A question that could so easily have compromised my integrity – Landlord’s Log

A question that could so easily have compromised my integrity – Landlord’s Log

9:34 AM, 16th November 2011, About 12 years ago 3

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I was asked a very interesting question last weekend on an internet forum for landlords. The commentor was asking whether I thought he should invest into building a website and what the alternatives were. What I really wanted to say was that he didn’t need a website providing he had a Gold listing in the Property118 Directory and plenty of customer testimonials. That wouldn’t have been fair though as it’s a non-commercial forum so I decided to answer the question as independently as I could. This was my answer.

There are around 27 million websites worldwide. Just think about the time and money that have been invested into creating them all. It’s a common misconception these days that every business needs a website. There are, however, lots of successful businessmen who have done very well for themselves without one. Building a decent website involves a lot of time and/or money and there is plenty of evidence to show that some businesses do very well out of doing so. However, building a super-duper website does not mean that it will attract visitors or get you any more business.

Think about the research supermarket chains do before they build a new superstore. They know well before they lay the first brick pretty much exactly how much it will take and how much profit it will return. Most successful businesses do the same, some just get lucky. That’s why supermarket chains choose not to open stores in the North Pole or in the desert. Sadly, many businesses don’t think things through properly before they build a marketing campaign. They rely on a strategy of hope and luck. They have websites designed to please them but that doesn’t necessarily mean that their ideas please the majority. You can never please everybody all the time of course.

Having spent a lot of time and money on building their websites they then get disappointed when they don’t get business from it. They then make the classic mistake of spending even more money advertising their website instead of just advertising their business.

I can’t tell you whether you should or should not invest into a website, that’s a choice you need to make for yourself. If it’s exposure you want, normal business principles apply. You need to invest your marketing budget where you will gain maximum attention and a maximum return on your investment.

Mark Alexander
Mark and his family have been investing in property since 1989, initially in the Norwich area but more recently across the length and breadth of England. Mark created Property118.com as a social network for landlords with a vision of becoming the UK’s largest online property investor directory.
Mark’s experiences and strategies as a landlord are shared here

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Ian Ringrose

9:45 AM, 17th November 2011, About 12 years ago

I think all companies should have a web site, they should also own their domain name so they can move to a different hosting provider if needed. They must also be able to update their site at will and quickly whenever needed.

However for most companies, there is no point in having more than a single page that lists the services they provide, an UPTO DATE phone number and the area(s) they operate in. (A list of related work they are not interested in can save everyone time)

Given the name of a company I wish to be able to Google them to find their phone number, all too often I get 101 hits to out-of-date listing sites. Hence the importance of the company name being in the title on the main page of their website, having the company name in the domain name as well make it very likely that they will get listed on the first page of Google for anyone that is looking for them.

It would not hart to have a few links to directories when they have lots of customer testimonials – that fact that a company believe enough in themselves to point to at a site that lists their customer testimonials alone with their compactor’s customer testimonials give me a very good feeling about the company.

So yes to website, but no to spending much money on it.

Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

9:54 AM, 17th November 2011, About 12 years ago

Excellent advice Ian.

I created a thread over on the Property Tribes forum to talk about Search Engine Optimisation. The responses and subsequent discussion ran to several pages and resulted in some of their members creating their own very low cost Word press websites, some of which are most impressive and cost very little to create. There's a great book and DVD set about WordPress on Amazon. If anybody wants to get it please take a look at my Landlords Log page and you will see an Amazon affiliate banner listing this and several of my other favoured items on Amazon. I earn about 10p for every one I sell from there too! EVERY PENNY COUNTS 😉

15:01 PM, 17th November 2011, About 12 years ago

Good advice from both Mark and Ian, particularly about (for most landlord businesses) keeping it very simple. Most people won't get business out of a website, but anyone who wants to know about you will feel comforted if they find you have a web presence. When you have a site, also set yourself up with a presence on Google Places (Maps).

As a landlord with two houses in the same street let to students, I started a website for the street. It doesn't make any money, but it has enabled me to put a lot of info about the houses (they are modern and have some quirks) to which I can refer tenants when they have questions. I've also pulled in some local history and a little local info. Many people who come to live on the street are living in England for the first time. It's at:

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