Content Audits

Sometimes it becomes necessary to gain a full understanding of the content that exists on your site. Being that a website can become a living being growing and evolving the content can change over time and a periodic content audit can assist.

I just completed the requirements for auditing after a rather long process of evaluating every type of content on the site as well as all possible subjects of that content. This can take some time. I ended up with the following list of areas to capture about the content.

  • URL
  • Page Type
  • Product Type
  • Brand/Category
  • Model
  • Content Type
  • Subject Type
  • Content

In the future a gap analysis can be performed to know what has changed and where to look to update the audit.

I’m Willing to Pay for Twitter

My gut reaction to what I’d pay for Twitter is “nothing.” In general most services that would even compare to this service are free.

When you look at the possibilities of what Twitter could offer above the basic level of service that they currently provide you only need to look as far as all of the sites, services and tools that have been developed using Twitter’s API.  So if Twitter could figure out a way to provide services to brands that would make it easier to interact with those that follow their brand and increase the depth and value of that relationship I’d pay more.

We’ll have to see what comes up next.

A Wheel! I’ve Never Heard of That…

I think I’ll build one too!

Its amazing how much time is spent reinventing the wheel. Business partners often create the same website features, tools and widgets over and over.  I’d like to see the day when companies truly recognize that the typical services that they supply to their customers are just a fraction of what they could be selling them.  But the flow could also reverse and the customer may have developed a tool that the supplier needs.

Builders, brokers, real estate agents and real estate portals are all developing, having developed or using similar and in many cases the same tools.  So why doesn’t ZillowTrulia or NewHomeSource offer their maps or other features? They can all gain information and perhaps a way to offer a wider network of ad partners across the new partner sites.

Until that type of cooperation happens I’ll keep reinventing the wheel and trying to create the better mouse trap.

Real Estate Social Media to the Next Level

I’ve been thinking about when real estate will truly be taking social media to the next level.  Century 21 announced that they are moving their rather large TV media spend to online.  So where are the putting it?  Where is everyone else putting it?

Judging by Hitwise the majority of the money is going to PPC and some banner networks.  That is of course speaking on average among builders, brokers and real estate portals.  But where is the spend toward enhancing the sites or creating new tools that let their customers truly do the marketing for them with word of mouth?

It has to be coming.

I’d look for one of the big builders, Zillow or Trulia to be doing something bigger.

2009 Where can we go from here?

I’ll tell you where we can go… (Then I’ll tell you where you can go)

There are typically two ways that we can go and in our collective case we have been heading one way at full steam ahead for a while.  Just look at the traditional media (bastards, fist raised in anger!) and you can tell that they are even getting tired of reporting on the car crash of the economy.  Take for instance my favorite morning show that I love to hate, Good Morning America.  This show exmplifies that which is wrong with the media.  A typical morning is full of what is wrong with your life and how they can try to show you a glimmer of what you might possibly be able to do to make it seem better, while they sit in their ivory tower.  Thanks Diane.  But really, once you start to see the media get tired of reporting on something they start to try to find something that doesn’t depress themselves.

Its happening!  Even though people are scared and nervous about where the stock market is heading, the banks, getting a loan and home prices they are starting to come out and realize that now is a good time to buy.  What could be causing this?  Its the media making everyone excited about Obama and his change (I’m quite sure he’ll be paying my mortgage) and just their general demeanor making the move to being positive.

At this time I think its about time that we all start to think about what it truly means to be at the bottom.  In my book (reaching store shelves after I begin writing it) it means that you aren’t going lower.  Well, the bargain hunters are out.  If you take a look at the housing industry and the traffic to home builders during 2008 you can see that the year sucked.

If you start to look at what is happening on a daily basis you can start to see some interesting traffic coming along.  I’m sure that some of it has to do with interest rates but I have to believe that some part of it is the change in perception toward the belief that now is the time to buy.

If that doesn’t look interesting to you then I don’t know what to say.  From here we will have to see if this will change into a longer lasting trend.

Scared to Buy? Step Right Up!

Think about the main types of sites and their goal. The main ones that typically come to mind are driving to an online sale or lead generation.  If you take a look at these two types and then dive a little deeper you might find an area where sites are marketing products or services that people are “Scared to Buy.”  What would that mean?  Good question.  I’ll tell ya.

For me that means Real Estate. In the current Real Estate market that we are in people are scared to buy, if they are in the market at all.  Real Estate, online, is typically a lead gen activity, with the few exceptions of companies like RedFin.  Take a moment to think about how you would drive people that are scared to look at your product to take the next step.

Why are they scared? Well, to start with its the media, those that love to watch and talk about a car crash and those that believe that there are other outside forces controlling the market.  If you want to see a great example try watching Good Morning America in the mornings.  They have the recurring story of how many people are out of work and how bad the recession is, how much real estate prices have declined on average.  Well if you didn’t feel depressed already you will once you are done.  You’ll also notice that you want to stop spending and save every penny that you have and that if you do have to spend anything it must be on some cost saving craft.

When we start to see the media change their tune the behavior of the real estate buyer will also change.

What can you do to move real estate buyer down the purchase funnel? Take care of them.  Here is a quick check list.

  1. Make sure that your site is fast.
  2. The information the visitor is looking for is on the site.*
  3. The information is in an easy format to take in.
  4. Respond quickly to every contact.  This means personal.  Not an auto-esponse.
  5. Treat them in a friendly manner.
  6. Provide ALLinformation when they ask a question and make sure to present all available options or paths that the potential buyer could go down in reagards to choices.**

*Note: It is also common for many in the real estate industry to want to hold back some information from their website.  This is a huge mistake as most online visitors will become frustrated and move on to those that do provide the information.

**Note:  Many people disagree with providing all choices due to the fact that people can’t focus on that many options at once but if you have organized your information well this can be done successfully.

Oh You’re Selling – What – is the ROI?

I need to start counting the number of people that contact me selling something. The count over time would amaze me.  That might not amaze you but the amount of people that have to call me back with the conversion rates or ROI for the investment is truly amazing.

I guess this is a guide on how to sell to me.

I don’t care about:

  1. Your company history.
  2. Who your CEO is and what other companies they have started and sold.
  3. How long you have been in business.
  4. How many employees you have.
  5. The number of years of combined experience.
  6. the amount of time that you have spent in R&D on the product.

What I care about:

  1. How the product works.
  2. How it applies to my business.
  3. Who else is using it.
  4. Average past results of others.  Conversion rate, etc.
  5. Parallel industries that are using the product.
  6. Cost.

That’s about all. If you can put aside the first list and give me the stats we’ll forgo the point of me starting to look at email, out the window, cutting you off to ask the second list or writing a blog post about this during a conference call at which point you’ll realize I’m not paying attention to you when you ask me a question.