Knowing what content and message to convey on your real estate website can make or break you in the current market. Potential buyers are frantically searching for the right property online and rushing to get in offers. Sellers are looking for someone they can trust to guide them through the multiple offers that will arrive. Over the last 16 years, I’ve seen the needs of real estate agent/broker websites evolve and change. Below are the top five elements that every real estate professional needs on their website.
1. A lead capture
This is the single most important item on your real estate website. Immediately, you want to get the website visitor to send you their contact info. This is going to just be name and email address to encourage them to quickly fill out your form. To entice them to fill it out, you need offer them something for free. An example might be a pdf download with your own “5 steps to stage a house to sell”. Look at your current print marketing for ideas. Mailchimp is a great option to start your list with. They have email automation for follow-up contact with those that sign up. If you have a CRM or plan to set one up, Mailchimp has many integration options. And finally, the list that you build is firmly in an account that belongs to you.
2. Amazing photos
Sorry, these do not come from your iPhone. The more professional and unique your website photos are, the better impression you will make to that potential buyer or seller. This includes your headshot. You can get away with stock photo for regional shots, but nothing quite replaces your own unique photos. Think about sharing a photo of your favorite spot on the lake or waterfront view of the city. Hire a photographer and make sure you tell them the photos are for your website.
3. Professional branding & content
The investment you make in branding and strong copywriting will pay off for your real estate website. Hire a graphic designer to create a logo you can use online and on your printed marketing. Have a professional copywriter come up with your homepage pitch and your about page copy. If you struggle with writing, get the entire site done. These investments will make a big impact on your site. Your brand image is vital in attracting the clients you want and discouraging the “tire kicking” crowd. Be specific about what you can do for potential customer. What problem are you going to solve for them? Attract the people you want to work with.
4. Property portfolio
This is not an IDX. You most likely have gone through your brokerage firm or outside provider for that service. This is simply creating a landing page for each current listing with an easy way to contact you. After a listing sells, you can move it to your portfolio. As any designer would have a portfolio of work, you also need a display of work. Don’t just share price and time on market. Tell the story about the client you helped and how you helped them. Potential clients will identify with the story you are telling.
5. An active blog
Yes, you have to blog. Blogging is a way to become an expert in your field and more importantly, in your local area. You need a way to stand out among all the real estate brokers in your market. And I mean stand out on Google. Share your knowledge of the local area, local events, causes you care about, volunteer opportunities, your tips for buyers, sellers, staging, market trends. Search engine optimization is all about content these days. You can’t just set and forget your website. If you can only manage one post a month, that grows your website by 12 pages in a year. And if you really want to stand out, use video on your blog posts!
Wait? No IDX recommendation! What kind of list is this?
The typical IDX is no longer a must on real estate agent websites. If you really want one, I recommend iHomefinder.com. Keep in mind that costs are not showing the NWMLS fee you will also need to pay.
Before Redfin, Zillow and RealScout, you did need an IDX to be competitive. But now, everyone is competing with those giants on Google. The weight of their national presence in search will keep your IDX feed off the first page of Google search results. You can easily just send your clients to a link on your brokerage firm site or RealScout and the visitor won’t mind at all.
Now, if you are a brokerage, you need something to keep your agents happy. A small brokerage can use iHomefinder.com or have all agents sign up for the same service, like RealScout. RealScout also offers a brokerage account. Large brokerage firms are best off looking for custom IDX development or packages from an established web development agency. If a firm has a national parent company, stick with what they give you!
Are you currently in need of an updated website for your own real estate business?
I’d love to help you. Contact WebCami today!
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