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If you've followed this blog for any length of time, you probably know my thoughts about the importance of having an effective real estate website working for your business (whether it's for buying, selling, or simply collecting leads).
There are many different ways to create a website – some are easy, and others take a lot of work.
For most real estate investors, there's a BIG premium on convenience and ease of use because let's face it, we're not web developers, coders, or programmers. Most of us already have our hands full running our business and doing deals.
Especially when a person is just getting started – they've already got their hands full. Finding the hours needed to create a good-looking AND functional website is difficult.
If you're looking for the easiest way to build a website – there are a few convenient options on the market today, and one of the platforms I've been hearing about quite a bit over the past few years is Carrot (aka Investor Carrot). This subscription service allows users (specifically – real estate investors) to quickly and easily build websites for buying properties, selling properties, building a buyers list, and branding their company (among other things).
Carrot has been growing like CRAZY as of late, and even though this is one of the more pricey subscription services I've seen on the market, there's a reason why a lot of investors are using them.
Not only do they make it easy to build websites that look amazing, but they also allow users to make some unique customizations to the look and feel of their sites (including the submission forms) without knowing any code and without having to work around any restrictive settings.
They also specialize in the SEO, performance, and ROI aspects of web development, so if you're trying to find effective ways to build your online credibility AND drive a lot more traffic and submissions through your website, they have a lot of built-in resources available to do just that.
How Carrot Works
This past week, I decided to give Carrot (aka Investor Carrot) a try to see how it worked. While poking around the system, I recorded this video to give you a better look at it.
If you've got a few minutes, follow along, and I'll show you how it works!
Note: We have an affiliate relationship with Carrot, which means REtipster.com will get a small commission if you sign up for the service through any of the links in this blog post (and if you do, we appreciate your support). As always, you should only use this service if you feel it will help you accomplish your goals. Please do not spend your money unless you're confident about the value this will bring to your operation.
At the time of this writing, users can sign up for a single website for $49 per month or up to three websites for $99 per month (for more information on their plans and pricing, see this page). Like I said… it's not the cheapest option on the market – but if you're looking for a nice combination of ease and flexibility, this system seems to offer a good balance of both.
My Likes and Dislikes About Carrot
I liked the information and options to choose from when creating a Carrot website.
When you create a new site, it comes pre-populated with plenty of existing content, which makes the job easier (because you can edit what's already there instead of making up a bunch of information yourself). It also adds a lot of “SEO juice” to your website, making it easier for search engines to index your site and start ranking it in organic search results.
The sites are mobile responsive, which means they'll look good on any device.
Integrating a Carrot website with your existing social media accounts and list-building services (like MailChimp, Aweber, and Constant Contact) is also very easy. They've put a lot of thought into making these templates versatile while enhancing the experience of your visitors.
The only downside I noticed with Carrot is that it wasn't quite as “idiot-proof” to set up a site as I thought it should be (though, it's still MUCH easier than working with a standalone WordPress website).
Their system offers many different options for customizing your website. These extra options give you more stuff to sift through, making it slightly more cumbersome to zero in on the specific features you want to add, remove or change.
To be fair, though, I've seen this with other software in the past (and even in creating my membership website), where ease of use becomes a double-edged sword.
To make the overall process feel simpler for the user, you have to give them less control (like the ability to create and customize your forms, for example). On the other hand, if you give users more options, it starts to look and feel more complicated, so it's a tricky balance.
All in all, even though the user dashboard was a bit ‘busier' than I expected, it didn't take me long to figure out how their system worked. I had a pretty good handle on about 90% of the functionality within an hour.
Customization Options With Carrot
Probably the most important customization feature I noticed with Carrot was the ability to create detailed submission forms.
If you're looking to build a buying website or a lead generation site (a website that collects specific information from visitors), this will come in handy.
As a land investor, there are some very specific pieces of information I need to get from the people who submit their information on my site. With a service like Carrot, I can customize the heck out of these submission forms. In my case, this capability is a must for a buying website.
Along with that, Carrot also gives you the ability to customize a lot of other things, like the following:
- Logo, tagline, and header image
- The color scheme of the website
- Font of the text
- Text on each page
- Add, delete or change the text on each page
- Add, delete or change the images on each page
- Add, delete or change the submission forms on each page
- Include a blog with your site (or operate without one)
- Move and reposition the various “widgets” in the sidebar and footer area
- Choose between a few different templates and change the background image of each
- Rearrange the navigation menu to show the most important pages on your site
…you get the idea. Every important thing that needs to be addressed on your site is fairly simple to tweak (though it may take you a few minutes to figure out where and how to make these changes).
As you can see from the video above, Carrot has made it pretty easy to create websites that look professional WITHOUT wasting a lot of your time in the process.
Whether you’re a house flipper, property manager, wholesaler, realtor, or land investor – we ALL have a fundamental need (whether we realize it or not) for a well-organized, highly functional, good-looking online space that serves our business well.
The Carrot system can be used for a single website or multiple websites, depending on your needs. In any case, they seem to care a lot about getting real results and generating legitimate leads with this online platform – so if you need this kind of functionality in your business, it may be worth giving them a try.
Here are a few of the features you can expect with a Carrot website:
- All websites are mobile responsive
- You can easily create and customize submission forms
- Easy integration with all major email services
- Easy social media integration
- Several different templates are available to work with
- Excellent customer service and support
- Tons of additional training and education is available
- A major emphasis was placed on SEO, ROI, driving traffic, and getting a higher conversion rate
- Websites come pre-populated with great content
- Simple process for creating real estate listings, optimized for pictures, video, and easy share-ability
- Easy to manage leads, autoresponders, and analytics
If you want to go nuts with a full-blown content marketing strategy, they also offer a content marketing system; you might also consider a Content Pro account, where they will write 12 articles each month, optimize them, and localize them w/ the shortcodes (including the URLs) so you can publish them on your blog.
This kind of content creation plan could help you see much better search ranking results and it can help save a ton of time for people who want content on their sites but aren't ready to do all the writing themselves.
Something I appreciated about Carrot is that they offer a lot more than just a website service.
In addition to being a user-friendly option, they also provide regularly scheduled webinars and some great resources that can help you boost your website's organic traffic and make it serve its intended purpose.
Carrot helps you generate motivated seller leads through Evergreen Marketing; they’ll teach you the strategy in their webinar.
This past year, I discovered their SEO Bible and was seriously impressed by all the free information they offered in it. They also have a TON of other education available for their users.
No matter where you're at with your real estate business, they seem to have something for everyone (even after running five different real estate websites for several years, I learned a lot from their SEO Bible alone).
Is Carrot Right for You?
I think Carrot (aka Investor Carrot) could be the ideal choice for many people, but I wouldn't say it's the ONLY choice that makes sense for everyone.
As I mentioned earlier, Carrot isn't the cheapest long-term option on the market today, but it's also not the most expensive.
If the cost is a concern, and if you're willing to deal with the headaches of building your website from scratch, you could get the job done on a shoestring budget through a less expensive service like Bluehost and a WordPress theme like Winning Agent Pro 2 (more details on that in this blog post).
However, if you opt for the “do-it-yourself” route, be prepared to do A LOT more hands-on work yourself (and if you don't already have a knowledge base here, it will require a bit more time and frustration to get the job done).
If you're stretched for time and need to create a great-looking website that is fairly easy to edit and do what you need, I think Carrot is definitely worth checking out… but you don't have to take my word for it. Sign up for a 30-day trial and find out for yourself.