As part of our long-standing specialization in websites and online strategy for commercial real estate, we are constantly dealing with the issue of not just getting your commercial listings on your website, but also how to manage them. As part of virtually every website project we do, it is an issue that needs to be addressed correctly to derive maximum benefit from having the listings on your website. If you’re not getting the best results, and are taking time to put them up there, what’s the point?
Below are the general methodologies for getting your listings on your website, and the advantages and disadvantages attached to each.
- Listing Services on Your Website – Costar, Loopnet and PropertyLine offer services that allow visitors to your site to search just your listings. The advantages to this system are chiefly speed of implementation and a fairly low price point. The disadvantages are multiple, but the number one biggest issue is that all this listing information actually doesn’t live on your website, they actually live on your provider’s website. If you use CostarConnect or Looplink, just look at the actual URL where your listings live. They are on loopnet.com or costar.com. This is important because when Google and the other search engines crawl through your site, they know that those listings don’t actually live on your site. Thus, you’re paying good money for Costar and Loopnet to do better in the search results!
- 3rd Party Solution – KCN Solutions is an iProp integrator. iProp is an ingenious system that has a centralized admin website that you log into, and then iProp publishes your listings (and related stuff like agent pages and newsfeeds) automatically into your website. The advantage of using something like iProp is that the listings on your website truly live on your website, and they can be customized to look any way you want. Having the listings on your website, looking the way you want, means you get the bump from Google and the others for all the listing pages you have. You also don’t typically pay for upgrades, bug fixes and enhancements made to the system like you would with a custom solution.
- Custom Solution – Custom solutions have traditionally been a huge profit item for web firms. They develop a listing database system for a client that takes lots of time and costs lots of money, and then resell it to all the future clients that come down the pike. What are the advantages of a custom solution? Like a 3rd party solution such as iProp, you can specify exactly what you want the listings to work like on your website. What are the disadvantages? Let’s start with cost. We have seen decently capable listing database systems for commercial real estate website as a $40,000 line item. Once the site is launched, you’re typically on the hook for 100% of the costs to enhance the system, fix bugs, or provide new functionality.
To conclude, we’ve found that the ROI gotten from a 3rd party solution like iProp combines the low price of the listing service offerings with the high customization and search engine benefits of a custom solution. It’s your money, wouldn’t you rather spend as much of it as possible on things that your visitors will actually see?