At Artifakt Digital, whenever we build out a digital strategy for a client, we spend a great deal of our time learning about their business, their clients, and their competition.
Across the industry, there are thousands upon thousands of real estate websites. We have seen a lot of them, and we have also seen where a lot of them falter or fail to take advantage of potential business.
If you currently have a real estate website that isn’t working, and you’re wondering what might be wrong, here are four things your website might be missing that you need to have:
A Streamlined Sitemap
Positive user behavior is always going to be predicated on logical user flow.
That means how successful your real estate website is will be entirely dependant on how easily your site is able to guide a potential lead into a conversion point. That begins with your sitemap.
Your sitemap is the foundation of your site. It’s all the necessary pages, organized in a way that makes sense to the user — it is also, most likely, the thing they will engage with first when they land on your site.
Therefore, your sitemap needs to make sense. This seems like pretty simple advice, but it is always surprising to see how many agents get it wrong. They make their sitemap incomprehensible and unfriendly to user preferences.
At its core, a sitemap should be divided into three base sections:
Everything else is gravy, but these are the top three.
Breaking it down further, your mission pages are those which outline your story or your team. Services are what you offer to clients, and listings are exactly as they suggest — where listings live.
The best way to formulate a sitemap for a real estate website is to think about what you offer and condense it.
That means having a lighter page load to facilitate conversions while driving traffic to your site using things like blogging and SEO.
If your entire website is a journey, then your sitemap is a map. It guides people, leading them to important information and, ultimately, a conversion. If it’s not done right, then they’ll be lost from the very beginning.
A Targeted Geographic Foundation
Many real estate agents don’t want to forsake business by suggesting they specialize in only one area.
The problem with that, when it comes to online leads and business, is that users will have a very hard time finding you through popular search engines if you don’t articulate where it is that you work.
This can even be fairly basic and doesn’t need to be reduced to a street or one city block. It can be an entire city, a collection of neighborhoods, or even an entire region (when you’re working with the right team of professionals).
The one thing you do need, though, is a dedicated place to highlight that information. It’s a cornerstone piece that gives platforms like Google an idea of where you work and helps facilitate user traffic more in keeping with your farming areas.
And, if you’re concerned about turning away business, you needn’t worry. First, referrals will likely reach out regardless and ask you to help them. At the same time, a well-thought-out content strategy can also address any of these concerns.
Well-Defined CTAs and Conversion Points
Many real estate websites lack strong or strategic calls to action (CTA).
And, as it happens, if your website is going to do one thing and one thing alone, it should be offering strong CTAs.
That means two things, both how often you offer a CTA and how convincing that CTA is when served on its own.
We have seen plenty of websites that conflate a form with a CTA, and the two are not one and the same. The form is a result of a good CTA, not the proposition itself — it should always be served with content and in context.
So, what does that mean? It’s basically tying back your services into a value proposition for your client. Whether that’s access to technology, helping them start a search, or even offering them a home evaluation.
A CTA is an offering, it’s something you’re exchanging for a user’s information. In this day and age, that’s a tricky feat, so an effective CTA is a collection of things, it’s:
- Suits the flow of the site
- Engages the user with convincing copy
- Solicits their trust with professional design
- Offers a form that is easy to fill out
All of these result in the perfect storm, and missing any of them may be the difference between hundreds and zero conversions. It needs to be balanced, and it needs to be right.
Real estate users are tough to understand, and we have spent over a decade trying to do exactly that.
That’s why, whenever we start a digital strategy project with a client, we focus heavily on where users will convert and how they will convert.
Manually-Added Listings Pages
This is a topic we have covered at length as it pertains to MLS feeds and IDX integration on real estate websites.
That said, we still see many instances where agents don’t have their own manually-added listings on their websites. Instead, they are pulling their own listings using an MLS feed.
This is an antiquated method for a multitude of reasons, but the major one is that adding listings to your website can be a boon for your SEO and for your overall user engagement.
Real estate users, whether buyers or sellers, want to see listings. Moreover, they want to see listings that are presented professionally and are easy to find.
When you add a listing to your website, along with a proper digital strategy, the possibilities are endless. Detailed descriptions, beautiful photos, virtual tours, open house information, and more. All presented more beautifully than ever before.
It gives users a place to engage, a place to convert, and a place simply to learn more about how you run your business (and how you might go about presenting their home, too).
While it may be a bit extra work, the benefits are clear. Adding your own listings, and making them a “special” part of your site makes a huge difference when it comes to ranking on Google for areas, streets, and addresses.
Start Rethinking Your Digital Strategy Today
Is your current website missing, or all, of these crucial factors? It’s not easy to build an effective real estate website because it should be both catered to you and your tastes, as well as the preferences of your users.
At Artifakt Digital, we amass data, act on it, and create solutions that make sense not only for your brand but for your target audience. That’s the key to an effective digital strategy, in addition to an effective business.
Want to generate more sales by implementing a lead and client nurturing strategy? Download our Lead Nurturing Workbook. It’s a self-guided, interactive workbook where you answer questions about how you attract, handle, and market to your incoming leads, and put together a plan to implement a solid lead nurturing strategy that gets results. And, it’s free to download.