“What can I do to get more leads and results from my real estate agency’s website?”
This is a question that you will surely have asked yourself over and over again and to which, in this article, we will try to find an exhaustive answer. Many brokers mistakenly think that their real estate website is little visited and therefore prefer to invest on portals. Of course, it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy if you don’t promote your website, your main source of leads.
But it’s not enough to just make promotions on Facebook to make your website work. In fact, if it is not taken care of in some respects, it will always continue to be a bad real estate website. Most agencies, for example, choose to adopt template sites, which are low-cost solutions with predefined graphics. Basically, those who buy these templates give up having their own online identity, practically presenting themselves with the same website as the competitors who had their idea, the same format on which university town islamabad follows.
In this article, we want to show you the importance of adopting a series of measures that can transform your real estate website into a workhorse with which you can differentiate yourself from competitors.
Ready? Let’s go!
How to recognize a bad real estate website
Your web designer has created a brand new website for you. You love it, and you paid for it handsomely, which means it must be successful now, right ?!
Not exactly. After all, it doesn’t mean that just because you’re happy with the site, then your customers will be too. So here are some signs to look out for when evaluating the kind of impact your real estate website is having on visitors.
You created it, but no one is getting into it.
If you don’t get traffic to your new website, assuming you’ve had another one before, chances are your customers won’t be able to find it. This means that you have neglected your real estate SEO duties. If you’re redesigning your real estate website, your URLs are probably changing too. For this, you have to use the domain “301 Redirects” to signal to the search engines where to funnel all the traffic you have earned with your old website, otherwise, you will lose it.
Your Bounce Rate is skyrocketing
People visit a page on your site and then leave. Because? Because they didn’t find what they were looking for. If you use a Bait-and-Switch Keyword (for example, you address someone looking for “weather in Milan” on your vacation rental website) or if you use an inappropriate layout for the most important content, visitors will prefer to look elsewhere rather than stay. on your website.
The bounce rate is the expression of rejection despite the initial trust placed in your site, so sites with a high bounce rate are not frowned upon by Google.
All your traffic is on the home page
Surely your site is much more than your home page, but the latter is also your showcase. If it’s a disaster, people won’t want to venture further to see what’s behind it. Don’t try to put every piece of information into a single URL. Instead, keep your homepage simple, with clear navigation bars so visitors can find exactly what they’re looking for.
Nobody is registering
You want people to fill out your contact form and sign up for your mailing list, but you are making this process too difficult for them. With Google Suggest, saved passwords and automatic updates, surfing the Internet has become a passive activity. So don’t expect people to contact you right away or scroll to the bottom of the page looking for your Call-to-Action (CTA). Think of your visitors as if they were your flock and, lead them!
Nobody likes you
Nobody shares your website through social media or links. This may be because no one knows about your new website. You probably don’t have anything you like. It takes a lot of hard work, know-how and flair to create shareable content. To create blog posts, videos and newsletters that are innovative, insightful and provocative, or hire someone who can do it for you.
How to improve the user experience of your website
Patience, trust, energy and time… this is the magic formula for real estate agents who want to sell homes. In this market niche, the Internet has become the main research tool, triggering a real revolution for the real estate market. Virtual ads on ad portals and social media have thus been added to advertisements in trade newspapers and magazines.
For this reason, in an increasingly digital age, it is essential to have an attractive and effective website to have a competitive advantage. A recent study by the US National Association of Realtors also asserts that 99% of Millennials search online during the home buying process, so your online presence is ultimately the first impression they have of you.
The real estate agencies have thus decided to open their own website to have visibility on the web and for:
- easily get new leads to convert into leads ;
- independently manage their business effectively and efficiently;
- increase their brand awareness ;
- set up direct meetings with potentially interested customers.
But as we have said, if the right precautions are not adopted, there is only the risk of creating a showcase or presentation site, which will not bring enough traffic to fully exploit the advantages of the network.
That said, how can your website design instill a sense of trust in users and encourage them to choose you?
Below you will find a series of web design practices that can improve the performance of any website and offer a pleasant user experience, avoiding becoming known in the industry just because you have a bad real estate website.
1. Content Layout
To engage customers, content must meet their needs. Usually, in the real estate sector, there is a tendency to bombard the user with too many texts.
It is imperative that the content on each page is consistent with the user’s search path. For example, the home page can show compelling core messaging, followed by a custom search option, and linked to a property listing, real estate agent profiles, and so on.
In this niche market, in particular, it is essential that the content is visually compelling and appealing. The high-quality professional photographs of the available homes for sale entice the visitor to contact your agency as they already provide an idea of what to expect. If for example a sea view or a new kitchen can be meaningful to a visitor, be sure to mention them in your ads.
Even a video can be very effective, such as a “virtual” tour of the house or a video in which sales agents illustrate the property in detail. It might also explain what type of property your agency deals with, or highlight some of the services you are able to offer.
According to data reported by Google, 70% of real estate buyers worldwide use virtual video tours, when they are available, to view the houses for sale, while 86% use them to learn more about a certain city or district.
Finally, you can also insert testimonials, agent profiles, and any other additional elements that can be shared with users in the “About us” section, to offer them value and inspire trust.
2. Email marketing / Newsletter
Real estate email marketing can be an incredibly effective tool for gathering contact information and improving the user experience by forwarding information about your real estate agency to users. Often this tool is an essential component to help convert potential users into actual customers. However, the first step in implementing an effective email marketing strategy is to collect contact information from potential customers by placing “hooks” in different parts of your website.
Once you have their email, you can send discounts, information on the real estate market, and content that allows users to keep their attention alive. Furthermore, you can inform your contacts about active promotions in your agency, present the properties that fall within their requests, and so on …
In addition, it is important to remember that the “Subscribe” button related to emails must be designed with the user in mind. A lively and highly visible button, with a short message and a simple interface, is ideal for inviting visitors to click on it.
3. Mobile is a must
Also according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), 50% of real estate clients use a mobile device or tablet to search for the ideal home.
In general, a responsive website is the best option to improve the use of websites from mobile devices. In fact, having a responsive website guarantees, regardless of the navigation platform (via mobile, desktop or tablet), an adaptation of the design to the screen.
Poor user experience on mobile devices can result in a high bounce rate resulting in customer hijacking on competing agency websites.
4. Contact information highlighted
In the real estate sector more than in any other sector, it is very important to make it simple and immediate the possibility of getting in touch with a professional, in this case, the real estate agent. Customers looking to buy or rent a home are likely to have questions to ask themselves before seeing a property. The “Contacts” page must group all the useful information in a single section: email, telephone number, VAT number, city, address, and map of the real estate agency.
5. Add contact form
The contact form is useful in collecting new email addresses to convert into contacts.
Insert a contact form in each product sheet of each property. If the offer will be interesting for the target, then the user will contact the agency to:
- request additional information about the offer;
- ask for a quote;
- make an appointment.
6. Internal search engine
The user must be the center of everything. If the user browsing your website easily finds the answers to what they are looking for, they will have an incentive to contact your real estate agency. It is useless to waste time with interminable animations or presentations when for example, he already has clear ideas as he is looking for an apartment in the outskirts of Rome with a budget from 200,000 to 220,000 euros. A good internal search engine that allows the visitor to enter the budget, the location and the type of property he is looking for, significantly shortens the search time for the desired property.
7. Advanced search options
A search engine with functions that are easy to use and customizable according to the needs of the target is fundamental in the real estate brokerage sector. Factors that interest your prospects should be included in the search options or incorporated into a selection of filters. For real estate clients, variables such as budget, geographic area and services are important during their buying process. By creating easy-to-use custom search buttons you can offer users an easy way to locate the desired property.
8. Original taglines in the header of the home page
Develop an original tagline to use in the header of your home page, describing who you are, detecting what your niche services are and promoting you in a unique way, such as: “Your Trusted Real Estate Agent in [Area market] with X years of experience “.
9. Call to Action (CTA)
Create a CTA that you can use on every page of your website. Whether it is as short as “Click to learn more” or more complex as “Plan a free purchase/sale consultation”, make it visible on each page.
10. Use a catalog
Another tip to avoid developing a bad real estate website is to include a catalog, the heart of a real estate agency website. Everything revolves around the properties that an agency has in its portfolio. The catalog is like e-commerce, as it shows all the product sheets of each offer, but does not allow online sales.
The catalog definitely improves the quality of the contacts. In fact, only potentially interested customers who have viewed the offer will agree to make an appointment with an agent. In this case, the probability of closing the deal will be very high.
11. “Work with us” section
We have already talked to you about how important it is to build a close-knit and performing real estate team: if you are looking for professional agents to be included in your staff, this page cannot be missing on your website. Real estate agency staff are essential. It is the key factor to maintain a level of excellence in the sector and to have a direct line with website visitors, improving their user experience.
12. Search engine optimization
The website must be optimized during the construction phase, to avoid finding yourself with a site on which you have invested time and money but which is not able to bring you results, with the risk of having to develop it for a second time with a web agency more competent by allocating additional (and even greater) budget.
It would be like building a house, painting it, furnishing it, and finally thinking about redoing the electrical system. Website optimization also allows users to find you immediately, having greater visibility.
13. Custom graphics
It is important to make your mark when a user visits your website so that they have a better chance of remembering you and returning to you.
It is true… it is superficial to judge something only by its appearance, but we do it all the time in various areas of our daily life. So, in addition to the quantity and quality of information, it is important that all these contents have a pleasant design, but above all functional and simple. Good design is subconsciously associated with the professionalism of the agency or real estate group it represents.
14. Constant updating
If your real estate website is unintuitive, slow, and rather cumbersome, it will make you lose the desire to update your property portfolio. So the ideal would be a software that can be used online from any Internet location, in order to access it from any computer connected to the network even when you are at home or out of the office, which is intuitive, fast, and easy to use. Your secretary must be able to update it, without having to take programming and web design courses. In this way, the user will be more attracted to your real estate website.
Responsive website: the mobile-friendly evolution
A responsive website is a website created following responsive design techniques that are able to adapt the content on the basis of the display device: having this type of website has become an indispensable requirement for any real estate agency.
In fact, home buyers are adopting different tools to search for listings. The shift to mobile search is increasingly popular and adapting your website to these changes is the only way to keep up with the market. Sure, having a website that displays ads on a desktop is fine, but more than half of all searches now occur through a mobile device, not a computer.
It can be difficult to understand how this change can affect your business, so let’s look at some data collected by Google that shows how user engagement has changed with the advent of mobile search devices:
- 77% of new home buyers use a mobile search engine at the beginning and during the entire home search;
- due to mobile searches, 35% of these buyers search online for a real estate agency’s ads, 28% call a brokerage agency, 21% find an ad, and 18% contact brokers or agents directly;
- Mobile users are three times more likely than desktop users to contact a real estate professional after searching online.
So, not only do you have to compete with other real estate professionals, you now also have to consider how your real estate website adapts to various platforms, how fast it loads and how its features satisfy users.
But what are the main advantages of having a responsive site?
A responsive website automatically detects visitors’ screen resolution and browser size, adjusting the elements of the site based on the devices they are using.
Only a responsive design allows you to adapt your real estate website to mobile devices without giving up the functionality of a classic website.
Websites and mobile apps need to be designed separately. For responsive design, on the other hand, you only have to design the site once, saving time and money.
Responsive design is state-of-the-art and ensures that your real estate website is up to date with technological changes for years to come. Additionally, Google and other search engines tend to reward Internet sites that use modern web design techniques.
What does having a responsive website mean for real estate agencies?
A responsive website:
- increase lead generation, sales and conversions ;
- provides analysis, monitoring and reporting of browsing data in one place;
- the difficulty of managing content in terms of time and costs decreases ;
- ahead of the competition.
To accept this change and take the right precautions you should think about certain factors:
> How is my website unresponsive?
If your mobile view is exactly the same as your desktop view but smaller, your website most likely won’t fit mobile devices. The responsiveness of a website determines the fluidity of the browsing experience when viewing the site on any device.
In addition, the menu and the various items are different on the screen for mobile viewing, as well as scrolling up and down; the buttons are also positioned differently to facilitate the click with the fingers instead of the mouse.
> I already have a website and it is mobile viewable. Is it not enough?
The answer is no. And this is the reason: it is not said that “viewable from mobile” means responsive, much less that it has a good UX. About a fifth of home-related searches are done on mobile. Also, consider the fact that 40% of users abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load and the fact that unresponsive websites take longer to load on mobile devices. Additionally, 79% of shoppers who are dissatisfied with a website’s performance are less likely to buy from that site. For this reason, not having a responsive website could cause you a significant decrease in traffic.
> I would like a responsive website, but I already have a site I like.
The main thing that prevents real estate professionals from moving from a bad real estate website to a responsive one is the costs involved. But the benefits of responsive design far outweigh the investment burden. Responsive design is based on a single URL, and because the code is consistent across devices, updating is much easier and faster than you might think.
> Can have a responsive website affect my PageRank too?
According to Quick Sprout, the standard load time for websites with good indexing is two seconds, and Google only lists sites that load within this time frame in the top search results.
> But why should I commit to redesigning my Internet right now?
The real estate sector is becoming more and more hectic by the day. Homebuyers today don’t have the time to sift through websites that don’t meet their needs. The reality is that you will need a responsive website, both now and in the future, but adopting it early will help you improve your PageRank and lead conversion. In addition, a responsive website will adapt to future technological developments: even if new phones and tablets with different dimensions than the current ones are put on the market, your site will adapt to these changes in an optimal way regardless of the navigation platform.
> How can a responsive website help my business?
More than two-thirds of potential home buyers who use a mobile device end up contacting real estate professionals. By responding to the requirements of mobile devices, it is, therefore, possible to generate more quality leads and increase sales as well. With responsive templates, you can ensure a perfect user experience, higher engagement levels, and higher PageRank.
> I think I’m ready, but… where do I start?
There are a plethora of providers out there, but the best ones are the ones that operate through WordPress. WordPress is the most popular (technically CMS) content management system that offers many upgrade possibilities.
For Google, which ranks websites in search results also according to their responsiveness, a website to be considered responsive must:
- have an adequate font size, so as to allow reading without the use of zoom on each mobile device;
- be designed so that the clickable elements are sufficiently spaced, in order to be able to click them without problems.
But that’s not all, there are other things to think about when creating a responsive layout. The three main components of responsive web design include:
1. A fluid grid
The grid is a crucial element for creating a responsive layout. Web designers have been using grids for building websites for a long time. However, in the past, these grids were fixed widths and did not lend themselves to supporting a fluid layout.
A fluid grid used for responsive websites will ensure a flexible design that will adapt to different screen widths.
2. Flexible text and images
The way text is displayed varies depending on which device a user is viewing your website on. On responsive mobile websites, you can increase the font size and line spacing for better readability.
Flexible text and images also adapt to the layout width, based on the content hierarchy set with the CSS (style sheet). But these images can be resized, cropped, or deleted depending on what content is essential to the mobile experience.
3. Multimedia queries
Multimedia queries make the layout of responsive websites flexible. Media queries specify the CSS to apply accordingly, based on the device’s breakpoint (for example, portrait orientation of an iPhone or landscape orientation of iPads, etc.). Finally, multimedia queries allow you to have multiple layouts for websites that use the same web page with HTML code.
Turn your real estate website into a strategic lead conversion tool
Is your site mobile-friendly?
By reading this article, you will have understood why responsive design is important to the users of your real estate website. Therefore, adopt an online strategy that includes an optimized experience for mobile users. The rise of mobile devices is just the beginning of the move to the more convenient use of the web.
Consider the benefits responsive web design can bring to your business, such as increased traffic. More traffic translates into better lead generation, more conversions and more sales – three big reasons why you need to redesign your real estate website to make it suitable for mobile viewing!
Through a series of customized design tools, you can involve your potential customers more efficiently and effectively, while contributing both to having lead and to creating credibility in your business.
With this short web marketing guide we wanted to introduce you to the main SEO activities to transform your bad real estate website into a strategic lead conversion tool. If you think this article was interesting we ask you to share it through your favorite social networks and write us what you think in the comments below!