Single Property Websites No Conundrum

Single Property websites don’t have to be a conundrum.   Kevin Boer  is debating the issue with himself I might add.   He is getting some great resources from Matt Dunlap  at Realivant.  

Honestly done right, there should be on conundrum about single property sites.   Done wrong they will be just like any other website.   They won’t be found on the search engines.  

But if we use the examples of single property sites done wrong as the norm then conclude they aren’t worth the effort.   I would suggest applying the syllogism to real estate websites.   We all know of all the real estate agent websites out there the majority of them are no where to be found on the search engines.   Therefore, real estate agents have a conundrum if they decided to have a website.   Bad Logic!

If you have been following the series of posts on Single Property Sites you know that done right they can be found on the search engines in   a matter of a couple of days and set up and managed correctly they can produce sales results.

There are a few posts to go in that series and I’ll admit it has slowed due to something called Real Estate Sales and business.   The series will conclude soon.   In the mean time here is an update on the ones I’ve been using as examples and live on the web.

3149 E. Macenroe  SOLD

If you search Macenroe, Marcenroe Lane, The Tucson Racquest Club you will find this site.   Granted the last one is  now on page three, but for the first month it was on page 1 and  hits came from that search.  Macenroe is now sold, many people found it on the web, many had parents and relatives look at the site for their input since they couldn’t be in Tucson.   It sold from the single property site.

13237 Mortar Pestle  SOLD

Sold, every visitor and many inquiries were sent to the site.   It was one of the first before I learned how to direct a lot more traffic to the site with relevant posts.   This site is no longer needed.   It is still up.   It has a PR3 ranking on the homepage, it is a real estate related site.   Can you think of any use for this site now?   BTW if you search Mortar Pestle Dr.   It still comes up in Google.

5378 W Desert Flora   SOLD

This home is located where the Accenture Match Play with Tiger Woods was in February.   Back in January before the actual tournament you could search accenture Match play and up would pop this home.   It was sold to a couple searching the web on accenture match play and they found this home.   They love it.

You can’t find this site now.   Why, bad permalink structure.   it has page=6 instead of the keywords from the category and title that it should have.   This site did it’s job but it hasn’t survived well due to its poor structure.

4241 Pontatoc Canyon

Pontatoc Canyon is  a sought after community with a limited number of homes.   Many people will search google for Pontatoc Canyonand there it is.   I can bring this up on new searches by posting about La Encantada Mall that is just up the road as well as some other area attractions that will bring it traffic.

4875 Windsong Canyon

Nice gated community large lot.   Windsong Canyon  Google search.

There are more, but that should be enough for now.   I’ll be building, or I should say rebuilding one this week for a property that was on the market, withdrawn for 4 months and is now back on the market, but if it sells this weekend, (it is getting a lot of showings) I’ll forgo building the site.   They don’t all sell from the internet.

But are Single Property Sites a conundrum.   I would definately say no.   The process of building them can be, but if you follow the posts on the process I’ve put together you will avoid the pitfalls of SEO for a single property site.

Comments

  1. What are you using to make the slide shows, Dave?

  2. Maureen,

    I’m using Photo Story 3 by Microsoft. It is free to anyone with a registered version of Windows XP or higher

  3. I am wondering if you set each property as a folder with a separate installation of WordPress installed in each one or do you use an installation of WordPress MU and create each property from there. It looks as though you use subdirectories for some and subdomains as others. Thanks, dte

  4. dennis,

    I started out testing domains, subdomains and folders. I found folders were the best.

    I use only folders now with the folder name being the address.

    I use a separate version of WordPress for each property. As new versions of WP are available I DO NOT upgrade the sites.

    But I do install each new site with the current version of WP.

    Have never dealt with WP MU but I hear a lot of people work very hard to get it functional. So it is easier to do a fresh install for each site.

  5. Dave, thanks for the info. Great idea. Do you add the whole site address on your realtor sign or do you do something like
    “Google: 1234 Your St”
    Thanks for the help. Great idea. Really like all the other posts also.

  6. dennis,

    We don’t even put anything about the site on the sign. It is in the flyers, on MLS, Craig’s list, etc. But we don’t have anything on the sign itself.

    Most people driving by if they are interested will take a flyer. Since Tucson is a winter visitor, second home community for many we find our sales are often from out of state.

  7. Dave-
    Why do you use a seperate install of WordPress? Can you simply forward the house URL to a particular directory on a working site? You would then also have all the functions and other pages of that site for a visitor to consume.

  8. Scott,

    The separate install of wordpress is for tayloring each site specifically to that property. I can make it look exactly as I want and not constrict it to a cooky cutter for all the listings to appear the same as the blog.

    There is no house URL, it is just a directory on the working site. I tried one URL for a house and found it served no practical purpose and it cost more. It is better to keep the juice on the main site and install in a directory for each listing. They are found much quicker as a part of the whole rather than an island unto themselves.

    The home site is still on the site in the blog roll, but for each listing it might be a different site.

    For a listing in Oro Valley the home site will be the oro valley blog. For Tucson the new Tucson AZ Real Estate Blog.

    I’m bringing them to the specially built site which has its own contact page, and pages and post dedicated to the community or subdivision in which the property is located.

    When these sites are no longer needed and ready to take off line, they effect the home site less. Those disappearing pages and posts don’t take away from the internal or external linking of the home site to the same degree and are easier to maintain and manipulate apart from the home site.

    There are very few listing sites that have the same header size or content structures as the previous or next. It is much simpler to do a clean install for each rather than try and figure out how to keep them all organized under a single blog theme.

  9. Gotcha.
    So just to summarize…You put up a subdomain (in the above examples [subdomain].barbaralasky.com), and then install a new installation of WordPress in to a new directory (same name as subdomain) onto your server.

    This keeps Google juice pointed at barbaralasky.com, but also allows the subdomain to benefit from the juice of the main site.

    Did I get it?

  10. Scott,

    I ran three experiments. First URL Second sub-domain. Finally folder.

    Folders work best. Not sub domains. This keeps it together and much easier to manage and all the juice is under the single domain name but site exists in a folder.

    I like this best and now build all the sites in folders. So if the property on deer shadow lane as an example it would be
    http://www.orovalleyhomes4sale.com/deershadow/

    Thats how I do them all now and in the future.

  11. I’m a little late to this fascinating discussion. Nevertheless, I’d like to ask Dave another question.
    In your example above (Deershadow), say you had a property domain name (let’s call it deershadow.com, for argument’s sake). Your master single property website is orovalleyhomes4sale.com, and you have deershadow on a separate WP installation in a folder. How does this work with the pointing/redirecting. When someone requests deershadow.com, how would they get directed to the single property website? Wouldn’t they get directed instead to the index page of orovalleyhomes4sale.com, rather than the folder? Perhaps I’m not fully understanding domain pointing/redirecting, but any explanation on this subject would be very helpful, and much appreciated.

  12. Mark,

    There is no such thing as late to the party here at the lab.

    You made the assumption there is a deershadow.com. There is not. No domain with that name. Just the DeerShadow directory. There is a separate install of WordPress in that directory so they get the deershadow site.

    No one types a domain name directly anymore, at least I don’t I get there through search engines. A google search of Deer Shadow will put that single property blog at the top of the list. Click, and you are on the site. No need to buy a domain name for a listing.

    Put it under a site with some Juice to it already and you will get ranked high in the search engines.

    This eliminates the need for a domain name purchase and gets you ranked quickly without any worry of the dreaded “Sandbox” effect.

    It usually takes me three or four days for a new single property blog to start ranking on page one for it’s street or subdivision.

    I’m building a site right now. It is still under constuction but it is searchable. Desert Eagle Circle is the street. Search Google for Desert Eagle Circle it is #2, for 1537 Desert Eagle it is #1, For Desert Eagle Heritage Highlands (HH is the subdivision) #1. And I’m not through adding content. It will be finished this weekend, but is already getting placement.

    Ordinarily I would have the entire site complete in a day, two tops, but we have had a wealth of listings unexpectedly come in this week so I’ve been busy shooting photos and getting those ready as well. There will be three single property sites built this weekend for those listings. And I know they will be searchable and #1 or 2 on google by Wednesday.

    You know what is it like to say on the phone “Oh go to google and search ‘street name’ and it will be on page one.”

    With Godaddy premium hosting you get 25 MySQL databases, you can set these up for single sites or you can even run multiple sites out of the same database if you want or need to. After they are not needed any longer I recylce them. Sometimes they get great PR and I leave them up for a while with a “Sold” sign on the site.

  13. Interesting. Thanks for the explanation, and your take on SEO and single property domain names. I see your point there, but just for argument’s sake: If you did decide to purchase a domain name for the property address, am I correct in assuming that it could only be pointed at the master listing website (orovalleyhomes4sale.com)?

  14. Mark,

    No you can point it to any directory you want. The first single property site I did I bought the domain name for the street. Later I found it worked even better to do it with a directory.

    But as long as you own the domain name and manage your hosting package it is easy to point a domain to a directory. I run three domains off of a single hosting site right now. This is one of them.

  15. Thanks Dave, I’ll give this a try. The reason I was asking about a domain name for the street address is because of the need for off-line advertising (such as for-sale sign riders). I do agree with you that this wouldn’t be necessary for SEO purposes.

  16. Hey Dave-
    With these renewed comments, this post popped into my inbox. I re-read the article and it brought up a few more questions (now that I know more!!).

    Any reason you don’t do “nofollows” on the links to off-site locations such as the racquet club, U of A, and such? You are just bleeding off Google Juice to sites that don’t need it or care.

    Check out this article: http://andybeard.eu/2006/12/nofollow-and-pink-boxes.html

  17. Scott,

    Never thought much about it. But I did notice this a couple of times. The single property site posts with links going off to quality sites were indexed and achieved PR quicker than others.

    I never thought about taking the time to code a no follow into the links.

  18. Scott,

    Follow up. I just did a quick scan of Andy’s post, thanks for the link, and his number 3 would be the best reason not to put a no follow on the link.

    “When you link to people in your posts who provide good information, that is what the web and linking are all about.”

  19. I agree with Andy’s #3, when I want to give Google Juice and link love such as in a reference to another blogger’s post/site.

    I have just recently been more concerned about who I am giving link love to. In fact, if you think about it, you are giving Google juice to the WordPress theme developer, feedburner, blogtopsites, technorati, and other huge sites on every single page of your site. I put nofollows on those links, but left my blogroll (which I keep very small) and links in posts alone.

  20. It never ceases to amaze me that when I’m on the web snooping for some good opinions, I find myself here. Good on you Dave. You do a great job.
    I have just jumped in head first into doing single property websites…I’m stunned by what I’ve been able to accomplish in a short time. I’ve gone a different route than folders and instead attempted to develop a website worth keeping after a home sells. I’m about finished with my 4th one – (that’s the one linked in my name) and just got the listing paperwork signed..I will finish this one as I have the code cleaned up on it and use it as the theme and plugins for all of the ones I do in the future using WP on its own domain.
    Instead of selecting a folder or using the address as the domain, I’m targetting a slightly larger area in the domain name, like the subdivision. Done right, they rank and rank well. Here’s an example I just completed and it ranks #1 and #2 for “homes in haynes landing” (the subdivision where the home is located). homesinhayneslanding.com
    This serves multiple purposes in that it is reusabel, can be used to farm the neighborhood and stays online to gain authority over time.
    They all receive organic traffic from the search engines and the longer they are up, the more they will receive.

  21. Ryan,

    Thanks for the great information. I like your approach and reasoning.

    All my folder sites remain up and running as well as providing juice for the main site. Since I run multiple sites using folders is still the most viable for my approach, but I really like the way you are doing this.

    No matter the method, if it brings traffic, gets indexed and enhances your listing presentation it is fulfilling its purpose.

    Again thanks for sharing the process you are using.

  22. “No matter the method, if it brings traffic, gets indexed and enhances your listing presentation it is fulfilling its purpose.”

    I couldn’t agree more…I know that at least one of the ones that I have up has resulted in at least one showing, but, it’s a bit difficult to track – either way, I think it definitely adds a little extra marketing kick for those of us innovative enough to learn a method that works.

  23. Dave,

    That’s incredible. I’ll have to send this link to my real estate agent buddy that thinks the Internet is a waste of time !! LOL – I’ve been talking with him about you, Jay, John and Gregg and how you guys do such a great job at letting the Internet work for you. It took a 3 hour conversation for me to realize he was stuck in his ways and wasn’t going to get involved in the Internet.

    People search for very specific things sometimes and you can easily rank sites for non competitive terms – it makes sense that a single property site would do well. The visitors are likely looking for the exact property. We’ve never done a single property site but if we did, I’d try for some long tails “$200,000 3 bedroom home in Phoenix Arizona” or “4 bedroom 3 bath home in Tucson Arizona with a pool”

    Have you tried ranking for terms like these?

  24. Jayson,

    They do rank well for the street and subdivision names. They also often rank well for any additional posts on area attractions or activities.

    The terms you mention are too generic and detailed to even really want to rank for them.

    We are mostly interested in ranking high for the property. When potential buyers call they love being able to google the street name or subdivision and find a detailed website complete with maps SPDS and Clue Report all in one location. Of course the big attraction are photos in a larger size than they can see on any MLS listing or Real Estate listing site.

  25. Gotcha – makes sense. Thanks for the tips … not sure if we would ever venture down that road but if we do you saved us a few months of agony and pain!!

    Yeah pictures really make a world of difference.

  26. OK, I am with you all the way, except on 1 thing. When you are doing the folder method, you are installing a whole new copy of the current version of WP, and you can either use 1 of your 25 SQL servers, or share the same one, hence why, I am assuming in one of your other examples you write down the server id \”159\”…the sharing method would be best it seems, but does this cause problems when you remove a site, or cause syntax errors or anything, since it is sharing. Hope this makes sense, but it seems that multiple copies of WP would screw up the SQL. Am I way off here?

  27. Jay,

    Each WP install is on its own MYSQL database. You can share the same database for multiple WP installs, but that is where you risk screwing things up.

    The structure I use from the theme to the plug-ins is different for the Single Property sites from the regular blog sites.

    By having a dedicated MYSQL database for each site I can try new things, add things I wouldn’t even create custom fields which will never interfere with or cause issues for one of the main blog sites.

    The point of using folders is there is no need for a dedicated URL for each property site. Use the “Juice” from the main blog to grain quick traction for your single property site.

    I usually have page 1 google results for a new property site in three to five days using a folder on the main site. The one time I did a dedicated URL it took a couple of weeks.

    That being said since that time there have been major changes to the speed at which Google indexes pages and sites.

    So to recap. No need for a dedicated URL. One MYSQL database for each WP install. When the site is retired add a 301 redirect for the folder, delete the database and you can create a new one the next time you take a new listing.

  28. Let’s revisit this shall we? 😉 OK I am a lot more clear on a lot of WP issues now, and we have discussed this before. I have also went back and re-read the whole series on Single Property Sites here, just for a refresher. I have some new listings I want to put to work for me, so it is time to get to work. I am going with the directory method and all that. Very clear on everything except this;

    Other than links from post on the main site, and in sidebars and blogrolls, how do you get the single property directory indexed? More specifically, do you add the directory to the sitemap, either manually or to whatever sitemap generator you MAY use. I am almost certain search engines are not checking those sub-directories for content unless something is pointing to them. Even then, how does pointing to mysite.com/123main. get all the post and pages indexed? Do you run a sitemap specifically just for the standalone single property directory? Which I knew can easily be done.

    I have read some of your recent post about removing sitemaps, and some hiccups with the most popular sitemap generator. But on a site that may not get crawled as frequently, sitemaps are still a good thing to help nudge google about new content.

    Furthermore, I have became a real fan of the directory and seperate db method because I can run real memory hogs such as nextgen, or geopress (if I so choose) on those and NOT my main blog and also exclude plugins I choose to run on the main and NOT my single property because there may not be a need.

  29. Jay,

    You can have it in your sitemap. I never did and they were all indexed in a matter of hours.

    How?

    First when you set up the WP Single property site you tell it “Yes I want Google and search engines to find it” This means WP is going to send Google and others a “Ping” every time you add new content.

    These sites are blogs not static websites. This means Google is going to index them much quicker.

    The last step involves putting in your main sidebar on your blogroll a category “Our or My Listings” Then you create a direct link on your blog to the listing site.

    This means every page/post of your main blog has a link to the property site.

    With all of this going on you don’t need to put it in the sitemap.

    Building a sitemap specifically for google on the property site could slow down being indexed. It could interpret this as a separate site and not as a directory on your already established site.

  30. Jay,

    You can have it in your sitemap. I never did and they were all indexed in a matter of hours.

    How?

    First when you set up the WP Single property site you tell it “Yes I want Google and search engines to find it” This means WP is going to send Google and others a “Ping” every time you add new content.

    These sites are blogs not static websites. This means Google is going to index them much quicker.

    The last step involves putting in your main sidebar on your blogroll a category “Our or My Listings” Then you create a direct link on your blog to the listing site.

    This means every page/post of your main blog has a link to the property site.

    With all of this going on you don’t need to put it in the sitemap.

    Building a sitemap specifically for google on the property site could slow down being indexed. It could interpret this as a separate site and not as a directory on your already established site.

    I hope this clears up how you get them indexed.

    Great to start out the year with some new listings, congratulations.

  31. Dave-
    You probably get told this all the time, but I love the lab as it is like a Wikipedia for Real Estate Blogging! I decided to do a single property site for a commercial building I am listing and I remembered you did a series here.

    This is probably my 4th question in the last 18 months on this topic!

    Simple one…What WP theme(s) do you like for the single property site?

  32. Scott,

    I use Greenflower

    I’m pretty sure I’ve modified the theme from the original, but I’m pretty sure it will work. I’ve used a few others but this is the one I’ve used for the past couple of years.

  33. Dave-
    I am starting to ramp up my listing business so I have been playing and studying about single properties sites. I am finding I could play around with each site tweaking it out and SEO’ing it out for hours and hours (when I should be selling).

    I read a post a long time ago on a “Make Money On-line” blog about a guy that installs 2-10 WP sites per month. He had found some installer package so he could quickly install a new site with all the options, settings, and designs he wanted in minutes. This software took a snapshot of a what he called a gold copy, pure install configured just the way he liked it.

    Then it was simply click and install as many he he wanted all perfectly set up. Have you ever seen/heard of anything like this for WP?

  34. OK. Another question. The picture on that theme is 800X200. I find that I can never get a picture take correctly to be able to do such a wide shot, but then have it be so short.

    Any trick you have found?

  35. Scott,

    I usually take one photo back as far as I can so I put it up for the header shot. I also change the size of the header image if I need a little more height. The other thing I do when I simply can’t get back far enough to make the front of the house the header is create a composite header with the front taking up part of the header and a block of interior shots making up the rest.

  36. Scott,

    In the beginning I changed a few themes till I found greenflower. I then set that theme up for my listings and that is the only one I’ve used since. It has become my template theme and I set it up for a new listing in about 20 minutes with all the detail specific to the listing. The gallery and information about the surrounding community, shopping, parks, walkscores etc probably take another hour to get up. Then I simply leave it alone. Total time for each listing about 2 hrs.

  37. As always, this post (and your site) is my reference.

    I have about 4-5 single property sites set up as subdirectories (mnirea.com/1013Gould) that have now sold. Is there any trick to deleting them? Should I be doing a redirect or something to move any Google juice (not sure any of them even have a PR0).
    .-= Scott Ficek´s last blog ..Eden Prairie Homes Market Update-February 2010 =-.

  38. Dave Smith says

    Scott,
    It depends. A really nice listing I’ll leave up as an example for listing presentations.

    The ones I do take down I 301 redirect to the homepage.

    If there is a post on the site that gets good traffic (ex a post on a neighborhood park). I’ll move the post to the main site and 301 redirect that to the new url.

    Dave

  39. Great. I use that redirection plug-in, but how do you do a 301 redirect old school/otherwise?
    .-= Scott Ficek´s last blog ..Eden Prairie Homes Market Update-February 2010 =-.

  40. Scott,

    Old school, it depends on the redirect. The syntax changes from one url to another depending on if it is coming from a different site, sudomain, folder, or one page to another. But a straight forward 301 goes in the .htaccess file of the site no longer hosting the url. It looks like this:

    redirect 301 /Mochis/ http://www.yournewdomain.com/ This would send an entire directory to the home page.

    redirect 301 /buyers.html http://www/yourdomain/home-buyers.html
    This redirects a single page to a new page with a similar name

    Dave