Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Requiem for a Website

It’s official: **realtors****.com is no longer. I’m not going to reveal the site’s name because the parent Company is still in existence, albeit licking its wounds from its Internet misadventure.

**realtors**** LLC is a medium size real estate Company based in NewYork. They’ve been around the block a few times. The Company decided they too wanted to develop a Web presence to reinforce their business model.

An all whistles and bells, million dollar looking site was developed by a leading NY design firm, with the purpose of generating online leads.

At the eleventh hour the site owners contacted us to try and revive the site’s fortunes with some hefty Website promotion. But it was to no avail, after a lengthy period of sandboxing, a series of disastrous PPC campaigns and various SEO (mis)adventures later, **realtors**** decided to pull the plug and cut their losses.

So, what really happened? What happens to so many aspiring Webmasters, perhaps even the majority. They failed to ask themselves the most fundamental question: where will our traffic come from?

**realtors**** LLC were under the impression that if you just build a site, visitors will come. But for the vast majority of Companies that’s just another case of the Emperor’s new clothes. Unless you’re in a position to shout the site’s address from the rooftops by branding, TV, radio and media advertising, your Website’s traffic can only come from one source: search traffic.

And to get found in Search Engines, it’s pages have to rank high on relevant search terms. Your site has to be Search Engine friendly: lots and lots of spiderable content, lots of inbound, relevant links, a theme based structure, not too much graphical elements etc.

In contrast **realtors****.com was the exact opposite of a Search Engine friendly site. Instead it was a user friendly site with strong, convincing copy and graphics and clear and simple navigation pulling visitors to the application forms. But it had almost nothing to chew on for spiders and hence it was nowhere to be seen in most Search Engines.

I suspect that some leading design companies prey on absolute beginners to sell them sites with a high “wow!” factor, regardless of the new site owners’ objectives. These graphics rich, user friendly site sure are expensive to develop…

”Wow!” really doesn’t get you into the major SEs today…

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