Real estate websites are essential for reaching new clients. 83% of buyers say they frequently use the internet in their home searches and 49% begin their home search online, according to a 2016 survey by the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
Here are the top features that boost the functionality and appeal of your personal real estate website:
1. Easy navigation
Your website needs to be user-friendly and effortless to navigate. The best way to ensure intuitive navigation is through use of:
- a simple menu that obviously conveys what each menu option leads to; and
- clearly labeled links and sections.
For example, when including a bio page about you and your brokerage, keep the language straightforward with an “About” menu option, rather than something more creative and ambiguous. Likewise, when a webpage on your site contains sections or boxes dedicated to specific content, concisely and clearly label them to ensure content is obvious to prospective clients.
Visitors will quickly understand what each menu option or link leads to, making them want to browse — and stay on — your website.
2. Clean design
Much like easy navigation, a tidy layout appeals to prospective clients and makes reading your web content effortless.
A quality web design typically includes:
- a header containing your logo and menu bar;
- content neatly arranged by topic or type;
- clean lines and clear divisions between sections;
- legible and organized text that does not clutter the page; and
- a footer containing contact information and social media links.
This task is one you’ll want to lean heavily on a professional web designer for, as most are skilled at arranging and displaying content in a user-friendly, attractive layout. Alternatively, you may consider using a pre-made template that meets the content needs of your real estate site.
For some illustrative examples of simple real estate website designs, check out these web templates.
3. Updated property listings
As a real estate agent, your website is an efficient way to expose property listings to a wider audience. Be sure to include a section dedicated to your current property listings.
You may arrange listings by neighborhood or zip code, or allow prospective clients to search and filter your listings. The key is to showcase your inventory and keep it updated, so prospective clients see you are active and ready for business.
Viewable property listings on your website also help kick start a prospective client’s home search, encouraging them to continue the process by reaching out to you as the trusted agent.
4. Educational real estate blog
Your website is not merely a point of professional contact, but also a place to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise as a real estate agent. Here, the best approach is to include a real estate blog, or a page containing real estate articles.
Providing educational content about home buying, home owning and all other real estate-related topics shows prospective clients you are an expert in your field and actively engaged in real estate — a reliable way to gain their trust and attract their business.
5. Community information
To further your role as the local real estate expert, include pages dedicated to information about the local communities you practice in.
Neighborhood pages may include:
- school ratings;
- local amenities;
- fun activities to do in the area;
- safety scores;
- regular events held nearby; and
- tour videos.
Community pages are useful resources to prospective clients who visit your website, as well as indicate you are the local real estate expert who’s very knowledgeable about the area.
6. High-quality photos
Prospective clients form an impression of you and your business, in part, from the images they view on your website. Thus, it’s important that you use high-quality photos — whether they’re used for your property listings or as part of your website design.
Not only do quality photos draw in buyer-clients searching for a home, but they also reflect well on you as a real estate agent by demonstrating a high level of professionalism and attention to detail.
7. Enhanced SEO
Spend time improving your website’s search engine optimization (SEO) — the process of increasing your site’s visibility to clients searching for your content. This requires use of specific keywords on your website to increase its ranking in search results and improve the likelihood of clients finding it.
The best approach is to focus your content on particular ZIP codes and neighborhoods. For instance, there are countless websites about “California real estate for sale,” making the chance of your site gaining more web traffic slim. Potential clients are more likely to search for properties in specific cities, zip codes or neighborhoods. Thus, maintaining web content about more precise geographic locations will boost your SEO.
For more in-depth information about SEO tips, read our interview with local SEO expert Jason McDonald.
8. Mobile responsiveness
Using a mobile responsive website design is crucial since homebuyers use various devices to search for real estate services online.
A mobile responsive design will adapt to any mobile device by expanding or shrinking to fit the viewer’s screen size. Mobile responsive websites contain modified design elements that change appearances based on the mobile device the website is displayed on.
For example, a large menu bar displayed when the website is viewed on a computer may be reduced to a slimmer menu with smaller icons or shorter words when viewed on a smartphone.
Making your website mobile responsive is a practical way to ensure your site is accessible to a larger audience, so always look for “mobile responsive” when selecting a design template.
9. Social media and contact info
Your real estate website is a landing page prospective clients use to further connect with you and your services, so providing the appropriate contact information and social media links is critical.
Keep your phone number and office address in a visible location on your homepage — typically in the header and footer. This anchors you to a specific location in the community and makes it easier for clients to initiate contact.
Integrating your social media profiles also increases your reach, making you more available to prospective clients — even beyond your website — and indicating you maintain an active online presence.
10. A call to action
To keep your prospective clients engaged in your content and more likely to initiate contact, incorporate multiple calls to action on your website.
A call to action is a basic marketing technique that prompts your visitors to take a specific action to increase the chances of business with them. For example, you may consider encouraging visitors to call you by providing your phone number at the end of a homebuying article you share, or prompting them to subscribe to an email newsletter you send out.
Though simple, a call to action can make a big difference in your business by encouraging visitors to take the next step.