Think of it as curb appeal for your business. Your web site is the first thing that many prospective clients notice about you. If it’s amateurish, busy, crammed with small type and lousy pictures, clients will keep right on driving. Your web site is more important than Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Google+. So if you haven’t given it a good hard look lately (or if you don’t even have your own web site) it’s time for a little self-analysis.
Ask yourself these five critical questions. If you come up short in any area, take action. This is your road map to web site success.
- Does your web site depict your brand? The site needs to reflect your personality, but even more important, your location and business image. If you’re selling million dollar high-rise apartments in New York City, your web site will look very different from someone who’s selling ranches in Texas or over-55 properties in Arizona. No matter where you are, your graphic design should be clean and uncomplicated. Learn to understand color and how you can use color to create a mood.
- Does your web site let customers talk back? Communication is a web site’s reason for being. If your communication is all one-way, you’re missing the point. Clients need a way to have a conversation with you, whether it’s through an email link, or via Twitter or Facebook or some other means. Your contact information, including your email, phone numbers (including mobile and fax), and office street address should be clearly visible. You should have a blog that asks questions and encourages comments and feedback. And a page of FAQs about you and how you do business is a helpful extra.
- Does your web site maximize the use of technology? A web site should not be simply an electronic brochure. A site that has a static photograph of your newest listing on the home page, or features slide shows of home interiors that you took with your smart phone is SO twentieth century. Seriously, the technological advances you can use to your advantage are numerous, and changing almost daily. If you want to maintain your own site, there are good content management systems that let you add text, graphics, and video easily. Learn how to insert hyperlinks to guide people to other important areas on your site. If you don’t want to do all this yourself, consider getting professional help.
- Does your web site talk the talk? Look at the copy on your site from a client’s perspective. Do your words speak to your target audience? You need to focus like a laser on the benefits clients will realize when they work with you. Your text should be easy to scan, not wordy with small type and long, gray paragraphs. Bold subheads guide the reader through your copy and make it easy for people to find what they are looking for. And above all, your writing should be grammatically correct and error-free. Oh, we know—you’re a Realtor, not a writer. That’s OK. There are professionals who can help with that, too.
- Does your web site produce results? You should expect to get leads and clients from your website on a consistent basis. Here’s how to do that: start by stating your value proposition up front. Add testimonials from satisfied clients or other Realtors. Have a section for case studies about difficult or unusual properties you’ve sold. Then put in a call to action and offer something free to anyone who signs up for your email list.
If you answered “no” to any (or all) of the above questions, don’t despair. It’s entirely possible that your business has grown and changed since you launched your web site. Look at this checkup as an opportunity to get current and move your marketing to another level. The old Realtor proverb says it’s all about “location, location, location.” That may be true, but when it comes to your web site, it’s “relationship, relationship, relationship.” Use your web site to connect, one-on-one, with every visitor. The results will speak for themselves.