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One of the best ways to sell properties quickly is to establish your online credibility with a well-designed website.
When your website and property listings look great and are easy to use, people will find it much easier to engage with your property listings and ultimately buy what you're selling.
Making a great first impression with your website will give you instant credibility – but how are YOU supposed to pull this off?
In a world where big-time real estate firms pay tens of thousands for a top-notch website, how can you create something that stands out from the crowd?
Luckily, a WordPress theme is designed for people like you and me. It's called REI Landlist from Pebble, and of all the real estate WordPress themes I've seen over the past decade, this one is BY FAR the easiest, most plug-and-play theme I've encountered to date.
Not only is this the best website design I've seen for a land-selling website, it's also the easiest to set up.
Why is it so easy? Because they handle 90% of the setup process for you. It's basically a turnkey website, and once it's online, you can get into the backend and make any necessary changes so it fits your business like a glove. I'll explain below…
Building Out Your Website
Once you've signed up for a Pebble subscription and included REI Landlist as part of the package, it's time to start tuning up your website to its tailored for your company.
In the next video, I'll take you through the following steps:
- Installing REI Landlist
- Installing Plugins
- Integrating MailChimp (or your email service of choice)
- Adding/Editing Listings
- How to make edits, change pictures, change text, etc.
- How to update each of the pre-made pages
Note: This video above shows how the process used to work. If you use Pebble now, the process is even easier (you don't need to install the theme yourself, Pebble will handle all of these steps for you and will give you instructions on how to get into your existing website and make changes).
Plugins, Pages, Layouts, and Content
Part of what makes this theme so great is that it's easy to use.
It's also built specifically with land sellers in mind, so it doesn't include loads of irrelevant functionality that doesn't apply to the land business. You'll find all of what you actually need and virtually nothing that you don't. This will save you a ton of time and make the whole process much less complicated.
If you have worked with other WordPress themes, you'd know they're almost never “plug-and-play” simple. There are usually a TON of extra tweaks and customizations you have to make after installing the theme files and plugins. Even when a theme is branded as a “real estate them”, most of them are still like wandering through a maze to get your website together the right way.
REI Landlist has eliminated 90% of the steps you'd normally have to worry about when setting up a new website. It's a pretty incredible thing they've put together.
This is the only theme designed specifically for the land investing business and built to work with WordPress. It was built to help you scale and save time. It can be a great solution for land investors looking to flip, wholesale, or rent out a vacant land property.
Updates to REI Landlist
Another great thing about REI Landlist is that it's NOT a 5-year-old WordPress theme that doesn't work in today's environment. It is constantly evolving, improving, and optimizing how users behave today.
In 2020 alone, a lot of new features and functionality has been added to this theme to ensure it performs at the highest level.
Google My Maps
A great new feature that is especially useful in the vacant land business (where properties can be notoriously difficult to locate) is the addition of Google My Maps, which allows you to map out all of your properties on Google and both the homepage and property listing page.
This can be hugely helpful in allowing potential buyers to see precisely where each of your properties is located, what they're located near, and how to get to them.
Property Content Lock
Another major opportunity you have on your selling website is the ability to build your buyers list.
This got A LOT easier with the property content lock, a 100% optional feature you can turn on. It requires visitors to sign up for your buyers list to see more details about your property listings.
Normally, you would have to create a whole separate landing page to accomplish this (and there can be some benefits to this approach). Still, if you don't want to maintain yet another website, you can easily turn on this feature to capture new contacts for your buyers list right from the selling website you already have.
This opt-in form is 100% customizable (so it can say whatever you want), and you can have it pop up on either the home page or limit it to each property listing page.
Customizable Property Features and Property Information
REI Landlist always did a great job of displaying land-specific property features on each listing, but if you want to get even more specific about what information is displayed about your properties, this theme now allows you to include customizable icons and information on each listing.
These extra creative touches can make a listing much easier to read and comprehend, leading to more people saying, “YES! I'll buy it!”.
Zapier Property Listing
If you're a fan of automation, you will love this feature. You can now list your properties directly to your REI Landlist website from your CRM system with the Zapier Property Listing plugin. You can see an example of how this works with Trello (as one of many examples) in this video…
This can save time and get your inventory listed on your site significantly faster.
New Skin: Clarity
The original REI Landlist theme already looks great, but if you've ever wanted to change up the look and feel of your website, REI Landlist has a new skin called “Clarity” that will allow you to customize the look of your site even further.
This isn't a “must” for your website to do its job, but if you obsess over the aesthetic of your websites (like I do), this could be a great new feature for you to use.
Integration with Pebble
If you haven't heard of Pebble yet, it's a GREAT new software (built by REI Conversion) that can vastly improve your direct mail, lead tracking, and a lot more (it's worth checking out).
For those who use Pebble for their mailing, it integrates directly with all their websites.
Ease of Use
Probably the most remarkable thing about this theme is its ease of use. Compared to every WordPress theme I've tried, this is BY FAR the most intuitive one I've seen.
My skills and knowledge with WordPress are intermediate at best (I'm not a total novice, but not an expert). When I installed this theme for the first time, most of what I needed to do was pretty easy to figure out, and if something didn't automatically “click” for me, it was covered very well in the REI Landlist Knowledge Base.
The tutorials are easy to follow, and if you just take the time to understand each step, it's pretty hard to get lost.
How Much Does It Cost?
There are a few different pricing options for Pebble, depending on how many websites you want to set up.
Pebble is a lead management system, first and foremost.
Most people use it to send out direct mail campaigns and track their leads and properties through the selling process (a website is one of several components in that process). It's possible to be a Pebble user and not have any websites, but most Pebble users do because their websites are such well-made products.
Pebble plans begin at $199/mo, so it's not the cheapest way to set up a website like this, but it is the easiest and most robust system I know of.
Also, keep in mind, if Pebble manages your website, they will also cover your hosting plan, which eliminates another hidden cost of setting your website up on your own.
True Story: In 2008, I hired someone on Elance (now known as Upwork) to build my website. I paid $1,500 for my selling website… and it wasn't even that useful. It looked good and gave my little company credibility, but it lacked the basic features and functionality I needed.
If this had been available back then, I would've been MUCH better equipped to run the selling side of my business.
Pebble gives you all the functionality you'll ever need, no matter which pricing option you choose, which brings value that FAR exceeds the cost.
Making Your Website Unique
REI Landlist will give you an excellent framework to work with, but you need to fill in the blanks.
Part of what makes this theme so easy to work with is that you get a fully functional website with just a few clicks. Much of the content is pre-loaded for you (images, buttons, sample listings, etc). However, if you want your website to look different from the other Pebble users out there, here are a few easy ways you can customize your site and make it your own:
- Get a great company logo and add it to the header and footer (check out 99Designs for some cost-effective options).
- Fill out all the pages on your site and provide excellent information about your company and how you operate (on the About, FAQ, and Contact pages).
- Customize the colors to match your brand (a website like coolors.co is a great tool for this)
- Review and update ALL of the text throughout your site. Don't just use the canned content with the theme; make it your own!
- Include some beautiful, high-quality images in each page's background and header sections (hint: a website like Unsplash or PikWizard is GREAT for this – all the images are free to use!)
- Change the fonts, and your website will look more distinctive.
- Get great pictures of every property you list.
- Add maps, videos, features, and additional info to each property listing (i.e. – try to answer every feasible question prospects will have about your property).
Of course, if you want to go even further but you don't have the time/desire to learn it all yourself, don't be afraid to hire a developer from a website like Upwork or Fiverr. If you have a few hundred extra dollars to invest, you can go crazy with extra features and customized layouts that will take your website to the next level and look 100% unique to your company and brand.
A selling website from Pebble will get you most of the way there, leaving very little room for improvement (and that's not something I can say for 99% of WordPress themes out there), but if you're willing to go just a little bit further, your website truly can be one-of-a-kind.
Every Website is a Work-In-Progress
As time goes on, you'll probably recognize new ways to change the look of your website (I make small changes to mine all the time).
Take your time, and don't be afraid to experiment. The more you're willing to test things out, the more you'll learn how to fine-tune your website to better serve your customers.
A great website is NOT something you “set-and-forget” (though many people treat it this way). It's something that should constantly be evolving to meet the needs of your company and your customers.
With the basics covered above, you should be able to get started and be well on your way to creating a great website that will make you look like the pro you are.
Do You Need A Selling Website?
Do you NEED a selling website to succeed as a real estate investor?
No, you don’t absolutely need it.
A selling website won't solve all your problems, but if you want to create a great online representation for your company and the properties you are trying to sell, I'm not sure why you wouldn't be using this tool.
I know of a few investors who have never gone through the motions of creating one. They have survived, but I think it has also made their selling process more difficult than it needs to be. In my mind, it's less a question of “Can I live without it?” and more a question of, “How much harder will my selling process be if I ignore this?“
Trust me; this is an extremely useful tool to have at your disposal. I'm promoting these resources here on the blog because I know how powerful a selling website can be for your business (because it has been a game-changer for mine).
BONUS: Real Estate SEO Guide
Since REtipster is a referral partner for Pebble (i.e. – we make a few bucks if you purchase something through either of these links), I wanted to give you a little bonus if you decide to use either of these services.
I took the time to write a detailed report explaining how I've managed to generate a lot of quality traffic for my various websites (i.e. – several thousand unique visitors per month). I'd like to show you exactly how to generate this kind of traffic for your selling website as well.
If you purchase through any of the referral links above, simply forward your receipt to me at REtipsterBonus@gmail.com, and within 24 hours, I'll send you a link that you can use to download a copy of this guide.
There is no extra charge for this report, I just want to make it available as a special “thank you” to those who help keep the REtipster Blog afloat.
These kinds of websites can serve your business in many different ways. If you need detailed instructions on building a different type of site, you can check out these other dedicated video tutorials on the REtipster Blog…