The Best Estate Agent Websites
16 May, 2017 | Web design
A website is a 24-hour window to your business that can be accessed from anywhere in the world at any time. It is likely to be the first point of contact for customers, and all potential customers are likely to see the company’s website before they even consider making contact.
Getting people to your website is half the battle, but the other half is convincing those potential customer that have landed on your website that you are the best agent for them, this is why your website must be completely focused on your customers’ needs and requirements, helping them find exactly what they are looking for as quickly and efficiently as possible otherwise you will find yourself losing a great deal of business to your competitors.
So, what makes for the perfect estate agency website?
At Resource Techniques we pride ourselves as digital marketing specialist for the property industry, which includes websites for estate agents, SEO, social media and all other digital marketing strategies. We stride to produce the best estate agency websites so our clients can find success and achieve their true potential online.
Over the last 20 odd years we have produced some of the most stunning and user-friendly websites that impress the public on a daily basis. So as the specialists, we have decided to share our knowledge of how to create the best website for estate agents.
So, here’s what an estate agent truly needs to have the best website in 2019:
A Fully Responsive Website
A responsive website is a website that adjusts the content, imagery and layout to fit any screen no matter what the size.
Not only does responsive design deliver the best user experience across all devices, but it is also favoured by Google and will have a direct impact on your SEO.
Mobile is now dominating the web, and most estate agency website now have over 50% of people accessing their website via mobile devices and in some cases this percentage goes up to a massive 80%.
This has prompted Google to introduce mobile-first indexing which is where Google’s crawling, indexing, and ranking systems use the mobile-version of a website over the traditional desktop version in order to deliver better results to mobile users. This means that non mobile-friendly websites will suffer significantly more than before as mobile-friendly (responsive) websites will be ranked up.
With more and more people visiting estate agency websites through mobile devices, responsive design really is the only way to go. It is no longer a luxury but the norm.
Forcing your website visitors to use a non-mobile friendly website will only deter them as a full-sized site squeezed into a mobile device is very difficult and tricky for people to use.
This means that it has never been more important to have a fully functional and easy to use website that works across all devices, no matter what the size than now.
One Stop Shop
Your website needs to be a wealth of information, so much so that your users won’t have to go anywhere else to find extra information regarding the properties they are looking at such as information about the area, local schools, etc. This information should be easily accessible in relation to whatever they are looking at on your website.
Big Bold Imagery
An image really can say a thousand words. The right image can significantly improve brand identity, visual appeal and you stand out from your competition.
Your visitors must be greeted by a beautiful, full screen image or video that grabs their attention, draws them in and helps them to engage with your website. If it’s not appealing or looks dated your audience is likely to go elsewhere.
It may sound obvious, but user-friendliness is commonly overlooked or neglected when it comes to web design. Estate agents tend to get caught up in the appearance of the website, striving for the creative edge, uniqueness of design and functional gimmicks that are on offer, without even considering the usability impact that these elements may have.
When it comes to great usability, simplicity and minimalization are your friends. Visual appeal can only take you so far and if done incorrectly can have a hugely negative impact on your website’s performance.
Remember, your website must be easy to use for everyone, not just you.
A great website will flow seamlessly without making their users think about where to go or what to do next, it will be so obvious and self-explanatory that the user’s actions will come naturally.
Be wary of forcing too many options on any individual page and avoid distracting gimmicks otherwise you will find that your users won’t perform the intended tasks.
Clear and Simple Navigation
Once again, the keyword here is USABILITY. Very few people visit your website with the intension of taking their time to explore your website in full. The modern internet user wants information fast and directly in front of them for an efficient and effective experience.
It is crucial that your navigation is clear and well structured. Your site needs to be organised in a way that flows as if the visitor is on a journey and it’s your job to get them from point A to B.
The primary navigation is central to this and must include the key elements of your website, for example the Homepage, Property Search, Services, About Us and Contact Us. These are the pages that users are most likely to want to visit, so make sure they are right in front of them.
Including too many options with the navigation will result in confusion, leaving potential customers not knowing what to do or where to go, which will likely lead to the customer backing up and leaving.
Ensure you look at your website from your customers perspective and that everything is easy to find within a few clicks.
Prominently Displayed Property Search
Despite what you may think, the majority of people visiting your website will use the property search function within seconds.
This isn’t necessarily because they are searching for properties themselves, but to size you up as a potential estate agent to sell their property. Vendors will view your property portfolio to see how many properties you have on the market and the type of properties you tend to sell. These factors will have a huge impact on the visitor’s perception of you.
This is why the property search function should be your primary call-to-action, clearly displayed in a prominent position on the homepage, directly in front of them.
The property search needs to be highly functional and include a Maps Search due to their popularity. This type of search makes it easier to visualise where the property is located and gives the user a better idea of what is around the property.
Fully Optimised For SEO
The success of every website revolves around being found on the search engines. If your site can’t be found on Google for relevant keywords or phrases such as “Estate Agents in [your area]” you will be losing out on a substantial amount of potential business.
Your website needs to appear as close to the top of the search engine results page, to ensure maximum exposure. The closer you are to the top will increase the chances of searchers clicking on your web page.
SEO will provide a huge source of traffic to your website and will be one of the main ways in which you will be found by potential clients, which is why SEO should be incorporated into your website from the initial build stage.
Every estate agent is fighting for the top spot, so it is vital that your website is fully optimised to stand the best chance of ranking.
Well Written Content
Content may be seen as being a little boring, but it is an essential part of web design and SEO. It will also help your visitors determine whether or not you are the right agent for them. This is why it is important to make your content easy to scan and avoid grammatical and spelling errors, otherwise your business may not appear as professional as you’d like to be seen.
Also, as internet users prefer to scan content rather than actually read it, it is important to provide scan friendly layouts including bullet points, short paragraphs and highlight things you want to stand out.
One of the most frequently visited pages on any website is the About Us page. If a potential client has any interest past the homepage, they are likely to go to this page to find out more about your business.
Your About Us page should explain who you are, why they should choose you over the competition, what you do, a brief history of your business and how you deliver results.
Being creative with the About Us page can go a long way so ensure you have put some thought into yours to help it stand out.
Clearly Displayed Contact Info
The last thing you want to do is make it difficult for potential customers to find your contact information.
Your phone number and address need to be at least displayed within footer of every page on your website. You should also have a Contact Us page within your primary navigation, and the Contact Us page should include your phone number, address, email and social networking links to give your audience a variety of way to get in contact with you.
Safe and Secure
A great website must go way beyond just beauty, they will go the extra mile and ensure that their visitors are safe while using their website. Having HTTPS will keep your site visitors safe and prove to them that you care about their safety, which will in turn reinforce their trust in you and boost your websites SEO efforts.
Google continues to give HTTPS websites more prominence in their search engine results by ranking them up for using HTTPS. This is because Google wants to keep their users safe online too and HTTPS websites help them achieve this.
Internet users are generally more security conscious these days which is why those not using HTTPS will stand out for the wrong reasons.
The internet is a scary place, so it is your job to prove to your audience that your website is a trusted and professional business.
Potential customers want to know they can trust you and there are several ways in which you can persuade them, such as:
- Including reliable reviews from reputable third-party review websites such as Google My Business and Feefo on your site.
- Having a modern, up-to-date, non-cluttered website which will show the user that you are a company that cares about your image and customers.
- By having an integrated social presence into your website, which will help you to establish yourself within your local community as an industry expert. Proving to newcomers that you are a trusted property professional.
Super-Fast Page Load Speed
Nobody likes waiting around for a website to load. Slow site speed has a hugely negative impact on your customers experience and the overall performance of your business.
The best estate agency websites will ensure that their website loads within a few seconds by only including essential elements, using the most reliable hosting services and compressing imagery to ensure nothing is slowing down their sites.
Highly Functional and Detailed Property Pages
Most people who visit your website will want to see your property stock, so it is vital that you make their experience as useful and rewarding as possible.
So, what do people really want from a property particulars page?
High Resolution Photos
When viewing properties, the user wants big, high quality photos. Large, high resolution images give off a truer representation of the property which is exactly what your visitors want.
Also, don’t let your property imagery be too deceptive, it will only harm you in the long run.
Descriptive Property Details
People want as much information as you can give them regarding the property. Not only do they want large, high quality imagery to get a feel of the property, they also want an informative description of the property answering all their questions without having to pick up the phone and talk to an agent. This way they won’t waste their time with pointless questions and viewings.
Google Maps and Street View
Once upon a time Google Maps and Street View was just a cool gimmick but now it really is a necessity. Having Google Maps and Street View embedded and functional on every property page is a must for every estate agent as it helps the user visualise the area in which the property is located.
Too often you see incomprehensible floorplans that are too small or low quality to view, very inaccurate or misleading. Floorplans are a key part of helping the potential buyer visualise the layout of the property.
All the property information needs to be located on the property page and floorplans are no different. The floorplans must be embedded within the page to ensure they are easy to open and close without affecting the sites usability.
Contact Details and Shareable Links
Once the user has viewed the property page, they may be interested to find out more, book a viewing or share it with their friends or significant other.
You should make this as easy as possible for them by including your phone number, a contact form, shareable social links and an ‘email a friend’ function directly on the property particulars page.
Making it easy for the user to share your content will also help to promote your business, expand your reach, increase your social presence and boost brand awareness.
Not everyone is tech savvy, some people prefer to view things on paper so it’s best to give them the option of a PDF brochure that they can print off.
It’s important that you aim to fulfil everyone’s needs and requirements to the best of your ability. Some people still like having a hard copy of the property particulars. Being able to download, save and print property particulars at any time is useful for some users and it can also save estate agents time and money.
The Ability To Save Properties
Giving your users the ability to save the properties they like is highly beneficial to the user experience as it will enable them to be able to find the favoured properties again quickly and easily.
Having the best website doesn’t necessarily mean having the most unique, beautiful or creative website. It may look like something special but that doesn’t mean it will drive the kind of results you want from a professional website.
These features, functions and tips will hopefully help you to improve your website for the better. Your website is your 24/7 shop window that is accessible from anywhere at any time so it is vital that you try to make it as good as you can for your audience.
To find out how you can achieve a better website, why not request a Free Website Review by Resource Techniques.