Of course we all know that the Internet revolutionized real estate.
Well, the Internet has evolved. Have you?
I would say that most agents in our local area have a Web site. Most recognize it as a marketing tool: a way to get their listing information out there and – if they have the functionality – to recruit buyers through an MLS® access portal.
This is what most Internet experts would call Web 1.0. As the Internet has grown up, users now expect more, and this is where Web 2.0 comes in.
For some, it’s just a buzz-word. There isn’t a recognized standard as to what Web 2.0 actually is. It’s more of an idea, a methodology, than a technological standard or software version. But in reality, Web 2.0 is here to stay and is changing the way people make money on line and in the real world.
The major difference between Web 2.0 and the old way of doing things is the bilateral communication methods that have become so popular in recent years. Whereas in the past, Web sites would largely be static pages, very much not unlike a page in a book – once written, never changing and certainly not involving any interaction between publisher and user or reader. Web 2.0 encourages 2-way communication between page writers and page readers. This blog, for example, has a commenting function that can engage the reader and promote conversation by allowing a reader to comment on the articles or argue with the writer (or in fact, a previous commenter).
Some of the most popular Web sites out there today are Web 2.0. Who hasn’t heard of YouTube, or MySpace or Facebook? The rise of social networking, chat, internet video, podcasting, blogging, wikis, and other user generated or user-discussed content defines Web 2.0.
What does this mean to you? Well, take a look at your website – is it Web 2.0 or not? I would say most are not. This is not something we’ve caught on to as much in our market area. My website, www.sellingsooke.ca, is somewhat web 2.0. It has a blog, which is probably one of the most important parts of a site these days. I’ll explain that in another article. It has an interactive aspect to it – users can chat with me when I’m online via a free service called Meebo. I work hard to make sure the content on my site is relevant and fresh. This is huge, in a market where upwards of 80-90% of customers will start the search for real estate on line. Have a static, boring, page that never changes – the users come, they go. Have a rich, interactive page with constantly updated content and a means for notifying users of updates – you’ve gained a regular customer that will come to you first when they need advice. It’s an ever-increasing way to stay top-of-mind with your buyers and sellers.
This post has kind of gotten lengthy, so I’ll cut it off here, and go in depth on some of the topics in subsequent posts.
For more information on Web 2.0 and what it’s all about, check out the Wikipedia (another Web 2.0 phenomenon) article on it at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_2.0.