Many estate and letting agents in the UK treat their website as a glorified online brochure, yet this is one of the most important assets they have. With the spread of Covid-19 and the need to work from home, many agents can no longer rely on their high-street presence the same way they did before.
This means that their website is now more important than ever before.
So, what makes a successful website? Here are our 6 tips on how to create a real estate website that works for you:
1. Define your goals clearly
It is vitally important to understand what exactly you want to accomplish with your estate agency website. Is it to attract more buyers or tenants and book more viewings?
Is it to attract sellers or landlords and book more valuations? Is it to grow a prospect email list or build credibility and local awareness?
Or maybe your goal is all of these. That's fine, you just need to have this goal in mind from the beginning so you can structure your website accordingly.
Just like you will not go to a builder without a blue print and a plan of the house you want them to build you, you should not go to a web designer without a clear understanding of what you want to gain out of your website.
2. Ensure your website is mobile responsive and create a user focused mobile experience
Over 50% of your traffic will come through a mobile device. The remaining % will come from desktop and tablet. So, it’s clear that when you plan your website, you should consider a mobile-first approach.
Mobile-first web design means designing the mobile website first and working up to the desktop version. There are several reasons for this:
· Mobile websites have more usability concerns (this is mostly due to the lack of screen space), so it’s practical and more efficient for the primary focus to be on mobile design.
· It’s easier to scale up the mobile version than it is to scale down the desktop version (again, because of the lack of space on mobile websites).
· Mobile-first web design helps to re-evaluate what’s visually and functionally necessary.
3. Create a Great User Experience
User experience (UX) defines everything about how your website feels to a visitor.
Make it easy for your audience to get to the content they want.
If your prime objective is for buyers to find available properties for sale, then ensure they can reach your property listing quickly and easily.
UX will make all the difference when it comes to how long customers will remain on your site and how easily you can get them to convert.
Load times and your site's navigation will both affect how quickly a prospect finds what they are looking for.
A fast-loading website with a logical menu will provide a far superior user experience.
People on the internet have very little patience. If they feel confused or unsure what to while on your website, they're likely to bounce from your page and go to a competitor.
4. Use WordPress CMS
According to a recent survey, WordPress powers 32.3% of all websites on the internet. Due to its robust features, many of the top estate agencies use WordPress to power their websites.
The CMS (content management system) is very flexible and is ideal for those agents who want to invest in marketing. It will allow you to easily build new landing pages, optimise your existing ones, create new blogs or add a new functionality out of the box.
There are many ready-made plugins available within the property sector – from importing your feed from your CRM provider to draw and map search, property shortlist, and even mortgage and stamp duty calculators.
5. Consider SEO from the start
At minimum, know how the search engines crawl and index your content and ensure the basic on-page factors are optimized.
There are lots of ways to make this easy, especially if your website is built in WordPress.
Search engine optimization (SEO) requires a set of skills that run from the technical to the almost artistic. On the technical side, you have things like link structure, 301 redirects, meta tags, and XML sitemaps. On the artistic side, you have valuable content, which is just as important.
Creating content, relevant to your prospecting clients, will encourage readers to stay longer on your website and share your content. In turn, this will signal to Google that your site is popular and should be higher in search results.
6. Create and Maintain a blog
Write blogs packed with good, useful and sharable content and you won’t just drive traffic to your website. You’ll be seen as an authority; making your estate agency business more visible and improving your search rankings on Google.
Writing blogs will not only help with your ranking.
It will also give you a reason to email your prospect list and share something interesting on all your social channels.