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Building a Real Estate Website? Start Here.

November 06 2018

wolfnet building a real estate website start hereA staggering 95 percent of people looking for homes used online websites during their search. Yet, while buyers are using websites to find homes, nearly half of all real estate firms say keeping up with technology is one of their biggest challenges. It doesn't have to be. Here are several do's and don'ts to make sure your website attracts clients and generates leads.

Make searching easy using IDX

The bread and butter of all real estate websites are the listings. Internet Data Exchange (IDX) allows agents and brokers to share listing data. This data can be customized for specific markets, buyers, or business goals, and ultimately offers huge benefits. By using IDX, the listing data is continually updated. It helps generate leads, offers smaller agencies the opportunity to compete against the larger firms, and requires potential clients to stay on your website longer, allowing you to learn more about them.

Along with photos and maps, IDX also provides built-in options for filtering what your clients are looking for. Sorting by city, school, price, beds, baths, and even commute time is an invaluable tool. Detailed property information, an ability to share listings through email or social media, and a mortgage calculator are additional bonuses of a quality IDX property search.

Don't just tell, show

You can paint a beautiful picture using words, but your buyers are still going to want beautiful pictures, too. No matter how vivid your descriptions, a "striking butcher block centerpiece" in the kitchen needs a photo. But don't just take our word for it—according to the National Association of REALTORS® nearly 90 percent of buyers found photos to be "very useful" during their search and 50 percent found virtual tours to be "very useful."

Unfortunately, not just any photos or videos will do. High-resolution photos, those that aren't pixelated, filtered, squished, or stretched, will help present the property at its best. Photos also help to break up text on your website and encourage potential clients to continue scrolling to see what else is on your site.

In order to reach an even broader audience, think about creating informative "how-to" videos. This provides another medium to your potential clients and allows people the opportunity to absorb your listings in another way.

It's easy to get started using software like iMovie, Nero Video, and Lumen5. Overwhelmed? This post will put your mind at ease, give you lots of ideas for videos and walk you through how to get started.

Include an 'About Me' page

One of the most visited pages on your website will surely be your bio. Why? Because people want to learn more about the person they are putting their trust in.

You will be spending a lot of time together, and the 'About Me' page is a place to let your personality and expertise shine. It should be a page which is less formal and more conversational, but should also show your skills and qualifications. While you are busy sharing things about yourself, however, don't forget to include what you can do for potential clients.

Before posting, read your bio through the lens of a potential client. Did you include the information you would want to know if you were a buyer or seller? Stuck? Here are 10 tips to help you create a perfect bio.

Don't ignore the importance of responsive design

For the first time in history, people are using their mobile and tablet devices more than desktops to access the internet. That means you could be missing out on clients if your website isn't compatible with different devices. Even worse, you could be sending your clients to your competitors. "Google says 61 percent of users are unlikely to return to a mobile site they had trouble accessing and 40 percent visit a competitor's site instead." Enter responsive design, which ensures your website automatically responds to the platform it is displayed on. So, if you pull up your site on your cell phone, it is as user-friendly as it would be on a desktop.

An added bonus to responsive design? Your Google ranking will be more favorable if your website is mobile friendly. Check if your website is mobile-friendly using this free Google site.

Don't let your web content go stale

Vintage may be a good thing with cars, clothes, and even homes, but it isn't a desirable quality of your website. Aside from turning off potential clients, outdated content can also harm your placement in web searches. Continually having updated content keeps your clients coming back for new information and a high ranking in web searches attracts new clients to your site. An easy way to ensure you're updating your content frequently is to have a blog and write a new post a few times a month.

Provide a resources page

Even the most seasoned home buyer doesn't have the knowledge you do. A resources page is the perfect place to share your expertise, demonstrate your familiarity with the area you serve, and show buyers you are someone to trust.

Include an FAQ section, and cover the gamut of questions you know buyers have. Make a list of industry professionals you trust—contractors, lenders, inspectors, etc.—and include their contact information. Link to community calendars and/or events, showing familiarity with your region and providing information to buyers about their future neighborhoods. Supply tips or checklists for buying and selling so your clients know what to expect and are prepared. You can even include market reports for your area.

Don't forget testimonials

Chances are, you don't buy something online without reading reviews. The same goes for house hunting. Potential clients want to hear about your victories. They want to know you are going to work hard for them and find them a place to call home. Testimonials are a terrific way to do just that. They provide a different level of comfort to your clients. Instead of you selling yourself, someone else is vouching for you, which gives more credence to your ability.

Still feeling overwhelmed? Check out our latest eBook on the "Top 10 Website Features for Real Estate Agents and Brokers," or any of our blog posts on the subject:

To view the original article, visit the WolfNet blog.