Web design for Estate Agents – Ultimate guide
20 May, 2010 | Web design
Shopping for a new website can be tricky. Every Estate Agent website provider will offer you a different type of service, at different prices, and with all different results.
At Resource Techniques we always advise Estate Agents that they take their time over choosing a bespoke website designer. Never forget that your Estate Agent website is an online window that gives property searchers an instant impression of what your brand stands for.
Within three seconds a buyer or vendor has accessed your website and made a snap judgement about your business. Getting even slightly getting it wrong can seriously harm your brand image and you haven’t even had the chance to meet them face to face.
Stern warning on Estate Agent website design aside, the web design team at Resource Techniques has created the ultimate benchmark guide for the of features and functionality that web savvy users now expect from Estate Agent websites.
- Website text/content – Content is important in two ways. Firstly for customers to use and then for Search Engine Optimisation or SEO. Without first class content, property searchers and possible vendors cannot access important information they need and at the speed they wish to access it. Without first class content on your website, search engines do not believe that you are relevant for your desired keywords.
- Browser compatibility – Not everyone uses Internet explorer, in fact there are 5 major browsers that are used in the United Kingdom. Web designers should make sure that your Estate Agent website can be displayed on all five of the major browsers.
- Latest viewer – Large high quality images showing each property in your portfolio is great, but how do you display them? They’re too large to be embedded within the website and placing them in a pop-up is annoying for the user. The trend, started by large corporations, is to use an image viewer that can display large images without leaving the website. Check out our portfolio for more information.
- Video – Video is one of the best things an Estate Agent can have on their website. Not only does it add an extra marketing dimension to your website but search engines such as Google love video. There’s no denying that correctly using videos on an Estate Agent website will help your SEO. If you haven’t got video on your website, now is the time.
- Background colours – There’s no need to tell you branding is important. As mentioned in the rant before, Estate Agents have 3 seconds to impress. After those three seconds you’ve lost a customer, possibly forever.
- Navigation – How many times have you gone onto a website and felt lost? This should never be the case. Estate Agents have to make sure that people using their website feels at ease and is able to retrieve information or properties with quickly and efficiently.
- News feature – Updating company, local and industry news is one of the best ways to improve your ranking within Google. Placing in particular terms within your news feed will help Google to realise what you are trying to optimise for.
- Featured properties – Again this is a great feature for the user, but regularly changing your website feature properties show a search engines that your Estate Agent website has regularly changing content. This will spark their interest and not only will they delve deeper into your website but they’ll come back more often.
- You’ve been framed – Frames are now an old fashioned way of making websites, check to make sure your web designer does not still play with frames and uses a website design technique called ‘dividers’.
- Property search – Why would you want to hide the property search button for an Estate Agent’s website? Unfortunately this still happens. A prominent property search button will smooth the property searcher’s goal towards viewing their dream property.
- Social networking links – Another great and modern way to help your ranking within Google. The social networking phenomenon is worldwide and is taking up more and more of people’s time. Estate Agents can use this to further interact with buyers and vendors whilst establishing themselves as THE expert in their area, all awhile helping your SEO.
- Staff profiles – Estate Agency is a people business and apart from social networking, there’s no easier way to show the people behind your brand than to have staff profiles
- Enhanced Google Maps – Google Maps is one thing, but enhanced Google Maps is the real WOW factor when it comes to Estate Agent websites. Users can not only see each property on a Google Map but also see the local amenities such as schools and restaurants within the local area. People can plan how they will get to work with local transport or they can plan their children’s route to school.
- Google Street View – Google Street view is cool. It was catapulted into the media regarding privacy concerns, but it is here to stay.
- Clear Contact Details – Shockingly this is another regularly practiced faux pas. Estate Agent websites should have clear contact details on every individual property so that people can pick up the phone without having to ever leave their dream property.
- Email alerts – People are busy these days, maybe they don’t have time to keep checking back on your Estate Agent website. Give them the chance then to sign up to email alerts so that local property that matches their criteria can be sent to them directly to their inbox.
Troy Stanley, CTO of Resource Techniques comments, ‘Have you noticed that most of these features benefit both search engines and people use your website? This is because search engines only want to provide websites that people will want to use.
‘Think how powerful if your Estate Agent website could be, for the user and your ranking within search engines.’ – Troy Stanley.