Developing Your Website
The type of Web site you choose depends on your expertise and the amount of time you plan to spend updating it yourself. Do you have time to design the pages from scratch and keep listing up-to-date information? Would you rather use a system that streamlines the process for you? You can choose either route, with several variables in between.
There are numerous networks (companies with servers, which are large computers, that connect all of the computers linked in a network) that offer predesigned real estate Web sites and hosting; that is, they store the pages so they can be accessed on the Web. These networks usually have a large selection of designs to choose from. These designs are called
You can usually choose the text style (font) you like best, and can often vary its size and color. The design process is very intuitive, so you don't need any former Internet experience to end up with a professional-looking Web site.
You can search for available domain names at
Most network portals have a maximum allowable size for photos that can be uploaded to the Internet. (
Many of the Internet-based MLS services also provide a Web site for their members. This site may be a great place to start if you want to keep the process as simple as possible.
If you're still working with printed photos, rather than digital images, plan to pay extra for the hosting company to scan them and put them online for you. The costs for that service are high enough to pay for a digital camera in no time, so start looking for a camera that suits your needs (see Chapter 10). If you have access to a scanner, you have the ability to convert your printed photos to digital images on your own. You can submit the images to your Web-hosting company via e-mail, but be sure to get details about the size and resolution they require before you scan.
There are networks that specialize in designing unique Web sites for their real estate clients, instead of asking you to choose from preformatted versions. A higher level of design work by someone else creates more expense for you, but the end result might be worth it.
Cost for network space varies greatly depending on the hosting company you choose, and unless your MLS has an arrangement with the company to feed data into it regularly, you are responsible for keeping the information on your Web site current. Updates aren't difficult but they're something you must remember to do when you sell a listing, change a price, or make any other alterations to one of your properties. You may actually be violating state laws if you do not remove sold properties or otherwise keep your Web site current.