You are viewing our site as a Broker, switch your view below:

Agent | Broker     Reset Filters to Default
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!
MORE >
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.
MORE >
Crye-Leike Website Continues to Garner Top of the Line Industry Awards
MORE >
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?
MORE >
Landing Pages for Real Estate Buyer Lead Generation
MORE >
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?
MORE >
Real Estate Website Navigation with Summary Excerpt Pages
MORE >
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.
MORE >
A New Year Real Estate Website Makeover
MORE >
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.
MORE >
REAL Trends Launches 2018 Real Estate Website Rankings
MORE >
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.
MORE >
AveryHess, Realtors Agent Website Design Wins 2018 Communicator Award
MORE >
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.
MORE >
Top 10 Website Features Real Estate Agents and Brokers Need to Have
MORE >
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.
MORE >
5 Ways to Build a More Convenient User Experience
MORE >
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.
MORE >
Why a Mobile Responsive Website Will Improve Your Real Estate Business
MORE >
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.
MORE >
8 Tips and Tricks for Creating Calls-to-Action that Work on Your Real Estate Website
MORE >
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!
MORE >
How REMAX Results Boosted Website Search Traffic by 25 Percent
MORE >
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.
MORE >
5 Tips to Finding Images for Your Website
MORE >
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:
MORE >
How to Create Custom IDX Searches for More Targeted Web Leads
MORE >
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.
MORE >
What are the Touchpoints of a Brokerage's Front Office?
MORE >
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.
MORE >
How to Integrate Social Media and Your Real Estate Website
MORE >
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.
MORE >
What Do People FEEL When They See Your Real Estate Website?
MORE >
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.
MORE >
The Results of Digital Engagement Part I: The Business Challenges Addressed through Better Engagement
MORE >
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.
MORE >
Capture Forms that Capture Leads
MORE >
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!
MORE >
Brokers and MLSs Get Paid to Display This Old House Content
MORE >
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.
MORE >
Website Usability Tip: Eliminate Excess Steps
MORE >
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.
MORE >
What Does Your Real Estate Website Say About You?
MORE >
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.
MORE >
The Real Estate Website Sales Conversion Funnel
MORE >
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.
MORE >
The Hub and Spoke Model of Online Marketing
MORE >
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.
MORE >
Time for Brokers to Clean Up Online Profiles
MORE >
[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.
MORE >
Real Estate Companies Should Address Website Accessibility to Avoid Lawsuits
MORE >
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.
MORE >
Using UX for Good, Not Evil
MORE >
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.
MORE >
Using Google Analytics to Evaluate Your Online Business
MORE >
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.
MORE >
Online Leads Don't Suck. Your Conversion Rates Do. (11/9)
MORE >
It's Time to Up Your Game. Are You Ready?
William Gibson once said, "The future is already here — it's just not very evenly distributed." I can't help but think of that quote when I look at statistics on real estate marketing – particularly what buyers and sellers want and how many real estate professionals are able or willing to meet that demand. Home buyers and sellers are consumers. They, like all consumers, want accurate information immediately, in ways convenient and flexible to their ever-changing needs. Did you know that, according to NAR: 92% of homebuyers use the Internet as an information source 73% of homeowners say they're more likely to list with a realtor who offers video Only 4% of agents actually offer video as part of their marketing package to home sellers 75% of Internet homebuyers drove by or viewed a home they saw online 43% of buyers first found their home on the Internet 56% of home buyer prospects expect to be contacted within 30 minutes of expressing interest in a property According to Forrester Research it is 50 times easier to achieve a page one ranking on Google with a video. And NPD tells us that mobile and tablet shoppers are three times as likely to view a video as laptop or desktop users.
MORE >
Creating the Perfect Real Estate Lead Capture Page
MORE >
Is a Business Website Deductible?
Gone are the days when brokers could rely on a brick-and-mortar business alone to grow their companies. Business websites are a necessity rather than a nice-to-have feature now. But between website design, development and maintenance, business owners incur numerous expenses, raising the question, "Is a business website deductible?" Like with home office deductions, business website expenses have specific allowances and limitations that apply. When Is a Business Website Deductible? Despite the ubiquitous presence of business websites in the digital era, the tax code lacks clear-cut verbiage surrounding the deduction of website costs. Instead, it addresses the subject more broadly through established guidelines for deducting business-related software expenses. Website costs that fall under the "software" umbrella are generally those incurred for features or functions implemented using higher-level programming languages. As these efforts often require technical expertise outside of the expertise of the business launching the website, the business may purchase the website design or development from a third-party web designer or developer who undertakes a degree of risk should the website fail to operate. These third-party software costs can often be amortized, or deducted ratably, by the business, incurring the costs over a three-year useful life period. Of course, not all third-party-designed websites are treated as software. Those that weren't produced out of sophisticated programming languages are often regarded as "Section 179" property, a special category of depreciable property that qualifies for the Section 179 deduction. This deduction is in itself limited by certain dollar thresholds. After exceeding the thresholds, you are required to revert to deducting and amortizing the costs of non-software website components over the period of their useful life in your business. This could be three years or even less for a simple website that you expect to undergo a re-design in the near future.
MORE >
10 Things Your Brokerage Website Should Do
MORE >
The Death of Desktop
Last year, we entered a new era--the era of mobile internet. 2015 was the year that searches on mobile devices overtook searches on desktop or laptop computers, according to Google. ComScore also reported that the share of digital time that consumers spend on their computers dropped from 47 percent in 2013 to 35 percent in 2015. While internet access via computer will not completely fade away anytime soon, changing consumer web habits means that agents and brokers need to adapt or risk missing out on sales opportunities. A Closer Look at Mobile Use in Real Estate To better understand what's happening within the real estate sphere when it comes to web usage, we spoke with Delta Media Group, a website and marketing solutions provider for the real estate industry. They host hundreds of broker websites, and they analyzed the traffic to their network of sites in order to offer us a clearer picture of how consumers are using real estate websites today. Here are a few key findings, taken from a sample of 10 different websites hosted by Delta that vary in size and market: In July, mobile website visitors grew from 28 percent at the low end to a whopping 70 percent in a year-over-year analysis. According to Delta, the sites that experienced the most growth were more active on social media and in advertising through social channels--which are primarily mobile in nature. Mobile and tablet web visitors now represent at least 58 percent of traffic to Delta Media Group websites. Real estate professionals who switched to a mobile first website strategy saw a 20-50 percent increase in total traffic and a 20-30 percent increase in leads.
MORE >
Tips for Improving Your Real Estate Website Conversion Rate
MORE >
Brokers Find Gem of Seller Lead Generation and Conversion
For many years, WAV Group has studied the effectiveness of broker websites. This research has included understanding where broker website traffic comes from, the effectiveness of listing syndication, the strategies of search engine optimization and marketing, lead conversion by lead source, and broker website rankings in their competitive market. Through this research and discovery process, we impart many best practices that brokers and their vendors can use to develop strategies and roadmaps for ongoing success. For the most part, the strategies have been around active listings for most brokers, but a few firms have long known that off market data can develop a trove of opportunity for firms. We began to notice the impact of off market data by studying online share of voice using comScore, Hitwise, and Nielsen. There are pretty significant differences between these companies in terms of methodology. For the most part, only Hitwise was able to detect regional broker websites. Nielsen and comScore do a very good job of covering the national audience, but they miss local websites that do not have enough traffic to be scored nationally. One thing that we recognized is that ZipRealty, Redfin, and sometimes Movoto performed very well against the national portals and with few exceptions; they were the top broker websites in the top demographic market areas (largest cities) of America. What do portals and brokerages like ZipRealty and Redfin do differently that allows them to be online marketing champions? Traffic to broker websites comes from a few discrete sources like typing in the URL, organic search results, paid search results, social media, listing syndication, etc. Generally, the more data you have on your website, the more landing pages you have for consumers to find information, and the more traffic you get.
MORE >
It's the Details That Get You More Leads in Real Estate
MORE >
Accelerate Your Income with Simple Conversion Strategies (7/14)
Thursday, July 14, 2016 at 10:00 AM PDT Conversion is the biggest battleground in real estate, and agents are spending big money for coaches who promise to take them to the next level. In this webinar, Virtual Results president Jim Marks will give you those tips for FREE. The key to better conversion? Don't overthink it. Systemize your follow-up so you don't second guess yourself or waste time on unproven tactics. In just one hour, you'll: Get tips on small changes you can (and should) make to your website Learn how to convert from traffic to lead, and lead to client See how to identify the value of a lead now and over the long-term, and follow up accordingly Learn about automated tools you can use to nurture leads naturally Register now!
MORE >
Turning Your Real Estate Business from Good to Great
MORE >
[Infographic] Blueprint for Creating Real Estate Content
If you want to achieve online success with your real estate website, then creating engaging and well-optimized content is a key consideration. Otherwise, the chances of your real estate website or blog being found by potential customers via search engines is next to none. Search Engine Optimization helps you to improve your brand's visibility thereby, making it easier for both search engines and potential customers to find you online, helping to bring more traffic and leads to your site. Follow these simple steps, and you're on the way to creating content better than your competitors.
MORE >
5 Real Estate Websites that Are Crushing It
MORE >
Large Images Are Killing Your Real Estate Website
Creating a strong "first impression emotion" in your audience is a great strategy to keep visitors on your site. But when that first impression emotion is annoyance your bounce rate will skyrocket. The current trend is to use large, full-width, high-impact images to create emotion in your visitor. But improper us of these images are killing your website. I see it everywhere. Click to visit... wait, and wait for the top of a site to load. Expect that 7 seconds is the very longest your new visitors will wait for a page to load. For repeat visitors, it is a little longer at 10 seconds. But both of these load speeds are unacceptable; you should be impressing your audience in the first 3 seconds, no excuse. Google states that it takes load speeds into account with their SERPs Ranking. Granted, there are many factors that can slow your site (server speed, coding, plugins, redirects, etc.), but as a casual website owner, it is the improper use of larger images that you can quickly overcome and avoid.
MORE >
Home Search on Mobile Devices Continues to Grow
MORE >
How Are You Helping Agents to Monetize Their Contacts?
Whether you are a builder/developer trying to move more product or a broker or marketing company looking to do the same on behalf of a client, bottom line is you are trying to get more consumers to buy new homes. There are many familiar ways to do this: Build a website, pay to drive traffic, and hope that someone sees it; Build an expensive sales center and hope a consumer comes in the front door; Hold open houses for agents and hope that they do something with all those brochures you printed up for them; Create a direct marketing print or digital marketing campaign and hope consumers/agents don't unsubscribe; and, depending on your market, Translate all your materials (print and online) into multiple languages in the hopes of catching the eye of one of those many foreign buyers. Do any or all of these resonate with you? One additional area you might consider is beefing up your effort to incent external agents to market your projects. Why? Because, unlike the other methods described above, real estate agents have a reason to respond to your efforts—they get paid a commission if something happens.
MORE >
Consumer Questions a Broker Website Must Answer
MORE >
Broker Identity Crisis
Many brokers who have chosen not to provide agents with co-branded websites are beginning to suffer an identity crisis online. Consumers are easily confused when one broker's agent has a website, another does not, and none of the websites really look or work the same. I understand why it happens. Websites are expensive and agents are independent contractors. Brokers who want to overcome the identity crisis have only a few choices: buy a website for each agent, share the cost with the agent, or somehow compel the agent to buy the co-branded site. None of those are really fun choices, but more and more, I think that brokers need to make a decision to deliver a co-branded solution to unite the broker's brand. We always believed that the broker website and the agent cobranded websites need to be from the same vendor. That truly is the best option, but the second best option is to have the broker website from one vendor and the agent websites from another. The benefits to broker co-branded agents websites are clear: Brand consistency User consistency Agent recruiting Agent retention Cost reduction
MORE >
3 Metrics for Identifying Quality Website Leads
MORE >
Guide to Buying a Broker Website
I am not sure why the word "wolf" plays such an important role in broker websites, but both Lone Wolf and WolfNet are two of the leading providers on a national scale. Many times, people confuse the two. However, in terms of their products, they are very different. First, let's talk about the similarities. Both companies have been around a long time—more than two decades. This makes them highly credible in terms of their ability to serve their customers for a long time. This is really important when a brokerage is considering a partnership with a technology company. You do not want to trust one of your most vital marketing tools to a start-up firm that may be here today, looking fancy, but gone tomorrow. Both of these firms understand the business. Moreover, they have long relationships with MLSs that are vital to the capability and reliability of managing the data from the MLS and onto your website. Both firms manage over 90% of the listings in America today, so it is quite likely that they are ready to build and launch your website right away. You can also be assured that your solution will be compliant with MLS rules and regulations for IDX and VOW display. Each of these firms develops an excellent property search solution that is fast and elegant for the consumer. They also have lots of flexibility to support your broker branding with logos, colors, fonts, and other attributes that are important in maintaining your brand identity.
MORE >
Northwood Realty Launches Training Website for Their Agents
MORE >
Why Brokers Provide Agent Websites
Many firms continue to let agents have whatever website they want. This is a big mistake on so many levels. Here are a few reasons that pop into mind: The broker is responsible for the website even though they do not control it. Those responsibilities include legal and MLS. For enterprise firms with anything more than 50 websites, compliance can be a full-time affair. Broker branding can become muddled on websites that are not provided by the firm. Real estate branding is confusing enough with the issue of franchise and non-franchise brands. Extending that even further to broker branding vs. agent branding only germinates more confusion to the consumer. Consistent service is very difficult to manage when agents have websites that are not integrated into the brokerage website. Some applications like lead management would need to be handled in both places – back office publishing tools don't allow content to reach the agent websites. Consumers wind up missing out on valued information because the agent website is not connected.
MORE >
Your Brokerage Website is Your Best Employee and Top Lead-Gen Source
MORE >
Fox and Roach Broker Site Sets Bar Above Portals
Love them or hate them, property search sites like Zillow® have set the bar very high in terms of the information that is made available to the consumer. I choose Zillow because they have hung their hat on the Automated Valuation Model (AVM) that they call the Zestimate™. Real estate brokers have built their websites off of IDX data. That started to change with the launch of Zip Realty and Redfin that display web pages for every parcel in America. In this way, they are like the portals. Recently, websites like Howard Hanna have begun to do the same. Joining them is Fox and Roach. The key feature here is that every property has information to satisfy the consumer, and it helps with search engine optimization, too. With public record data, Fox and Roach has caught the portals. But there is more! Fox and Roach pushes past the portals with some key features on off market properties. They call it the Home Valuation System™. Rather than a simple of display of the Zestimate®, fraught with its issues of accuracy, Fox and Roach includes three AVMs. You gotta check this out. Visit http://www.foxroach.com Select the What Is Your Home Worth tab Search ‘231 Chamoun’ (I intentionally did not complete the address because I want you to experience the smart search auto-fill)
MORE >
User Registration Wars
MORE >
Beat the Crowd: 6 Must-Have Features of a Winning Real Estate Website
Most brokers have a real estate website; however, many are little more than a static page that is buried under the millions of of other sites out there. It sits there online, no one sees it, and the result is little or no leads. It is easier than ever for homebuyers to find the information they need online, but the competition is also fiercer than ever. Your website should be working for you 365 days a year, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day and act as your lead generating machine. The goal of your website should be to establish a presence in your market and make it easy for home buyers and sellers to find the information that they are looking for. According to a RealTrends study on the market's interaction with real estate websites, there were 204 million unique visitors to real estate websites in 2014. How would you rate your online presence? Is your website worthy of attracting visitors and, more importantly, does it provide them with what they need? If you want to be taken seriously, you need to remove the invisible cape and establish a sound online presence. Here is a list of six must-haves for your real estate website to capture and engage home buyers who are ready to find you and your properties. Customized Branding The layout of your real estate website speaks volumes about your firm. With all of the widgets available, it's easy to overcomplicate things. Provide your users with a clean, visually appealing experience that is representative of you and your unique value proposition. Themes should include mobile best practices and the ability to tailor images, design, colors and more. Focus on your specialized market niche and design your website around that market segment's exacting desires to ensure your potential clients find what they're looking for.
MORE >
Does Your IDX Website Give Consumers What They Want?
MORE >
A Look Inside Google’s Page Quality Rating
Google recently released the guidelines for manually reviewing a website to determine its page quality rating. This document provides an insight into the traits Google thinks is important for each website/webpage to demonstrate. You can review the entire document here. The actual page quality rating stored within Google's search index is computed systematically. However, Google uses these manual reviews as a reference point to make improvements to their algorithm. Here are the top 5 takeaways of Google's page quality rating guidelines: 1. Purpose – Each webpage should have a specific purpose. Websites and pages should be created to help users. The reviewer will rate the page on its purpose and how well it achieves that. 2. Content Main Content (MC) – Any part of the page that directly helps the page achieve its purpose. Webmasters directly create and/or control the main content of the page. Supplementary Content (SC) – Contributes to a good user experience on the page, but does not directly help the page achieve its purpose. Supplementary Content is created by webmasters and is an important part of the user experience.
MORE >
Five Ways to use Local Data to Drive Traffic to your Website
MORE >
3 Reasons Brokers Should Offer Agents Co-branded Websites
Every real estate agent should have a website. It's a crucial part of building their online presence and serves as the "hub" that all of their social media and other online accounts link back to. However, to protect your company's brand, brokers should provide agents with that website, co-branded to both the agent and the brokerage. A co-branded agent website typically sports the brokerage's logo and brand colors while also displaying the agent's headshot and contact information. While the agent and their services are the focus of the site, the shared design elements and site structure reinforce that the agent is one part of a larger whole--your brokerage. Besides brand reinforcement, here are three other ways co-branded websites benefit brokers: 1. You'll keep leads within your brokerage. Co-branded websites lets you ensure that all links on all websites direct only to places controlled by your brokerage. Typically, leads that come in from the broker site can be assigned to any agent in your firm. Leads from an individual agent's site go to that agent. However, thanks to a having a shared back end, brokers can see if that agent has responded to the lead. If not, the broker can assign it to another agent. Depending on the solution you use, leads that come in either off the brokerage website or an agent website can automatically be funneled into your company's CRM. From there, you can assign that lead to a drip email campaign to nurture them until they're ready to buy.
MORE >
5 Tips to Capture More Leads from Your Site
MORE >
What to Expect from WolfNet's Upgraded IDX Platform
Agents and mid-sized brokers looking to compete with larger firms need look no further that WolfNet's upgraded IDX solution. Dubbed WolfNet Responsive IDX, the update marries high-end design to an IDX property search (with optional VOW data!) that would easily be at home on expensive enterprise-level websites. As any modern web solution should, the updated platform displays beautifully on screens and devices of all sizes (see the image below). But beyond the aesthetic improvements, WolfNet has designed Responsive IDX to boost your website's engagement levels and lead capture rates. Let's take a closer look to learn how. Zeroing in on the Front-End Responsive IDX plugs into your existing website and is easy to integrate into your site's design, thanks to easy wrapper creation tools available in the solution's admin panel. The solution also adapts to your website's CSS stylesheet, letting you control font and photos sizes to further refine how it displays. Let's take a look at the results page, for an example. Consumers have the option to view results either on a map, in gallery view, or in list view. In the gallery view pictured on the next page, users can hover over a property's thumbnail to scroll through more listing photos without having to click into the property details page.
MORE >
Partners Trust Joins The Enterprise Network
MORE >
Does Your Online Presence Convey Trust?
Think about the last time you decided to make a purchase. Perhaps it was something small like a new face wash, or maybe it was a larger purchase like a home. Whatever the purchase was, chances are that you went with a provider that you trust. As a business owner or service provider, it is important to understand that your potential clients are also going to make purchases with companies and people that they trust. If a consumer doesn't trust you, they won't pick you over the competition. Trust is especially important when making larger purchase decisions, as it is likely that the larger the purchase, the greater the impact it will have on the consumer's life or business. So how do you ensure that your clients trust you and view you as a credible source? Well, you should start where most buying decisions begin: the Internet. According to a study done by GE Capital Retail bank, 81% of shoppers begin their journey online. That means that your online presence has the potential to either attract or repel 81% of your potential clients. You might wonder how you can build trust without spending time with someone or speaking to them face-to-face, but, when used properly, your online presence is enough to do the trick. Sometimes your channels just need a facelift. Here are five areas to focus on when creating a website to convey trust.
MORE >
More Than Listings: Your Broker Website’s User Experience Matters
MORE >
Content Marketing: Turning Presence Into Prospects
Previously, we discussed setting up a multi-level, business-only Facebook page for yourself and/or your company as part of your social media marketing strategy. Now let's discuss content management and creating a plan to distribute the kind of news and information your clients want and turning that "value proposition" into leads. Running a Facebook page is like climbing a mountain. You have to keep moving, one step at a time, gaining altitude and building momentum on the climb to the top. But once you get started, with a little guidance, you can build a solid following and a homegrown list of possible clients to add to your CRM. The key is to provide your "fans" with good, local information on the topics they will have interest in. Not just a casual interest, but the kind of interest that will generate leads. However, you have a ready-made supply of the kind of information consumers want most: LISTINGS. Publishing a steady flow of attractive properties is a must. Other suggestions would include: Homeowner info – Providing regular posts of interest for existing homeowners is a must. First, it allows you to invite all of those in your past client and sphere of influence databases to come "Like" your site, building your fan base. It also provides value to and generates interest from those looking to make improvements with the intent of selling later. A great resource for this is NAR and its various blogs and newsletters. Check out this blog just for staging a home.
MORE >
Better Information is the Key to Competing with Portals
MORE >
[INFOGRAPHIC] The Busiest Season of Real Estate is Upon Us: Is Your Website Ready?
One of the most important steps to ensure that your website is sending business your way is optimizing it for mobile. In fact, a National Association of Realtors study uncovered that 89% of home shoppers use a mobile search engine at the onset and throughout their research. Google's new mobile algorithm was released in April, so it's past time to take action and have your website up and running on mobile devices. Make sure you know the requirements of Google's new algorithm to get a better idea of what steps still need to be taken. Since you're already working on your website to get it ready for "Mobilegeddon," why not use this time to ensure it includes the tools your audience will be looking for during their search for a home? NAR'S annual Profile of Buyers and Sellers Report provides an overview of what your industry looked like in 2014 and breaks down the overall consumer experience during a real estate transaction. From the most sought after features of a home to uncovering where consumers found the real estate professional they decided to do business with, this survey is your ticket for a ride through the minds of your audience. Homes.com dug through this report in order to create the infographic below. From interactive maps to neighborhood descriptions, this is your guide to creating a website that includes all the tools your audience is looking for during their search for a home. There's no question that a quality website is one of the most valuable tools at your disposal. Make sure you check off all the features on this infographic today to ensure that when someone lands on your website, they won't have a reason to go anywhere else! To view the full image, click through to the next page.
MORE >
How to Build a Great Brokerage with Technology
MORE >
Can Mystery Shoppers Improve Your Website?
There's a whole industry out there based on paying shoppers to rate stores, vendors and websites. The "mystery shopper" business is booming for good reason. For brick and mortar businesses, the shopper reports on their experiences, from store layout and finding things to customer service, product availability and prices. In the Internet world, it's big business too. Here's a quote from a mystery shopper website that connects businesses with online shoppers: Become a Web Mystery Shopper & earn money from home! More people are shopping online every year and this shows no sign of slowing down. Smart companies know that they need to understand what customers think and feel when visiting their website. That is where you come in. By becoming a Web Mystery Shopper, you will interact with websites as if you were a customer. Your thoughts, feeling and suggestions will then be recorded and taken into account when it comes to improving those sites. This site page is recruiting online mystery shoppers who want to make money from home. You don't have to hire a site like this, but let's consider how you can use the concept to improve your real estate website and generate many more leads and commissions. We all think that we know what a real estate website visitor wants and needs to find on the site, but do we REALLY know? And, it's not just about what they want to find, but can they find it easily and quickly?
MORE >
Creating Content for the Web and Social Media
MORE >
Having a Technologically Integrated Brokerage is Crucial to Recruiting Top Agents
Top performing agents have certain qualities in common. They are extremely organized and efficient with their time. Successful, proactive agents rely on maximizing their time in order to accomplish as many tasks as possible and to stay organized along the way. Like top performing agents, top performing brokerages also have certain commonalities. They use an attractive office environment to recruit and empower top performing agents. Attractive, in this case, means offering agents the tools they need to succeed. Being technologically integrated benefits your brokerage in a number of ways and can take on a number of forms. Here are some examples: Website and Multimedia Support: Having a cohesive online presence across all brokerage and agent sites will make your brand appear organized and trustworthy. Your customer-facing digital presence is an essential component of your lead generation strategy. Your beautifully designed brokerage website loses credibility if it is being referenced by agent sites that are ugly and disorganized. Find a website solution provider who can support your entire brokerage so that your agent websites will follow similar styles and formats, and agents will have access to the same support resources. The same goes for social media support. Keep a bank of branding resources such as high resolution logos, testimonials, videos, etc. that agents can use online. Form contractual agreements with media producers such as photographers, graphic designers and videographers. Offer their services to your agents as needed.  
MORE >
The Millennial House Hunt: Finding the Right Website
MORE >
You've Attracted a Web Visitor, Now What?
So you've done a lot of things right, a new visitor arrives on your site, they find what they wanted, and then what? If you think one of those "Sign Our Register" forms is going to get much action, you're wrong. A site visitor can become your biggest fan, returning many times over many months to get more information that they find valuable. This is of little or no value to you if they continue to do so as an anonymous visitor. The goal is to convert them from a "suspect" visitor to a "prospect." Premium Content for Lead Generation As you're planning and creating content for your website, you're considering what will be of value to your visitors and publishing it. In this process, place different value levels on content, or decide on higher levels of content information about each topic. In other words, if an article on easements and title insurance is of value, then perhaps of more value to some visitors would be a special report on actual unusual or interesting easement situations in your market. Think about it, and if there are some interesting easement situations you've run into on title binders, gather that information and create a special report. It's not going onto your site for everyone to see. You're going to take this report and set it up for automated email delivery to the "suspect" when they request it. Once they do, they're a "prospect." Another example might be a report titled something like "Negotiation Tips for Buyers in the YourTown Real Estate Market." You write a report outlining examples of negotiation techniques that create advantages for buyers in your market. This is a very valuable report to a buyer who is getting ready to get serious about a purchase; precisely when you want to be introduced. Then do one for sellers as well.
MORE >