Websites for estate agents and the future
10 December, 2009 | Web design
We have done it! We have reached, or in some perspectives, survived to the end of the decade! Now the big question on everyone's lips is "What will the next decade hold?' Will the digital golden era continue or will self destruction and self indulgence cause us to live like nomads on a desert landscape? Ignoring the doom and gloom associated with environmental scare mongers, the future is considerably bright for Estate Agents online.
Throughout the last decade, we have seen a rise in internet usage. Increasingly the UK public are using the internet to shop online, read news, communicate and most importantly, search for property. The growth and popularity of property portals, increased online usage and online competition has caused Estate Agents to re-evaluate the value of their website.
A website is no longer an object of prestige to show customers contact details and previous portfolio pictures giving a slight hint of the properties that they possess. It is now a place where property searchers can, at their own leisure, search for properties that is right for them. With fantastic features such as; email alerts, high resolution pictures, enhanced Google mapping, variable search options, printable pdf property particulars, users are now spoilt for choice with the options available to them.
The next decade is going to be an interesting one - what can estate agents expect next?
HD videos - Estate Agents can expect that more features will be available on their website such as HD video. Marketing properties via HD video is going to become increasingly popular for agents and buyers. Recently YouTube has upgraded their HD video capacity, indicating that HD camcorders and HD computer monitors are becoming increasingly affordable and increasingly mainstream. A short video can give users greater insight into the property that they are viewing whereas floorplans and pictures are only a small piece of the property jigsaw.
Properties listed on Google Maps - Our recent article covering Google considering whether to enter the UK property portal market, shows that Estate Agents can expect this feature to be rolled out very soon. With a search engine market share of 92%, this could provide serious competition for property portals.
Website speed - Google have also mentioned that a website's loading speed could affect a website's Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). If implemented, Estate Agents can expect their website and the whole of the internet to start optimising websites for speed. No longer will users be subjected to long introductions and needless flash websites by web design companies looking to impress.
Social networking integration - A topic that is repeatedly covered in the media. Estate Agents can expect to see a greater integration between their website and social networking. With real-time information becoming progressively more desirable, social networking is the perfect medium for up-to-date information. Content such as press releases, new services and property alerts will be distributed through the right social networks and to the people who want it. Websites will become a core of all social networking activity.
Increased website efficiency - Research from eye tracking studies, usability studies and statistics from Google analytics are constantly improving the way users interact with websites. Improving elements such as the organisation of information will lubricate the process of initial website access to the final stage of booking a viewing.
Accepting the cloud - Over the next decade, more users will understand what is 'cloud computing' as well as the advantages and disadvantages. Initial protests over security will be withdrawn after costs are lower and users require increased accessibility.
Mobile internet - Smart phones have allowed a new wave of mobile websites. Users are increasingly using mobiles to do a variety of tasks. Websites that cater for mobile technology and mobile browsers will see the benefit of this increased usage.
Instant computers - No longer will people press the big on button and then wait for the computer to start up or make a cup of tea. This has already been recognised as a factor by the big computer companies and estate agents can expect to see that it will be incorporated into mainstream very soon.
Web 3.0 - Very soon your search engine will start learning as much as it can about you. Every single search you make will give search engines a bigger and bigger picture of what your hobbies, interests, and general web surfing activities are. Google have already announced that the process of personalised search has started across the globe.
Resource Techniques is a website design company specialising in estate agent websites and web design. Troy Stanley, CTO of Resource Techniques concludes, 'Estate Agents websites and website design is definitely going to see vast improvements over the next decade, with agents having a greater online presence whilst offering buyers and vendors an increasingly better online service.'
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