Real Estate Websites That Work:
How To Make Your Website Your MVP
The first point of call for consumers today is online, so it’s unsurprising that brokerages and individual real estate agents have websites that people can access 24/7. But the difference between slapping on a domain name to a sub-par website and a fully-functional, consumer-oriented one is monumental.
A website that serves as an agent’s MVP will be more memorable, valuable and referable for clients. Once set up right, it’s able to perform many times over while the agent is freed up to focus on other important tasks.
Here are some of the most valuable steps that best-performing agents apply when building high-performing websites:
- Form and function both come into play
scanning through dozens of agency or agent websites, one clear mistake that often comes up is that while some overemphasize visuals, their navigation may be cumbersome. Or while some may have fairly easy navigation, the site is inundated with text. The best websites strike a delicate balance between looking good and serving the purpose of informing visitors of what that agent, or agency, can do for them - and do well.
- Detailed search capabilities
Agents need to imagine how they would search for items they wanted on Amazon or eBay, and keep in mind that visitors will approach real estate websites with a similar approach. Because there is an abundance of real estate directories out there now, agents need to make it possible for people to key in locations, price, bedrooms, comparison listings etc in a system that’s smooth and quick. This point alone, if done right, could become a major reason for visitors coming back again and again.
- IDX facility
Closely related to the above, this is about integrating MLS listings using IDX on RE websites. It increases the chances of visitors finding the site, as well as increasing the number of searchable content.
- Visuals in Key Locations
A picture speaks a thousand words, but what if it doesn’t let you get a word in edgeways? A lot of agent websites spark interest right away because of crisp, high-quality images of properties that pop up immediately on the site, but they often take up so much real estate on the page itself, that it’s hard to find the next most relevant piece of content. And they shouldn’t have to, because it’s the website’s job to lead them to it. It’s crucial that images (and video) are placed in prime positions, with purposeful blurbs or action-ready CTAs nearby. That said, images of listings should be professional, optimized, and showing the listing off in different dimensions/angles.
- Content library
Content is still a pivotal way for agents/agencies to establish themselves as authoritative voices in their sector, and there are two important facets to it:
- Evergreen content
Usually in blog format or even testimonials, this is the best way for agents to enrich the lives of visitors and clients, unrelated to transaction. It’s a chance to impart knowledge and advice. This is the place where good SEO is also being built, so it’s important for agents to establish an SEO-friendly framework, with content being placed in the right hierarchical structure according to relevance.
- Fresh content
This is up-to-date, verified information that may change often, letting visitors know you’re one step ahead of queries they may have regarding properties, current events that may affect the market, etc.
- Social sharing is key
It’s extremely useful when agents make their site as shareable as possible - via social buttons - and making sure they themselves are easy to contact on those platforms as well.
- Regular mobile testing
This is a crucial but often neglected area, as mobile accounted for over half of web traffic worldwide in the third quarter of 2020, which means desktop is no longer the preferred method for many consumers when it comes to website browsing/searching. This calls for agents to regularly test a range of website features in order to not lose out on any potential clients: speed of page loads, efficiency of any automated features installed, user-friendly interface, etc.
It’s not a colossal task to set up an incredible website, and many features come at no cost at all. Agents who don’t try to take theirs to the next level risk losing out on a large portion of the client pool, as well as falling further and further behind competition.
For more on how consumers are moving online, read our recent blog post on the future of the real estate office.
Will Proptech and the Pandemic Kill the Real Estate Office?
As many property professionals turn to proptech while working from home during COVID-19, what does this mean for the future of the shopfront real estate office?