design and code yourself, there will likely be some cost to participating.
  • Coders/Designers – in a perfect world, we’d have one PHP/CSS person and one designer to volunteer some of their time to help on this project. Whether or not the right person is out there and willing to help? I’m not sure.
  • Steering Committee Members – if you’re interested in serving on the steering committee, shoot me an email with your qualifications and include a note as to why you want to participate. Update 2/7/2012: The steering committee has been announced here

**It’s probably goes without saying, but all participants, volunteers, and steering members will get proper recognition throughout this project – you’ll be in the spotlight

Want to get Involved

Leave a comment here, or email me at drew at esmexecdesigns dot com with the subject “Geek Build 2012”.

Look forward to hearing from you…this is going to be a very fun, collaborative process that we’ll undertake together over the coming weeks and months.

More updates to come soon!

Note from the Editor: View all posts related to Geek Build 2012 here.

**Geek Build logo designed by Dominic Morrocco at M Squared Real Estate.

About Drew Meyers

Founder of Geek Estate Blog / Geek Estate Labs. Zillow Alum. Travel addict & co-founder of Horizon. Social entrepreneurship & microfinance advocate. Fan of Red Hot Chili Peppers and Kiva.

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