#228 Mail-Right Show Part 2 10 Companies Making The Best Real Estate Websites in 2020
10 Companies Making The Best Real Estate Websites in 2020 Part 2!
Each year in August (End of summer) I review and publish a list of companies making the best real estate websites on the planet. From August of 2018 through December of 2019 there has been a single change in my list of recommended companies. Luxury presence joins the list of the top 10 replacing Resi. There have been many changes in price and service options from the companies that remain in the top 10. Here is a brief list of the companies that had the greatest changes in price, service or company structure. Jump down to the company reviews to find out the full details of any changes.
Easy Agent Pro
Real Estate Webmasters
Jonathon: Welcome back folks to the Mail Right Show. This is episode 228; it’s going to be a continuance of our discussion last week about what are the best website options for real estate agents in 2020. I’ve got my great co-host with me, Robert Newman. He’s not well though folks, but he’s dosed himself up. He might die on us. He’s dying on us right now actually, but he decided we’ve got to finish this and this is a series of three shows. We’ll be finishing it off next week because he’s a big and important subject. Robert, would you like to quickly introduce yourself to the new listeners and viewers?
Robert: I’d love to. Thanks for that amazing introduction as usual Jonathan.
Jonathon: I get better, aren’t I?
Robert: Yeah, you’re getting really good. You’re really spinning it. Spinning it up like a top. So my name is Robert Newman. I’m the founder of Inbound REM, which is a different type of real estate lead generation company than others that are out there. And if you want to learn more about me, you can do that at inboundrem.com. That’s the word, inboundrem.Com. And go ahead and tell everybody how they can find you, John.
Jonathon: Yes, go to mailright.com and I’m the founder and CEO of Mail Right. Basically, we provide a suite of marketing tools that gets you leads and we do it for you. All you have to do is log in, see who has given us phone numbers, you ring them up and you will get leads from that. If that doesn’t sound interesting, I don’t know what I can do for you, beloved listeners and viewers. I like to say this is a series of three, we started it last week and it’s based on a great article on my co-host website, inboundrem.com. He wrote a fantastic article about the choices that you have got real estate agents when it comes to choosing a platform to base your websites on. And hopefully, we didn’t lose too many of our beloved listeners and viewers because we were talking about definitions a lot last week. Won’t we, Robert? How do we move the conversation on so we can instill [inaudible 02:45] and reason into our beloved listeners and viewers, Robert?
Robert: All right. So first and foremost, if you didn’t check out last week’s show, this is definitely one in a series and you’re going to want to do that because we talked about the different types of websites last week. And so this week what we’re going to do, we’re going to have a conversation about what company you might want to look at, and why, the pros and cons of each company. And this corresponds to the article that John was talking about. So once again, just in case, I’ll give you a very small warm-up. But I’ve worked for many of these companies and consulted with some of them. And even in the cases where I haven’t, I’ve really deeply dug into their product lines as in used them in many cases over the 12 years I’ve been in the real estate marketing industry.
So I’m coming from a very, like a high knowledge end-user perspective when I started talking about these websites. So without any further ado, we kept it easy at the top of the list, it’s the easiest part of the conversation to have is, who do you look at if you’re looking for a branding site? We covered this a little bit last week, but we didn’t really get specific about it and we didn’t cover pros and cons. So we’re going to start there because it’s easiest. The rest of the list gets way deeper and harder to have a conversation about. But the two companies that you could and should look at who is at the topic list for branding sites. And I’m not saying that other people don’t make branding websites, but these two specialize in it. And that would be Luxury Presence, which is located here in Santa Monica, California. And then Agent Image, which is located in Redondo Beach here in California as well. Each one of these websites the pros and cons is kind of the same, but we’re going to go down the list anyway. John, do you know how to use– you use Built With, haven’t you? Have you used the website builtwith.com.
Jonathon: Yeah, occasionally I use it.
Robert: Will you do me a favor? Will you throw Jayden Mills through builtwith.com so that you can be my foil on this because I actually don’t know some of the questions for Luxury Presence. So I’m going to start off with Agent Image, guys. So Agent Image; the pros and cons are; Agent Image is one of the only companies out there that allows you to own your own website. Okay. They do that by building that website on WordPress and that’s a huge pro in my opinion. They will give you ownership of the website, which means that you can take it with you once you’ve bought it. Most of these other companies will not. The price point for Agent Image is somewhere between $2,500 $7,500. It does depend on what kind of website it is that you want.
They make a number of different types of websites. One is called a template website, another is a semi-custom website, and then they have a product; I’m spacing on the name right now, but it’s damn well close to custom. They have a whole bunch of custom pages on it, but they do still have a few templated pages within the product and that’s the one that falls within $7,500. None of these websites comes with a built-in CRM and nor does mine. And I just want to be clear about that because in every case, mine included, that’s a con, okay, so that is not a great thing. Unlike other sites though that you could look at Agent Image is really though they’ll tell you differently when you talk to them. And I know this because I’ve worked in their sales department for a long time, but they’ll say that they’re capable or that they focus on real estate lead generation. And that’s not true.
It’s just not. Not in comparison to all the other companies that are out there. They don’t really hold the candle to just about anybody that’s focusing on real estate lead generation. So they’re really not focused on it. You might get some leads if you already have a big reputation inside your market segment. What they’re going to do though is probably make a very beautiful website that’ll really stand out if you drive people to it. It won’t really prompt people to register with the site, but it will be very, very, very nice to look at. So that’s kind of a pro and a con mixed into the bucket. Now luxury presence was John, should be working on, on the other end here guys.
Jonathon: I’m not, actually, I’m sorry.
Robert: Oh no.
Jonathon: Oh no, sorry I got sidelined.
Robert: I’m not seeing this on our Facebook page. Is it, is it on your Facebook page?
Jonathon: It should be there.
Robert: So while John’s checking that out, Luxury Presence; what I was asking John to look at them for is I wanted to see what the website was built on. I’m pretty sure it’s not a WordPress website. Luxury Presence, once again, they do have a rudimentary CRM from what I understand, I haven’t actually looked at it. Jayden knows and other people that are really deep into the branding side of the business are swearing by them. However, I can tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt because I’ve watched two or three of my former clients transfer over under luxury presence. They’re not an SEO company. They’ve lost a lot of ranking for clients that have moved their sites onto luxury presence.
However, once again, they have a really unique custom look when you look at their website. So if you’re a branding agent and you’re going to use website mostly for super high-end listing presentations, I personally could see why you would want a luxury presence website in that particular case. Like if you’ve got an iPad and you’re walking into a listing presentation and it’s a $15 million-plus listing presentation here in California, I’m going to say that maybe a luxury presence website might be worth it. Now, the pricing is a little bit speculative. In other words, I haven’t been able to confirm directly with clients about how much the websites cost. But I do believe that they’re in the five to $10,000 range at a minimum, which– Oh, I got it. So we’re here, which puts them on the high end of the marketplace. Now, I’m a little bit sick and my mind isn’t working as well as it normally would work. John, what am I missing?
Jonathon: Well, I think, you know, like when you covered with Agent Image, you got this template-based, you got semi-custom and you got full-custom, and that might confuse people that are outside. What does that term mean? Well, a template, they will have a selection of themes, which are pre-built websites and they would upload your logo, change the colors so it would match your log and do some other minor changes for that $2,500 that they would charge and they would set it up. Now with the semi-custom, they would probably change the layout of the home page and change out some of the other internal pages. And that might also include the IDX powered pages, the actual layout, to your individual requirements, but it would still be set on a theme and they would do a semi-custom job for that $5,000.
When it comes to full costume, based on my experience, you’d probably be looking from 10,000 up, depending on your requirements and that seems a big jump, but it’s very time consuming to build a full custom design. There’s a lot of back and forth, a lot of discussions and it’s time consuming even in 2020. And so you would be looking at a minimum from anybody that really knows what they’re doing; a full custom design, $10,000 plus probably. Now, so I’ve tried to clarify what those three terms mean. That would exclude any fundamental SEO kind of consultation or it might even exclude even the basic on-site SEO. That would depend, especially when we talking about just the template and the semi-custom options. We’re probably at that level not talking about any kind of SEO set up with the full customer. I would imagine that would be negotiable.
Also in that is Real Estate Webmasters are to include them in the three as well. I don’t know Robert if you disagree, but obviously, in the title Real Estate Webmasters, they’re [inaudible 12:58] is that they do a lot of SEO optimization. How truthful that, I would leave that to Robert. And to some extent, I would include Robert’s company; they have a standard look, but I’m sure depending on what the client wants; they can customize that. Would I be right about that Robert?
Robert: You would say.
Jonathon: So we’re looking at about four companies that have also extra in their sales pitch. They offer like SEO, content marketing, consultation or just superior design. So of the list that is in Robert’s article, there are about four companies that if you’re interested in a custom look or in a more proactive discussion about an individual look, they’d be the four companies to approach, won’t they?
Jonathon: So we’re coming close to– we’re going to go for our break listeners and then we’re coming back and saying how the other companies kind of fit in with their offerings. We’ll be back in a few moments’ folks.
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Jonathon: We’re coming back. My co-host is a champion. He wouldn’t even let disease stop him from coming on today’s show and informing our listeners and viewers. So, Robert, I think hopefully, I don’t think we’ve confused people. I think we’ve gone through what template, semi; full custom. We’ve gone through about four companies, yours included that can meet somebody that’s looking for individual luxury look on their website. How would we go about some of the other options that are on this list of yours?
Robert: Okay. So that was branding; we talked about branding. You did an excellent job of breaking down the products and I appreciate it. You’re right. I just want to confirm that you’re right. Real Estate Webmasters and Inbound REM are both companies that can and will produce custom websites for you. Both the price points are kind of, well mine is about on the regular side for customers it is $10,000 plus. Mostly what I do now is a semi-custom kind of template that is designed for SEO success and I don’t let my clients mess around with it that much. Usability and functionality are becoming so important that– it’s hard to explain, but you really don’t want to let customers get too deeply mixed up in it because they don’t understand what usability looks like on a real estate website. They understand what they want and what they like and that’s great, but they don’t understand what people are going to point at and click at and use on the site.
Real Estate Webmasters is really one of the very best companies out there. They do understand SEO, they’ve got team members that understand SEO and they’ve got companies like the Agency Ari that they’ve inked major, major, major contracts with and they do a damn good job with. The only thing I would say about them is that all of that expertise really puts them into a pricing category of their own. None of the prices that we’ve mentioned on the show so far are Real Estate Webmaster prices. They’re at least double or triple everybody else. A custom site with them is going to be 30,000, not 10; they’re normal, they’re like straight out of the box kind of product offering is 5,000, usually three to five. That’s like a template site with Real Estate Webmaster, their monthly services, five or $600 a month. And that’s not marketing, that’s just service.
So they are in a pricing category of their own. Nobody even comes close in terms of price with Real Estate Webmasters. So let’s get into the next category and we’re going to save the last category, which is real estate lead generation sites for the very last show. We’re going to kind of tease you a little bit, but it is also the biggest topic, it deserves its own show. Real estate websites that have lead generation attached to them. It’s the number one request that we get as website makers or CRM makers or toolmakers, which John I’m sure would probably agree with this. How are they going to get leads? What are we going to do once we have leads? Does it nurture these leads? There are all these questions that come up.
The second category of website is a search IDX site. And what I mean by that is that there are sites out there that have an incredibly good look and feel, but the predominant thing about the site is that they’ve done a very good job in making searching properties very easy on the website. I created this own category because for all those people out there that might be listening to this show and some of these categories, they’re like dual categories. So I’ll give you an example, a really great search-based website is Real Geeks. Real Geeks makes a very fast website, primarily using HTML. They’ve got their own custom platform, their own way of making websites and it works very, very fast. They are the fastest real estate website out there. That just means that when you click on the buttons to do searches, they pop almost as soon as you click the button and there’s no slow down.
Their website layout is very unfancy. There’s not a lot of extraneous graphics. The site is designed for you to hit it and do searches. That’s because it also doubles as a real estate lead generation site. They only have one point or function on it, which is to drive traffic to the site for people to do searches. And they do that one function very, very well. They had a mission, they achieved it when they build these sites and the sites work for what it is that they’re trying to get these websites to do, which is do searches and generate leads. So, I throw Real Geeks into the top of the list when it comes to real estate search websites. And then you have a whole bunch of sites that fall into that list too.
You’ve got Easy Agent Pro, which a lot of people would disagree with me. Easy Agent Pro is a weird bastardization of products though. But there are template websites that are going to give you access to the MLS and it’s going to do so for relatively inexpensive. They’ve got a good look, a good feel but they haven’t really put themselves strongly into any one category such as real estate lead generation. The closest thing that they’ve done is that fourth category that you and I talked about last show, John, which is an inbound marketing site. They’re good at educating you on how to be content marketers, and they’re a good site for first-year agents who are looking to learn content marketing. So you go and you learn their marketing by one of their websites for a couple of hundred dollars a month and you fool around with it for a while. You can do the same thing by listening to the Easy Agent Pro content and using Playster, and you could do it for $5 a month. Both Easy Agent– go ahead.
Jonathon: What about Sarah Interactive, where do you place them?
Robert: They’re the best of the best inside the search category. Sierra interactive has done an incredible job. They took up this space between Real Geeks and Real Estate Webmasters in terms of website quality, website presentation. In some cases like The Keen Brothers; hold on a second guys. I’ll give you guys a URL for all those listeners. So for those of you who are driving along, going to bookmark the show, I think we’re like minute 20, 25 in it. You’re going to want to look up realsourcebrokers.com. Every now and again you’re going to come across a site that looks like it’s super custom and what Sierra Interactive has also done, they’ve done a really good job in this. They’ve done a really good job in taking over old Real Estate Webmasters sites and then rebuilding them.
The Keene team, which is one of my favorite real estate websites that are out there, got a whole bunch of custom maps and Sierra interactive did a really great job. So, they kind of put themselves into this weird category, but the rest of the website looks like all of the Sierra Interactive websites. It’s just a really nice search website, but they built all the pages on it using, just trust me when I say this, very solid, fast popping technology. So they have this really deep, really complex site that still works really fast because they made it on a custom-like PHP platform. Sierra Interactive is a very good website company that is established by a handful of real estate agents and brokers that decided once again a lot of the real estate marketing industry. It’s actually real estate brokers who just get sick to death of there not being a solution for them and their teams. So they get out there and they create one.
That’s what a Real Geeks were with Jeff Mason or Manson who established that company and then sold it. But, he was a broker, a Hawaii real estate broker. And the same thing goes for Sierra Interactive; it’s a group of real estate brokers who just made themselves a real estate website marketing company.
Jonathon: By going into their website, it’s around $499 a month. And they seem to have a CRM and IDX and they provide the IDX element and also CRM, which Real Geeks all say to do to some extent. But, then they seem to have text messaging a dollar a minute, I don’t quiet, you know, that’s linked to you making telephone calls. But I feel it comes from the actual interface of the website. So they do seem to be in a way a kind of competitor to Real Geeks. Would I be correct in saying that?
Robert: Very much so. Their conversion rate is very good, but they in Real Geeks both will convert very low quality leads right now. I don’t really want to get deeply into this into the last show, but since I’ve teased it and you’ve mentioned it or you started to open the door, I will say this. Sierra Interactive and Real Geeks release are both excellent examples of search-based websites that will do a reasonably good job of capturing information. But they’ve also both done a very, such a good job of emulating each other and providing a very similar search experience that they’ve commoditized the way that searches happen in the real estate industry. And every single time you buy commoditized tool which is every single tool that you can talk about on our list of companies, pretty much, you’re going to get a very commoditized lead type when they’re registered; they’ve seen everything you’re presenting to them before.
I’m not saying this is bad; please don’t misunderstand me, not you, Jonathan, not the audience. If this is what you get your hands on, then this is what you can do, but you’re going to be looking at like 50 leads to try to get a single revenue-creating opportunity. Most real estate website companies out there won’t get you any leads at all, good or bad. So when we’re talking about this list, and we’re saying you’re going to get bad leads, please once again, don’t misunderstand me. Sierra Interactive and Real Geeks are close to the top of the list of those website types, it’s just you’re not going to be, I don’t want to set your expectations poorly. I just want you to know I don’t want anybody to listen to the show and then wait two months for our last episode; go out and buy these websites and then call me or John and go, “we’re getting leads, but they suck. Why didn’t you say anything?” So, I want to mention that.
Jonathon: So we’ve mentioned Placester, and we talked about it last week and they offer enormous value, if the price is really important and you just want to get a website up and your budget. But, their business model has caused them problems. It’s great, it’s amazing value, there are some amazing deals, but you’re not going to get a tremendous amount out of it when it comes to lead generation. That I think Robert and myself would agree on that when it comes to Placester. We don’t wish any ill, but I think–
Robert: Well, let’s talk about Placester for a second because if you’re listening to the show, it’s weird. But, of all the companies we’re not giving a lot of time to Placester but the chances are highest that you own a Placester website because they have like three hundred thousand, four hundred thousand installs, which by my math means that something like 15 to 20% of everybody who’s a licensed real estate agent inside the US owns a place to website somewhere. Most of you are going to understand this already. Like 30% of you already know this, but I’m going to tell you what you already know. They’re built on WordPress. You can buy them for super cheap, but they lock down all of the– like there is no lead generation at $5 a month. I don’t even think you can get into it.
I’m pretty sure the only way somebody can reach out to you is through the contact form, and I’m not even sure about that. They lock the entire website down at $5 a month, so you can’t get leads on the $5 a month version. They’ll very quickly tell you that you need to be on their other version of the Placester website. They’ll sing you a pretty song; the moment they start talking about that. Now, they raise the price up to 149 a month; 99 plus an additional 50 at the cool plugins that make Placester websites awesome, which they’re never really awesome at any level. So you end up with a search IDX site that doesn’t work that well at 150 a month. And then they’re going to tell you the same thing that all these other providers are going to tell you, which is you have to spend money on direct marketing to get these websites to work.
Here’s the problem, or here’s a huge con with Placester. They run in my own personal case studies, one of the lowest conversion rates of all these sites. So not only do you get this weird tiered pricing structure that’s a little uncomfortable to get involved with because you buy an inexpensive product and now you’ve got to deal with people constantly upselling you, and a product that doesn’t work right unless you take the upsold version. Then you do take the upsold version only to discover it doesn’t seem to be working very well. Even if you do spend money on it, which you shouldn’t be doing because, you don’t own it and it’s one of the lowest-performing products that are out there. What do they have connected to it? A very rudimentary CRM, a very rudimentary text messaging system; I haven’t deeply examined either one of these things in three years.
I did a review on them in 2017 and as far, I’ve never wanted to go back and review the product again because, besides the fact that it’s a starting product that’s built on WordPress and WordPress powers 22% of the real estate websites that are out there, and fully five of the 10 companies that are on my top 10 all use WordPress. So getting into WordPress website is a way to standardize your website, using experience for all those people out there. So, like real estate agents; you can stick with companies using WordPress once you get used to using WordPress and that way you don’t have to keep switching around and changing platforms. The problem is all the companies that you’ve heard of that are generating a lot of leads like Sync and Bold Leads, they’re all using custom platforms, so you’re faced with this daunting task.
Jonathon: Apart from one company that uses WordPress and we’ll migrate it to wherever you want if you’re using it. I think I know that company; it’s Mail-Right, actually.
Robert: it’s Mail-Right.
Jonathon: We supply a website, a personal one without IDX integration or another option there has IDX integration. Then we use IDX broker as the plugin, which I think your company utilizes as well.
Jonathon: And the deal is if you spend a lot of money on building traffic to your website or you’re posting a lot of content and a lot of video on your website, which is what we’ve been hammering away that you should be doing listeners and viewers. If you decide at some stage that you got fed up with Mail-Right, for $499, we will migrate it to wherever you want it to go and set it all up for you and you are free of us, so we don’t interrupt you. Like I say, we charge you $499, which is ridiculous and we set it all up and then you’re free,
Robert: Right. Let’s just say that using John’s example, that independence is important to you, that having some kind of control of your website destiny is something that you’ve decided to make a priority. If that was the case, there are only three companies including his which in full transparency, even though John and I worked together, I haven’t reviewed Mail-Right in a while, which is why they’re not on the list. It’s not a matter of a slight–
Jonathon: We’ve been in flux. I’m quite honest with the listeners and viewers, the past six to eight months, we’ve totally changed the platform and I haven’t really been pushed there and we’ve been doing a lot of tasting and it’s a totally new platform. And that’s why I totally understand why Robert hasn’t added it, but I will be in the near future showing him what we’ve been doing and hopefully he would decide to add it.
Robert: Yeah. So the companies out there that you can own that own your shit with it, sorry, my bad everybody; own your stuff with– Listen is I’m sick, please give me a little bit of leeway here, is Inbound REM, Agent Image and then Mail-Right, which would be in the honorable mentions section because I have top 10 then I have honorable mentions. One of the honorable mentions on my honorable mentions category; there used to be a guy that made sites that you could own. I don’t think he’s making them anymore, so maybe four but I’m not sure about that, so three for sure that I know about possibly four. And other than that, every single company out there, you name it. You have like their whole entire job is to put you into a system that you don’t own. You have to pay them indefinitely to access, and that includes your websites, and it makes a limited amount of sense to do all the stuff that John and I recommend. Because you don’t own the place that you’re putting the content, that you’re writing the blogs on and it could theoretically be a pain in the ass to get access or to move it. It just depends on the company and we don’t have time to go over and review that.
Jonathon: No, I think we’re going to wrap it up there before Robert dies on us, but we’ll be delving into [inaudible 33:52] and the other platforms that generate leads for you through paid traffic next week. And then we’d be doing probably some bonus content, an overall roundup of over the free episodes. So Robert, how can people find out more about you and your company?
Robert: If you’re interested in following up on the full version of this article and all the videos I’ve produced connected to it, which is about 20 of them; you can go to inbound rem.com. Also, I occasionally, about once every five or six shows, I say this, John and I mostly John, work our butts off on this show for you folks, so if you see it on YouTube, if you’re watching there right now, do us a favor, smash that like button, leave us a comment, share it with your friends or your real estate network marketing group; anything, your coworkers at the office. Please, thank you, John, over to you.
Jonathon: Thank you for that Robert. Yes, like us on Facebook, share it there. Last month we had a record audience, our biggest say ever, so we’re thanking new listeners and viewers. And we’ll be back next week where we’ll be finishing off this series of three about the best platform, the best website platform for 2020 our recommendations that will get you the best results for your money. We’ll see you next week, folks, bye.