The home buying experience is changing. If you don’t have a website, you’re losing out on a large share of potential customers. Odds are, without your own website, you will struggle to find good quality leads and close deals.
If you do have a website, you’re on track to become the local real estate agent in your area. Yet, simply having a website won’t get you far; you must invest some time to make sure you’re following best practices.
In this article, I’ll share with you what I’ve learned from my experience with real estate web design.
#1 Appealing Design & Clean Layout
Your website is your digital business card, and when someone visits, you want them to have a great experience with it. If your site doesn’t have a design that is ready for the 21st century, you must update it. Online branding is really important and you should think about it from the moment you start creating your website.
Don’t clutter your web pages with needless blocks of text, images, and widgets from the outset. You want your visitors to have a clear understanding of your site at a glance. Enable them to find the information they need when they need it.
People on the Internet usually don’t read every single word on a web page. Actually, they will skim through the text to quickly locate the most relevant information for them. You must strive for an intuitive page structure with a couple of subheadings. That is, avoid huge blocks of text that would overwhelm your visitors.
Moreover, your customers should be able to contact you quickly. Put your personal information on easy-to-reach places, and let them get in touch with you in a matter of clicks. Otherwise, they will give up halfway, and probably go to one of your competitors.
#2 Searchable and Functional
If no one can find or use your website, it won’t matter if you spent hundreds of hours or thousands of dollars to build it. Your real estate site must be easily discoverable by home buyers, and it should have the functionality they expect.
What does that mean?
Let me give you an example. Imagine you work only in Denver. Someone searches Google for homes for sale in Kansas City, and your website shows up on the first page. Now, unless you actually service Kansas City too, that right there is an issue. You want to attract visitors that are within your service area and target audience and exclude the rest.
Now, let’s illustrate functionality. You have a website visitor, and they want to search for your available property listings on their mobile phone while commuting to work. However, to find them, they need to make dozens of clicks that will do nothing but frustrate them. After finding the listings, they realize they can’t even see them because your website doesn’t have a responsive design. They curse at you for wasting their time, and never come back.
The bare minimum that your website must offer is being mobile-friendly. Then, you’ll also want it to feature search functionality. Preferably, it should come together with a navigation bar to direct users to specific sections. Your navigation bar should include separate segments for home buyers and sellers, a link to available property listings, as well as easy access to your personal information page and contact methods.
#3 Make Your Website Useful
You might be tempted to make a website that offers minimum information about yourself, the services you offer, and a couple of listings. However, that is a colossal mistake. Such a website won’t benefit you or your visitors.
On the contrary, you must pull in home buyers and sellers by providing real value. The more value your site brings them, the more likely they are to return, make a deal, and even recommend you to others.
You want to populate your site with information and tips targeted at your local service area. Think of the questions prospects ask you the most. Which neighborhoods are better? What schools are in the area? How do I finance my new home purchase?
You could answer all these questions before you even speak with a potential client. By giving this information for free, you build trust and authority within your local community. Think about it; would you contact an agent that does the bare minimum, or the one that goes the extra mile for you? Real estate is about forming relationships and building trust. If you find yourself struggling to write such content, you can always seek help from a content writing company.
#4 Create a Portfolio
You should brag about the dream homes you’ve found for your clients. Of course, you don’t have to throw a parade every time you make a sale. Dedicate some space on every page for testimonials and reviews. Even better if clicking takes them to a section where they can see all the homes you have found.
In other words, you want your visitors to think: “Hey, this person found this young family their dream home. Maybe they could help me too.” Take advantage of your past sales and ask your clients for testimonials. By all means, use these cases to pull in potential clients; show them how you have overcome previous challenges.
#5 Make a Sales Funnel
Creating a sales funnel is probably the most important lesson I have learned. Every visitor that visits your website will be in a different stage of their buyer’s journey. You want to target each of its steps with varying types of tones, content, and sales techniques.
Think of someone that’s only considering buying a new house. Surely they won’t be interested in the size of the homes you offer or the great restaurants in the area. It’s more likely they will care about the overall implications of moving. They would ask themselves questions like: “Can I afford to move?” “How far will I be from friends and family?” “Can I find work there?”
With this in mind, take some time to think about the home buyers’ mindset in each of these stages. Find out which of these people will make the best customers for you, and then create a sales funnel that would lead them to a phone call or meeting with you.
You should know that real estate web design can get hard, and it will take time to complete. If you would rather focus your attention on catching more leads, then consider hiring a professional. It’s not hard to find web designers but you could waste weeks trying to find the right one. If you would rather not waste your time, Toro Web Designs have been great for me.
However, don’t forget to do your own research. The same solutions that have worked for me might not be appropriate for you. You could always choose someone else by taking advantage of web design review sites.
Now that I’ve shared this knowledge with you, it’s time for you to act on it. If you don’t have a website, make one with WordPress. Then, make sure you follow these best practices to make yourself a website that will offer value to your prospects and gain their trust. After all, you need to build relationships to sell real estate.