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Is Your Real Estate Website Outdated?

April 11 2018

wolfnet website outdated 1In today's hyper-connected, digital landscape, everyone is using the internet to look up information, check references and find the tools, resources and services for just about everything in their lives—including real estate agents and brokers.

Homebuyers and sellers work with real estate agents because they provide industry and market expertise. A real estate agent's website needs to portray that same industry and market expertise. Your website should be an invaluable tool for your clients and prospects, and it should be a source of quality leads. If your website is not up to date, you risk missing out on those clients and losing them to other agents.

Attracting new clients starts with providing the best information and the easiest and most pleasant user experience online as possible. If it's been several years since you've made any updates to your site (or you simply don't have one), it's quite possible your site is outdated and needs some TLC to make it once again a powerful tool for you and your clients.

Take a look at our recommendations below and ask yourself whether your site falls into any one (or more) of these categories.

Is Your Site Mobile Friendly?

wolfnet website outdated 2The first question you should be asking about your site is whether customers browsing on their mobile devices can clearly see what they need— things such as your agent bio, listings in their area or your contact information. Your site needs to work well with a touch screen. More people than ever are using their mobile devices to find their homes, and if they can't properly view your site on their devices, then they are likely to look elsewhere for what they need.

It's important to note that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) requires sites to be mobile-friendly in order for them to reach the highest rankings. Google prioritizes their search rank for sites that are mobile-friendly (in addition to other criteria). For more information on SEO, check out our post about Five Ways to Use SEO to Drive Real Estate Leads.

Is Your Site Design Outdated?

Being mobile-friendly is just one component of an updated site. If your website suffers from outdated design and old conventions that have long been phased out of modern websites, you may want to consider updating your site from top to bottom. Take a look at your site for some of these offenders:

  • Inconsistent colors
  • Heavy, stylized fonts that aren't web-friendly
  • Low-resolution photographs
  • Clip art
  • Animation
  • Sound effects or music that automatically plays
  • Tools that were popular 10 years ago but now slow down sites (like Flash)

Customers want key details upfront. That's one reason single-page sites have become popular. They may not be the best option for SEO—but you'll have an easier time keeping the same design through each of the sections, you're forced to eliminate any components that distract visitors from your key point and maintenance will be less time-consuming.

That doesn't mean single-page sites are the only option. But their popularity means that your readers are part of the growing number of online consumers who want to easily find the information they need. Considering that 44 percent of homebuyers start their search online, an updated, modern design is key to keeping them coming back to your site.

Is Your Content Stale?

It's important to keep the content on your site new and fresh. If the content hasn't been updated in a long time, customers won't have a reason to revisit—or worse, they'll start to wonder if you're qualified for their home buying and selling needs. Updated property listings are the biggest content source that real estate websites should emphasize. Ask yourself: does your website have up-to-date MLS property listings? If not, then you need an IDX property search tool, ASAP!

While having up-to-date home listings is one of the most important things on a real estate website, updating the rest of the content regularly is also a priority. A current blog that includes helpful information about neighborhoods, school districts, market data reports, agent bio(s) and other relevant content for homebuyers and sellers is helpful.

Check out our blog post about agent bios as an example of fresh content for your website.

Does Your Website Load Really Slowly?

Your website should load within just a few seconds, or visitors will choose to go to your competitors instead. One Google study found that 53 percent of visitors will leave your site if it doesn't load within three seconds. Slow load times happen to plenty of good sites; you aren't alone if your website loading speed leaves you frustrated. Don't fret—but don't let it continue, either.

Load times are impacted by a number of factors, including your website hosting type (and its servers), poorly coded plug-ins, page sizes and images that aren't optimized for the internet, external scripts and even the back-end coding. If that's the case, it may be time for a new website.

Is Navigation on Your Site Confusing?

Getting lost on a page, or not being able to find what brought you there in the first place, is a sure way to lose clients. Menus that aren't clearly labeled, are hard to find,or link to broken or missing pages leave site visitors irritated. For example, prospects who visit a real estate website without a clearly-marked contact link might spend a few minutes searching for a way to reach the agent—but won't be back. Those are sales you don't want to lose. New design trends include a variety of navigation options, from vertical sliding menus that move with you as you scroll to responsive sub-navigation menus that give you a clickable toggle to show more options.

Did You Answer 'Yes' to Any of These Questions?

The National Association of Realtors has found that 93 percent of agents have websites, a valuable fact considering 53 percent of homebuyers say that their agent's skill with technology is "very important." An outdated website does more than drive off your prospects. It shows them you don't care about meeting their needs and you don't have the necessary technology skills to compete in this digital day and age.

If you want to attract prospects and meet your customers' needs, update your website every two to three years, keeping in mind the design, the load speed, the content, the navigation and the responsiveness to new and popular technology.

To view the original article, visit the WolfNet blog.