A good web site is central to your overall marketing strategy, isn’t it? So what are the absolute must-haves that will set you apart from your competition and keep your clients coming back for more? While much of this information is written from a buyer’s point of view, the recommendations are just as effective with potential sellers because they will be able to see how you’ll market their property if they list with you.
- It’s your brand, so be sure it expresses who you are, both in content and appearance. Pick one or two words that describe your business image: sleek, sophisticated, down-home, friendly, efficient. Now make sure everything on the site depicts that image. Don’t go overboard on design elements—you want your properties to speak for themselves. And choose a domain name that’s businesslike, brief, and memorable.
- Contact information is a must, and don’t make people search for it. Your name, photo, phone number and “Contact Me” link should be prominently displayed on your home page. Have an “About Me” link to direct clients to your personal profile. This should be a well-written paragraph or two that makes people feel they know you (or would like to).
- Visualize, visualize, visualize.When people are house shopping online, there’s almost no such thing as too much information. You’ll need an updatable “Featured Property” on your home page, along with easy-to-navigate links to open house information, video tours, and slide shows. People aren’t just buying a home—they’re looking for a community and a lifestyle. So a slide show or video about your town or neighborhood is a nice touch.
- Link up to all your other communication channels. If you’re using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Pinterest, for example, be sure those icons are displayed on your home page so your clients can be easily redirected. Add Google Analytics to your site. This function measures your site’s impact by telling you what pages people are viewing, how they found you, how long they stay, and how you can keep them coming back.
- Information please. People love to tell you about themselves—it’s human nature. So make it easy with online forms. Start with general information forms for both buyers and sellers that gives you basic information about the home, price range, and time frame. “This is My Dream Home” lets people put their ultimate wish list in writing. “How Do I Relocate” is a must for out-of-town buyers. “What’s My Home Worth?” helps sellers develop a listing plan.
- Add some goodies. There are all kinds of interesting add-ons you can include on your site. If you have preferred or recommended lenders, mortgage brokers, title companies, or related businesses, post their links and a three or four-sentence bio. Add a mortgage calculator. Maps and directions to your place of business as well as other important points in the community are helpful, and be sure your maps have an email function so they can be sent to a smart phone or iPad.
- Hot tips. Add a blog page to your website where you post useful information for buyers and sellers. Topics like getting your home ready to sell, picking a good school district, or passing a home inspection have broad appeal. Just make a list of the questions you get asked every day and you’ll have plenty of material.
Stay tuned. In coming days we’ll be posting articles on do-it-yourself web sites, how to write great blog material, and much more – so you will want to sign up for my newsletter. When I have new content, you will be the first to get it.