Thinking of rebuilding your real estate agency website? Read our checklist and browse our top three real estate website designers.
Think of your real estate agency website as your online shop front. Get the formula right and you'll not only drive traffic to your site but you'll rank high across multiple search terms in search engines. When I talk about traffic I mean vendors and landlords who either want to sell or rent their property.
However, if you choose to build your website with a developer who has little or no experience with real estate sites you’ll probably be in for a fair amount of frustration. Not to mention the ongoing hassle and additional costs to correct errors.
Consider the following when looking to design an effective real estate website for your business.
Checklist for rebuilding a real estate website:
- Can I edit my visual content and meta tags? Can I post blogs? You want to have backend access to your website.
- Does my CMS (content management system) talk to my website and all my subscription portals such as homely.com.au.
- Keep your existing Google Analytics tracking code.
- Ensure your contact address details mirror your Google Plus local contact details exactly.
- Is the website ‘responsive’? Meaning what is the browser user experience like when viewed on a mobile device?
- Is my website slow to open? (See below for page speed insights.)
- Make sure your website has a SSL (secure sockets layer) certificate attached.
- Before you choose a website developer get a list of the sites they have built and check their references. Call the real estate agencies they’ve worked with to see what their experience was like.
- Are your ‘call to actions’ (CTA) such as – ‘Get property appraisal’, ‘How much is my home worth?', ‘Find an agent’ etc.— clearly visible?
Be in control
One of the most important things to check before hiring a developer is that you have control over your website content. Make sure you can implement edits to visual content and backend content. There is nothing more frustrating for an agent that wants to edit their own site only to find they’re locked out as set out in the terms and conditions. Sure, the developer will make changes – at about $120 an hour. Having control of your content enables you to make changes, create blogs and optimise your website.
A website built on the WordPress platform is a good place to start. About 28% of the web uses WordPress. You can create landing pages and add simple forms for users to submit. You can create additional pages and simply add these to your menu. Insert social media plugins etc.
Website page speed
Pagespeed is how fast your website uploads onto browsers on desktop or mobile devices. It is a major factor for search engine algorithms and how they rank your website. Naturally a website that uploads fast will gain more points than a slow site.
When you’re deciding on a website developer ask for a list of their current clients. Then, go to PageSpeed Insights and input the web address for a report on how fast their site is performing on desktop and mobile. There are multiple causes that can slow a website down. The main issue is generally the banner images. If the site has a specified size for the images then the images you upload should mirror these dimensions. If not, search engines crunch the image to size and this slows down a website.
Purchasing a SSL certificate will make your URL begin with https://. This is a sign to search engines your site is secure. Any website that captures browser details needs a SSL certificate or search engines will post a warning that the site is not secure.
Cloud based hosting
Ask your hosting provider if their websites are on the ‘cloud’. The cloud is a network of servers that store data such as files, images, videos etc. The cloud serves web pages faster and more efficiently. This gives the browser a heightened user experience and better search engine rankings.
Remember your website is your online front door. When a potential future client enters your site what questions could they ask and do you provide easiliy accessible answers? Typical questions could be – ‘I need a rental’, ‘I want to purchase a home’, ‘I need a property manager’, ‘How much is my home worth?’. Is your site providing this information and if so, how easy is it for the potential client to enquire?
Finally, when deciding on your new design, poll at least 10 independent people from your business to gauge their response and to get their feedback on your site. Ask them what the pros and cons are, and how the site could be improved.
3 of the best real estate website developers in Australia:
Agentpoint have a library of off the shelf website templates and they also offer custom designed websites. Best of all you get the keys to your website. Depending on your level of website expertise you can easily edit content. You can also optimise all your pages and add blogs. I rate the support team response highly. All their websites are built with the WordPress platform and come with a SSL certificate.
Stepps are an interesting organisation. They build beautiful real estate websites on WordPress at a price. They partner with Google Cloud and Amazon web services. They focus on content marketing and browser experience. I would enter them as my number one pick but they seem to be gearing toward marketing rather than design. However, it will be interesting to see how they evolve over the next 12 months. It will not surprise me to see them as the dominant real estate web developer in the future.
Siteloft has several template websites to choose from built on the WordPress platform. These are clean looking websites. They have recently partnered with Rex CRM Software. The website build takes about 4 weeks. They have a library of client websites that you can view.
We hope these tips have helped inform what you want to get out of your real estate website redesign and put you on track to selecting the right developer for the job.
Are there any other important considerations you made when building your website? Let us know in the comments below.
Peter Farrell is the Director of SEO For Real Estate. The former Head SEO for Century 21, Peter has 12 years online real estate experience.
Homely.com.au is a new way to search for Fairfield real estate for sale and properties to rent in Brisbane. With over 340K listings and 500K local reviews and insights, homely.com.au is a faster and easier way to search for property to buy and rent in Australia.
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