How to Create A Great Real Estate Website



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Table of Contents:
 How to Create a Great Real Estate Website

So you want to build a great real estate website? That’s fantastic. Use the following steps to create a user friendly, consumer centric website that will generate strong user engagement and therefore LEADS!

Find out how you can get your Ballen Real Estate Website (B.R.E.W.)! Reach out to us at team@ballenbrands.com, or give us a call at (702)917-0755. Ballen Brands is your lead generation team!

Beware of the high expense “leased” sites

Real Estate WebsiteThere is a lot of good that comes with sites like Boomtown, Commissions Inc, Kunversion etc. and you must also be aware of the pitfalls.

Sites like these pack a powerful punch when you combine their back end lead conversion system and their front end user friendly interface plus ppc leads.

Most of these platforms do give you a blog site and the ability to add pages and content. The only concerns I really have for these type of sites is that when you stop paying, they go away. So you have no true “equity”.

I would have a hard time investing time and content strategies with SEO into a site that would bind me to those kind of monthly fees.

What if hardship truly hit and suddenly that expense was out of budget? What if that company was sold? What if that company had problems with the search engines?

I believe in these sites and the value they provide for lead capture, and I would also suggest that you diversify your efforts so that not all of your eggs are in one basket.

I personally suggest a WordPress Blog where you pay for hosting and have no limitations to adding pages, plug ins, coding, your own IDX choice etc.

Related: SEO Tip | It’s less about the Platform and more about The Build

Focus Locally

Consumers want local. Google wants local. You must thing local. A website with strong IDX may have you indexing on the search engines, but is it getting you to page one?

What sets you apart from all of the other Realtors® that have great websites with strong IDX?

The consumer wants to know that you are an expert in their area. They want to know how the local real estate market trends will affect their home values, not the national trends. They want to know about local schools, HOA’s, community features, local businesses and so on.

Create “evergreen” pages about:

  • The Local Transportation
  • The School District
  • The Weather
  • The Zip Codes
  • The Communities
  • The Historical Areas
  • The Town/City Culture and History
  • The Local Hot Spots
  • The Local Holiday Events (Make these general, not time sensitive. Events that repeat year over year. Use the blog for specific time events)
  • Spring Break and Summer Camps for the kids
  • Home Repair Tips (Use images and videos and offer downloads once they register)
  • Home Staging Tips
  • Steps in the Home Buying Process
  • Steps in the Home Selling Process

Related: Local SEO for Real Estate Professionals

Include a Strong IDX

Let’s be real. Most of your content is created to attract the user via search and social bringing them into the top of your funnel. It’s not usually those pages or posts that cause the user to register unless you are making a compelling offer on those pages.

Most of your buyer leads will be generated directly from IDX providers like IDX Broker.

Buyers want to look at homes. They want big pictures and lot’s of them. They want video, and details. They will stick around and register and revisit a site that has a great IDX. The more you can give them, the better. They love to look at schools and the ratings and maps.

There are many great IDX providers out there. You’ll need to find one that works for you. Some IDX providers have done an excellent job creating a well “indexing (search engines)” IDX but fail on the usibility. Some forget to include similar listings, which I believe is strong tool to generate more registrations.

Test drive IDX and get opinions from other real estate agents that are generating a lot of leads on their website through IDX. The biggest challenge with IDX is building out the codes generally. And if you decide to switch IDX at some point, you would have a lot of work to do changing out all of those shortcodes and widgets. Believe me, I’ve done it twice and may do it again. Check out: IDX Broker.

Blog

Blogging has become a great form of content that generates interest from the consumer and the search engines.

Once that visitor is on your blog, you can make offers, include IDX listings, present home value reports and so forth.

A real estate blog will offer immense value. It will discuss problem solving techniques that buyers and sellers deal with every day. It will share stories of success from the Realtor®, but will focus the language on the benefit to the buyer or seller in that situation.

When the buyer and seller can directly relate to a story, when they can put themselves in that situation, they attach emotion and will often deem that real estate agent an expert because they were successful in a real estate transaction like theirs. Press Release style stories work great for these type of blog posts.

Blog Content

  • Q & A: These are the best. Write down the questions your buyers and sellers ask you.. and then blog about them! Easy!
  • Local Information
  • Special Events (Time Related)
  • Home Repair Tips (Use images and videos and offer downloads once they register)
  • Home Staging Tips
  • Steps in the Home Buying Process
  • Steps in the Home Selling Process
  • Stories about recent sales
  • Current Market Stastistics
  • Specific Community Information
  • HOA information, Calendars of Events
  • Local School Information, Calendars, Vacation Schedules Etc.
  • Tax Time advice for Sellers
  • Current Financial Programs, Mortgage Rates
  • Living in X articles: Everything you’d want to know about living in that town or community
  • Seasonal advice for buyers and sellers: Selling during the holidays, Winterizing a home, Preparing the Pool etc.
  • Local Sales, Coupons, Restaurant Guides
  • Relocation information
  • Interview local businesses

You might also like: WordPress Blogs, Plugins, Themes, Widgets – Oh My! 

Become obsessed with value

Think about it. Does a webpage or Blog post offer value when it’s 500 words? What value can you possibly be providing someone in 500 words? Maybe if it’s a quick critique on a local restaurant, or a motivational thought, or a recipe maybe.

True value comes from content the buyer or seller can use to improve a situation they are facing, or save money, make money, find local information and so on. Think Value. Don’t think search engines.

When you THINK value “What’s in it for you user?”, you will create content that ranks well on the search engines. Think beyond IDX and home values and think “What can I create that would be special, unique, and hit home with my customer? What I can create that is not already on 100 other real estate agent websites?”.

When you begin to create website content focused on value for the user, you become a specialist and an authority in the eyes of the search engines as well.

Related: Adding a real estate blog to your website is one of the best things you can do to boost your SEO

Focus On The User Experience

At first, this may seem like a daunting task. I’m going to ask you to measure some key numbers. These key numbers will tell you exactly how well your website is performing with your users. This will then give you a very strong indication to how well you could do with the search engines.

Your user experience is everything in the eyes of the search engines. Focus on the user experience, not on the search engines. Again, the search engines will then reward you. These are your Key Measures:

  • Bounce Rates
  • Actions
  • Time On Site
  • Load Time

Bounce Rates

Bounce Rates are measured by how many times a user visits your website and then leaves without taking any other actions on your site. Even if they stay on your site for 8 minutes, if they don’t click or comment or register (or take action other than leaving), they count as a bounce.

This isn’t always an indicator of no value. They may have found your blog post, loved the information, read it and moved on. The challenge then becomes, how do I add more value?

Related articles, image galleries, idx listings, offer to print or download,  offer to play video (have the video play in a new post or page so that it counts as a click. Embedding a youtube video on your site will generally not count as a click unless you are using special coding).

We work hard to keep our bounce rates under 25% and measure each post and page. Many blog sites have a 75%-85% bounce rate and although you may not be able to lower the overall bounce rate for the entire site, you could work towards lowering the bounce rate per page and post. And the lower your bounce rates, the more you know you are providing something the buyer and seller wants. This is key.

Actions

Actions are anything the user does on that website: comment, register, click, play, view, print, download and so on.

The more actions taken by a user, the more you know your website offers value. This being said, you may have a goal that will only result in 2 actions to achieve the goal.

Example:  – Total 2 Actions.

  • User finds your blog post through social media User clicks the IDX slideshow (this was your goal)
  • Pop up registration forces user information and user takes action and registers (this was your goal)

Goals like this are great. As long as you are aware that 2 actions was your goal, you have achieved the goal.

Mix in other pages that will create many more clicks so your overall user action increases.

An example might be a blog post called “15 Strategies to get more money in your pocket when selling a home”. On the first post, create step one and then offer step 2 through a click. Step two is now on a new post where you offer step 3 in a click and so on. This will generate more clicks.

Be sure to include an offer on these pages for an item of value so that you are also working to convert that visitor to a lead, not just clicks. You can measure your website interaction using Google Analytics or a tool such as Clicky.com.

Time on Site

Time on Site simply measures how long a user stayed on your site.

The longer they are present, the more that tells you that you are providing value and a quality user experience. It means they are reading your content, browsing your IDX, watching your videos, looking at pictures and so on.

If you are struggling with time on site, think VALUE. Create longer content, include more images, calls to action, videos and such.

As you attract new visitors measure the time on site. Start adding, but make sure it’s a value add, not simply an item stuffed in. You’ll know it’s working when your visitiros stick around longer.

Load Time

Load time is also worth mentioning. If the page takes a long time to load, the user will leave.

If you have long load times, you may want to look into optimizing your images, or checking if your hosting is up to par. WordPress plug ins can also slow your site down. Test and Measure.

CLICK HERE TO CHECK IF YOUR WEBSITE IS MOBILE RESPONSIVE

Be Mobile Friendly

The search engines have made it clear that your website must be Mobile Responsive. Why? Because the users are now on mobile!

Go ahead, pull up your website statistics. You’ll probably find that you have more mobile users now than desktop users. This number is going to grow. It’s growing so strong in fact, that we’ve begun designing for mobile first and desktop later.

Side columns for example don’t show on Mobile, so if your items of value and IDX are offered there, you miss on mobile! Whatever platform you are choosing to use, the website and the IDX both must be mobile responsive if the content is appearing on the mobile device.

A forced app is not going to do the trick. The user wants to see something fast and instantly and does not want to download an app to browse a website. Creating a quality real estate website today means it’s mobile responsive.

Related: Three Mobile Marketing Mistakes, Real Estate Agents Take Notice

Choose Function over Fancy

Many websites offer fancy large images, sliders, flash, video and so on. Be careful here. Anything that distracts from your goal, regardless of how pretty it is, can cost you a visitor that may become a lead and then a closed real estate transaction. Including a large real estate image slider above the fold that does nothing, offers no click or value, is a distraction. It might look cool, but if it’s not functioning, your user might bounce.

Be very aware of your offerings and what is showing on your desktop and mobile device. Drive the buyer into IDX and the Seller into home values and market reports. If they have to search around much, they will leave. Get them to where they want to go fast.

Remember, the user cares about function more than “pretty” and it’s not about you right now. It’s about the user finding what they want. Frills are great if they present you better and don’t take away from your goal.

Be sure to focus on function first and allow the design to be an accent only. It’s not about you, it’s about the user.

When you create a user friendly, customer centric website, you are rewarded by the search engines and by the volume of leads. Come from contribution. Create Value. Don’t choose EASY or CHEAP either although it doesn’t have to be expensive. Know what you are going to build and dedicate yourself to the content and quality of your website.

Ballen Real Estate Websites

Ballen Real Estate Websites, lovingly known as “B.R.E.W.”, were not developed as a product or service to sell. Instead, B.R.E.W.s were born out of our own pain-points. We set out to solve our own real estate website problems. In doing so, we realized other real estate agents like you could benefit from a system that was designed BY real estate agents.

Ballen Real Estate Websites:

  • Allow you to own your platform
  • Are designed with Search Engine Optimization in mind
  • Include a blog where you can grow your content to generate leads
  • Focus on user experience
  • View beautifully on mobile
  • Present fast load speeds
Find out how you can get your B.R.E.W. Reach out to us at team@ballenbrands.com, or give us a call at (702)917-0755. Ballen Brands is your lead generation team!

Click Here to Print The Step By Step Guide



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