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Real Estate Websites: A Technology Guide For Real Estate Agents

   By: Brandon Cornett

You know a real estate website will help you market your services, educate your clients and prospects, and build business relationships. You're ready to get your site up and running. You even have a picture in your head of what it should look like. There's one question...

How Do You Get Started?

My advice at this point is to slow down -- just a little bit. The initial setup stage is where most folks make their biggest and costliest mistakes. In their excitement, they skip the necessary research and sign on with a designer who can't deliver exactly what they're after.

Or they shell out $300 dollars or more for a real estate website template, only to realize later that the design can't support their content plans.

Elements of a Website

To have a website live on the Internet, you'll need three primary things:

1. A web host (like Dotster, GoDaddy, or hundreds of others) 2. A domain name (like www.mysite.com/ 3. Web pages (HTML files to structure the pages and style sheets to format them)

The Web Host

A web host is a company that provides web hosting services. These companies own servers (extremely powerful computers) that host and "serve" the files that make up their clients' web pages.

You can create a website on your computer. But you have to put the files onto a web server before anybody can access them over the Internet.

A Hosting Example

When you visit Amazon.com, your computer requests files (via the Internet) from a server. In this case, it's Amazon's own server. Your computer will request HTML files, graphics, scripts and other items needed to view and use the home page at Amazon.com.

Hosting Providers

Web hosts are a dime a dozen. The trick is to find one that's reliable, easy to use, and with decent customer service. In web host standards, "decent customer service" means you can actually get somebody on the phone when you have a problem.

Web Host Recommendations

I use and recommend GoDaddy (www.GoDaddy.com/. I've also had good luck with Dotster (www.Dotster.com/ . A medium-sized hosting plan at one of these providers runs about $9 a month. You get a little more for the money at GoDaddy though, at least in my experience.

The Domain Name

A domain name is simply the name and address of a website. My domain, for example, is www.ArmingYourFarming.com.

Getting a domain name is easy. You just go to any domain registrar (like Register.com or GoDaddy) to first see what's available. The registrar will tell you if a particular domain is taken or available.

When you find an available domain name that you want, you register it. The cost to register a domain is about $10 per year. More than that, and you're overpaying.

Conclusion

Before spending any money on your real estate website, educate yourself. Read as much as you can on the subject, and comparison-shop between different vendors. Determine your web goals, and make a list of features you'll need to support those goals.

Start small with only a basic plan -- you can always add features later as you find the need for them.

* Copyright 2006, Brandon Cornett. You may republish this article in its entirety, provided you leave the byline, author's note and website hyperlink intact.

Article Source: http://www.friendsofvista.org/articles/article35864.html





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