We’ve talked in previous articles about the importance of web sites to the Realtor’s overall marketing strategy. But if you spend any time at all on the Internet, you know that there are web sites—and then there are web sites.
Conventional wisdom says you have about five seconds to capture someone’s interest when they land on your site. Finding you is one thing. Staying with you is entirely another matter. Here are six important things you need to do on your site to make the reader’s visit worthwhile.
- Provide easy navigation
- Give something away
- Blog brilliantly
- Be easy to reach
- Ask for action
- Link to social media
Provide easy navigation. Don’t make your visitors buy a map to find their way around. Navigation should be intuitive. Put your menu across the top tool bar with drop-downs, or down the left side. If you have a search box, make it clearly visible. Make the type on your menus big enough so visitors don’t need a magnifying glass to read it. In other words, keep it simple. Don’t have too many click-throughs that lead to other click-throughs so that visitors wander endlessly through a maze of information.
Give something away. Everybody likes free stuff. There are endless possibilities for the savvy Realtor here. Think about a tip sheet on home staging for sellers, or mortgage application tips for first time home buyers. If you’ve been blogging for a while (of course you have!) you could put your best blogs together in an e-book. You can strengthen your personal brand by giving away some of your good content. It’s your chance to show off a little and have some fun.
Blog brilliantly. A good blog is one of the key ingredients of a good web site. It could be the main reason for return visits—people enjoy reading what you have to say. It’s personal, it’s entertaining, it carries the imprint of your personality. People check it out regularly because they want to see what you’re up to. And by the way, if you’re feeling stuck about the whole blogging idea, or if you’re in a time crunch, we can help.
Be easy to reach. How many web sites have you visited where you felt the person or company was trying hard not to communicate with people? Make your contact information clear, visible, and easy to use. You must have, at the very least, a phone number and email address. We also recommend adding your street address and cell phone number. If you’re out of the office meeting with clients, you still want people to think you are reachable. Providing this information lets potential clients know that that you’ll be easy to get ahold of if they have a question or a concern.
Contact information that includes your address is also super important from a search engine optimization standpoint. Search engines want to know where your business is located and what areas or neighborhoods you’re operating in.
Ask for action. OK, someone has found your site—now what? As any good sales trainer will tell you, you’ve got to ask for the order. There are many ways to capture the casual visitor for future reference. Ask them to subscribe to your newsletter, or leave their email address for a free market analysis. Develop a dream home survey they can take. Periodically (but not too often) you could have a contest or a drawing for a free coffee card or restaurant gift certificate. The point is to have ways of building your contact list so you control how and when you keep in touch with people.
Link to social media. Social media is here to stay, so you might as well be using it to your advantage. Of course you already have a Facebook page, a Twitter account, a Pinterest board and a YouTube account. Linking to these platforms from your website will boost your search engine optimization and help build your following across social platforms. The major caveat here is that you must keep all your content fresh and up to date. You can’t just say you do social media—you actually have to do it!
And here’s the last word: there are some things you don’t need on your web site. You don’t need a lot of fancy stuff, like Flash and music. And please, please don’t put up some autoplay video that starts automatically the minute someone lands on your site. Unless you are Kim Kardashian or George Clooney, that can be way more irritating than entertaining.
In summary, keep it bright, simple, entertaining, and useful and you’ll have potential clients beating a path to your URL.