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Should You Force Visitors to Register on Your Website?

September 26 2016

registerMost modern real estate websites come with a setting called 'forced registration.' You may have scrolled past it in your site's control panel. When activated, this option forces your site's visitors to register in order to continue searching for properties.

But should you force visitors to register on your website? It's a debate that's raged on for years.

On one hand, you get more leads with forced registration--but you also risk turning off consumers. Is the trade-off worth it? While only you can decide what's right for your business, we're happy to help guide you. Here's a look at the pros and cons of both sides of the argument.

Use the Force, Luke

As we mentioned, you get more leads when you force registration. If you're a broker, requiring registration can help satisfy your agents' requests for more leads.

However, it's important to look at the quality of those leads. Do a significant number of consumers submit fake contact information in order to keep using your site? This can be discouraging for agents trying to follow up with these leads. Even when submitted contact information is correct, how many of these leads convert compared to other lead sources you use? (To find out, use this formula for calculating ROIuse this formula for calculating ROI.)

According real estate website solutions provider Delta Media Group, the quality of leads that come in via forced registration may have to do with whether consumers are using their smartphone or a computer to browse your site. Delta found that their customers who force registration on their mobile sites get better quality leads than those who force registration for users on desktop computers or tablets. According to several third party studies, mobile users are more inclined to offer their contact information than other web surfers.

If you feel that requiring registration is too off-putting for most visitors, consider implementing forced registration for mobile users only. Then you get the best of both worlds!

The Argument Against Forced Registration

The most compelling argument against forced registration is that requiring registration drives away website visitors. Being prompted to give up their contact information is a turn-off for many consumers. When forced to do so, many visitors will opt to move on to a different site instead.

However, while you get fewer leads with non-forced registration, they tend to be higher quality. That's because these leads are registering voluntarily, a signal that they're serious about searching for homes and more likely to complete a transaction.

If you worried about missing out on leads if you don't require registration, consider offering other compelling reasons for consumers to give up their contact information. For example, you can offer informative downloads for first-time buyers, or an instant home valuation for potential sellers. You can also leverage pop-ups that prompt--but don't require--visitors to register. These pop-ups should tell visitors the benefits they gain with registration, like saving searches or receiving new listing alerts.

Wrapping Up

So what's the right option for you? The answer may be somewhere in the middle. Many websites, like those by Delta Media Group, offer nuanced registration options. You can force consumers to register after they've viewed a certain number of properties. Making that number higher increases the likelihood of visitors registering compared to sites that require registration after viewing just one or two properties.

Forced registration doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing proposition. Play around with your website's settings and try out different scenarios to find out what works for you.