Mortgage Broker Websites

mortgage-broker-websitesIt’s hard to imagine being a mortgage broker without a website.

Websites are the business cards of the 21st century and essential marketing tools for lenders and brokers. Argentum Mortgage CEO, Albert Collu, explains why:

“An overwhelming percentage of borrowers will seek out mortgage information on the internet before making contact with a mortgage professional,” he says.

The data backs that up. Over 80% of first-time buyers use the net to research mortgages, according to CMHC’s Mortgage Consumer Survey. It’s probably even higher than that.

What’s more, “the largest demographic using mortgage brokers are between the ages of 25 and 35 (the Google generation),” adds Collu.

But despite the importance of websites, brokers often fail to invest in a top-notch Internet presence. Collu cites two reasons for that:

  1. “The average age for mortgage brokers in Canada is 44.” (Many in this age group are “intimidated” by technology, he says.)
  2. “The average annual mortgage volume per broker is approximately $3M.” (At low funding levels, it’s hard for smaller brokers to invest in websites that can cost $3,000 to $5,000 or more, plus hosting).

Argentum has responded by creating websites that cost its brokers nothing. They’re funded by advertising, and sponsored by League Assets.

Many other brokerages also offer free websites to their members (free meaning they’re paid out of the broker’s split).

Brokerage-provided websites have some issues though:

  1. They’re typically template-based—so a broker’s site may look the same as hundreds of other brokers.
  2. Search engines don’t rank template sites with duplicate content as highly as non-template sites with original content.
  3. Most brokerage sites have no unique value-added features (i.e.  they’re not sticky).

Despite these shortcomings, a brokerage-built website is better than none at all (and way better than an unprofessional home-grown site that leaves a bad first impression).


Rob McLister, CMT

 

  1. You can keep the cost of your own website down by using tools like WordPress, which can be set up as a blog or a website depending on the theme.
    Find a host that’s WordPress-friendly ($150/year for hosting with unlimited bandwidth), buy a premium theme (about $70 from Woothemes) and start assembling your own site. Indeed, there’s a steep learning curve but with practice you can save a lot of $$$. I’m currently doing a complete redesign of my own blog and converting it to a website. As Rob mentioned, a dedicated website built by a design studio will set you back about $5,000… and many design houses these days actually use platforms like WordPress or ExpressEngine to build the site from scratch.
    You can also host your site on WordPress if you’re willing to forgo some of the website-like appearance. And one of best features of WordPress is that it contains an internal SEO engine that works with all the major search engines.

  2. Too many broker sites look identical.
    Any successful website needs original content. If you don’t have that then you don’t get traffic.

  3. Rob, great post. I think the biggest issue besides the great ones you listed, that really amount to it matters not how “pretty” my website or whether it is free if no ne comes to it.
    SEO is the key, and outsourcing that is the only way to go. However, it does not end there as many of the “power” sites in our industry are proving every day. The “Old World” approach is get lots of traffic and convert at less then 1%, and by convert I mean create a lead. Then maybe close 20% or less of the 1%.
    The “New World” approach engages the client to want to connect with me due to the overwhelming value I give that the client does not have to go through a sales process to get it.
    With good SEO and 10% conversion rate this equals a lot of good leads who interact with me for weeks or months. This longer nurturing time also leads to over a 40% deal conversion.
    Your industry readers may check out my site by clicking my name if they are interested in this.
    Cheers,

  4. Agreed Rob, I don’t think that makes it any less damaging to our industry. If 80% of our channel do minimal volumes they likely don’t stay competent and up to date, potentially providing a poor consumer experience. All the more reason to raise the standards from within our channel.

  5. Couldn’t agree more. The challenge is the industry’s hesitation to impose objective experience or performance standards (like volume minimums, deal minimums, or internship periods).
    It was especially disappointing to see CAAMP eliminate the 2-year experience requirement from the AMP designation. That took a lot of credibility away from one of the only recognizable and non-governmental standards our industry has.

  6. Traditional SEO is becoming less effective each day. Google knows all the ways people try to work the system. If you have a regular broker website and you are trying to rank for keywords like “best mortgage rates” “lowest mortgage rates” or “mortgage broker” you’re wasting your time.
    To get a top 5 ranking you have to give people a reason to come back to your website continuously. There is only one way to do that, work hard to create useful original content. There is no better example than the site you’re on now.
    Nick

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