I was recently reading an article on the New York Times, “What would you do if you threw a $41 million party and nobody came? It talks about a group of venture capitalists investing in a start up, color.com
While reading I came across venture capitalists behemoths Sequoia Capital and Bain Capital Ventures. If these capital giants have a decent web presence (not that they need it), I think you and your investment group should have one too.
Benefits of Building a Dynamic Real Estate Site:
- A website is your resume. People look for ‘trust factors’ before forging personal or financial partnerships. They want to know who is behind the business and their belief systems.
- You can showcase your expertise through case studies and previous successes (and even failures).
- You can never underestimate the power of being seen in a public medium like the internet. It’s similar to being seen on T.V., if they google you, what are they going to find? If you make your site trustworthy and a great resource, it’ll be easier for potential investors to trust you even before personally meeting you.
Building a Dynamic Website:
A friend of mine who is starting to make a name in Hollywood as a film director asked me for some tips for her website. She showed me some of her peer’s sites and right off the bat we noticed a trend: everyone is trying to look interesting. I say, be interested first! Instead of being interested in what their visitors wanted, they were too eager to impress — listing their education, accomplishments, and their art. While this is not a deal killer, their sites lacked soul. It was cutting-edge but I didn’t feel I was wanted.
If you want your site to make an impact it needs to feel like you care about the end user, and make sure you really put their needs over yours.
One of the best examples I’ve seen is J Scott’s investment blog, 123 Flip. While the design won’t win an award, you would be hard pressed to find an investment blog as helpfully detailed. He shares his strategies, results and even past mistakes!
Which brings me to the question that may already be bogging your mind, “are you saying I need a blog?” Not really. But I think you should put out case studies at the very least. It will build instant connection with the readers because they are getting a glimpse of who you are and how you approach a business deal.
If you act like yourself, are willing to be human, and feed into your character flaws, sometimes those are more citation worthy than what you’re good at.
Some helpful links:
- Gapingvoid: (a website that does a great job of allowing you to get to know the man behind the business.)
Choosing a Domain Name:
My rule of thumb is the more authoritative the name sounds, the better. Don’t be afraid to sound “generic”. I would generally avoid getting a branded name (‘”RenoInvestmentGroup” as opposed to ” “SalcedoKnowsBest”) and the reason is it would be easier to catch people’s attention with something they are already familiar with. The exception is if your group or company is already well-known in your community or you have financial muscle to market your name/brand.
- Godaddy.com (to search for names for “register” price. Great customer service.)
- Sedo.com (if the name you want is already taken. Secondary market)
- MemorableNames: UK based domain names (owner shares great insight on benefits of generic domain names.)
Back End Framework (tools to make life easier):
Your time is important, so the better the tools you have, the easier your online life will be. Don’t spend a fortune but invest in setting up your back end framework. You can hire somebody to do this but you still have to let them know how you want it.
Here’s a quick checklist that has worked for me:
- Get your own site. Instead of joesalcedo.wordpress.com (piggybacking on a site) aim to be independent (joesalcedo.com). You get all the credit and you avoid being dragged by the mother’s site’s potential problems.
- Keep it simple. Get a wordpress site.
- Thesis theme. (Makes it easy for your site to be found by search engines and easy to improve layout.)
- Host your site at pair.com (not the cheapest but has the best customer service.)
- If you want to avoid the work behind your own site, You can get a free blog, but choose the best investment portals and register your blog with them. Be active in the community.
Building Relationships (and in the process acquiring links):
The web is a social network and believe it or not, websites are still operated by human beings. Reach out to them by commenting on their blogs and sending them personal emails. If you like an article, “like” it (if they have a Facebook badge.) Even better, send them a note thanking them for the effort.
Participate in forums and help others if they have questions. Go to your local city-data and help visitors gain local perspective. Interview people you look up to. You’d be surprised how many would gladly accept your invitation. Write guest posts at investment blogs.
At the end of the day, this is the best thing about having a web presence — meeting people from all over the world that share the same interest. Shared experiences. I marvel at the vast opportunities the internet brings. It’s a great time to be an investor and I hope you learned something from this post.