If you’re looking for a Parkbench alternative, look no further than MyTown.ly. We build beautiful neighborhood websites that help you dominate your farm area.
In this post we go in-depth all about neighborhood and community websites, breaking down the nitty gritty details and features that can and do make a huge difference for agent’s results.
*By definition, we don’t consider Parkbench neighborhood websites to be actual websites since they are all hosted on the same domain. More on this later.
We have nothing against Parkbench. They were one of the original pioneers of the community and neighborhood websites and set the bar for the rest of us. However, over time Parkbench has become too big and issues with performance and customer service are increasingly common. Also, we feel that their platform has one huge fundamental flaw (from an agent perspective).
Every day we encounter Parkbench clients that are looking for alternatives that will actually help them close more deals and grow their business. People ask us all the time how we’re different from Parkbench, and that’s the question we’ll answer here. Below, we’ll dive into how MyTown.ly is not your typical neighborhood website provider and the benefits we offer.
No Real Estate IDX Listings
One of the biggest difference in Parkbench vs MyTown.ly is that Parkbench does not and apparently does not plan to incorporate real estate IDX listings in their websites.
We’ve found that aside from hyper-local community information, buyers always want to see home listings. There’s a saying in real estate that goes “Buyers buy houses and sellers buy agents.” and there’s actually a lot of meaning and truth in that short saying but it says that above all, buyers want to see houses.
Since we launched real estate IDX listings on MySpringBranch.com earlier this year, we’re getting 50% more traffic every month directly from the single real estate listings showing up in Google.
That’s huge, and more on this Google SEO stuff soon.
So, what do Parkbench website visitors get when they click on the “Real Estate” tab on your Parkbench website’s main menu? Well, they’re taken to what appears to be a basic profile page with a poorly optimized contact form and a lot of blank space…
That’s pretty underwhelming to me if I was a buyer looking for hyper-local real estate information and all I got was a profile page…
Search Engine Optimization, in a nutshell, is the science behind getting ranked on Google for a specific keyword or keywords when someone searches that keyword or keyword phrase.
When publishing content on the internet you want that content to be very easy to find by the search engines so that you don’t have to just rely on spending money on ads to drive traffic.
You want people to organically find your content that gives them the information that they want. But it’s very tough to compete organically because you can’t fake your way into high rankings.
The screenshot above shows our SEO analysis of a Parkbench “website” for a very popular zip code in Houston, TX. We found that the website was only ranking for two very irrelevant keywords, that came up on the 3rd and 4th page search results.
We take design very very seriously. We know that design plays a huge role in driving peoples decision now more than ever. Ever heard of a little company called Apple… their entire foundation was built on the premise that design is everything.
We’re very proud of clean and modern design that visitors describe as light and refreshing and above all, trustworthy. When we designed each part of our platform we looked at the latest and most innovative industry leaders to design a platform that competes with billion dollar startups.
Take a look at some screenshots of
The screenshot above is
The image above is a screenshot of the “Market Report” request page. In the realm of conversion design this breaks a lot of the proven (and timeless) concepts.
We would be willing to bet that very, very few people if anyone ever fill out this form for a market request.
One other element that falls into the design category is the company’s choice to show the standard footer across the entire network of each and every website.
That means that at the bottom of your website on every page is a big footer with a bunch of links that lead away from your neighborhood section and take them to corporate links that most locals won’t care about.
We also don’t like their decision to make the home icon link directly to their corporate sales page that is aimed towards selling “websites” to agents.
Sure, it makes business sense but we think it also totally sells out your customers.
We also think that offers ZERO value to a consumer who is looking for local information and wants to go back to her neighborhood website’s home page and is taken to a very irrelevant sales page…
Zipcodes vs Neighborhoods
The fundamental flaw that we spoke about in the introduction is how Parkbench approaches agent sponsored territories, or in other words, their entire business model…
Our founding team comes from a real estate sales and brokerage background and has over 25 years of combined experience working with real buyers and sellers.
With all this experience we knew that searching by zip code is never a good way to search for real estate. In some areas, two houses across the street from each other can be in different zip codes yet still be in the same neighborhood.
Whenever a client tell us they want to live in a certain zip code, we taught our buyers to identify the specific neighborhoods that they want to live in within those zip codes and search that way.
*82% of home buyers surveyed in NAR’s 2017 Community Preference Survey responded that neighborhood quality is more important than the size of the home.
We Invest In You
Every month we create a new editorial calendar and strategize ways to expose you and your neighborhood to our audience. We do this by publishing professionally written blog posts and guides designed to generate leads for you.
Not only do we publish this content and post it to our social media channels and send to our email database but we also invest in paid Facebook ads and retargeting technology to boost traffic even more.
Pages vs Websites
So Parkbench sells their neighborhood websites as just that, neighborhood websites but the reality is that they’re really not websites at all…
The smoking gun is the domain, and it’s right there in plain sight. Each and every Parkbench “neighborhood website” is actually just a page or collection of pages that sits on the main parkbench.com domain.
So the “neighborhood website” url address would be parkbench.com/77077 … which frankly, isn’t cool at all. Sure, you could buy a domain and mask it to show your custom domain, but that’s a hack and means you would get zero SEO Google juice for your custom domain.
It wouldn’t be a good review article if we didn’t at least address the abundance of poor reviews of Parkbench all over the internet. It may be due to a miscommunication between their sales team and their actual product team. OK, that might be giving them the benefit of the doubt but definitely do your own research of their reviews.
This post below is one we felt compelled to include. Please note that we would never refuse to refund any of our clients who felt mislead and who doesn’t actually want to work with us.
One reason that they might be refusing to refund this client and development of their platform has stalled is that they recently raised $2 million in venture capital debt financing and are being pushed to make more money.
This also wouldn’t be a complete and informative comparison if we didn’t discuss pricing. Let’s break down the pricing of both Parkbench & MyTown.ly.
Parkbench keeps the pricing very straight forward by just offering one plan/rate. Their cost is $3,500/year and is paid upfront…
Our pricing is very simple too but we also know that not every neighborhood and area is the same and it’s not fair to price them that way.
Our neighborhood’s range from $1,140/year to $2,988/year (or $95-$249/mo) based on the # of homes in the neighborhood, the average home value and the average # of sales per year.
My Spring Branch will never stop innovating and providing clients with the best platform to help them dominate their neighborhood. We push out new integrations, tools, and features at a rate faster than anyone in the industry!
If you’re tired of subpar support or performance, My Spring Branch might just be the best move you ever make. Get started today and launch your new neighborhood website.
We stand behind our platform and want you to turn you into a raving-fan and community influencer that dominates their neighborhood.