Everyone’s got one: a website. But, what are you doing to optimize yours to stand out from the crowd? You’re not doing anything special? Well, there’s the problem. Here’s what you need to change right now to stay ahead of the pack.
Display Photos In A Prominent Place
If you look at a website, like the Frank Innes one, you’ll notice something. The site places bright and uplifting photos in prominent places. They don’t hide their real estate listings. They make them very clear. This is something you want to do with your listings as well.
Your website homepage is the first interaction you’ll have with your potential clientele. You want to make sure that that impression is a good one. Put forth every detail you’d want them to see. Also, make sure your brand name is very noticeable and your social media accounts are clickable. Don’t forget your contact information too. The easier it is for people to find it, the better.
But, even when you get your photos uploaded to your site, you need to keep that site updated on a regular basis. Rotate out your old listings and make sure you’re always adding in new ones. When you optimize your homepage, think of it as your introduction at a networking event. Pretend that you don’t know the person on the other end (which isn’t far off from the truth – most people who visit your site will be people you don’t know).
Get some of your friends and colleagues to look at your homepage and have them give you feedback on it. Can they tell what it is you do? Is the message clear? What about the call to action? Do they know what they’re supposed to do when they get to your website? If not, you have work to do.
Use the IDX
Integrate the Internet Data Exchange into your website. It allows you to add listings in your area through the local MLS. It’s important for pretty much any online real estate business. Not only will you want to highlight the latest and most intriguing homes for your target market, you’ll want to make your company look like you always have fresh listings so that people don’t think you’re slow-moving or out of touch with the market.
Add More Content
One thing that will separate you from the crowd, in a good way, is to add more content. Content is something that your peers aren’t putting up on their websites. One reason is because it’s very hard to produce quality content.
While the rest of the industry is busy churning out 300-word filler content on their blogs, you should strive to create epic 1,500 word posts that actually add value to your prospect’s lives. Set up an editorial calendar to help you stay on top of content production. Without a schedule, you simply won’t produce content in a timely and predictable manner. Things will fall by the wayside, and you’ll lose any competitive edge you once had.
Make It Easy To Navigate Your Site
One of the most frustrating things for web users is the inability to navigate a website. Web usability experts Norman Nielsen Group consistently find that websites break usability by making their navigation menu too difficult to understand. Simply your menu structure using their navigation usability guide.
Make It Easy To Contact You
In the old days of the Internet, you could throw up a live email address and people would click on it and their mail program would open up. Today, that can still work, but it usually doesn’t. Why? Because lots of people use Hotmail or Gmail – free internet-based email.
And, when they click on a live email link and it opens up a desktop email program that’s not configured, the user then has to parse the website for your email address, copy it, then paste it into their own email client (i.e. gmail).
Instead, you should be using a professional contact form on your website, like Gravity Forms. It’s easy, allows you to set up automated responses and it’s generally more reliable than the old-school method.
Don’t Forget About Local SEO
As a real estate professional, having a website is important, but remember that most, if not all, of your clients will be local. So, focus on local SEO. If you don’t really know what you’re doing when it comes to search engine optimization, hire an expert. They can help you get found in search engines when people are looking for real estate professionals in your area.
Clint White is a freelance website designer who has worked with numerous clients across a range of industries. He focuses on functional, easy to use sites, over beauty. Look out for his articles on small business blogs.