Creating real estate websites that convert visitors into buyers isn't difficult, but it does require following some specific practices.
When it comes to real estate websites, simplicity is one of your greatest virtues.
Want your real estate website to convert? Here are seven design elements to keep in mind:
1) Ensure a clean and visually pleasing website design
People don't visit your site because they want to be impressed by the design; they just want to look through listings and learn about the best way to get a good deal. Your website navigation should reflect those desires.
Don't bombard people with information - instead, use a few simple buttons to help them navigate your site. If people have to spend time looking around for what they should do next, or find it difficult to locate what they are looking for, they will most likely leave your site and head over to someone else's.
Clean design also increases conversion. So, in this case, beauty is absolutely more than just skin deep.
2) Use IDX integration so your listings - and those of other realtors in your region - are available on your website
As much as you wish you could be the only source for some listings, that's not how the industry works.
Real estate websites that convert visitors into buyers need IDX integration so people can actually see all of the homes in the area. If they're going through your website to do it, they're probably going to get involved with you at some point in the process, and that helps drive your business.
Visitors will go to someone else's website if they don't think you have enough listings to be worth searching.
3) Excellent photography
Pictures sell homes better than text, and excellent photography will help visitors envision themselves living at a given property. We consider great photography to be a secret weapon for Realtors. Do it well, and people will be more interested to stick around and look at more of your properties.
Given the sheer volume of houses that Realtors deal with, it may be difficult to hire a professional photographer for each one... so you may want to consider learning how to do this yourself.
Remember, photos that show houses at their best will help them sell faster and for a better price. It can and will make a difference.
4) Easy listing searches
Real estate websites that convert all have one thing in common - they make it easy for people to actually find the houses that interest them.
Different buyers value different things, so it's important to have a search feature that they can quickly configure based on their personal preferences (size, price, age, location and so on). Take a good look at your search menu, is it easy for people to search based on more than location or price? I
5) Value-added information about how to buy and sell homes
You don't want to use canned content from broker websites - that has little value and just clutters up your site.
Instead, use original content and original images, with an emphasis on serving and providing value to your audience.
A good way to do this is to write knowledgeably about the region you operate in, and share events or other "insider information" to attract your target market, helping visitors get a better understanding of your area's schools, restaurants, neighborhoods, parks, events, and local culture.
It's ok to bring in a personal touch when writing about the area you serve. People will want to know that you are familiar with the location and what it has to offer. Your about page is also a great way to let people know a little more about you, why you choose to live where you do, and what you love about it.
Providing value builds trust between you and your audience that can turn visitors to your real estate website into customers.
6) Use Google Analytics
Google Analytics can provide you with important information about the people who visit your site, including which pages they visit.
If they're never reaching the listings, for example, this will help you find out why. It can also help you figure out which types of listings are the most popular, and therefore worthy of being showcased - if people see an enticing home as soon as they visit your site, they're more likely to be interested in it.
Take the time to really learn this system. It looks intimidating at first, but Google has plenty of documentation designed to help people just like you learn to use it, and analytics is only as good as your ability to use it.
Once you know how understand what you're looking at, generate reports and ask questions of it, you can leverage that data to improve your website and convince more people to convert into customers.
7) Get your website indexed
By indexing your website, you'll ensure that search engines like Google and Bing know it exists - and that's the only way they'll ever be able to display it. This seems like it should be obvious, but many Realtor websites never actually do this, so their online presence lags far behind where it should be.
You can also start working with other elements of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The higher your website ranks, the more likely it is that people will ultimately choose to do business with you instead of your competitors, so actually doing well in search results is an important part of creating real estate websites that convert.
It's also important to understand and implement local SEO for your real estate website. Strong local SEO will help you be found by people in your service area who have more of a chance of converting to customers.
After all, unless people are actually visiting, there's nobody to convert in the first place.
Thanks for stopping by,
Editor's note: Originally published in 2016, this article has been edited and update in January 2019.