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7 Real Estate Website Trends to Watch
Real estate websites are a lead-generating staple, and give your brokerage a place to make an impact online. And just like every other first impression you make, it's important to have the right tools to make a good one! Here are some of the trends that have made an impact so far this year—and ones to watch as we head into the second half and 2020!
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Does Your Website Work for the Visually Impaired?
Zillow is getting sued for being inaccessible to the visually impaired. A lawsuit was filed against Compass, too. Are you next? Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance is a real thing, sort of. In truth, the only websites required to comply with the ADA are government websites, or key related companies that support government services to Americans.
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Crye-Leike Website Continues to Garner Top of the Line Industry Awards
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The Top 5 Must-Have Website Features for Lead Generation
A real estate website shouldn't just be a necessary evil. It should deliver prospects that go to the closing table. Unfortunately, too many real estate websites are more like billboards, attracting passing interest but not delivering closings. Does your real estate website have these necessary lead generation features covered?
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Landing Pages for Real Estate Buyer Lead Generation
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Landing Pages for Real Estate Seller Lead Generation
What marketing are you doing for seller lead generation? Many real estate professionals do direct mail and farm neighborhoods, and it's very effective. You may also do other print and online marketing, and every method has some success. The question is whether your website is generating seller leads for you, or if you know which real estate seller leads come from your website?
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Real Estate Website Navigation with Summary Excerpt Pages
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Website Redesign Realities
One benefit of being a consultant is the diversity of work. The opportunities to practice technology and business intelligence across multiple industries really exposes you to new experiences. While challenging, basic fundamentals can be applied to any project. Over the holidays, a client had me launch two redesigned websites – Grande Sports World and Barca Residency Academy. GSW is a site to promote a sporting facility and is home to Barca Residency Academy. Barca Residency Academy is the only full-time soccer residency academy sponsored by FC Barcelona. As a note, if you don't know about FC Barcelona and the world of soccer, they are similar to the NY Yankees and the world of baseball. Branding is critical on all levels. While both of these sites are not as technically complicated as real estate websites, the messaging is crucial to engaging consumers. The following are just a few tidbits I have learned from this project.
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A New Year Real Estate Website Makeover
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Using Domain Names for Real Estate Website Navigation
Before you jump away, this isn't some technical discussion for website programmers. This is all about marketing your real estate website in a more user-friendly way that can improve your lead generation. Now that we have your attention, let's talk about how to use different domain names to direct visitors to different areas of your real estate website.
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REAL Trends Launches 2018 Real Estate Website Rankings
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3 Ways to Refresh Your Tired Real Estate Website
How long has the anchor content on your website been up on the web? Take a trip through your real estate website with an eye on how many images and how much text could be updated for a fresh new look and better usability. As you look through the site, keep one question top-of-mind: If I am a regular visitor, would I be bored having seen this content over and over? Here are some tips and ideas for refreshing your site that will make it more interesting, especially for repeat visitors. You could also generate more leads.
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AveryHess, Realtors Agent Website Design Wins 2018 Communicator Award
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How Computer Vision Helps Portals Comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act
A computer-generated voice on Facebook tells a woman viewing a page about an image. She is blind. She's never seen the photos of her family posted on the social media platform before. She smiles and explains in the video that, "...unless you have somebody to describe it to you, even having three words just helps flesh out all of the details that I can't see..." Technologies like Computer Vision are empowering millions of visually impaired Internet users to be able to perceive the world in ways they hadn't been able to before. The technology can also help companies in the United States comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which mandates standards for disabled computer users.
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Top 10 Website Features Real Estate Agents and Brokers Need to Have
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Is Your Real Estate Website ADA Compliant?
Brick-and-mortar businesses understand the need to be ADA compliant, but did you realize your real estate website must meet ADA compliance requirements as well? Title III of the ADA prohibits discrimination against individuals in any place of public accommodation. And the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has made it clear this includes websites.
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5 Ways to Build a More Convenient User Experience
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5 Warning Signs that You Need a New Real Estate Website
Technology advances and design trends change. It is inevitable, and if you make no effort to keep up, you will fall behind. What your audience expects versus what impression they gain from your website is the crucial factor as to whether they stick around. If they are leaving moments after arriving, then your website is failing you. Here are some very clear signs that it is time to replace that old website.
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Why a Mobile Responsive Website Will Improve Your Real Estate Business
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A/B Testing to Optimize Your Real Estate Website
Small changes can be powerful and A/B testing is the way to real estate website optimization. Quick! What happens to your brain when you read tech terms such as "conversion rates," "A/B testing" or "split testing"? Mine goes into shut-down mode and my eyes start to cross. But, if you have a real estate website, these are important terms to know, understand and utilize the processes behind them. The entire ordeal of choosing a website, paying for it, guiding the designer to follow your vision and populating it with content is a long, exhausting project. When it's finished, it's only natural to sit back and assume your job is done and the leads will come rolling in. Au contraire, home seller extraordinaire! Like lead generation, your website is an ongoing project – at least if you want it to be successful. Now, if you're a multi-million dollar-generating company, you can hire someone to do the work. If not, the job falls to you. Let's take a simplified look at A/B testing, one of the most important tests you can use to determine the effectiveness of the pages on your site.
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8 Tips and Tricks for Creating Calls-to-Action that Work on Your Real Estate Website
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25 Ways to Up Your SEO Game and Drive Traffic to Your Real Estate Brokerage's Website
A Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy is needed to increase your web presence and allow you to be found by prospective clients. An unplanned approach to putting content on your website will not rank you first on Google. Chris Grozdon of Dash-SEO recently wrote a great article on SEO tips for real estate. From his article, we have picked 25 tips that will help your brokerage's website get found in search engines and in front of prospective home owners and sellers!
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How REMAX Results Boosted Website Search Traffic by 25 Percent
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Real Trends Reveals 2017 Brokerage and Team Website Rankings
REAL Trends announces the top residential real estate brokerage and team websites in its 2017 REAL Trends Website Rankings, a report of the nation's leading residential real estate websites. If you're looking to redesign or revamp your website, these are the best of the best and worth emulating! This year, the REAL Trends web consultants reviewed nearly 700 residential real estate websites solely based on their excellence in the following categories: Best Overall, Best Use of Video, Best Overall Design, Best Property Detail Pages, Best Community Pages and Best Mobile Experience. "Our team reviewed all aspects of these websites from the design and navigation to the user experience, mobile and video," says Brent Driggers, web strategist for REAL Trends.
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5 Tips to Finding Images for Your Website
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5 Things Learned from Launching a New Website
Lone Wolf recently launched a new website with the same goals any brokerage would have: increase traffic, improve visitor experience and increase conversion rates. Consumers expect your website to be fresh and modern. As technology and real estate evolve, your consumers' needs evolve. Whether your site needs a new look, to become mobile friendly, or have content rewritten or reorganized, a new website may be a cost effective investment for your brokerage. Here are 5 things to consider when refreshing your website:
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How to Create Custom IDX Searches for More Targeted Web Leads
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Friday Freebie: 'Sticky' TV-quality Video for Your Real Estate Website
Brokers (and MLSs) have a new way to engage consumers on their websites, thanks to a partnership between a long-running TV show and a real estate technology firm. Award-winning TV show This Old House and Elm Street Technologies introduced the This Old House Real Estate Network (TOHREN) in a webinar last week. The network lets brokers add professional videos, as well as articles and tools, to their sites to build consumer loyalty and increase repeat website visits. The content is drawn from 600+ hours of video footage from the This Old House TV show, and features short, informative clips that are relevant to homeowners, like "How to Hire a Contractor" and "How to Install Your Own Security System." The idea is to offer a trusted library of helpful resources that real estate consumers can return to over and over. The content is completely free to brokers, and several firms have already started leveraging it on their websites. Take Pacific Union, for example. As you can see in the screenshot below, they've added a "Home and Garden" section to their site. This is where the This Old House content lives. Consumers who click to this page can browse hundreds of videos categorized into channels like "Landscaping" or "Planting." The video platform is smart enough to learn the user's viewing preferences and dynamically serves up clips based on their predicted tastes. This increases the likelihood that your website visitor will continue watching, or will come back soon for more quality content. More options for integrating This Old House content into your broker are available. During the webinar, we also saw examples of sidebar widgets, a homepage display, and--perhaps more interestingly—an opportunity to display banner ads in order to monetize your website. The This Old House Real Estate Network has advertising partnerships with big brands like Home Depot, Target, Sherwin Williams. Brokers can display ads from these partners on their site and earn revenue in return ("pre-roll" ads that play before video clips are another revenue opportunity). Get Started Adding content from the network is easy, and all the technological heavy lifting is done for you. The program is completely free, and no long-term contracts are required. It's a "symbiotic relationship" between This Old House and the broker--brokers benefit from increased consumer engagement and monetization opportunities, and This Old House expands their content's reach to interested homeowners. Ready to see how this program can benefit your brokerage? Contact April Chaffee, General Manager of the This Old House Real Estate Network, at (214) 945-5433 or april.chaffee(at)thisoldhouse.com.
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What are the Touchpoints of a Brokerage's Front Office?
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Why Every Real Estate Website Needs SEO
Imagine building the biggest, most impressive house you can think of, and then choosing to plop it down in the middle of nowhere. This is a house that any buyer would fall head over heels for, except that it's located far from any roads, with lost hikers and woodland creatures the only foot traffic for miles. Building a beautiful, functional real estate website and skipping search engine optimization (SEO) is like building that impressive home in the middle of nowhere. No matter how much valuable content and inspired design your website contains, it can't benefit your business unless people know how to find it. Real Estate Marketing Must-Haves: SEO for Real Estate Websites Even if you're new to SEO for real estate, you probably have a pretty good idea of how valuable search engines are for finding what you need, when you need it. When you need directions, want to find something fun to do, or wish to research a neighborhood, where do you go first? If you answered Google, then you're on the right track. Real estate clients search for homes, agencies, and REALTORS® the same way, so SEO is really a way to help your target audience find you. Earning a consistent position on the first page of search results is one of the best ways to grow your real estate business online.
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How to Integrate Social Media and Your Real Estate Website
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Storytelling in Design, Part II: Storytelling for Brokerages
In my last post, we talked about the importance of storytelling and some examples of it done well, but how do you do it for real estate brokerages? Let's dive in. A. FIGURE OUT THE STORY Right out of the gate, actually having the story you want to tell is the trickiest part. And in this general post, there's not a ton I can do to help you with your personal story for your particular brokerage. The good news is it's your own story; you should know it pretty well. The only real advice I could give is to be fully transparent about your story, with three important caveats gleaned from a list of "Story Basics" by former Pixar director and current Googler, Emma Coats. Here are some highlights from the piece: "#2: You gotta keep in mind what's interesting to you as an audience, not what's fun to do as a writer. They can be very different." Translated: It's easy to tell every detail or something you think is funny or endearing. But does your reader think so? Don't keep them there any longer than they need to be. Just like I've described tirelessly, PLAN. Ask, "Why is this sentence in here?" And if you do it correctly, you'll have an outline with relevant points you want to hit, which will make it easier to choose what scenes you want to show on your brokerage's site.
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What Do People FEEL When They See Your Real Estate Website?
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Landing Pages Are More Important than Your Actual Real Estate Website
The other day, a prospective client called to speak with me about their website. As a naturally curious person, I first asked this gentleman if I could take a look at his current website. I didn't expect to see much in the way of an attractive looking website, but much to my surprise, the website was actually very nice. Given that this gentleman's website was nice looking, followed SEO best practices (at least on the surface), and followed the newest mobile standards, my immediate question to him was why he felt he needed to change his site at all. The answer was a simple one: it wasn't bringing him any business. Why? Upon further discussion and examination, we quickly got down to two main reasons the site wasn't performing to expectations. First off, there was an issue with no content marketing strategy being in place for the site. This is a problem. If you aren't putting great content on your website, you WILL NOT show up in enough search results and drive enough traffic. Much more importantly, it turned out that even if he did get traffic to his site, somehow many, if not all, of those visitors were likely to just move on and not become new leads. Why was this? Other than the "Contact Me" page on his website, nowhere else could a prospective client raise their hand and request more information from him. His website was completely lacking the most important part of any good website that generates leads: LANDING PAGES.
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The Results of Digital Engagement Part I: The Business Challenges Addressed through Better Engagement
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The Power of Storytelling in Design, Part I: An Intro
It's becoming very difficult to separate yourself from the pack online. It's 2017 and you can only do what someone else has done, but better. And there's nothing wrong with that. We just have to find more creative ways of delivering high-quality, curated and designed content. Storytelling is that avenue, and it's evolving at a very high level through design. Online storytelling has been around forever in the form of blogging. And it evolved into websites using big tag lines (mylapka.com), then bigger, bolder photography (patagonia.com/home) and then video/animation started getting into the mix (socialdesignhouse.com). But you're not confined to these options anymore, as there are much newer ways that expand on these concepts that allow for stories to be told in a much more cohesive, well-defined narrative, closer to something you might find on TV or a movie rather than a website. It's pretty understandable that a more visual story is more powerful than one that is not. Content analysis firm Buzzsumo has a study that shows image-heavy content received double the social shares than those that do not. If you look at storytelling this way and can communicate story clearly and honestly, it will make you bigger than your brand, bigger than your website and, in the end, help separate you from competitors — who will almost certainly have many of the same key website features that you do. Let's take a look at some websites that are pushing the boundaries of websites that tell stories.
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Capture Forms that Capture Leads
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So You’ve Got a Broker Website--Now What?!
Your website is up and running, you're displaying properties, now what?! Write something! A steady stream of unique content is a valuable asset on your journey to top search engine placement. The websites with the best rankings feature unique, relevant, content-rich articles that keep visitors enthralled. There are two primary ways to publish your unique content – pages and posts. Pages are static. You can create a page and link to it in your menu, and that page will always be the same (unless you change it, of course!). You might create an "About Me" page, or a "Seller's Checklist" page. Posts are your news or blog articles. You can create a menu link to your blog, and visitors will always see your newest posts when they visit that link. You might use posts to publish market news or community events. What kind of content should I add? This is a common question! We see a lot of great content ideas out there, and the best advice I can offer is to write what you know!
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Brokers and MLSs Get Paid to Display This Old House Content
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Digital Conversion Rates in Real Estate: What’s Considered 'Good'?
If you're in real estate and you have a website, landing page, or Facebook page – it's nice to know how many people visit, but it's even more important to understand how many people convert. What is a good conversion rate in real estate and what are some easy steps you can take today to improve? First – what are we talking about? What are we talking about when we talk about digital conversion rates? We are looking at the total number of visitors who complete a lead generation form divided by the total number of visitors to a page or website. Essentially, these visitors are going beyond just viewing your page. By releasing their contact information, they become a lead for your agents. The average conversion rate across industries is 2.35 percent according to WordStream. Inside Real Estate claims that number is closer to 1 percent for real estate. That means if 100 people visit your landing page, one person will leave their contact information. If you're not sure what your conversion rate is, check out our conversion rate calculator to help figure it out.
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Website Usability Tip: Eliminate Excess Steps
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The New, Tech-Savvy Real Estate Pro
Real estate agents are no longer the single, solitary gatekeepers of real estate information. Technological developments that empower buyers and sellers have forced significant changes on the industry. The agents and brokerages who adapt to this new, technology-rich paradigm will thrive and continue to continue to see success. Real Estate Technology for Homebuyers and Agents 15 years ago, the real estate market was a different place. If a homebuyer wanted information on a home, an agent would have to dig it out of their files and walk them through the listing. Now, things have changed. Buyers can find detailed real estate information with a quick search on their smartphones. Large, consumer portals like Zillow opened this door. They provided information and data comparisons for anyone to see, empowering consumers and changing the way real estate transactions happened. The simple ability to search for homes at their leisure gave homebuyers more freedom and control than they'd previously had. And with that newfound freedom, buyers and sellers developed an expectation for this level of convenience and independence. Technology has changed for agents and brokers, too. Now that homebuyers do much of the early explorations on their own, modern agents have found other ways to provide value. It involves using technology to connect with potential buyers, automatically nurture their leads, and build effective relationships.
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What Does Your Real Estate Website Say About You?
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Typography and Your Real Estate Website Design
There are so many different fascinating disciplines in design, but the one that always sticks out to me is typography. I remember sitting in one of my first design courses where I received an intro to all the different facets and I remember watching the documentary, Helvetica, and in it you can see people working, looking at their screens and manipulating the smallest corners of each individual letter. And I thought to myself, "Hmm... that's a silly job, why would I ever want to go into that?" And to this day, I don't find it silly, but my attention span would never allow me to focus on a project such as that. Over the years, I've learned to appreciate the subtlety of it and love every part about it because it is important that someone create these beautiful pieces that many people take for granted. Typography is everywhere because it's the vessel to relate your message and, depending on the typography you choose, it can make you look a certain way. As I've already conveyed in numerous posts, your first impression is everything. Since typography is everywhere, it's important that you choose wisely. Thin font families can make your words look elegant, but it's of no use if your particular audience can't read it. Pick something too bold, and you may have the same problem to a lesser degree, but you might come off looking childish. Now I've never been a fan of lists, but I'm about to make one of my favorite fonts. Depending on your needs, it can directly narrow your selections—but in most cases, there are tons of fonts for your needs. When it comes to our custom websites at TRIBUS, we use Google's Font library to keep sites lean. Here are my favorites: 1. Lato This is one of my defaults, as well as many designers. As you will see, I choose versatile fonts in the sense that they have numerous 'style' or weights that allow that font to become very bold or very thin. And this one is always a safe pick to look very elegant, but readable.
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The Real Estate Website Sales Conversion Funnel
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When Is It Time to Redesign Your Real Estate Website?
Your website is your most important piece of real estate for promoting your business online. It's the hub of all your online marketing efforts, the place where clients come to learn about your business and, of course, the perfect place to show off all of your fabulous listings. But the tools, tactics, and trends that drive website design are constantly evolving, which means that consumer preferences are constantly evolving, too. A well-timed website redesign is the best way to keep your real estate website up to speed—but how do you know when it's the right time for a redesign? We're here to help with five questions that will help you determine when your real estate website is in need of a redesign. The Latest and Greatest: How to Tell When It's Time for a Real Estate Website Redesign 1. Is my real estate website optimized for mobile browsing? If your answer is "no," then you don't even need to read the rest of the list. It's time for a redesign, because mobile browsing really is that important. This is especially true in real estate, where your clients like to browse listings, research neighborhoods, and reach out to agents in the way that's most convenient for them. There are two primary options for making your website more mobile-friendly, depending on your needs: Responsive website design allows your site to scale to fit the size of any screen, so it will look and function well on the whole spectrum of mobile devices, as well as desktop computers. Mobile-first website design still allows your site to fit well on any screen, but the primary design focus is on the mobile experience.
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The Hub and Spoke Model of Online Marketing
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Mobile Apps vs. Responsive Websites
Here's why responsive mobile design is not enough for real estate sales Today it's normal to pull out phones while standing in grocery lines, at sporting events and in front of a house for sale. Ultimately, this means we are logging on multiple times a day, and these "mobile moments" as Google calls them, add up to big usage numbers. Two takeaways from Zillow and Google First, consumers are using mobile devices more and more because it gets them the information they want right away from a device they always have with them. Second, though attention must be paid to the flood of people using the Web from their devices, engagement happens more in well-designed apps than on responsive websites. Mobile apps are fast and to the point. They are quickly opened with a tap on your phone after you download them.
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Time for Brokers to Clean Up Online Profiles
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[Infographic] Mobile Use in the Real Estate Industry
Go mobile or go home – it's a cliché marketing slogan, but it couldn't be any closer to the truth. Mobile use, especially amongst millennial buyers, continues to grow at an exponential rate. Consumers want the option to browse, purchase, chat, and generally reach their favorite brands and services while on the go. For real estate professionals, it's important to understand the way your clients utilize this platform throughout the home buying process. How your website and property search performs across multiple devices is critically important to lead capture and consumer engagement. Sites that aren't optimized for mobile miss out on new leads and sales. Still not convinced of the importance of mobile? We've compiled an infographic full of insights on how consumers are using mobile within the real estate industry.
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Real Estate Companies Should Address Website Accessibility to Avoid Lawsuits
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5 Signs Your Real Estate Website is Out of Date
No preamble, let's get right down to it. Here are five signs your real estate website is out of date. 1. The site's design hasn't changed since George W. Bush was President It's 2016. If your site's design hasn't changed in two terms of office, then it's also as old as the very first iPhone, the housing market crash, and The Sopranos infamous series finale. In the tech world, there is one constant: everything changes. If you don't adapt to these changes on a regular basis, then your viewers will notice right away and run away. 2. My phone and your site don't get along Pull out your phone (I doubt it's eight years old). Now pull up your site. Does it resize with your phone's browser? Or do you find yourself constantly swiping to navigate left to right, up to down? Put yourself in your reader's shoes. How do you think they feel when they have to spend five minutes searching for your contact info? Forty percent of browsers will bounce off your page if it's not mobile-friendly. So having a responsive site—one that changes shape depending on the device it's viewed on—is absolutely necessary to keep visitors on your webpage.
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Using UX for Good, Not Evil
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BHHS Homesale Realty Hits Bullseye with Technology
Executive Summary Homesale Realty is a Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices franchise serving the markets of Northern Maryland and Central Pennsylvania. The company was ranked 24th in 2015 with 12,694 sides and $2.38 billion in volume. In 2016, they grew to 13,500 sides and $2.6 billion in volume. The company has over 27 offices and 1,200 sales associates. The WAV Group encountered Homesale through a blind assessment of the top 100 real estate firms that revealed an impressive technology offering. Homesale Realty has conquered comprehensive real estate technology integration, driving their increasing success. The company's growth is striking, given that they underwent a franchise brand shift from Prudential to Berkshire Hathaway. Such realignment typically causes significant website setbacks, but for Homesale the conversion has been well executed, and the company continues to experience online and sales growth. This demonstrates that companies can successfully transition franchises without taking a major business hit. The core of Homesale Realty's technology footprint is served by Delta Media Group. Delta Media Group provides their broker website, co-branded agent websites, direct feeds to syndication websites, intranet, and single sign-on to applications like DotLoop for transaction management. In addition, Delta Media Group delivers strategies for mobile, social media, and search marketing. The company operates this technology footprint on top of five disparate multiple listing services and their vendors are merging data to power all of the tools for the agents through one seamless platform. In this case study, we review the technology footprint of Homesale to illustrate how this broker is executing many of the most important online marketing trends today. Our methodology focused on interviews with the company's Director of IT, Sandra Trocccoli, and Chief Financial Officer, Rod Messick, as well as Delta Media Group Chief Executive Officer, Mike Minard. We found that there is a tight working relationship between the management of Homesale and Delta Media Group as exemplified by weekly management calls.
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Using Google Analytics to Evaluate Your Online Business
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Mobile Real Estate Websites Trending for September 2016
The trend of increasing mobile website traffic continued in September 2016. Last month showed that mobile real estate website traffic to be at 52 percent of overall real estate website traffic for real estate companies. So, what does this mean for your real estate business? With mobile now taking a solid lead in real estate website traffic now, more than ever, is the time for real estate companies and agents to focus on the mobile consumer. But, what does it really mean to focus on the mobile consumer? Here are four mobile real estate website tips: Tip 1: Look at your website experience on mobile Too often business owners, including myself, do work on our work computer. Our work computer is usually our laptop or desktop computer at the office. This means that when we look at our websites to make changes, work on them, or to review changes and plan our marketing, we usually do it on the wrong device. As a business owner, you need to review your websites on mobile devices to experience what your website users experience. If you work with a website company or a marketing company, you should first review mobile mock-ups of your site content.
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It's Time to Up Your Game. Are You Ready?
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Creating the Perfect Real Estate Lead Capture Page
When discussing online marketing, especially Facebook ad campaigns, one thing we often hear from real estate pros is something like, "I know everyone swears by it, but it didn't work for us. I don't know, I guess our marketplace must just be different." Is their particular marketplace different than others? Of course. Does that mean that the marketing engine does not work in their particular marketplace? Of course not. So if we can agree that all marketplaces are different, but that the marketplace doesn't always dictate the strength or results of the marketing vehicle, what assumptions can we draw? It's very simple: one very important piece of their ad campaign is flawed. It's flawed so badly that qualified leads leave and move onto other things without offering their information. More often than not, that flawed, but very important, piece of the puzzle is the landing page they directed the homeowner to. Landing pages are critical. Done correctly, they can instantly grab lead information, winning the real estate professional that all important qualified lead. Done incorrectly, though, the landing page can become nothing more than a nuisance that the homeowner perceives as annoying, causing them to take an "on to the next one" stance.
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Is a Business Website Deductible?
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10 Things Your Brokerage Website Should Do
Websites are one of the most important pieces of a brokerage's digital presence. Websites are the most likely starting place during the home shopping phase. Home buyers complete an average of 11 searches before taking action on a real estate site. As such, getting clients to your site, keeping them on the site and keeping them coming back are all equally important in building your pipeline. Here are the 10 top things your website should offer your clients: 1. Property search is a primary focus Multiple types of property search will appeal to different types of buyers. These search types include: Address search Amenity search GPS and/or Map search Neighborhood and/or Postal Code search School District search Pre-defined searches to quickly point visitors to niche properties, such as lake-front cottages or downtown condos 2. Prompted or forced user registration Forced or prompted, registration on your site needs to be promoted. Visitors need to be told what to do. So having your registration box pop up until the visitors are successfully registered helps inform your visitors what is expected of them. Make sure to provide value for registering by offering additional functionality or content (even by newsletter or email) that would otherwise not be available to non-registered visitors.
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The Death of Desktop
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Tips for Improving Your Real Estate Website Conversion Rate
Building a real estate website that attracts a steady flow of qualified visitors is a great start, but there's still work to be done if you want to turn those website visitors into clients. And no matter how your website is currently performing, there's always room to improve your conversion rate. A conversion basically happens when a site visitor takes a concrete step – like filling out a form, accepting a special offer, or signing up for your email list – to engage your business on a deeper level. The visitor will typically provide some contact information in exchange for your offer, giving you a very well-qualified real estate lead. At Delta Media Group, we believe that your real estate website is one of your most powerful marketing tools. So we've put together three can't-miss tips for boosting your website conversion rate, and improving lead generation. Attract, Convince & Convert: How to Increase Conversions with Your Real Estate Website Awesome Aesthetics – People who browse for real estate listings online (and most people, in general) place a high priority on visual feedback, so improving visual appeal is a great way to keep eyes on your website. Use high-quality images to show off your listings, and be sure to include a few shots of your business as well. Your web design should also have visual appeal, with clean lines, easy navigation, contrasting colors, and attractive, eye-catching calls to action (CTA). In addition to boosting your conversion rate, visual appeal helps limit your "bounce" rate, which means that people will be less likely to leave without learning what you have to offer.
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Brokers Find Gem of Seller Lead Generation and Conversion
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It's the Details That Get You More Leads in Real Estate
I have had a passion for helping businesses be successful online for 20 years. Over this time, I have learned one simple motto that gets more results than anything else: Pay attention to the details. I guarantee you heard this motto before from books, speakers, business coaches or other success people you look up to. It's nothing new, but something that takes continual commitment. Today I had another reminder of how important details are and how it's the details that unlock the potential of getting more leads from real estate websites. Before I get into today, I need to go back to last week. Last week, I had the team make various changes to our new real estate platform in an effort to increase conversions for showing requests and email requests from property detail pages. There really wasn't any new functionality added. Calls-to-action and forms were already in place for asking questions on a property and for performing a showing request on the property. The forms were already being used and conversions were taking place. By all accounts, anyone would probably be happy with the conversion. But... was it possible to get more conversions?
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Accelerate Your Income with Simple Conversion Strategies (7/14)
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Turning Your Real Estate Business from Good to Great
As a real estate broker, your goal is to generate leads that will increase business for your agents and company. You probably already have an eye-catching website that generates leads. Your business is good, but is it great? To turn your business from good to great means incorporating some of today's latest technologies into your overall marketing strategy. Start with a mobile responsive website design. A mobile responsive website design automatically scales its layout and content to fit whatever device visitors are using at the time. With 89 percent of new home buyers using mobile search engines, it only makes sense to give your visitors a modern and easy-to-use website. Still a little unclear about what makes a responsive design such an important part of your digital marketing plan? Here Are Our Top 6 Reasons to Go Mobile Responsive: 1. There are plenty of reasons to implement a responsive design for your website; however providing a better user experience tops the list. Your website should look and function phenomenally whether a smartphone, desktop or tablet is being used. A better user experience decreases bounce rates, increases website conversion and enhances your brand image.
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[Infographic] Blueprint for Creating Real Estate Content
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5 Real Estate Websites that Are Crushing It
Today's real estate consumer expects a certain amount of information on a website when they're looking for homes. They probably want to know what homes are for sale, how much they cost, and they want the ability to sort based on pre-determined preferences. That's today's consumer. But what about tomorrow's? Welcome to the age of recommendation engines, ubiquitous data, and consumer experiences that not only fulfill the expectations of consumers, but anticipate them. Who are some of the leaders online creating experiences that start down this path? We pulled some of our favorites (below) and would love your thoughts, too. Send us your favorite URLs in the comments section. AddressReport AddressReport provides extremely detailed and awesome information based on location and looks good doing it. It's a useful tool for consumers and brokers alike. The information ranges from the average wait for a taxi to crime stats and even political affiliation. (Full disclosure: We like Address Report so much we acquired them). What to Look for: Clean, elegant user-interface and the breakdown buttons that create a more interactive experience.
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Large Images Are Killing Your Real Estate Website
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Home Search on Mobile Devices Continues to Grow
Summer is prime house hunting season—I'm not telling you something you don't already know.  Google confirmed it when they reported that July is the month where real estate-related search terms typically spike.  Combine that with the fact that 89 percent of home shoppers use mobile devices to search for homes, and I have to ask... Will your company be ready to capitalize on the 2016 selling season? Let's face it—using mobile devices to search the web has become a part of our everyday lives.  There's no doubt that a well-designed website that takes mobile into account is crucial in reaching today's real estate customers, but you probably have some questions about how and why it is important. For many, the choice comes down to designing a "mobile first" website or living with what they have for the time being.  Living with what is already in place may mean an app or app-like interface for mobile users.  It could even mean living with a version of a website that doesn't render properly—typically frustrating and driving away potential customers. This decision ultimately comes down to how your organization wants to engage its mobile traffic or if they are even ready to do so.  This needs to be on the radar of every business owner as mobile usage continues to grow and becomes an even greater percentage of total website traffic.
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How Are You Helping Agents to Monetize Their Contacts?
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Consumer Questions a Broker Website Must Answer
Less than 2 percent of existing homes are for sale around the nation today. Typically, that number is 3.5 percent. Hence, we are in a sellers' market. So the consumer thinks, "Where am I in the market?" What Home Can I Buy? Over 90 percent of consumers looking to purchase a home have one to sell. The rest are currently renters or second home purchasers. Buying a home is never about buying what you want. It is always about buying what is right for you. The old story of Location, Location, Location is a bit lost on me today, unless it stands for Location Convenience, Location Suitability, and Location Affordability. There may be some others, like Location Timing, as well. Regardless of where you live, there are places where you need to go – like work, school, shopping, or whatever. Where you live as a proximity to those things counts for you. I love TLCengine because it allows consumers to plot those points of interest and find properties in the radius of convenience. This also has a major influence on affordability as proximity mitigates commute times, insurance prices, childcare costs, etc. Unfortunately, I think that the application is only available in the NorthstarMLS market area. Suitability is more of a lifestyle question. How do you flow in your home? Beds, garages, yards, kitchens, dining rooms, living rooms, and local area amenities change the attractiveness of a location based upon the suitability to the people living in the property and in the neighborhood. This is why I think that lifestyle search engines like Onboard Informatics are so important to consumers.
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Broker Identity Crisis
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3 Metrics for Identifying Quality Website Leads
All leads are not equal. Some are better than others. To successfully understand the difference of the leads generated by your company, you must have insights into consumer behavior. One key matrix is to look at the frequency of visits to your website. Consumers who visit once or twice a day are better prospects than those who visit once a week or once a month. Daily visitors are deep in the buying cycle. Saved searches allow you to dig into what the consumer is focused on. Some consumers have very broad saved searches, like all price ranges in multiple towns. That consumer is not a very high quality lead. A consumer that has narrowed their search to a particular neighborhood, school district, or a tight price range of plus or minus $50,000 is likely to be close to buying. Another indicator of lead quality is saved favorites. If a consumer begins to track properties or save them to their favorites list, you begin to understand that they are honing in on buying targets. Encourage agents to reach out to the consumer by email and ask them if they would like you to refine their search. Consumers with saved favorites can also be offered a tour of the home or homes they like. Brokers can train their agents on how to use these signals to find the best prospects out of all of their leads. This information is available on most IDX solutions, but you may need to remind agents where this information is stored in the back office solution.
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Guide to Buying a Broker Website
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Northwood Realty Launches Training Website for Their Agents
About Northwood Northwood Realty is among the largest independent real estate companies in America. They cover multiple states and their 38 offices are focused mainly on the densely populated areas of Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio. They are a full service firm with 974 agents, offering residential, finance, relocation, and insurance. Northwood is pioneering a program for agent training that introduces an effective model for other brokers to consider. It's called Northwood Tech Trainers. About Northwood Trainers Northwood deploys five field trainers to support just under 1000 agents.  The ratio is effectively one trainer to every 200 agents. The field trainers also have one supervisor, bringing their total department count to six. Tech trainers are assigned and integrated into offices and physically visit each office at least once a week. Agents can sign up for 30 or 60 minute sessions as often as they like, covering basically anything to do with technology—from the many Northwood programs, to helping setup a new phone or laptop, social networking and more. They are always available by telephone and email and additional tech support sessions can be held using JoinMe in group sessions or one on one with an agent/manager or admin.
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Why Brokers Provide Agent Websites
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Your Brokerage Website is Your Best Employee and Top Lead-Gen Source
As a manager, what would you give for the ideal employee? You know—someone who works hard for your brokerage every day, doesn’t complain, exceeds expectations daily, positively boosts the company’s image and actually gets results in the form of leads? What if this employee also had predictable KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), and hit them consistently? An employee like that would be worth almost any amount, right? The truth is, one of your best employees or team members can be your website – if you get the right one working for you. It is all about having the customized brand and technology to match what you really want to see out of your website – instead of settling for something you don’t want. Template Websites vs. Customized Broker Websites A real estate brokerage website is a key component of establishing your company’s brand with current and potential clients. Its purpose ranges, but should include all of the following: Providing consistent, high-quality lead generation Engaging consumers with top home search, IDX, tools and information Establishing competitive and smart brand-presence Driving recruiting interest and productivity Providing your agents and team with valuable resources
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Fox and Roach Broker Site Sets Bar Above Portals
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User Registration Wars
A long, long time ago, a great debate was spawned that pitted real estate pros against each other and created a rift that could be felt far and wide. The debate: should you require visitors to register when searching for listings on your website? Then, as now, many agents and brokers were opposed to the idea of requiring registration. They believed that visitors would not stay if they were required to share their name and email address, and that this would result in fewer leads.
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Beat the Crowd: 6 Must-Have Features of a Winning Real Estate Website
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Does Your IDX Website Give Consumers What They Want?
Last month, we talked about how having a mobile app isn't enough to make your business mobile friendly. Having a website that's viewable on all mobile devices ("responsive" web design) is necessary to capture the full range of consumers that search for homes online. It's just the first step, however. To encourage repeat visits (and conversions!), your website needs to be "sticky" and offer consumers tools and features that they can't get elsewhere. First things first, though. Your website may be responsive, but is your IDX property search? Fortunately for most companies that offer responsive websites with IDX built-in, the answer is yes. But if you've built your own website, you may be using a separate IDX solution that "plugs in" to your site. In order to make your site fully responsive--crucial to raking well in Google--your IDX solution needs to be responsive, as well. After all, consumers spend most of their time on real estate websites searching for property. If your IDX doesn't offer property search options that work well on all devices, consumers will move on to a site that does. What Makes a Site Valuable to Consumers? So what makes home buyers return to your site again and again? To find out, let's look at the most successful property search sites available today--portals like Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com. Consumers love them because they're designed with the user experience in mind. Home searchers can save properties that they're interested in for future reference, view recently sold homes, learn about individual agents, and more (all in a mobile-friendly framework, of course).
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A Look Inside Google’s Page Quality Rating
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Five Ways to use Local Data to Drive Traffic to your Website
In previous posts, I've discussed using local data to nurture leads and capture leads for your site. You can also use data to drive traffic. Here are five things you can do today to drive more traffic to your site using the local and property information found at Onboard. Local Landing Pages We've spoken at length on the benefit of local landing pages. Essentially, local landing pages are custom online pages for targeted locations. If your business sells home insurance with locations across several states, you might want a page around specific locations featuring local content. This way when someone searches "home insurance in the Mission district" your brand will rise to the top of local search engines. If you're unclear of what local landing pages are or how they help, this video is a good two-minute guide. To develop local landing pages, first identify how you want to segment your pages geographically: by place, city, county, zip, neighborhood, etc. The more finite the segmentation, the more landing pages and the larger impact you'll have driving organic traffic. However, more pages also mean more data, more resources, and potentially a larger investment. Once you have your roadmap, you'll need to create unique content for each page. Onboard can provide that dynamic content. It must be unique to each page. Duplicate content on several pages will actually be flagged by search engines like Google and might harm organic search results.
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3 Reasons Brokers Should Offer Agents Co-branded Websites
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5 Tips to Capture More Leads from Your Site
Lead generation is an integral part of any business and there are many ways to go about it. One common and cost effective way to capture and qualify your leads is through your company website. Here are five easy ways you can capture more leads: 1. Provide Value by Asking, What's in It For Me? When developing the flow of your site, provide value in exchange for contact information. So view your site as a visitor and ask yourself, "What's in it for me?" As soon as they start looking at something specific, it should prompt an option to save the search. This is a valuable function of your site and it provides something to them (the ability to save a search) before asking anything from them (their contact information). Bottom line, ask for their information early in the process, but not without providing value first. Always ask: "What's in it for me?"
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What to Expect from WolfNet's Upgraded IDX Platform
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Partners Trust Joins The Enterprise Network
Recently, Partners Trust launched a new fully mobile responsive site designed to dynamically change for over 250 different screen sizes. Along with the "mobile first" web site, they launched new mobile apps for Android and iOS. The design was done by 1000watt Consulting in collaboration with Partners Trust and the proprietary technology is provided by Booj. Booj (Be Original or Jealous) is the platform that powers The Enterprise Network. Booj is an interesting technology provider because they deliver a very good and well-supported solution that is exclusive to a single brokerage in a marketplace. I got to meet the team behind the technology last year when I was invited to take the stage and share my perspective on syndication at their annual conference. Many WAV Group broker clients are on the Booj platform and you can see the full list of brokers using their system here. 1000watt did a great job of focusing the site on sellers first – which was well executed by the development team across the entire consumer facing solution. Partners Trust's communication strategy started with an internal rollout that included an all day Tech Summit at The W Hotel in Hollywood for the company and its agents. The campaign then moved to customers, media and then paid media at the LA Times, Google, and Facebook to support the launch.
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Does Your Online Presence Convey Trust?
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More Than Listings: Your Broker Website’s User Experience Matters
How are consumers using your brokerage's website? Naturally, the majority are searching for homes that they want to buy. A significant number of those visitors, more than 90 percent, are usually selling a property before they buy one. This dual buyer-seller mentality means your website needs to serve more than those simply searching for properties. For example, consumers will frequently set up searches on broker websites to monitor the market, the property they want to buy, and neighborhood they want to live in. They'll leverage your site to watch what's happening in the area around their current property. All the while, owners will have a running mental list of all the things they need to do to get their home ready for sale. They may be considering bringing in a landscaper to "dress up" the yard for sale. Many be thinking about bringing in a painter to tend to certain areas of the home that they've neglected. Still others may want to make repairs to a deck or plumbing that may trigger a poor inspection report. Some brokers have learned that if you blend information about where consumers can find contractors to help them get their home ready for sale, that they'll wind up delighting that consumer and converting them from a website visitor into a seller lead. Offering contractor information can delight buyer leads, as well. It's common for consumers to find the perfect house "except." Depending on the buyer, that "except" could vary. They like the backyard, except they need a fence for their dog. They like the entryway, except it needs a railing. They like the kitchen, except it needs a double sink and a trash compactor. Smart brokers know that they're much better off connecting those buyers with contractor resources on their website to remedy those "excepts" than sending them off to Angie's List or the Yellow Pages.
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Content Marketing: Turning Presence Into Prospects
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Better Information is the Key to Competing with Portals
Information is the name of the game for brokerage websites who want to be competitive online. However, brokers have struggled to flesh out the information on property listing pages in a way that's comparable to the major portals. The good is news is that there are plenty of opportunities to license data beyond MLS data. Community data from Onboard Informatics and public records data from RealtyTrac are two solutions that immediately come to mind. By leveraging these or similar data providers, brokers can differentiate themselves by having more information available on their website than other brokers in their market. However, that data will still only take them to the point where their site's information is comparable to portals, not superior. One area where brokers are finding high levels of engagement with consumers is by providing localized information. This is where national portals struggle and brokers can shine. When consumers are searching the web for housing information, more often than not, they're looking for housing resources. Who can fix my dishwasher? Where can I find a new landscaper? This is exactly the type of information consumers will call their Realtor about. This is particularly true of consumers preparing to sell their home. A consumer research survey by consulting firm WAV Group revealed that consumers are increasingly expecting these referrals from their real estate professional. In fact, an agent is the first resource they turn to to ask about needed repairs before listing their home. 58% of sellers consult their agent about repairs rather than contractors (12%), home inspectors or appraisers (both 2%). The agent is expected to be the doorway to these recommendations.
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[INFOGRAPHIC] The Busiest Season of Real Estate is Upon Us: Is Your Website Ready?
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How to Build a Great Brokerage with Technology
A real estate brokerage has many of the management and marketing challenges common to most other businesses. Our inventory is our listings, and we market, advertise and sell to generate commission revenue. However, the real estate brokerage is more complex in some ways, particularly when it comes to risk and legal issues. If we take a close look at how we actually make our money, we are expending time, using our expertise and special skills, and coordinating complex transactions. We market our services, spend a lot of advertising money, and we manage a diverse group of independent contractor agents. There's a lot going on in a busy brokerage, and all of this activity can be a lot more efficient through the use of technology resources. Technology is of even more value in our marketing efforts. CRM, Customer Relationship Management, is much more effective when we use the right tech tools. Getting prospect leads, then moving them from prospect status to a successful closing can grow our business much faster if we understand and properly use technology and the various online and software resources available. Open your mind to new ideas and examine every area of your business, from document management and filing through all of your marketing and advertising. Consider how you communicate with your agents, especially in today's more mobile business world. Some brokerages are even operating without a desk for every agent, as they are able to conduct business with their mobile phones, tablets and notebook computers.
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Can Mystery Shoppers Improve Your Website?
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Creating Content for the Web and Social Media
When talking about the best practices to increase your visibility online, Google rules all. But at the same time that you are creating content using best practices to boost your search engine optimization, it's important to remember the core reason you are writing those pieces: your readers. The Moz Blog posted a video about creating content that is desirable for both robots and humans, with the core idea rooted in shareability and specifically title tags. Let's a dive a little deeper into crafting copy that touches all bases to increase your online traffic. Website Versus Social Media What is the most important platform for your content? Most likely, it's for your website. However, it's important not to underestimate the power of social media. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are valuable resources for real estate agents, and your content should be well-suited for both. Jen Lopez at Moz Blog said in one of her Whiteboard Friday videos: "You're making your content that you've worked really hard at, you've put time and effort into this, you're making sure that it's easily consumable by the people who want to share it and re-share it hopefully and make it viral because you want that virality here. But you also want it to be stable, and you want the robots to see it and you want the spiders to be able to get to it and all of that." – Jen Lopez at Moz Blog So in order to make this a happy marriage between humans and robots, your content should feature tags, photos and an excerpt that will attract the eyes of social media goers so that people want to read and share it.
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Having a Technologically Integrated Brokerage is Crucial to Recruiting Top Agents
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The Millennial House Hunt: Finding the Right Website
This is part one of The Millennial House Hunt, my series on what I, as a millennial, care about and look for when shopping for a home. Having watched one too many episodes of House Hunters, I thought, "Hey, if these people can do it, why can't I?" So, I decided to see what it would be like for me to buy a house by undertaking a fictitious home-purchasing quest – millennial style. The Millennial Homebuyer Setup A certain suspension of disbelief was necessary, but I want to pursue the millennial search in all earnestness. Following that mandate, I made an outline of realistic limitations (sorry $12,000,000 mansion in Napa Valley, we still love you). Millennials would typically be looking to purchase their first home A millennial home buyer would (hopefully) have stable finances and steady income They would also (probably) not be looking for mansions and million dollar properties Applying Theory Ten minutes of Googling, and the vast sea of possibilities and permanence of the choice I was looking at nearly sent me scrambling back to the comfort and impermanence of the Leasing Life, "Why do I need a house anyway?"
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You've Attracted a Web Visitor, Now What?
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Now more than ever, it’s critical that you have outstanding mobile presence
As you know, an overwhelming majority of home consumers are using their mobile devices before, during, and after their home search. As consumer behavior changes, Google continues to evolve its ranking algorithm to adjust for these changes. According to SearchEngineLand.com, on April 21, 2015, Google's mobile ranking factors will not only label your site as mobile-friendly, but will also use that to determine if your site should rank higher in the search results. Google states this algorithmic change will have a "significant impact" in the mobile search results, impacting all languages worldwide. Mobile friendly websites follow a general criterion, such as: Avoiding software that is not common on mobile devices, like Flash. Using responsive design, i.e. text that is readable without zooming, sizes content to the screen so users don't have to scroll horizontally or zoom, and places links far enough apart so that the correct one can be easily tapped. In other words, if you don't have a mobile strategy in place you will be missing out on search traffic to your brokerage website. Your business needs to account for responsive design, in order to accommodate for consumer search preference.
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