By Andrew Neitlich

Case Study: The difference a web design firm can make

By Andrew Neitlich

We took a vacation in Wyoming/Idaho last week to look for a summer log cabin property. The local real estate market provided a telling example about the difference a web design firm can make.

Before going on our trip, I contacted a few realtors via Google and the web to inquire about properties. Ultimately, one realtor proved to be extremely responsive. She provided me with excellent emails with a long list of properties that met our criteria, and also gave advice about where to look. She seemed well qualified and professional. And her web site was professional, and came up early if not first in searches, so I guessed she was a market leader.

When we arrived in Wyoming and met with her, she remained well qualified and professional, and she helped us find a property. But here’s the thing: She was a relative unknown in the marketplace. In fact, two real estate firms dominated the county where we were seeking property. They had all the listings and had been there for decades. Meanwhile, “our” realtor was just opening an office in the area.

But we found her thanks to an excellent web designer/SEO expert who placed her URL at the top of search engines, and helped her create a web presence that met my needs.

Technology isn’t the whole story here, as she was extremely responsive, professional, etc.

If I were her firm’s web designer, I would be publicizing this case study all over the place: How realtor breaks into new market, despite long-established competition. I’d focus on small and mid-sized real estate firms nationwide in similar circumstances.

That’s the kind of results you should be getting for your clients, and also the kind of solution you should be incorporating in your marketing message.

As this blog tries to hammer home, you are in the business of helping your clients succeed; web design and development is merely a tool to do that.

  • Anonymous

    This is true. However, one must think about quality vs. quantity. Businesses should rather be trying to achieve a quality website instead of a website which generates huge traffic. Many times, the website at the top of the list on a search engine is not the one I, or anyone else, is looking for. Its better to dominate a niche market, than to compete with others.

    I was looking for a link to refer this to, but it talked about if you have a business and you are trying to get to the top of a search engine results page (SERPs) when the keyword used is Dog, which, hypothetically returns 300 million results. It will take a lot of effort to beat 299 million people. When, it could be cheaper to target your niche market’s keyword(s). Instead of dog, what about Siberian Husky Salt Lake City. This is cheaper because less results would come up so one would seemingly have less competition.

  • You have made an excellent point there. I have just come back from South East Asia where I booked all of my accommodation online. That is the accommodation I COULD find online. It seemed that the smaller hotels and guesthouses that had a presence online did all the business because of the era we live in I guess.

    This is not to say they are the best, but it goes to show that the larger hotel chains that did not bother with the Internet have been loosing business.

    I also had a chat with some of the guesthouse owners that I was in. They said that travellers had done them a website in exchange for boarding, and look where it got them? More business.

    I did two websites for two guesthouses later on in Thailand in exchange for board and due to the fact that I felt that their service was beyond compare and that I knew they could not afford a professional non-semi-charity job. I now receive weekly emails thanking me for the site and thanking me for all the business I have sent their way.

  • great case study, too bad there’s not a link to the website in question… maybe you could give a pointer about how exactly we find this site. (is it the asinah 1 ? :) )

  • drakke

    The difference is not that this particular realtor has a website, the difference is this realtor has decided to use a website with in an integrated marketing approach.

    Many realtors have websites but few of them have a blog, keep then updated etc. etc. so much that they all look generic.

  • amrithallan

    Although a good web designing firm is the utmost requirement while doing business on the Internet, it goes without saying that success also depends on how one does business. Your realtors website got her noticed, but she also sounds quite adept at her job. I think both the things go hand in hand.


  • This is a great example of how the web is still very under-utilized in so many parts of the country. With so many web design firms out there now – and the supply surely increasing – it is really just becoming affordable for small firms to grab hold of truly business enhancing internet tools.

    I appreciate blog entries like this Andrew – I personally get caught up in the day to day of this industry and it is encouraging to be reminded of the good things we bring small businesses. Additionally, it reiterates our goal:

    you are in the business of helping your clients succeed; web design and development is merely a tool to do that

  • mrka

    I guess this post is true ,but then another problem is that most clients are not willing to put in their part of the work.I guess with this experience the realtor was also personally involved in making her website successful.

  • Local Web Design

    This is true. I operate we real estate website company, http://www.webcontentsolutions.com and I install blogs into all of my clients sites… out of about 250 clients, maybe only 5 actually post to their blog. Even then, after a few months they get tired of it.

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