Is your website letting you down?

| Web design

Is your website letting you down?

Websites! Websites! Websites! In today’s competitive market, your website has become one of the single most important assets in attracting new clients and demonstrating what makes your company so different from all the other Chartered Surveyors and Commercial Agents out there. To coin that very old and much used phrase; your website is your shop window to the world.

But just having any old website is not going to ensure a constant flood of juicy new commercial instructions or eager buyers knocking down your door. In fact, a poor website could be doing your company more harm than good, ultimately turning away all those valuable new instructions.

Fear not, we have put together a quick checklist of common faults and mistakes to look out for, that if dealt with will make your commercial property website first class.


1. No one knows you’re there

You may already have the very latest “designer” website, with all the bells and whistles that make for the most enjoyable and informative online user experience. But if no one ever finds your website, what’s the point in having it? You may as well be trying to act for commercial property buyers and vendors in Bracknell out of an office in Timbuktu.

The secret to getting seen is SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), a phrase you may well have heard (probably in this RT newsletter), but not really sure what it’s about. But you should, because it’s probably the single most important part of your website strategy. SEO is the process that ensures that you always appear on the top of the pile, when someone is searching for RICS Chartered Surveyors or Commercial Property Agents in your area.

Be warned, some designers promise a “fully optimised” website package, which isn’t actually ongoing SEO support. Six to twelve months down the line your website is in the wilderness while everyone can see your leading competitors.


2. You look terrible

It may be shallow, but unfortunately, looks are everything! When you consider that just under two thirds of your potential customers see you on the web first, it really is important that you look your best.

Research carried out by AOL a few years ago identified that a poor company website adversely affected the opinion of 70% of online consumers. You may well be the most professional, knowledgeable, long-established, well-dressed commercial property expert in town with great suits and a million dollar smile, but if the customer doesn’t get that from your website, then they’ll never give you the chance to show them.

Each individual online visitor will make a decision very quickly. If your site is old fashioned, tired and lacking in energy, by association so are you and that potential new commercial instruction is gone.


3. Talking the talk

So your website looks great! You’re walking the walk, but do you talk the talk?

When it comes to writing content for your commercial property website you need to balance the needs of two audiences, prospective customers, but also for the search engines.

Web users don’t read in a conventional way, they scan and pick up key information relevant to them that enables them to establish whether your website is worth spending more time on.

But a major part of the SEO process is producing current and evolving content that catches the eye of the search engines. Content bursting with all the right “keywords” will help to push your website up the local rankings for commercial property specialists.  The trick is to create enough depth and detail to engage the search engines while delivering concise and succinct content for the potential client. This is an art, but a good web design and SEO company will know how to do this.


4.  Poor navigation

The average web user is an impatient little soul, with the attention span of a goldfish that suffers with attention deficit disorder. If they can’t see what they want, get straight to it and back again easily; they’re off quicker than you can say, “lost instruction”!

It really does pay to use a web designer that specialises in the commercial property sector. They understand the behaviour of commercial buyers, vendors, developers and investors better than any generic web design company could. They also have developed their products over many years. Most importantly, these specialist website are what is know as “sticky” meaning that they engage the client, causing them to return again and again.

The commercial property sector is well served, with a number of excellent suppliers, but remember, read the small print and check on their SEO credentials.


5.  Lack of features

Web users are pretty savvy these days and we’re not just talking about the 30-somethings. It is worth remembering that the “silver surfer” has been the fastest growing web user group for sometime.

In most cases, your website will mark the start of the relationship with the customer, so it’s vital that your site makes it easy to capture their information. If they are looking for commercial property or looking at how you will market their property, your search facility needs to be slick.  It’s got to be easy to use, with great pictures that don’t navigate away from the relevant page. Downloadable details featuring enhanced Google mapping, plans, Street Map, EPC data, video, fly-thru’s; you name it.

Specialist property websites will also have technology that helps you build relationships with clients, for example technology that automatically matches a buyer to new properties that fit their criteria and send them a mail alert. Great for corporate property acquisition.

So do you and your business a huge favour and give yourself a website that positively sets you apart from all the other Commercial Agents and Chartered Surveyors, engages prospective vendors and ultimately secures more business.


By Philip Burrows, Marketing Consultant