The state of real estate website design in 2017 can be a little bit overwhelming. Lead generation sites, optimized landing pages, A/B testing, Schema, and SEO can all sound like Venusian if you’re not constantly on the leading edge. This makes figuring out where your digital marketing budget will have the best ROI harder than ever.
Luckily we’re here to help. We asked 25 top producing real estate agents and brokers, website designers, and marketing pros for their best real estate website ideas for 2017. Check it out and make sure to let us know what you think in the comments.
Did you know The New York Times, The Huffington Post, BBC America, and Sony Music all use WordPress for their websites? There’s a great reason for this. WordPress is a powerful, flexible, and easy to update platform. The best part–it’s intuitive, and you don’t need to know programming to use it. If you want to learn how to set up a real estate website using WordPress in an afternoon for less than $4 per month, check out Jeremy’s step-by-step guide here.
When planning the content for your website, long tail keywords may get fewer searches, but those searchers are much more likely to convert:
“The longer and more specific the search terms are, the higher the chances of conversion are. I am currently looking for a cottage in France to spend our next summer vacation. I started my search with the term ‘vacation France.’ I quickly discovered I wanted to go to the Dordogne, and preferred a house in the countryside. My search still continues, but now I use terms like [vacation house countryside Dordogne]: A long tail keyword. Using this keyword, I found new sites, which more closely resembled my vacation wishes. Chances for me to book my vacation largely increased.”
C = Clear Call to Action
O = Offer
N = Narrow Focus
V = VIA: Very Important Attributes
E = Effective Headline
R = Resolution-Savvy Layout
T = Tidy Visuals
S = Social Proof
Check out her awesome post over on the Kissmetrics Blog to learn more.
4. Focus on Social Proof by Adding Video Testimonials from Former Clients
In the age of Yelp and Amazon, your leads not only want, but demand, social proof before hiring a professional. One of the best ways to give it to them is to include candid video testimonials from former clients on your site.
Video testimonials beat text every day of the week. They’re far more personal and pretty much impossible to fake. You can even weave them into a quick personal introduction video that you can use on your Zillow Premier Agent profile.
5. Take Advantage of Listing Integrations Like IDX or Nestio
“You don’t have to design every part of your website; in fact, you don’t even need to design the workhorse of your website: The listings database. Listing management tools such as dsIDXpress and Nestio allow you to insert a simple line of code into your website, enabling your customers to pull up all the relevant listings.”
Want to learn how to build your own IDX enabled real estate website using WordPress? Check out our step-by-step guide here.
If you need more proof this strategy works, check out the homes pages of Zillow, Realtor.com, Homelight, or sites from lead generation services like RealGeeks, Zurple, or Boomtown. If you need a great WordPress theme, or want to learn more about choosing on that converts, check out our guide here.
“We’d recommend keeping the website updated frequently, whether it’s pictures or testimonials. Thinking about the “buyer journey,” a client chooses an agent based on referral or Google search. They’ll most likely come back to your site a few times and having fresh content shows activity and brings more life to the brand.”
Stuck for real estate blogging ideas? Check out our top 25 blogging ideas.
In 2017, it’s time to focus on quality over quantity. A website with 5 pages of rich quality content is far more effective than a website with 20 pages of generic information and an empty unused blog. Provide truly useful information specific to YOUR potential clients in YOUR specific market. Be the local resource that your customers and Google will love!
In his latest column on Search Engine Land, Marcus goes over a 25 point checklist for going above and beyond the mobile friendly basics. Essential reading!
Schema, a semantic mark up language that describes elements of your site so Google’s search crawlers can better categorize it, can give you a leg over competitors who aren’t using it. Fathi Arfaoui of Trustiko agrees;
“To provide search engines, especially Google with more information about your site and listing, you should use the proper schema markup elements. I highly recommend the official real estate agent schema markup detail here.”
Emotions drives actions… even small ones. When someone feels inspired, amazed, loved, cared for – they act. They share your content or fill out your contact form or pick up the phone to call you. Your website should always work to create an emotional connection with your visitor. Consider the images you select for your home page or about page. Do they give people a feeling of family, hope, joy or security? Do they build trust?
I tell all of my clients to include lots pictures of happy, smiling people on their website and social media. People want to do business with people that are happy… and making others happy. Along these lines, I suggest that you snap a photo of yourself and every single person to whom you sell a home. Post these photos on your website to provide security and social proof.
Your website must say immediately (on the homepage, without having to scroll) who you are, what you do and whom you serve. Web surfers scan more then they read. Messaging on your homepage must be direct, powerful and to the point. Communicating that you are a realtor or broker, your niche or specialty and whom you serve (might be a geographic location) helps the people who get TO your site want to move THROUGH it. Don’t try to be everything to everybody. There are riches in the niches! Your website copy needs to appeal to ideal clients and detract people who are not the right fit. Your website is the nucleus of all of your web marketing efforts. It needs to build credibility, visibility and support sellability.
You may not have the budget to build the most high-tech website ever, but you can make it easy to use. Generating business from a real estate website is about getting the users to what they want quickly and easily. Label your users’ options conspicuously, and limit the number of choices. Make the most likely choices obvious. Have easy to identify contact options on all pages. Don’t make the users call. Let them know that their request has been received and confirmed, and they won’t have a reason to keep searching on other sites.
I added motion/video to my site as a way to show people the lifestyle of Orange County. As a Realtor, it’s important to keep in mind all the aspects of why people move to Orange County. Pictures just don’t do a justice. Having a video of: riding on a boat, shopping at world famous malls, having the top down and cruising down Pacific Coast Highway, and various shots of the waves and ocean gives one a sense of this lifestyle they are buying into. One is not just buying a house from us, they are buying a lifestyle. That’s what I want to communicate first – and there is no better way to do that than a motion video displaying this.
The only caveat here is that like all lead engagement, you need to respond ASAP. Monitoring and answering live chat queries is the perfect job for your ISA (Inbound Sales Associate) or Virtual Assistant.
Today’s Web visitors skim and scan the “F” pattern. As a result, your focus should be on headlines and bullet points that link to more detailed information. If you have a website with massive amounts of text, it’s time to change it. Remember, most younger clients are accustomed to text messaging. They have short attention spans and like their information in bite-sized chunks. If the Web visitor wants detailed information, he will click through to reach it.
Before you start laying out your page or writing content, rank your marketing goals for that page. Ask yourself what action you want a visitor to that page to take. Perhaps you want them to view your listings, fill out a request for your whitepaper, or simply pick up the phone and give you a call.
Bonus: Maintain Brand Consistency for all Single Property Websites.
Neska Husar, Marketing Director, SharpLaunch
If you’re creating a lot of single property websites for your listings, make sure you keep your branding consistent. Create a custom real estate website template for your single property sites, or use an automated solution to help maintain brand consistency across all your domains. An all in one solution where you can easily add property information, photos, videos, maps, and marketing materials can be a big help.
Over to You
Have a great real estate website design idea that we missed? Let us know in the comments.