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Why It usually takes 18 months to make money from your real estate site

MY WIFE WILL VIOLENTLY PROTEST, but is building and marketing a successful site not unlike half of the pain and time of a full term pregnancy?  It starts with euphoria (not always well thought out), it starts growing on you, it becomes a reality, you eagerly wait for any spark of life, you look at it every morning and evening, then… there it is…*gasps*..a very young offspring that needs further care, diaper-changing and baby talk. (I had client share her life story just before signing the buyer broker.)

One of the hardest things about building a site is around the sixth month, after investing low-to-mid four figures in coding and programming, investing six-full-season-DVD-set worth of reading and writing, after essentially talking to yourself (otherwise known as first few months of blogging), you would hear some agent in another city (hopefully not yours!) closing $000,000 deals from his online leads!

The truth is it takes approximately 18 months to really see the fruits of your labor.  Why does it take that long? Here’s a rough overview (if you’re targeting organic rankings):

  • Researching domains and keywords (plotting your on page SEO through content positioning.)
  • Looking at other sites for inspiration and ideas.
  • Coding and programing — even if you hire someone, it still takes time explaining, planning and guiding.
  • Content creation and writing filler content/introductions for every page.
  • Fixing, tweaking, improving bugs and implementing new ideas
  • If you have a blog, content creation on a consistent basis.
  • Link Building
  • Promotion
  • Site aging
  • Rankings
  • Leads
  • Closing

Not too mention when you acquire a good link, say you get accepted at BOTW directory, it still takes about 2-3 months to feel its pull on your rankings.

And yes, you can go the short route of Pay Per Click, which is a viable path especially if you have no time and could afford tens of $6 clicks — could go significantly higher if targeting competitive keywords.  (Actually now that I think of it, a mixture of both organic and PPC is ideal once you feel more confident with your site’s conversion capability )

It takes time...but here is the paradox:  It gets easier and easier.  WHAT DO YOU MEAN?! You get rewarded for what you put in.  And the earlier you start, the better.  The primary example is how major search engines treat an aged site with good content.  In other words, search engines don’t treat all sites equally.  The older you are, the more trusting they become.  (If only that could bleed to real life, I probably would be a Justin Timberlake.)

Search engines, at the end of the day, follow people.

But make no mistake about it, you will need laser-like focus on the first year. Building and promoting a successful real estate site requires vision, endurance and commitment to see it through.

When somebody asks me if they should start blogging or do online marketing, I tell them that if you are serious in producing results, you cannot treat it as another advertising tool.  Online marketing is not just another tool you use; either it is your primary tool (along with sphere of influence) or it is not.  I have seen too many colleagues start and wither away.  Truth is, not everyone is willing to put the time and effort to succeed online.

But it is worth it.  Last month I closed my first five figure commission.  My biggest (from an online lead) since I stared in 2007.  Without the reach of the internet, she is somebody, as my cousin Bob puts it, waaaaay out of my league.  But she bit.

I want to encourage you:  Keep. At. It.  Incremental improvement is key.  Check and balance regularly.  Because it will come.  Hopefully sooner than mine.

About Joe Salcedo

Joe is fascinated with business models more than super models. The last two years he has been focused with his LakeTahoeRealEstate.org site and stalking the Reno Real Estate market since 2007. He works hard for his beautiful wife Anna, and two wonderful kids, Alonzo and Jiana. Add him on his Twitter account

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