Virtual Library: Ramping Up isn't Hard to Do

Taming the Internet-- from setting up an e-mail account to designing your own Web page--will seem less formidable when you visit Internet Basics for REALTORS®, now available in the Virtual Library's Reference Shelf.

April 1, 2000

Capitalize on Web Value

Focus your Web site on getting visitors to register with you so that you have their permission to send them your marketing materials--by e- or snail mail. How do you do that? By maintaining quality and Web standards.

  1. Keep site pages neat--no crazy fonts or blinking graphics.
  2. Include your company address on the home page
  3. Succinctly tell visitors what your company does. Better to be very specific than to provide a daunting laundry list.
  4. Show photos of your company salespeople to personalize users' experience.
  5. Make sure all of your listing information include such elements as demographics, floor plans, aerial photos, maps, and 360-degree images. 
  6. Interpret market information and trends for visitors, supporting your contention with statistics.
  7. Include an online form that requests user contact information, the most important way to identify them.


Posting Web Pages Free of Charge

Your Web site doesn't have to cost two month's commission. You can host it for free, for instance. The option is most suitable, according to the article, for those who can't afford a full-fledged Internet account or who access the Web with a public terminal.

Keep in mind that there's no free lunch. In exchange for gratis hosting, you'll need to allow advertising banners to pop up at your site whenever someone visits.

Depending on the free host you choose, you can get 3 to 35 MB of storage space--more than some of the Internet service providers that make you pay.

Here's a run down:

Yahoo! Geo Cities' good file manager lets you delete, copy, rename, preview, edit, and upload files with only a few clicks. PageBuilder, its point-and-click HTML editor, lets you position elements on your pages and preview the pages.

URLs for sites hosted here tend to be long and difficult to remember--a consideration for your clients and customers--since Geo Cities steers you to locate your site in a subject-specific area.

This service offers a companion book, "Creating GeoCities Web Sites", as an aid.

AngelFire offers work areas where the veteran coder can type in HTML or template layouts for the inexperienced designer. You can arrange elements on the templates page, but not as well as you can with straight coding.

XOOM offers lots of storage space and page-building wizards. But templates tend to include a lot of graphics, which could make for slow downloads. To edit the HTML code, you have to download your pages, edit the on your computer, and use a file transfer protocol to transmit the changes to your online pages.

WebJump lets you choose a personalized URL, unlike Geo Cities and AngelFire. Page creation is simple, and a scripting engine lets you add such features as a search engine or a survey form. In addition, WebJump "offers a free e-commerce site builder for the budding Web entrepreneur."

Although most free Web hosting services don't offer much technical support, WebJump features a toll-free number and claims 24/7 customer support.

When it comes to hosting and administering your site, you need the best.

1. Choose a reliable Internet service provider. Just as you would with any potential hire, review the service's financials and history to make sure it'll be around tomorrow.

Before you sign a contract, test the customer service--are department members picking up the phone within five minutes? If not, "the service department is likely understaffed and overburdened."

Talk to people who've used the service for more than a year.

2. Keep your domain name information current. Visit NetworkSolutions.com to check your domain and contact information, a worthwhile verification if you try to switch ISPs.

Establish an e-mail account for your office that's not tied to the main one. For example, if all your e-mail addresses are based on realtycom.com, as in johndoe@realtycom.com, get a separate account, in case your system crashes.

3. Divide your risk exposure. Have one ISP host your site and e-mail account and let another host your Internet connection so that you're protected if either host goes down.

Ensure that both you and your ISP keep a copy of your entire Web site--graphics and all.

Use the wealth of Internet-related articles from REALTOR®Magazine Online and print to learn more about building your site.

"Before you incorporate 'REALTOR' into your E-mail user or domain name, read this," Ask Mr. Internet, Oct. 1998.

"Don't Get Snagged: Internet Rife With Legal Barbs," March 1998

"Evaluating Your Online Efforts," July 1999

"Upgrade Your Web Browser and Save Time," Feb. 2000

"Measuring Internet success," July 1999

"Missing the Internet party?" Feb. 1999

"Talk to visitors at your Web site," Feb. 1999

"Targeting Niches With Multibranded Web Sites," Aug. 1999

"21st-century practitioners learn to give up control to consumers," REALTOR® Magazine Online, Jan. 2000.

Notice: The information on this page may not be current. The archive is a collection of content previously published on one or more NAR web properties. Archive pages are not updated and may no longer be accurate. Users must independently verify the accuracy and currency of the information found here. The National Association of REALTORS® disclaims all liability for any loss or injury resulting from the use of the information or data found on this page.

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