Heads up, this content is 14 years old. Please keep its age in mind while reading.

Friends often send me questions about their tech troubles. To keep a log of my answers and to minimize repeating myself, I’m going to start recording them (stripped of identifying information) here under the category of “Q&A.” No, this doesn’t make me a professional advisor, and standard free advice guidelines still apply: you get what you pay for. Enjoy!

Question:

Hi Sarah,

I just started working for a small realty company. What we’re trying to accomplish in the near future is to create a web presence for her site. I know a little about this, but we’re trying to direct people looking for homes in the area to her site. We’re thinking keywords on Google, thinking about buying domain names that re-direct to her site, but I don’t really understand how to implement it. If you could give me a little more insight, that would be great!

Thank you,
Pal Who Needs a Site

Answer:

Hey Pal Who Needs a Site,

So, my first question would be, what does she want on her site? If she just wants static text with a description of who she is, what she does, and a sales pitch, then that’s easy. Just have someone with a little expertise throw together a website for her. I’ve spelled out an overview of that process here:

http://websites.sarahdopp.com

…and in that scenario, if she’s serious about directing people to the site, she probably wants to invest some cash in an online ad campaign (since there’s probably a LOT of people vying for those obvious “[region] real estate” -style keywords. Do some google searches now to check out your competition). If that’s the case, I can recommend this excellent firm who’ll make sure her campaign investment actually yields a decent ROI, and also make sure she’s doing all the “little things” right:

http://www.findmefaster.com

If she wants to actually display updated listings of homes on her site, then that requires some serious technology. I did a site like that last summer ( http://www.michaelshower.com ) and it was a bear to customize to work the way we wanted. In that scenario, you should find a company that specializes in real estate websites that display MLS listings, and expect to pay a decent amount for it, in addition to a monthly fee for the listing service. And on top of that, she should probably still invest in the ad campaign, unless she’ll have some prominent directory listings that people can find her through.

That give you an overview?

Sarah

Response:

You’re amazing. Thanks.

Heads up, this content is 14 years old. Please keep its age in mind while reading.

For those of you who’ve seen me in the last year and a half (but not in the last month) you may be surprised to hear that I have hair on top of my head now.

It’s short and cute and kinda spikey some days, and I haven’t decided yet if i want to keep it, so I recommend not coming up to me and saying, “Oh, thank god, you finally grew your hair out! You know, I really never liked it shaved…”

You are, however, allowed to come up to me and tell me that I look gorgeous in any hairstyle (or lack thereof), and that you supremely admire my neverending interestingness. That’s acceptable.

hair

(and for the confused and curious… i used to look more like this.)

Heads up, this content is 14 years old. Please keep its age in mind while reading.

I was in a meeting last week trying to sell a website to a certain multinational conglomerate corporation that shall remain nameless, when the issue of worst case scenarios came up.

“What happens in the worst case scenario… ” the client representative started to ask, but then trailed off.

I offered to finish his thought: “You mean, if there’s a nuclear war, and our company is vaporized, and every other company in the world except for yours is suddenly gone, and you don’t know who’s going to take care of your website?”

He looked shocked and scared for a moment, but then pondered my point and replied by topping me: “No, I think the worst case scenario is the Internet disappears.”

He won. I turned white and went silent. I opened my mouth to reply with more wit, but no words could come out. The Internet? Disappear? WHAT?! How would I LIVE!? I WOULDN’T! EVERYTHING I DO AND KNOW IS ENTIRELY BASED ON THE INTERNET! I scraped for words, “But… but… but the Internet can’t diseappear!”

He laughed at me.

One of my colleagues offered support to the suggestion. “Actually, Stanford’s talking about killing the Internet and starting new with a clean slate…”

I glared at him…

…and spent the rest of the meeting visualizing a desolate post-nuclear apocolypse world that still had Internet.  Because there is no end to Internet.  It just is.

As it was in the Beginning, is now and ever shall be, Web without end…