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These days, most of your customers will first contact you online, and the first glimpse they have of you as an agent will be through the home page for your real estate website. If you want to create a positive first impression, it’s important to create an online “front office” that’s polished and informative. How do you build and maintain a website that will ensure a positive first impression? Read on for some tips on optimizing your real estate website!

Don’t Bury the Lede

This newspaper expression translates to, “Don’t put the most important info after five paragraphs of trivia!” and it applies just as well to real-estate websites. You want to put priority info up front, so customers see it right away. What’s most important? Your logo ensures that visitors know where they are. Your contact information ensures that they can get in touch with you immediately.  A search tab for your listings page allows prospective clients to start browsing properties – and a set of thumbnails shows them what you offer. Another “above the fold” necessity for your homepage is an accessible set of tabs that allow visitors to easily navigate your site.

Brevity is the Soul of Lead Conversion

One of the most common mistakes real estate agents make is to overwhelm prospective clients with long blocks of text. Chances are, if your ‘Bio’ or ‘About’ section is longer than a few concise paragraphs, it won’t be read. Look for ways you can trim, or consider creating separate pages for info-dense content. Follow the “resume rule” and put info like credentials and awards in digestible bullet points. Blog posts are another area where you may want to cut – but instead of shortening posts, look for ways to divide long posts into multiple updates.

Integrated Blog Entries

Blog content can be valuable, but not if it’s kept isolated from the rest of your site. To ensure that blog content is accessible, promote it by teasing recent blog posts on your home page. To motivate visitors to read more, make sure that each blog post contains a set of internal links to other relevant blog posts, and make sure to create and maintain an archive of interesting topics. Your own writing and formatting style should develop over time, but consider looking at articles and blog posts on “clickbaity” sites to see which layouts are best for grabbing attention.

Looking for some advice on content creation?  Read our guide to real estate content!

Integrated Listings

As we discussed above, your home page is a great place to feature listings – visual interest, an implicit “call-to-action” embedded in a search tab, a chance to show off your portfolio – but don’t stop there! A dedicated listings page will allow you to serve up dozens of listings in whichever layout you prefer. Area and community pages emphasizing features of different neighborhoods and areas within your target area can feature select listings from those regions as well, making it easier for those interested in moving to learn more about the properties on offer in their price range.

Comprehensive Searches

Even if you take the time to promote listings, your customers probably won’t stick around for long if they can’t narrow listings down to match their specific interests. It’s important to offer them multiple search parameters – property features, keywords related to the types of residences they may be looking for, map search, neighborhood, dimensions, and of course price range. If your current site doesn’t offer multiple search engines, see if you can add them. You may also want to consider adding plugins like a mortgage calculator and neighborhood score – clients will want to know about amenities like public schools and transportation as well.

Mobile Mandatory

If you mostly interact with your website through your work computer, it’s easy to forget that most of your customers will be looking at you on mobile screens. It’s vital that your website be mobile-friendly.  One good tactic for cultivating leads via mobile connections is to incorporate a landing page. You can opt for a click-through or lead-conversion format depending on your priorities, but either option will give you a direct, clean-cut, mobile-friendly “signboard” for customers. Remember to “beta test” your mobile interfaces by checking yourself to make sure you like the way your website translates across different screens.

Social Media Shareable

Facebook – and to a lesser extent Tumblr and Twitter – aren’t only social networks. They’re also information hubs. If you invite customers to share and like your posts, you’ll be able to reach an entire group of people. They’ll also be much more likely to see your updates on Facebook, which they check daily, than on your website, which they may not return to often. Feature social sharing buttons on every page, and add them to each blog post. This includes each individual listing – clients who can establish “ownership” of a listing by posting it to their Facebook pages will be more invested.

Frequent Updates

Providing frequent updates to your site makes you seem more engaged and authoritative. It also gives you a chance to share your insights on community and industry activities – for example, you can use your blog to comment on a downtown revitalization initiative, or discuss solar home solutions. This is important to SEO as well as client confidence. Search engines – Google’s algorithm in particular – tend to rate recent content as more “authoritative” and “relevant” than older content. Clients contacting you at a distance – say, from another state – will also see recent updates as an indication that you’re active and available.

Looking advice on how to evaluate information on your site?  Read our guide to content audits!

Ideally, a website should evolve as your business and marketing strategies evolve, and you should consider it an active presence rather than a static document.  These guidelines should help inspire you to refine your real estate website so that you can reach more clients and convert more leads.

Are you interested in learning more about real estate website design and other elements of integrated marketing strategy? At Square 1 Group, we make it our business to create multilayered technology and marketing solutions for our clients, tailoring our approach to your resources and needs. Contact us for a consultation today!