A website is the modern day shop front.
With 75% of people conducting online research before choosing an estate agent, your real estate website has to make a good impression. In the mind of a vendor, an estate agency who can’t present themselves well also won’t be able to present their property well.
A good website is essential to successful lead generation.
Having a fully optimal website can require some technical work but there are also a range of things you can probably do yourself. Each of the items in this list come with a “difficulty score” out of 5 so you can decide whether to do it yourself or work with a specialist to make the changes.
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In addition to a great estate agent website, you want to be using the best property marketing tactics. To get a FREE list of 50 amazing property marketing ideas for estate agents in 2020, click here.
1. Optimise For The Search Engines – SEO
Of course, your website needs to look good and be easy to use but what’s the point in all that if no one can ever find it?
SEO is the process of getting your website to appear in higher in search for certain keywords. This is probably the most important thing estate agents need to do in SEO. 86% of people looking for a service use search engines like Google to find them. If your website doesn’t even show up when they search “estate agent near me” or “estate agents in Crawley” you’ve lost the battle before you’ve begun.
Improving your SEO means you need to carry out a range of activities – some you can probably do yourself and others you may need some help depending on how much work you need to do.
A good first step is to use an online SEO checker to find out how well your website is performing. You can find a number of free options in Google. This should give you an indication of what needs to be fixed.
Some examples of things that will help with SEO:
- Keyword optimisation — making sure your website shows (is indexed) for the words people actually search.
- Check the load speed of your website.
- Start producing content (such as blogs) around the keywords people search when looking for an estate agent.
- Fix any broken links (this is where a page loads with an error as it no longer exists). This often happens for estate agents where they remove a listing page but never remove links that directed to that page.
Read our 10 Ways To Improve Your SEO here.
2. Optimise For Mobile
Research indicates that 50% of people access an estate agency website via mobile. It’s quite possible that this number is actually higher given that most internet searches are generally carried out on mobile. Either way, it’s likely that the number of people visiting your website on mobile will increase.
This means that your website should be mobile first.
Your website needs to be responsive so it adapts to whatever device it is being viewed on. A responsive website will also show larger buttons on mobile and generally its content will be optimised to be viewed best on a mobile device.
If your website is not optimised for mobile, this is something you will need to speak to a developer about unless you have experience building websites.
3. Make Sure Your Website Loads Quickly
⭐⭐⭐ (medium, depending on the cause of issue)
We mentioned this above as it’s very important to ensuring your website appears high in search results.
Google recently announced that they are labeling slow loading websites; essentially with a “badge of shame”. These websites will be penalised and not show as highly in search.
Slow loading websites are also unbearable to website visitors. With an ever decreasing attention span, people just won’t sit around and wait for your website to load. There is research to suggest that 40% of people will actually leave a webpage if it doesn’t load in 3 seconds!
You can check your website speed here.
Fixing a slow loading website can be easy or more complex depending on the issue. Some common causes are:
- Large images that need to be compressed. Image should be kept under 1MB where possible. You can probably fix these issues very easily by yourself.
- Using too many plugins. This can happen with WordPress websites and is probably something you should check with whoever built your website.
- Your website isn’t caching. Caching is a website that basically reduces your website’s workload. If you’re using something like WordPress, this may be something you’re comfortable to fix yourself otherwise, work with a develop to do so.
4. Use Only Amazing Visuals
Remember your website is your shopfront. It should entice and woo the people who see it.
Where vendors are concerned, the quality of your visuals such as the photos you use could either win you an instruction or send them running to your competition. Vendors need to feel confident that you can market their property well – a website with bad photos just doesn’t say that.
A study by Valpal found that 60% of people judge the quality of the website when deciding whether or not to instruct an agent. The visuals are the first thing they see.
As with the property portals, estate agents should therefore ensure that ALL the images on their website are of a professional quality. Your Homepage images should be highly attractive alongside those that you use on your listing pages. It’s also a good idea to ensure that the listings on your website include a floor plan.
Whilst it’s usually quite easy to upload / change your images, you may need to consider hiring a professional photography service that specialises in property and estate agency to make sure your images are of the highest possible quality.
5. Start Using Video
People generally prefer to watch a video rather than read mounds of text.
This means that people tend to spend more time on websites that use video – this is very good for SEO and also good for ensuring potential buyers and sellers spend long enough on your website to get the information they need.
It’s reported that 73% of vendors are more likely to instruct an agent who uses video.
There are many ways to incorporate video into your estate agent website, including an introduction video and point of interest trailers for your listings. These may be things you can film yourself if you have the right equipment or you could hire an expert to help.
Have a look at these 7 effective ways for estate agents to use video for more inspiration.
6. Boost Your Call To Actions
⭐⭐ (fairly easy)
A Call To Action button (CTA) is basically a clickable button or other link that instructs someone to take an action. A common example might be a “Download Now” button.
An effective CTA needs to demonstrate a clear win to the person you want to click it. It’s not always enough to simply describe the action you want someone to take (example: click here). Estate agents should consider why someone should “click” and ensure that their CTAs are compelling.
Estate agents should also ensure that there are enough CTAs. People often need to be lead to doing something; therefore by telling them you’re actually more likely to get them to act.
7. Make It Easy To Get In Touch
⭐⭐⭐ (medium, depending on what needs to be changed)
One of the most frustrating mistakes to make on a website is to make it hard for someone to contact you.
Remember, on average, people have a really short attention of just 8 seconds. Therefore you want to ensure your contact details are easy to find and clear.
Your contact us page should be navigable via the main menu on your website. This is also very important for SEO purposes.
Your contact us page yourself should also include a phone number and email. It’s also a good idea if these are optimised so they are actionable when clicked on mobile.
8. Add Live Chat
⭐⭐ (fairly easy)
Live chat functionality is an innovative property marketing tool that could really boost your website. Some agents who have live chat on their website generate more than 50% more leads.
Live Chat essentially means someone can ask a question and get some kind of response at any time of the day. This is really good for leaving a positive impression and implying a high level of customer service.
You can read a little more about the perks of live chat and get more innovative property marketing ideas here.
In this ever increasingly competitive market, estate agents need to ensure that their websites are up to standard – that they are superbly attractive, easy to use and optimised to be found easily in the search engines.