Real estate is exploding, and so is digital marketing, and your website remains one of the best ways to establish yourself and find prospective clients online. But simply having a website isn’t enough; your website needs the right design elements to stand out in the crowded field and land at the top of local search results. Leave out essential elements, and you’ll lose people almost as soon as they arrive on your site. Here are 8 essential elements of a top quality real estate website.
Great navigation is the bedrock of great design. This matters more than stunning visuals, though those do help. Great navigation means that your website is simple and easy to use. People don’t have to hunt for information important to them, and they should be able to determine what services you offer and how to contact you without any effort at all. There are also a few things you shouldn’t do. For example, don’t make the site complicated. People shouldn’t have to bounce through half a dozen menus to find key information. Look at a site like Myka’s, for instance; visitors can see and immediately sort the site’s inventory of listings based on criteria from locality to price range, type to size, yet it also gives them the ability to type in a reference number to see a specific property.
Your unique selling proposition should be immediately obvious to anyone on your website. Before they do anything else, they should know what you offer to them and why they should hire you. It might be hyperlocal knowledge, exceptional service, lower than average costs, or the ability to find or move niche properties. This increases the odds they’ll choose you. Using the right terms can also improve your site’s search engine optimisation.
If you want to build trust with clients, you’ll need to build what is called social proof with them. Most people will try to get a second opinion about any broker or agent they’re thinking of working with. One thing you could do to get social proof is add testimonials. Make sure that those have pictures too if possible. These will help put your clients at ease and make you look more credible. This is an example of Melissa’s site with 5-star client testimonials.
Real estate blogs are everywhere, and real estate is one of those fields where content marketing works the best. You could work on creating a blog that will actually be a resource to homeowners, instead of aggressively selling. This could be everything from tips on how to make their house more desirable, hot areas, best renovations to increase property value, etc. Click here for 40 real estate blogging ideas. A blog will give you the chance to improve your search engine results, and will be seen more favourably by your audience than a blatant ad. You’ll also be able to showcase your expertise and build trust with them.
Your website should have perfect registration or contact forms everywhere. Every page should give them the option to send you their contact information so you can talk to them about buying or selling a home. Furthermore, every form should work flawlessly. No contact request should sit in the inbox for days. Don’t forget little conveniences for your customers, too. For example, track people as they fill out forms so that their data isn’t lost if the browser refreshes or they hit the back button. They’re prone to quit the site in frustration.
Don’t forget the benefit of forms to home sellers. Front end listing submission forms are not only popular, but profitable. A side benefit of people being able to easily list through your site is that it increases the inventory of homes you can offer and generates traffic that increases your search engine rankings.
I’m still amazed at the amount of real estate sites that have an internal search feature that doesn’t work. Most people who come to your site will want to use that search function, and if it fails to return relevant results, they’ll leave. You have to make sure that you allow them to get filtered results, such as the type of property, price ranges, location, proximity to post code, number of bed/bathrooms, etc.
A large portion of real estate sites today are map based. These have tons of benefits for clients. They can get a glimpse of all the available properties in a given area fast, or get a quick snapshot of what kind of area a particular property is located. These will also give them easy to follow indications if they want to see the property in person.
Don’t try to play on recent trends or have a very different style on each page. In fact, you should have a consistent brand across the entire site down to using the same wording.
Also make sure that you only use high quality images and video. People will wonder about the quality of your services if you have poor quality images or video on the website. It is hard to make up for if you don’t have it. Video, in general, is better because it will tell your story and immerse the clients in the property. Ensure that you have appropriate photos of homes, too. Images of the front of the house and living areas are expected. Additional images of the home will make it more interesting and help sell the home. Just don’t let the pictures show the worst of the property.
Creating a great real estate website takes time and knowledge. However, you can’t afford not to invest in your real estate website and make it great. Make sure that all of these elements are present first and foremost before you spend any time, money, or effort in a marketing strategy.
Martina Fenech is Senior Content Strategist at Frank Salt Real Estate. She has years of experience building successful content marketing campaigns and is an expert in real estate SEO and content management. You can find out more about her, Frank Salt, and their properties on their website.