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Old 08-09-2012, 16:11   #1
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Content Ideas for a Broker's Website - Ideas Wanted!

Not for me - but looks like I will be helping out someone locally.......a long established small boat yard, the brokerage side has got sidelined in recent years. the online part never really got beyond a fuzzy photo and half a dozen lines - and even that fell off a cliff a year or so back . Of course being on a small island means that easy enough for folk to actually wander down to the boat yard for a chat (and most buyers won't be flying in - but it happens).....but nonetheless I do think a decent brokerage website would add some value.

Anyway, I got chatting to the Boss a few weeks back (my boat has been on one of the yard moorings for a few years - and it's cheap ) and I mentioned the subject - one thing led to another, and I somehow got volunteered . No cash involved for me and no actual budget to work with either - but it might dovetail into other stuff I am working on, so am happy to do half a favour / treat it as a learning excercise.........and besides, I have always fancied giving the Broker thing a go , after all.......how hard can it be??? .

So, what I am after is ideas from folks as to WTF to include in each listing. I do of course have my own ideas!, but nonetheless asking the punters seems like a good idea .

Have to remember that the website will not be all singing and dancing, this is about including useful content (I know SFA about the computer mumbo jumbo end anyway!). My question really comes down to what you would want to know about a boat from a listing (or would want a broker to say about your boat)....to save you having to get in contact just to ask "the obvious".

Also have to bear in mind that will be no great time resources available to update the listings - although the angle I am coming from is including as much of the useful info as possible from the getgo (to save everyones time later) nonetheless will always be some trade off between "buyer would like" and "broker has time".

I have not included a link to the existing brokerage as a) doesn't seem nice to do - given what it looks like at present (and an internet kicking ain't helpful) and b) I don't want to get given the CF black spot by the Mods (of being listed as a "Commercial Vendor" ).

Pretend you have a blank piece of paper............




....
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Old 08-09-2012, 16:18   #2
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Re: Content Ideas for a Broker's Website - Ideas Wanted!

Pictures.

LOTS of pictures. Outside AND inside. The original layout plans/drawings. And then all the written details you can come up with. Headroom is good to know for many. Dimensions of the berths.

Did I mention pots of pictures??
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Old 08-09-2012, 16:28   #3
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Re: Content Ideas for a Broker's Website - Ideas Wanted!

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Originally Posted by sarafina View Post
Pictures.

LOTS of pictures. Outside AND inside. The original layout plans/drawings. And then all the written details you can come up with. Headroom is good to know for many. Dimensions of the berths.

Did I mention pots of pictures??
Pictures? mmmm....not sure about that ...........

Headroom is deffo now going on the list
and likely berth dimensions.


Plans / drawings might be tricky to both lay hands on and with copyright issues - DIY likely encounters time issues (not being arsed ).

"all the written details you can come up with" - that certainly does chime in with my current thinking. Obviously a fair bit that can be scribbled down from own knowledge (plus a bit from Mr Google), but once again running into time issues - but to fill in (pad out?!) am mulling over also including links to any Owners Association (maybe also a few Forum Threads?!) and possibly even some good Owner Websites / Blogs.....it's a big internet out there, and some other bugger has often already done the legwork on stuff .
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Old 08-09-2012, 16:55   #4
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Re: Content Ideas for a Broker's Website - Ideas Wanted!

If you are looking for suggestions for the website in general, and not the listings, you want to put stuff that makes the viewer get the warm and fuzzies. What about this brokerage is spacial - why should I trust them, to list my boat, or show me some? Experience, credentials, even anecdotal stories, come to mind.

Chris
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Old 08-09-2012, 17:07   #5
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Re: Content Ideas for a Broker's Website - Ideas Wanted!

On the pictures bit I'd like thumbnails that open to really big images so that one could click on a thumbnail and it would open to something with huge detail.

And what about a "myboat" section. Not boats for sale but password protected details of boats. Owners could upload details of their boat for years before a putting it on the market and once a boat is sold the listing details could be passed on to the new owner. Key documents could be held in PDF form.

And maybe an inventory and a maintenance section.

There's lots of small boatyards with boats for sale. One you have one site up the software could be leased to other yards. Might be a small profit there.
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Old 09-09-2012, 02:25   #6
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Re: Content Ideas for a Broker's Website - Ideas Wanted!

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Originally Posted by witzgall View Post
If you are looking for suggestions for the website in general, and not the listings, you want to put stuff that makes the viewer get the warm and fuzzies. What about this brokerage is spacial - why should I trust them, to list my boat, or show me some? Experience, credentials, even anecdotal stories, come to mind.

Chris
At the moment only focusing on the listing side. Locally the guy has a high profile / name recognition - both within the boaty world and in general so has a more than good enough "trust" thing going on. Plus of course has a real boatyard (for a couple of decades) which also helps make him / the business seem real. Because it is! Obviously internationally no one has ever heard of him! but 90%+ of his business is local.

But nonetheless I take the point on some "warm & fuzzies" being useful - at least to humanise the website / the business (the people buy from people thing). However I do want the website / listings to look professional (and fundamentally be the same approach as for a business 10 times the size with a few branches) rather than looking overly informal / freindly (and drowning the useful content in wordy ***** - like many of my posts on CF!). Whether that can be acheived is another thing!

To help achieve that, what I am mulling over is including in the listing a space for "Brokers Comments" and maybe also "Owner's comments". Only a paragraph or 2 - the idea being to clearly mark out the informal / human end from the dull (though useful!) factual information. Whilst these will obviously be aimed at selling the boat!, nonetheless intended to be honest enough about the boat - apart from being good for credibility etc to my mind also saves time later for the Broker by cutting down on viewings (or simply chats) with folks for whom the boat is probably unsuitable, in condition or whatever.

On which note, am thinking of using an idea I saw in a few of the Classic Car Magazines many years ago of grading the boats in Condition from 1 to 3 (1 being pretty much mint and 3 being boats that definately require work / time / money before leaving port!........with boats am thinking maybe will also need a category 4 ). Obviously not exactly a survey!, but I think could be a decent heads up on what a buyer is looking at......of course a trip accross the island ain't exactly the same as the travelling norm for some folks on CF!, but "every little helps".
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Old 09-09-2012, 02:48   #7
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Re: Content Ideas for a Broker's Website - Ideas Wanted!

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On the pictures bit I'd like thumbnails that open to really big images so that one could click on a thumbnail and it would open to something with huge detail.
I have not yet had a "hands on" look at exactly what I am using, but I see your point. On the photos I am thinking of having a "standard" set of maybe 7 photos - with as many additional ones as makes sense of specifics / different angles and those probably held slightly seperately from the principal details (so as not to drown the main listing) - maybe not even on the main website. Photobucket etc?


Quote:
And what about a "myboat" section. Not boats for sale but password protected details of boats. Owners could upload details of their boat for years before a putting it on the market and once a boat is sold the listing details could be passed on to the new owner. Key documents could be held in PDF form.

And maybe an inventory and a maintenance section.
I think that would fail the reward vs effort test . I figure if an owner (like me!) wants to put details of his boat online (pre-sale) he will do that anyway using whatever software / format he likes, wheher a website or a blog.

But if he has done that already then I would want to include a link to it in the listing details (and possibly a quick way of obtaining details). Apart from humanising the information and boat I am a great beleiver in that multiple sources of information adds credibility to your own - and I have always been a bit puzzled why many Website Owners (no names!) seem overly fixated on not providing links for folks to elsewhere why not effectively use other peoples content and effort to add to your own site? My attitude is that if what "you" have is good / useful enough the Punter will be back. and it's not exactly as if they don't already have own access to the rest of the Internet anyway - so why make your own website a dead-end .

Quote:
There's lots of small boatyards with boats for sale. One you have one site up the software could be leased to other yards. Might be a small profit there.
I like the idea But I suspect that won't happen - certainly this website / listing will not have anything special technically (i.e. that can't be easily enough replicated by others). In many respects simply using Yachtworld (or similar) would be the easy approach, but apart from the cost not being constrained by others is nice - plus I think can be done better (I always think that - doesn't always turn out that way though ).

But certainly Yachtworld is in the back of my mind, mainly for it's international (and Mr Google) reach - but one for the future. As I said, 90%+ of the business will be local (on an island 9 x 5 miles wide!) so the reach of Yachtworld etc not so critical. Nice but not critical (one of the rival brokers does use it though.......but the usual English style listings of a couple of photos (if that!) and barely any details. Will be interesting to see if that approach changes once the competition heats up! I like annoying lazy people ).

Cheers for the input folks The more the merrier .
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Old 09-09-2012, 03:55   #8
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Re: Content Ideas for a Broker's Website - Ideas Wanted!

Just the truth,
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Old 09-09-2012, 04:07   #9
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Re: Content Ideas for a Broker's Website - Ideas Wanted!

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Just the truth,
+1

IMO even where "the truth" is less than ideal then overall the benefits outweigh the negatives.

Not to say that the listings will say such things as: "Run Forrest, run" ......(there is a suitable buyer for everything - even if it is someone who needs a learning curve ).....but nonetheless claiming that a pigs ear is a silk purse (even if "only" by ommission) is short sighted stupidity for a business intended to be around for another 20 years.
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Old 09-09-2012, 04:41   #10
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Re: Content Ideas for a Broker's Website - Ideas Wanted!

What often bugs me is when brokers either only list the standard description of what the normal layout and features of a model are or if they mix specifics to the boat into that description.

I would like to see two sections:
Standard model features
Upgrades, additions, changes that apply to this particular boat.
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Old 09-09-2012, 04:51   #11
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Re: Content Ideas for a Broker's Website - Ideas Wanted!

Pics are important, especially for those a fair distance away. Also, a walk around tour with a video camera is an excellent and beneficial sales tool. Circle the boat first on the outside and work your way all over and down below.

Having worked as a broker on two occasions my advice to you David is be prepared to spend a lot of time with dreamers and those who have no clue as to what they want. You will be amazed at how many of those there are.

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Old 09-09-2012, 05:20   #12
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A link to a flow chart of the buying/ selling process and each step involved,will inform buyers a bit more and make your life easier too.
Video will be good,easy to do.
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Old 09-09-2012, 06:04   #13
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Re: Content Ideas for a Broker's Website - Ideas Wanted!

When I look at boat ads, I LOVE the pictures, they tell so much. Also, when listing the equipment - if you can list how old the item is - a 5 month old radar is MUCH nicer to have on a boat than a 10 year old one. It will give the person an idea of how much it will cost to re-equip or repair in the future. The more information you can give on a boat, the better.
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Old 09-09-2012, 06:40   #14
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Re: Content Ideas for a Broker's Website - Ideas Wanted!

One thing I hate is " radar, Hf, Vhf, auto pilot ect, ect new 2001 when it is 2012.
It should say all electronics working but need upgrading. New should mean just that or at least still under warranty.
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Old 09-09-2012, 07:05   #15
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Re: Content Ideas for a Broker's Website - Ideas Wanted!

having spent two years looking for a boat, and finally closing on one this year ... here's my 2 cents.

Brokers should respond to inquiries, and answer the actual questions asked. Even if the answer is "We don't know, We'll find out". When I ask a specific question (sometimes twice), and it is ignored, I get upset and move on.

A plan of the interior ... even if it is only a sketch ... I can't assess a boat for cruising if I don't know the layout. Also the headroom!

A copy of the most recent survey ... even if it is a few years old. Otherwise how can I know what I am about to go to the massive inconvenience to view?

Photo's ... lots.

Inventory, Complete inventory. Include notation of things not working and/or requiring maintenance (or bought but not installed). I was pissed off when I asked if everything was working, and the first few things I touched didn't (but I didn't complain about the ones I was forewarned about).

A list of the things I won't be happy to see. Tell me at the beginning and I won't complain later ... wait for me or my surveyor to find them and I will be seriously pissed off. Like ... I can't tell you how seriously pissed off I will be.

Scan of the engine maintenance log ... I want to see this before I come to view it.

Short history of the yacht, especially the last few years.

Age of the rigging, and miles it has sailed.

Condition of sails ... an honest one ... again, if you tell me first it's ok ... If I find out they are crap at viewing I am pissed off.

Lastly be helpful ... if I am coming to view the boat don't tell me 2 days before that you need two weeks to organise a sea-trial (because it's on the hard and the crane guys are on holidays)! no kidding!

Selling a boat isn't hard ... if someone is coming to view it they are probably ready to part with some cash ... make it easy for them. Be honest and forthright.

Lastly ... make sure the boat is reasonable priced, and the vendor is seriously ready to sell. FSCKING me around isn't cool!

J
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