Real Estate Website Design: An Insight to “Smarter”
You want to be the #1 online most popular resource for your local real estate marketplace but don’t know how or where to begin to make this happen.
I am not going to quote numbers and tell you why it is important to be found on Google when a home buyer or sellers searches for real estate for sale or a real estate company in your local marketplace. We all know online search is where people go to for information and services. Being listed on the top of Google for search terms relevant to your business can have a tremendous impact on the number of closings or sale transactions that occur.
As a SEO expert, I can tell you there are numerous factors that ultimately determine how Google and other major search engines determine which pages to display when a search is conducted. Did you know the design of a real estate website can play a major role in search rankings?
A real estate website open the line of communication between you and prospective home buyers and sellers.
Make a Great First Impression or Ward off New Sales
There are two types of visitors that will come to a real estate company website:
- new visitors
- return visitors
It is important to have both.
A new visitor is someone who has come to your website for the very first time. Therefore, before a visitor can become a returning visitor they first need to be a new visitor.
Creating an experience that captives and makes each and every new website visitor feel compelled to stay is important. And on their first visit, the average consumer pays more attention to the surface aspects of a website such as layout, typography, and color schemes and within just moments will take an action.
They will stay or they will leave.
So, what is the #1 worst thing that can occur when a new visitor comes to your website? They immediately leave your website. I call it website abandonment.
Think about this. You work hard for each and every new visitor and losing them is costly. Especially if they leave yours and land on your competitors website.
We just established what you want new visitors to do. Stay on your website. When a new visitor stays on your website, you increase the chance they will become a returning visitor. A returning visitor is an encouraging signal they may do business with you at some point.
Having a balance of new visitors and returning visitors is a healthy mixture to generate more business. So how do you encourage those first time visitors to stay on your website?
It Begins with Credibility
Real estate website design affects its credibility and professionalism for the company. This is universal and does not just apply to real estate website development, but all industries. Think about the last time you landed on a website, and hit the back button within moments. Why did you do this? Who is a home buyer or seller more apt to do business with? A company whose website commends professionalism or one that is less than professional?
A website has just moments to produce credibility and these precious moments begin with the design of a real estate website. Only after a visitor consciously decides to stay on a website do they take more time to interact with the website. Therefore, establishing instantaneous trust is a must.
Real Estate Website Design Elements of the Top Real Estate Websites
A Lesson from the Giants
So how do you establish this instant trust factor? How do you know if your real estate website was development incorporated the necessary features? Luckily we can eliminate most of the guess work by learning from the online real estate giants.
These companies spend millions of dollars to test and learn what keeps visitors on their website. Why? A visitor is valuable to them. A returning visitor is more likely to make them money.
According to Experian Marketing Services (formerly Experian Hitwise) 10 real estate listing portals capture nearly “half” of all non-mobile traffic to U.S. real estate-related websites with a total of 482 million visits in January, a 12-month high. These top 10 real estate websites captured 42 percent of total visits in this space!
Leading the pack was…
- Zillow (9.17 percent market share)
- Trulia (7 percent market share)
- Realtor.com (6.09 percent market share)
If these websites are the most popular among buyers and sellers what can we learn from them? Here are screen captures from these top 3 websites at the time this article was written…
3 Most Common Traits of the Top Real Estate Websites:
- Clean non cluttered
- Property search feature front and center
- Easy to navigate
Modern Real Estate Website Design
It is not a coincidence these top 3 online real estate destinations all have real estate website design commonalities. They have harmoniously integrated elements that establish credibility, they make it incredibly simple for visitors to search for properties and they make it easy for their visitors to quickly find what they are looking for using a clean site structure thus providing a good user experience.
Copy what works, ideas are less important than execution, Randi Thornton realWITS Founder
Defining Good Real Estate Website Design Success
A great real estate design accomplishes much more than converting new visitors into returning visitors. It also is intensifies SEO (search engine optimization).
A Momentous Real Estate Website Design:
- lowers bounce rate: a bounce is when someone comes to your website and immediately leaves.
- increases page views: a visitor navigates different sections or pieces of content on your website.
- increases time on site: a visitor shows engagement by staying longer.
- earns more links: people will naturally share your website by creating links to your content.
- earns online mentions: a mention can occur anywhere online, such as Facebook or Twitter.
- establishes Google trust: signals authority to Google
Google is smart.
Google knows your websites bounce rate, how many pages or how deep into your website people go, how long they stay on your website, how often others refer to you content with links and how often your website is mentioned or talked about. Trust me, Google uses this data to establish “website authority” and all of these factors directly affect your ability to top the search rankings.
All of this data can be found in your website analytics. I suggest you take time to view to learn how visitors interact with your website. Use this powerful information to identify areas that need improving. And because data doesn’t lie, you will know what your website visitors think about your real estate website design.
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Next post will continue to explore real estate website and will cover IDX integration, neighborhood topic and a few surprises.