Business Marketing

Your Real Estate Website Is Talking About Your Credibility

confusing_signsThis post may fall on deaf ears for most regular Agent Genius readers and that’s a good thing. Most of the regulars here are completely on their game and have some of the nicest most beautiful and effective web sites in the business.

However, this AG group represents only a tiny percentage of the real estate web sites out there, and we’ve all seen a bunch of interesting sites to say the least!

Personally, I enjoy checking out web sites. Any time someone leaves an interesting post on one of the 30 or so blogs I subscribe to, I typically click through and take a look at their site. You can get all sorts of ideas for use on your own site by just looking at hundreds of other sites.

Whenever I see a really bad one, what that says to me is that the person behind the site has a very low attention to detail. Also, they are apparently not overly concerned about their on-line credibility, as is being conveyed by their website.

I think we all know why on-line credibility is important, but just in case: if you are seeking leads from your web site and your site looks like garbage, then the potential lead will likely come to the same conclusion and hit the BACK BUTTON!

This business is already competitive enough without running potential leads away from your site!

Ok, so what are some of the major factors to be aware of and possibly improve upon to increase your online credibility?

Navigation – When users are on the hunt for something, if they can’t find it within a few clicks, they are outta there, period. This has been proven time and time again and I do it myself. If your main lure is the ability to search homes, then this needs to be above the fold, top left or center, and big, not buried in some horizontal navigation bar.

Design – Is your site ugly, or is it shiny, attractive, pretty and interesting looking. Does it say “look over here, and here, and here, this stuff is interesting and attractive” or does it say “I was designed in 1999 using WordPerfect?” Let’s face it, web sites are not people so surfers are not going to dig any deeper to see if there’s a good personality hiding inside. Ironically though, sites do represent their owners, who will end up with the same treatment as the site!

Error Free – This is so self explanatory, it’s tough to type here. However, let me assure you that there are many sites out there with: misspelled words, broken page links, functions that do not work, missing images, misaligned elements, incomplete pages, inconsistent fonts, etc., etc.

I’m sure as a web developer myself that I’m harsher than many, but when I see ANY of the above error items, I usually laugh or shake my head, mumble something like “you gotta be kidding me” and click away ASAP.

Theme, Logo, Brand – Every site should have at least one of these. For most real estate sites, this is not an issue as everyone has a Broker and this information is required to be on the web site, so there’s your brand. But this is the minimum and I recommend trying to come up with at least a logo or something to be remembered by. Sites without any branding whatsoever are going to be pretty bland.

Hit the Target

There’s no magic bullet here but if one can avoid at least the most basic mistakes above, this is a great start. Recently I saw a site that was so simple it was laughable, but the site was unbelievably beautiful and its main reason for being was right across the entire top of the site – probably quite effective.

Oftentimes, visitors are not looking for everything slightly related to their target; they are looking only for their target, and as fast as they can find it. Design your site for these folks. The rest of your visitors, the lookie loos and curios types will find everything else on your site on their own.

22 Comments

22 Comments

  1. Eric Hempler

    November 12, 2009 at 10:37 pm

    I think my site is pretty basic since I’m using a Keller Williams’ template for a website, but I would like to think I have a lot of useful information at least. I’ve been in Real Estate for a number years, first as a remodeler and then recently as a Realtor. I’ve also noticed much more experienced fellow Keller Williams agents have next to nothing or have poorly executed information even though they’re also using a template. One thing I would like to do down the road is incorporate some aspects from the game of Monopoly, not over kill, but some little things here and there that might be neat, but I’ll leave that up to the web guys and we’ll go from there.

  2. Eric Hempler

    November 12, 2009 at 10:46 pm

    Another thing I realized is some people have no idea what’s on their own site. Whether it’s a template or designed by a company they really have no idea what’s on it. Shouldn’t they be monitoring this?

  3. Fred Romano

    November 12, 2009 at 10:46 pm

    I think my site redesign has helped to increase my overall image an business volume. I have noticed an considerable increase in renevue generated from my website since the redesign.

    I use WP with a free template (CORE) from https://www.briangardner.com that I have modified and customized to suite our company’s needs.

    I also had a professional logo designed using https://logotournament.com which was a great investment! It was fun to see all the ideas and pick the winner.

    I focus on SEO all the time and have seen serious results over the past year in our website rankings on Google and Yahoo for prominent keywords relating to our business model.

  4. Greg Cooper

    November 13, 2009 at 7:34 am

    Sometimes the simple can be the crucial. We all assume we have great sites (AG fans anyway) but when you test them they sometimes aren’t as strong as we perceive. I’ve got all but one of those working the way I want it…but the last one (max seo) is not getting it done. Thanks Rob…..a gentle reminder can make a difference and for me in 2010 it probably will.

  5. Harold Scott

    November 13, 2009 at 1:21 pm

    Great post! A website has to have a professional look to it and must be easy to navigate. It is easy to tell the difference between a professional site and a mom and pop site. It is especially important to have a top site if you are in the luxury market. I am very happy with my RealEstateWebmasters site. They really do a nice job whether it be their templates or a custom site.

  6. Portland Condo Auctions

    November 13, 2009 at 4:48 pm

    Great web design is one of the keys that we focus on. A pretty website that is informative and easy to use keeps the leads rolling in constantly.

    -Tyler

  7. MIssy Caulk

    November 16, 2009 at 3:24 pm

    One of my big complaints is this:

    When I visit other sites, I will see the name of the city but no state. Now there is only one Ann Arbor in the country…but what about Brentwood?
    There are so many of them…I’m not sure which state it is.

    It would be helpful for consumers to know which state the real estate is in…don’t ya think?

    • Fred Romano

      November 16, 2009 at 3:42 pm

      Missy – If you are referring to listings from my site flatfeepro.com, the full address can be found on Realtor.com, Trulia, and many other websites, so I don’t know what site you are talking about.

      • Jay Thompson

        November 17, 2009 at 9:04 am

        Fred – I think Missy is talking about HUNDREDS of sites…. I’ve seen real estate sites and blogs with no city, no state, no phone number, no email. What’s the point?

  8. MIssy Caulk

    November 17, 2009 at 8:17 pm

    Thanks Jay, that is exactly what I was talking about. I’ve never visited your web site Fred.

  9. David Pylyp

    November 18, 2009 at 4:14 pm

    Client said Wow you’re all over the internet
    Uhuhh Ok https://tinyurl.com/y89rcb8 But what a handy tool to send ahead of your arrival.
    Get Proactive.

    [ NOTE FROM AGENT GENIUS: we have tested the above link and it is legitimate, so go ahead and click, it won’t bite you! -Lani ]

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