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
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
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.