What makes great real estate website today?
Websites are still the core of marketing, branding, lead generation, and business for real estate companies and investors today. Even by themselves they can be incredibly valuable assets. Much of your success will come down to your site. How many deals you do, how well leads convert, how much money you can raise, and the ROI on everything, as well as how much people will pay for your properties, can all rely on your home on the web. So, what makes a good one?
Simple vs. Complex
A few years ago, the real estate industry saw a huge boom in the number of tools and features that could be added to real estate websites. Calculators, podcasts, social media feeds, like and sharing buttons, pop ups, and a ton of other plug-ins became available. This made a lot of sites very busy and complex. Now, with mobile being the primary way of searching for and interacting with businesses, many are going the opposite direction, and are simplifying their designs.
Take a look at some of the different types of designs out there today from Zillow to Realtor.com to busy options like findtheseller.com to balanced ones like Real Estate Worldwide’s site which offers both simplicity and options for each visitor, to the simplicity of 1800SellNow.com. You may even look at what award winning website designers are doing with their sites today. What resonates with you?
Focus on Results
What is the purpose of your real estate website? Stay focused on that when commissioning your design. Is it to provide information, to make your brand look good, build credibility, or just to generate leads? If it is leads, then you probably need a good opt-in, which is highly visible. Take a look at FindCashBuyersNow.com or RealMarketExperts.com and the prominent forms at the top of each page.
You can have the best-looking site in the world, which is setup for high conversion rates, but that may be useless, unless people are finding and visiting it. Search engine optimization (SEO) is key to getting your site to show up in Google searches. This can include on-page and off-page SEO, including links and keywords, which help Google show it to the right customers. Make sure you get help from a pro who specializes in both online marketing and real estate, so that they get this right for you.
Real estate websites are the hub of your business. They need to be integrated with everything else you are doing. Your social media profiles, blogs, podcasts, and even direct mail, paid ads, and email should all be seamlessly flowing through your site. Otherwise you will be spending a lot more, for less results.
Gone are the days when you can get away with an unattractive website. You can make millions buying, selling, and renting ugly houses, but don’t think you are going to do much with an ugly website. You typically have less than 7 seconds to make a great impression or turn people off. Maybe even less than half of that time. It should blend with your brand, but whatever your style, make it attractive.
Ownership & Management
Control and management of your real estate website is very important. You do not want to spend months and thousands of dollars only to be held hostage by a firm who has all the passwords, or has created themselves an ATM which bleeds your bank account every time you need to make a tweak. Make sure you own the site, you have all the codes, and it is easy to update and manage. This way you can keep down ongoing maintenance costs, or even hop on and make quick edits on the fly yourself. WordPress and Shopify offer great options for this.
Access to Data
You need Google Analytics plugged into your site so that you can track what is working, and what isn’t. You want to know how many visitors you are receiving, where they are coming from, where they are going, what they are reacting well to, and what is turning them off. This is the only way to really get the most out of your real estate marketing budget, and to ensure you are connecting with your best prospects in a way that encourages them to do business with you.