Unlike you and your staff, your website works 24/7 for 365 days in a year. Make it 366 days for leap years.
But do you know that while a website works 24/7, there’s no guarantee it will succeed in pulling in viewers and generating leads? Are you sure that your website is found by search engines and is successful in generating leads? If the answer is no, there’s something missing.
There are many variables that have to be factored into the website design process and we’re here to help. Here is a comprehensive list of real estate website design best practices that will help you build a user-friendly and robust site:
1. Domain Name:
If you already own a website, there’s no point in changing its domain name. But if you don’t, then you must research Google to figure out top searched key phrases. Here’s how:
- Open google.com
- Login with your Gmail account
- Click on the “Tools” link in the main navigation bar
- Choose “Keyword Planner”
- Click on “Find New Keywords”
- Enter your keywords (don’t forget to location if you specialise in a particular city/suburb – for example, Broadbeach real estate, Broadbeach homes, Broadbeach property, and so on)
- Choose category (Real Estate)
- Write Landing Page (write your competitor’s URL here)
- Choose Country (Australia)
Now get ideas and figure out the top searches. Title your website accordingly.
2. An Easy, Prominent and Versatile Search Box
This box must be like — bang in your face. It should allow viewers to easily search for properties (sale/rental) based on budget, location and type of transaction (auction, direct, agent, foreclosure), etc. Many Australian real estate agents operate websites that focus on one city or suburb. You must ensure that you offer a wide choice within your niche.
Call To Action or CTA include those bright huge buttons that stare the viewer squarely in the face, inducing him to click. Your website must contain big, beautiful, bright and compelling buttons that grab the viewers’ attention and induce them to click. Don’t write the usual “Click Here” stuff – get creative and write catchy copy on your buttons.
There’s another kind of call to action, and that’s in the copy. Your final paragraph or line must motivate the viewer to act by either clicking on the button or picking up his phone and calling you. Hire a copywriter if you don’t know how to plug in an effective CTA.
4. Simple, Easy on the Eye UI, and Fast
The site’s User Interface (UI) must be intuitive, simple to navigate, uncluttered and easy on the eye. Ask your designer to create a website that will appeal to visitors, not just to you or him. Tell him to compress the code, optimise the images and ensure that your website loads fast. You can always perform a speed test and figure out what’s slowing down your website here:
Ensure that your phone number is displayed prominently and the contact forms are designed neatly and are working.
5. Real Estate Website Prelaunch Checklist
Ask your web designer to check and fix, if required, the following:
- Usability testing (checking website navigation)
- No grammar/spelling errors in content.
- The search results are working great and the properties’ database is efficiently designed.
- Is your website responsive? (i.e., whether it delivers a true web experience across all browsers?). Remember, the number of mobile searches are on the rise and therefore you must ensure your site is mobile- and pad-friendly.
- Your website works on all major browsers (Chrome, FireFox, Internet Explorer, etc.) across all operating systems (Windows, Mac, Linux).
- How many visitors can your website support at one time without compromising on speed?
- Is your website secure? Does it prevent unauthorised access to secure pages? Can visitors download restricted files without being authorised?
- Does your website’s code conform to W3C standards?
- Has your designer created and uploaded Robots.txt, Sitemap.xml and a .htaccess file? The Robots file informs search engine crawlers about the pages they should or should not visit, the Sitemap.xml informs the crawlers about your website’s structure and navigation, and the .htaccess file protects folders by granting access only to users who have the password, bans or allows users depending on IP address, stops directories from automatically listing the site, and more.
- The designer has programmed the Canonical.
- 404 error pages show up whenever users key in a URL that does not exist on your site.
- The website is hosted on a spam-free server. Check your server IP at the MX Tool Box.
- Has the designer compressed the code?
Content is not just king, it is the emperor, empress and their mother, father, and so on. Every search engine algorithm allots a mighty weight to quality and meaningful content. So, if you want your website to rank high up on search engines, write and post meaningful content – at least 750-800 words per blog post. Write informative and helpful blog posts regularly (2-3 posts/week) and remember not to add promotional content in blogs.
That was about the blog posts. Other website pages must be well written by an experienced copywriter.
7. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
SEO is an integral part or the website making process. A well-optimised website can be easily found by search engines. Flawless website code, well-researched keywords intelligently placed keywords, user friendly design and regular content updates can help your website rank high.
Hire a web designer who is up to date with the latest SEO trends.
Finally, remember that no matter how user-friendly, well-designed and optimised your website may be, in the end everything depends on how well you well you convert your leads into customers. But that is your business and you know how best to handle that part.
To develop a robust website that attracts visitors and convert them into leads, follow the guide above. If you’d like to know more or have any queries, feel free to contact Real Estate Connected for a no-obligation chat. We are professional website designers and plugin coders and will be happy to help you out.