Decorate with Pixels: Draw More Customers by Remodeling Your Realty Website
If you have a physical location for your realty business, you know how important it is to freshen things up and do a remodel from time to time. What about your website? It is your virtual location, and since things are changing in the online marketing world all the time, you should probably look at updating it as well.
What does that process look like and what do you look at first? Think of your website like you would a physical store, and use this guide.
The entrance to your website is marked by a sign, and that sign is your domain name, subdomains, and your logo and fonts. Unfortunately, many companies make critical errors in these areas, or they allow their site and logo to be out of date.
You already have a domain name, but your business may have evolved and it may no longer define you the way it once did. An example is MOZ, a search engine optimization company who makes several tools for businesses to evaluate their websites and those of their competition.
At first, the company focused solely on search and SEO, and so their domain was seomoz.com. As the company evolved and they added services, they moved to the simpler moz.com and used a 301 redirect to send traffic from the old site to the new one.
You can do the same. If you have outgrown your old domain name, or your focus has changed, carefully select a new one and move your traffic to it.
Subdomains and page names matter as well. Make sure these are relevant to the content they contain and that they are simple for users to navigate to and even type into a browser. The easier it is for a user to find and understand your pages, the easier it will be for search engines to do the same. If you focus on simplicity in your page hierarchy, your rankings will be better overall.
Your logo and fonts also matter. Simplicity is the key. If your logo is simple and relevant, and your fonts are easy to read, then your brand will be more recognizable from a quick glance. This will improve not only your customer's experience but can help you across many platforms. Just make sure your branding (your sign) stays consistent even in various forms of social media.
This is your website's appearance, and the concept applies the same it does when you're dealing with real estate. The user first sees your sign, then they see your storefront. The storefront, or curb appeal, is how your site looks.
Websites have evolved over time to be more responsive on mobile devices and tablets. As a result, they now look cleaner and simpler. Various colored backgrounds and fonts were once popular, but these are very hard to read, especially on small screens.
If your site looks like something from the 1990s, you may need to update it. This may also mean it loads slowly, one of the primary reasons users will bounce and go elsewhere. Studies show that if your site does not load in 2 to 4 seconds, users will go elsewhere.
Simple colors, black text on a white background, and photos that have been optimized to load quickly are essential. Making things too complex, photos that are too high of a resolution, and extensive slide shows are counterproductive unless they load quickly and look good on mobile devices.
If your site is out of date and lacks good curb appeal, you may want to look at a new theme. There are several open source and even premium themes that will meet your needs.
You never get a second chance at your first impression on users. Make sure it's a good one.
The showroom floor of your website is either your product pages or the pages that describe your services. These pages need to resemble landing pages, with the exception that your website navigation will be present where it should not be on a landing page. The most effective showroom pages always include the following elements:
● The Headline: this describes what your product is, and names it. (In your case, it's the address to the property you manage.)
● The Sub-headline: This supports and further describes the property and what's so appealing about it in a single phrase. An example might be "Gorgeous 4-Bedroom Home Less Than 10 Minutes from Downtown!"
● The Description: This is a brief description of the property
● The Details: This section describes the specifications of your property, including dimensions, number of rooms, appliances, and so forth.
● The Hero Photo: This should be a high-quality photo of your property, typically a frontal or three-fourths view shot. In other industries, one photo may be enough. In real estate, the more photos you have showcasing the exterior and interior, the better.
● A Call to Action: This invites the user to schedule a tour, make an offer, or whatever the action you desire them to take on that page might be.
Your showroom floor should be clean, match the theme of your storefront, and be easy to navigate. The search function on your site should be very simple for customers to use, and they should be able to easily find what they are looking for. If they have questions, you should have a way for them to reach out to help, and this should be on every page.
Your showroom is where your customer shops, and you need to make their experience the best it can be.
Your customer has browsed and is ready to purchase. How are they going to do that? Well, they will step up to your cash register. Online, this is your shopping cart, the payment process, and shipping options if applicable.
This is often a tough area for businesses. If your checkout process takes too long, customers will abandon their cart. However, they also have an expectation of security. Managing both can often be challenging at best, and frustrating at worst.
Use a service to help you establish a good checkout process. Both PayPal and Square offer them, and so do other companies on platforms like WooCommerce or Shopify. Test your own process and make sure it is smooth and easy to use.
Provide log-in options so that when they return to purchase again, they do not have to enter their information all over again. Add payment methods like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and others in addition to your credit and debit card portal. Even if customers do not use them, the perception that they are available will build their trust in you. Studies show that adding a payment method can increase sales dramatically.
If it has been a while since your website has seen an update, it may be time to remodel your online realty site. Start by looking at your sign, and move from the outside in, until your site looks gorgeous and functions just as well as the properties you sell. Your customers will thank you and so will your bottom line.