Now more than ever, it’s vital that your online presence is wide and an extension of your own personal brand as a real estate agent. Although a website and social media were a big part of any successful agent’s strategy prior to 2020, the pandemic and more business transactions moving online have made both tactics even more essential.
Here’s how to make a website that stands out and converts potential clients into current clients.
Hire a web designer
Most real estate agents are really good at … real estate. If you have computer and design skills, by all means, use them. But if you’re like most agents, stumbling your way through creating your own website will result in an unprofessional and sloppy-looking product — and a lot of wasted time.
Rather than wasting time, money and energy attempting to DIY your site, you’re probably better off investing in a designer right from the start. And a great website is a sound investment. If created well and serving its purpose, your website will actually draw in clients, help them trust your services, and ultimately result in more income for your business. And, once your website is up and running, it doesn’t cost much for maintenance and small tweaks.
Have a simple, intuitive layout
Don’t get too fancy or try to cram in every last bit of information you can. Users won’t read it and will become disinterested and leave. Instead, make your website — especially your homepage — simple and clean with easy-to-navigate buttons and tabs.
A good exercise is to imagine the many reasons a potential client may visit your website. Some examples may be:
- They want to learn more about a home you have listed on a local MLS.
- They are considering hiring you to sell their home and want to learn more about you.
- They are interested in buying their first home and may want to hire an agent to help them find and purchase one.
For each of these scenarios, you want to get that potential client to their answer in the least number of clicks possible without any guesswork on their part.
Avoid real estate lingo — particularly when it comes to buttons or sections of your website — and instead use the language potential buyers or sellers may use. They aren’t likely to know what a disclosure statement or earnest money are, so it’s your job to use simple terms and explain these details. For example, these items may be lumped into a section called “Buying Process” in which you walk them through exactly what to expect.
A clean website isn’t cluttered with bright or distracting colors or loads of graphics and photos. Visuals definitely add to a potential client’s understanding of the materials, but use them thoughtfully. Of course, when it comes to listings themselves, lots of professional photos are key.
Focus on SEO
Search engine optimization — or SEO — is what makes your website appear higher on search results than other similar ones. Search engines such as Google continuously scan sites to learn more about them and reward user-friendly sites with relevant information by listing them near the top of the first page of search results.
Simple SEO tricks and changes to your website’s design and content — like ensuring it is mobile-friendly, using keywords, and internal linking — can make a huge difference in whether your site carries some weight in the eyes of Google and can increase your traffic.
By using internal linking — linking to other pages on your site via a hyperlink — you’ll keep users longer and improve your SEO.
Internal linking alerts search engines that your content is actually relevant to a user’s search, so try linking to at least five other pages from your website within every blog post or page content.
A successful site uses keywords in its page titles, subheadings and other website content. Keywords are search terms your target audience may use to find your website on a search engine.
Be broad enough to attract a large audience but specific enough to set yourself apart from other similar websites. For example, some keywords you might focus on could be “Tampa real estate agent,” “Tampa realtor,” and “real estate in Tampa.”
Quick loading speed
Forty percent of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load. Nothing is more frustrating than a website that takes too long to load due to large graphics or unnecessary features. If your website doesn’t load properly and quickly, you can’t expect people to stay on it.
To combat this, make sure to downsize any photos or images before loading them onto your site or within your blog (rather than using code to downsize them for you). This simple step can make a huge difference. Many agents make the mistake of rarely visiting their own site. Visit it often and check for excessive load times — and ease of navigation while you’re at it!
If your website isn’t mobile friendly, you’re falling behind. More than 50% of web traffic is through mobile — most people use their phone or tablet to scan the web, so a solely desktop version of your site simply won’t cut it anymore. In fact, some users may not even be able to read the content on their phone and will move on, maybe to another agent’s site. You cannot convert without a responsive web design.
In addition, search engines have recently given more weight to mobile-friendly sites — called mobile-first indexing. Prioritize this feature when creating your business website to make sure not to lose potential clients who use their phone to learn more about you.
Include obvious CTAs
In every blog, social media post, or webpage, always include a simple call-to-action to drive website visitors toward your goals.
It may seem redundant, but make sure potential clients can find your contact information easily on every page — whether it’s your phone number, email or both. You may also include an inline contact form. Either way, make it clear that you want people to contact you and that you welcome their call.
Include a helpful blog
It’s always a good move to provide value as an agent. Don’t just use your website to sell yourself — also inform current and potential clients about the industry and tips for home buying or selling. Not only will this show your expertise to readers, it may also boost your SEO.
Blog topics can be anything related to home buying, selling, or homeownership. You may wish to educate people about things such as closing costs or even go into great detail about title insurance. You could also talk about how recent events or natural disasters may be affecting the housing market and how much your clients may get for their home.
Convert potential leads to actual clients through a top-notch website
To attract clients and turn potential leads into actual clients, make your website as state- and community-specific as possible. For example, if you’re in California, educate visitors on California-specific real estate regulations, such as commission rates.
By setting yourself apart with an easy-to-understand and approachable website, you will build trust with potential clients. And the more familiar they are with your work and your expertise, the more comfortable they will feel contacting you to buy or sell their home.