Estate Agent website etiquette
11 April, 2011 | Web design
Etiquette has been around since the dawn of time. Animals, insects and even the first cavemen and women must have prioritised who ate first (even if it wasn’t for the greater good).
This has transferred into the digital era where Estate Agent websites must follow an unwritten code of conduct. Ignoring the rules mean that visitors to your website will simply ‘bounce’ off onto a competitor’s website.
Although there are many principles of web design and basic elements of Estate Agent website design, we have listed what we consider as the etiquette between the relationship between your website and a potential buyer or vendor.
- Arrive on time
Patience is a virtue, but not on the internet. If a website does not appear or ‘load’ within the expected time, people will press the back button and move onto a competitor’s website. Make sure your website is not tardy and you will not lose visitors.
- Speak clearly
Mumbling and incoherent language will not attract the attention of your visitors. Make sure your website clearly outlines your brand image whilst stating the area and types of properties that people can expect. What happens when you ignore clarity? Again people will simply leave.
- Look presentable
Any official business meetings require a suit, tie, tidy hair and generally a presentable appearance and without this professional look, people tend to take you less seriously. This works in the same way for your Estate Agent website. Always dress to impress.
- Open doors for people
Navigation is quite often unrated with some web designers. Estate Agents must remember that website navigation is simply a door that delves deeper into your website. Ensuring that it is clearly defined and there are clear calls to action means that you are opening a door to a potential dream property.
- Keep eye contact
When talking to someone you must always keep eye contact. Online there are an incredible amount of Estate Agent websites that are so bland that visitors simply lose interest. Estate Agents must therefore make sure that their website is ‘sexy’ (yet professional) enough to hold each and every person’s attention.
- Don’t talk rubbish
Whether it is intentional or not, a lack of accuracy lowers people’s perception of authority. On a website it only takes a few minutes to read through and proof read everything that goes up onto your website.
Accuracy goes further than just mistakes. Our web review team regularly encounters Estate Agent websites that only show the postcode location of each individual property, meaning that Google Maps could completely throw off potential buyers and infuriate current vendors. Get it right first time and you’ll never have to deal with it ever again.
- Don’t speak with your mouth full
Too much information on a web page is not only confusing but leaves the user feeling disorientated on where to look next. Take care that your website doesn’t have ‘too much in its mouth’ so its message is clear and well received.
- Invite them round again
If someone has had a good time then it makes sense to invite them around again. Email alerts are the best way for Estate Agents to invite people for another visit. Make certain that email alert registration is not only an easy process but the button can clearly be seen by visitors.
- Mind your Ps and Qs
Politeness is the backbone of civilised society. When website guests are looking for a page that doesn’t exist, don’t forget to apologise and offer them a 404 or ‘error page’ and offer them an alternative.
- Speak only when spoken to
Ok not exactly a standard policy of etiquette and more of a butler-to-master rule, but it does serve a purpose. In our day and age there continues to be business websites that force people to listen to music or voiceovers. I must categorically state that people do not want this, and if Estate Agents insist on having music on their website, make sure that it’s only an option and doesn’t auto-play.
James Coyne eMarketing and Social Media Consultant