Whether you’re selling multifamily homes, leasing office and warehouse space, or developing neighborhood shopping centers, listing your available properties online is one of the leading ways to gain the exposure needed to close more deals in a timely manner.
- You can post listings on social media or classified sites like Craigslist.
- You can go through third-party listings sites like LoopNet, CREXi, or Realtor.com.
- You can run paid search ads on Google and Bing.
- You can go away from the beaten path and find buyers off-market.
What’s perhaps the most overlooked channel to list properties: your very own website.
In this article, we explore DIY listings, and whether or not LoopLink is your best option to do so.
We’ll look at the benefits and drawbacks of using LoopLink, as well as the benefits and drawbacks of building custom listings management software.
Hosting Listings on Your Own Site
LoopLink serves as the more “plug-and-play” listings management tool, but there are also a range of options for companies with ranging tech-savviness.
LoopLink: Overview, Benefits, and Drawbacks
What is LoopLink?
LoopLink is a real estate listings management and search engine tool offered by LoopNet as a monthly subscription service.
It’s the technology that LoopNet itself uses to list properties on their site—they’ve simply productized it to make it available to others.
It is designed to integrate with other websites as a widget to help you display any property listings that you have added to LoopNet (something you’ll likely be doing do anyway).
Additionally, it features an advanced search tool that your website visitors can use to locate the exact type of property they are looking for.
LoopLink comes with an admin dashboard that allows users to add and manage their property listings in one place with the updates getting pushed to their company website as well as LoopNet’s entire network of property listing services.
Users can also generate exposure and lead reports, review page view stats and more.
The listings management platform is used by some of the top companies in the industry, including CBRE, NAI Global, Cushman & Wakefield, Colliers International, and over 1,000 additional real estate firms and brokerages.
The Benefits of Using LoopLink
1. Save Time While Accomplishing More
Busy real estate professionals can definitely benefit from subscribing to the LoopLink service.
Adding, deleting, and updating property listings in multiple places can be a time consuming task.
The ability of LoopLink to update information across multiple platforms is not only a great time saver, but also allows brokers to market their properties on websites they may not typically use.
2. No Tech Wiz Knowledge Needed
Using LoopLink does not require advanced technical knowledge, which is certainly a benefit to brokers since they are in the business of selling and leasing real estate, not computer programming and IT.
The tool requires no maintenance after the initial setup and it is hosted on LoopNet’s servers.
Clients simply connect to it over the Internet, and use the dashboard to add property details, images and marketing materials to create a listing.
3. Flexible Bells & Whistles
LoopLink is optimized for responsive web design, which means that your listings will display correctly on any computer screen size and device, including mobile phones and tablets, without any extra work.
Additionally, the tool can connect and add your listings to optional third party websites like Facebook, Twitter, Craigslist, and LinkedIn.
LoopLink is also search engine-friendly, helping increase your listings exposure in search results on Google, Yahoo!, and Bing.
The Drawbacks of Using LoopLink
1. Recurring Subscription Cost
The most obvious drawback of signing up for LoopLink is the recurring monthly subscription fee.
Considering the fact that other options only have some upfront implementation costs (nothing recurring), this can be a deterrent for many.
Depending on the size of your marketing budget and access to software resources, price may be one of the most important considerations when deciding whether to sign up for the service or not.
Keep in the mind also that you are not purchasing a stand-alone software—you’re instead simply using an online service.
That said, if you cancel your subscription, you will no longer have access to the LoopLink dashboard and all of its features.
You will have to find another listings management solution for adding your properties to your company website, and you will have to add and update your listings on CoStar, LoopNet, and any other participating sites manually.
2. Cookie-Cutter Template Design
Another disadvantage of using LoopLink is that you are confined to their template design for displaying your property listings.
For those that are less tech-savvy, this won’t be a huge issue.
But for others looking for full flexibility and unique way to present listings, this is merely a limitation to what can be done.
This may be fine on sites such as LoopNet and CoStar where all listings look alike, but corporate and local websites should be unique in the way they represent the organization and its business.
While you may be able to choose between a few layouts, ultimately you won’t have the flexibility to deviate much from a predefined design that is most likely used by other companies in the industry as well.
Now, maybe you’re looking for alternatives to LoopLink, or would like a completely custom website to stand out from the competition.
While that requires a bit more technical knowledge, it might be a more appropriate fit for your company.
Building a Custom Listings Management Software Solution
What do we mean by custom solution?
A custom listings management solution can come in many forms, because it is exactly that—custom.
It’s a way for you to carry out your listings search engines on your site, exactly as you wish.
In this scenario, the world is entirely yours.
A custom listings management solution is simply the descriptive term we use to refer to any custom designed website that will display your available properties similar to LoopLink, except with a unique look and feel.
All costs incurred from this process will come from the people needed to build and maintain the technology—i.e. engineers, designers, an SEO manager, and so on.
Depending on the scope of customization you desire, you may choose to hire an in-house web programmer or retain the services of an independent web agency.
You might even consider basing a lot of the functionality of your customized tool off of how LoopLink is built.
The Benefits of Building a Custom Listings Management Solution
1. Unique Design, Customized to Your Needs
The most obvious benefit of going the custom way is that your website listings will look exactly the way you want.
Seasoned web agencies have the staff and know-how to create highly customized designs and any features imaginable.
Additionally, your website will have a unique look and feel, thus making your business stand out in a crowded industry.
2. Better Control over SEO
If you manage your property listings independently through a custom website, not only will you retain all visitors on your website, but you will also have a lot more control over your SEO endeavors.
Search engine optimization has become an integral part of online marketing across all industries, and the more you can do to bring visitors to your website, the better your chances are of closing more deals.
Nevertheless, you will need a person with SEO experience to continuously work on improving your search engine rankings in order to bring in the web traffic.
The Drawbacks of Building a Custom Listings Management Solution
1. High Upfront Expenses
While this can vary based on the extent of your project, in many cases, a big disadvantage of choosing to go with a custom website listing solution is the upfront cost of the project.
From web designers, to engineers, to SEO managers, and so on, you’ll have to find the right freelancers and firms to help make your project a reality.
You might quickly find that your budget won’t get anything near what you were hoping to have in the end.
2. Ongoing Maintenance and Support
It is also worth mentioning that any custom website will most likely require ongoing maintenance by the design company or at least someone on your staff that is tech-savvy enough to handle the task.
When an issue arises, it’s on you and your team to jump on fixes immediately.
Listings websites have dedicated teams set up to handle all of this and continually update pages, so you don’t have to.
This is also an additional cost that you need to take into consideration.
Furthermore, if you still want to market your properties on major listings services like LoopNet, you’ll have to update those sites manually.
3. Time-Consuming Endeavor
Another drawback to evaluate here is the time it will take to create a custom website.
Highly complex web interfaces and features can take months to develop even by the most skilled designers and programmers.
You will also need to allot time for finding the right company, and after the project is mostly complete—for testing and revisions before the final implementation.
If you are in a hurry to get up and running, you should probably go with an out-of-the-box solution such as LoopLink.
Because of the substantial investment of time and money, before you pursue a custom design solution for your website listings, you need to be sure that this is the direction you want for your online marketing efforts, at least for the foreseeable future.