In real estate, first impressions matter. According to the National Association of REALTORS, nine in 10 home buyers today rely on the internet as one of their primary research sources, and 52 percent turn to the web as their first step. So what kind of impression are you making to potential clients on their digital house hunt? There are a few simple things you can do on a quarterly basis to make sure your real estate website is in tip-top shape. To make your job easier, we have a handy checklist you can use to evaluate your current real estate website and make changes that will take it from “just OK” to “truly fantastic.”
1. Review your website without bias
It’s easy to justify your decisions or make excuses for why something is the way it is. But if you want to improve, you have to look at your real estate website through the eyes of a home buyer or seller who doesn’t know anything about you. Look at the pages, read the content, and be honest with yourself:
- Does it match your personality? Do the look and tone convey who you are as a person and an agent? Does it leave the impression that you are a qualified, professional, knowledgeable real estate agent?
- What type of client are you targeting? Is it immediately recognizable what communities you serve? Can you quickly tell if your primary business comes from people buying second homes at the beach, for example, or first-time buyers in the city? If you specialize in a niche market, make that evident.
- Does your website answer the most basic questions your typical client would have? For example, do you provide details about the community? Do you share information about your process for buying or selling houses? Make sure you are offering visitors content and advice they can use.
2. Rethink your home page
Take a look at your main page. What do you see? If you are using prime webpage real estate to talk about yourself or post your headshot, make some changes. Instead, highlight feature properties and listings that will appeal to potential clients. Additionally, consider including a listing search. Those features immediately grab visitors’ attention and keep them browsing and engaged.
You certainly want to highlight yourself and your credentials. However, relocate that data to an “About Me” page.
3. Evaluate the overall look
Is your real estate website visually appealing? Provide lots of eye candy. Include beautiful hi-res images, interactive maps, slideshows, 360° video tours, and videos of the properties you represent and the community you serve.
Even seemingly trivial issues, like jarring color combinations and too-small fonts, can leave a bad impression on potential clients. Make sure that your text color and background color are in sharp contrast (think white background, black text), choose color choices that complement your brand logo, and use no more than three colors so that your site doesn’t look too busy. Additionally, stay away from cutesy or hard-to-read fonts.
4. Test your website’s user-friendliness
If you don’t have a mobile-ready real estate website, now is the time to build one. A good portion of your potential clients, especially all those Millennials taking the market by storm, use their smartphones and other mobile devices to research properties and agents.
Additionally, potential real estate clients will be quick to abandon websites with poor navigation and functionality. So be extra diligent to root out any problems. Do all of the buttons and links work? Is the information easy to find? Is it presented in a logical way?
Plus, make sure your website, all pages, and any downloads you offer are quick to load. Potential clients will leave quickly if your site is too slow to load. Some experts suggest this should take no more than a second, even on mobile devices.
5. Provide quality resources for potential and former clients
Content is king. It is one of the primary ways you can build credibility for yourself and keep former and potential clients coming back to your website. Start by creating a “Community” page that provides information about the communities you serve. Include information about the schools, parks, annual events and things to do, social clubs, positive local news, and more.
If you haven’t already, include Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram integration so that as you post content, it shows up in a feed on your website. Also, add a blog to your real estate website. Finally, provide a visitor registration where clients can sign up to receive alerts for new listings, updates on a property, or white papers and other downloads.
When you provide quality, regularly updated content, you give people a reason to visit your website again and again and to share your content with others. That is an excellent way to capture new business.
6. Make SEO a priority
If you want people to find you, your real estate website must be search engine optimized for your town, region, niche market, and target audience. Use Google Analytics to research competitive keywords that you can integrate into copy along with local citations. Post client reviews and testimonials, and regularly publish quality, optimized content to drive organic traffic to your website.
If you aren’t prepared to optimize your real estate website yourself, hiring an SEO expert to do it for you is worth the investment.
7. Diligently proofread and update your real estate website
Don’t let outdated information and typos kill your credibility. Go through each page of your real estate website with a fine-toothed comb. Replace your headshot and other images, remove resources that have become outdated, and provide new client testimonials. Additionally, double check to confirm that your contact information is correct and positioned in a visible spot on every page. Finally, proofread every page to ensure that all information is accurate, current, and free of grammatical errors.
A sophisticated, professional real estate website can make or break your business. Take the steps now to ensure that you are doing everything you can to attract new real estate clients—and build their confidence in you as an agent.
For further guidance on how to boost your real estate marketing efforts this spring, check out our course on Niche Marketing: Narrow Your Focus. For more real estate continuing education opportunities, visit McKissock.com.