You’ve heard many web vendor sales pitches, right? And, they all sound so convincing! There are plenty of wonderful web vendors out there who specialize in real estate websites. In fact, when we looked to see who designed the winning sites in the 2017 REAL Trends Website Rankings, three vendors stood out:
However, picking the right company to build your website is vital to your success. Always align your website goals with the vision of your firm, whether that be to focus on pure aesthetics and branding, backend tools for sales associates, CRM-driven backend integrations, or all of the above.
Below are some things to consider when choosing a website vendor:
- Overall Agreement. With any website vendor, it’s important to add certain contingencies to the overall agreement. For example, the overall length of the agreement, as this will decide the fate of your website for as little as a year to several years.
Different website vendors have different pricing models. Some will offer a monthly maintenance/service package that covers a certain amount of work. Others will charge on a strict per-project and update basis. Depending on your budget and how often you wish to update your website, there are important factors to consider. Important: Choose a vendor that provides a platform that is scalable and allows you to customize your platform in house.
- Design Flexibility & Exclusiveness. No one wants a cookie-cutter website. That’s why you should choose a vendor that provides flexibility in overall design and also offers market exclusivity. With the design process, there should be an opportunity to customize almost every aspect of the website to include your branding attributes and custom elements and functionality across the entire website. This design should be exclusive to your firm, and not available to any other firm in your market. This will depend heavily on the website vendor you choose and the design packages, templates and level of custom build they offer. There should be a strong emphasis on mobile-friendly pages, which should account for the influx of mobile traffic that will continue to escalate over the coming years.
- There are several forms of functionality you should implement during the development process. Find a website vendor solution that will cater to the aspects that increase the overall functionality and visitor interaction of the website, such as forced lead registration tools, the ability to sign into/create an account on the website via Facebook or Google login, chat integrations and agent tools.
The website should provide all of these tools on the backend and offer flexibility for agents to further develop their presence and manipulate individual profile pages. Finally, there should be several integrations of CRM and e-mail tools for agents, such as lead routing, DRIP and email campaigns, agent productivity and customized reporting tools.