essential elements of a real estate agent website

Essential elements of a real estate agent website

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Essential elements of a real estate agent website

essential elements of a real estate agent website

If you’re considering investing in your own real estate agent website then here’s:

  • what you need to know
  • frequently asked questions of website designers and
  • the some things to be aware of .

Build a website and they will find it

Sadly, having a website is a bit like having a Facebook Page. Both take effort and energy on your part.

Fortunately, though, the thing with a website is that it’s more “set and forget” than Facebook.

By this I mean that the objective of Facebook (and other social media platforms) is the social aspect. In other words if you just dump and ditch (dump a post then ditch the conversation) your followers won’t put up with that sort of behaviour for long.

However, with a website, that’s exactly what you can do (and get away with it).

Provided you turn off the commenting options on the posts you write, you can write one post and then get on with the next one. You don’t have to hang around making yourself available to participate in the conversation.

What you do need to do though, is let the world know you have your own website. You can do this by simply including your website address on all your marketing material.

Website Page Ranking

First up – do not expect your website to rank on page 1 of Google Search Results Pages (SERPs). Because it won’t. Your real estate company is likely investing hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars in making sure they rank.

As a result of all the different factors that comprise Google’s (and the other search engines’) ranking algorithms, it’s nigh on impossible for a single agent website to out-perform a company website.

This is simply because of the sheer numbers of visitors a company website will have compared to an agent website.

What is an algorithm?

It’s the complicated mathematical equations search engines (like Google & Bing) use to dish up the answers to questions being asked online.

Must have behind-the-scenes integrations

Mobile responsive

I’m still gobsmacked by the number of web designers who charge extra for a mobile optimised website.

In today’s world I consider this highway robbery!

There is no longer any justified reason for charging clients two fees – one for a desktop website and one for a mobile website.

Both mobile and desktop should be the exact same website. One website that simply and automatically resizes to fit the viewing device (eg, desktop, tablet, smartphone).

If your web designer tells you two different websites are required find yourself another designer because s/he is only interested in your wallet – not your business’s welfare!

Google Analytics

Google Analytics allows you to see what’s happening on your website.

Although Google doesn’t charge anything for this service, your web master may charge you to set up and install it on your website.

Here’s Google’s Analytics for Beginner’s course – it’s free.

Integration with your email client

Email ‘clients’ are services (apps) that enable businesses to bulk send mail-merged type emails (not via CC or BCC). For example, Mailchimp and Aweber.

Every business needs to grow its database of clients and prospects. One very simple way of doing that is to send out regular email newsletters.

To do this you need a way to collect email addresses.

Having a ‘sign up form’ on your website is one easy way. But it needs to be set up and integrated into both your website and email client application.

Mailchimp is free (for up to 2,000 subscribers).

It’s the one I recommend to every small business because it’s effective, simple and easy to use.

I use Mailchimp myself.

Your website’s Must Have Pages

Here are the basic, must-have pages your real estate agent website should have:

Home page

Your home page is where you let people know they’re in the right place for specialist real estate information about your farm area. Let them know what your farm area / speciality is.

For example – the home page on this website lets real estate agents know they’re in the right place if they want to learn how to get found, get called and get more listings.

Not all visitors arrive on your website via the home page so make sure when they click “home” they can see they’re in the right place for specialist real estate information about your part of town.

About page

Your About Page is where you introduce yourself to your website visitors. Include an up to date photograph (preferably the same one you use on all your marketing material).

Keep your paragraphs short and easy to read.

Property Page(s)

You can have all your listings / solds on one page or split them into “for sale” and “sold”.

News page

By including news on your website you’re demonstrating you’re up with the play.

Remember – you want to always position yourself as a Real Estate Specialist, not a Real Estate Generalist.

Specialists know what’s going on in their market place and have their fingers on the pulse of industry-related current affairs.

For example, on my news page I share news articles that are helpful for my clients (real estate agents) to know about.

Testimonials

These need to be kept current. If possible include photos and video testimonials.

Contact Us

Include all the various ways it’s possible to contact you but only detail these if you (or your PA) monitors those channels. For example, don’t include Facebook Messenger if you rarely open that app.

Include as many one-size-fits-all options as possible because not everyone has a Facebook, Twitter, Messenger, Instagram, LinkedIn account. But most people have an email address and a phone number.

Sooo, even if email isn’t your thing any more, bear in mind it is still the preferred method of communication for the majority of people.

Email Newsletter Sign Up Form

This is essential!

Even if you don’t publish your own newsletter you need to somehow tap into your office’s newsletter so that you can grow your database list.

In an ideal world, you’d be publishing your own newsletter and growing your own database (external to your office).

This is a non-negotiable must-have on your website.

Website Essentials – summary

Here are the essential elements you absolutely must have on your website:

  • Dashboard Integrations & Insights:
    • Google Analytics
    • Email Client database integration
  • Pages:
    • Home
    • About
    • Properties
    • News
    • Testimonials
    • Contact Us
  • Email Sign Up Form(s)

Additional ways to cement your real estate expertise with your website

If you’d like to take your real estate agent website to the next level then here are additional elements you can include. These elements will make an amazing difference in positioning you as the Real Estate Specialist.

Unless you’ve purchased a website where the pages are limited in number, most websites enable extra pages to be added in as a matter of course.

Preferable (but not essential) Dashboard Integrations

Cookies

Cookies take “analytics” one step further and allow you to implement remarketing campaigns with your website.

Remarketing is when someone doesn’t transact with you the first time they visit your website.  By implementing remarketing campaigns it means your website will show up in different advertising spots around the world wide web for a set number of days. You determine the duration of the remarketing campaign.

Here’s a simple explanation for website cookies.

Facebook Advertising Pixel

If you’re following your real estate ‘duty of care to your client’ obligation to the letter, then you must have a website (IMHO) if you intend to offer Facebook advertising as an option for your vendors.

You can run Facebook advertisements without a website. But nowhere near as powerfully (and ultimately as cost effectively) as if you had your own website.

Facebook’s advertising pixel is similar to a cookie but it’s designed purely for Facebook. Having this pixel embedded into your website means you’ll be able to run super-targeted property advertisements for your vendors.

The Facebook pixel will enable you to:

  • Run more precise and targeted advertising campaigns
  • Achieve a lower cost per click for your vendors’ advertising campaigns
  • Be seen as a specialist real estate agent who’s a rocking digital and online marketing

The pixel itself is free but your webmaster may charge for its installation and set up.

Quizzes

Quizzes are a fun and sophisticated way to get people visiting your website as well as building your database.

Preferable (but not essential) Website Pages

Resources page

This is where you’ll list all your ebooks, white papers, reports.

If you don’t have any yourself then find out whether your company has published any of these that you can include on your website.

Alternatively, we can help you with these – send Julie an email.

Case Studies

These are in addition to your testimonials page.

Case Studies help demonstrate your prowess and expertise.

Include as many different types of case studies as possible – for example:

  • Where you worked with a mortgage broker or other professional to help get a deal across the line or achieve an amazing sale price.
  • Where a client was hesitant about listing with you and what changed their mind (other people could have similar hesitations – help them get over that hurdle easier with a case study sharing someone else’s experience).
  • VPA – where you convinced a client it was very wise and strategic to invest in VPA (especially when they didn’t want to) and the amazing result their wisdom in listening to you, produced.

Blogs / Articles

Writing regular blogs (articles) indicates to Google and the other search engines that your website is loved (by you) because you’re regularly adding fresh and interesting information to it.

Further, writing blogs helps the search engines find you!

When you include information in your blogs and articles that home owners are searching for online (what they ‘Google’) it means that Google can serve up your website on its results pages.

When you don’t have the words that people are using online with their questions on your website Google cannot provide you as a possible solution. You’ll be overlooked!

Google (and the other search engines) can only dish up information it has available to it.

FAQs

Think about all the questions you get asked day in and day out by your clients and then include these on your website in a FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) page.

If they’re asking you in person, they’ll be asking Google online too. Help Google provide you as the solution to their questions by including these on your website.

Video / Podcasts

Most websites enable YouTube and other mainstream videos to be easily embedded on a website. Sometimes these require the embed code and other times just the YouTube video reference.

Podcasting, though, is a whole ‘nother ball game and requires a few extra bells and whistles to make it work nicely (for the listener).

What’s important with both video and audio is that the server (where the website is hosted) has enough grunt and bandwidth to be able to dish up audio and video without annoying buffering.

Audiences today are sophisticated with high expectations. They won’t put up with attempting to watch laggy videos or podcasts just because you’ve gone cheap with your hosting.

Some website FAQs

How much does it cost to get a website?

Websites range from free through to tens of thousands of dollars.

When we build custom websites our design and set up fee starts at NZ$4,500+gst/website and goes up from there.

Beware of some free websites. They usually display “made for free by______” on the bottom and sometimes compromise on the quality of their hosting service.

You don’t want “made for free” on the bottom of your business website – it’s not a good look. Especially not a good look if you’re going to be asking your vendors for VPA. Why should they pay for things when it’s obvious you don’t like paying for professional services yourself?

Set-up Fee Only

Because I (Julie South) want more real estate agents to have their own professionally-built websites (because I know it’s good for their businesses) I’ve waived the $4,500 design fee {how cool is that?}.

Real Estate Agents can therefore have their own website for just the personalisation and set up administration investment of just NZ$999+gst.

If you would like your own real estate website please email me (Julie) to find out more.

Who owns my website?

In all circumstances you should own the content (the words) on your website.

However, who owns the coding and design elements will depend on the individual contract your website has been purchased under.

There are two parts to a website:

  • The content (words, images, videos, podcasts)
  • The design code

An analogy could be that the design code is like a skeleton (an empty shell of bones) and the content is like the muscles which sits on top of the skeleton.

All websites require hosting (it’s what gives them life).

With our websites, we own the design and code (skeleton) and you own the content (the muscles).

If you wanted you could take your muscles from our skeleton and put them on another skeleton. But you cannot take our skeleton and give it life with another hosting provider. Only we can give our websites life.

When people ask the “who owns my website?” question, I’ve discovered what they really mean is “can I move my website to another host?”

Can I move my website to another hosting provider?

The answer to this question depends entirely on your website contract.

This is the question you want to ask your website provider {can I port my website} rather than “who owns my website”?

If you’re building a website with one developer with the intention of moving it somewhere else after it’s been built, then this question {can I move my website?} is critical.  Make sure you get the answer you’re happy with. 

What is a URL or Domain Name?

All websites need a URL (Uniform Resource Locator), aka ‘domain name’.

Just like a telephone needs a unique phone number to be able to be identified among the squillions of telephones worldwide, so too does a website need its own unique address.

When you get your own website you’ll need to decide what you want your website address to be.

My recommendation for real estate agents is to incorporate their name in their address.  After all, it’s your brand you’re building and (presumably) your name is an integral part of that?

URLs in NZ can have various suffixes:

  • .co.nz
  • .nz
  • .co
  • .com
  • .biz
  • .kiwi
.org addresses traditionally signify not-for-profit.

I wouldn’t recommend a .net address. Although they’re used in America, in NZ they’re considered a bit second-rate, because the dot-com was taken and the dot-net was the next best choice.

If you can, stretch your budget to purchase all variations (especially if you have a very popular name). You want to own the whole range of addresses and not risk someone else picking up the other suffixes of ‘your’ name.

URLs are usually renewed annually although you can purchase them in 12, 24 and 60 month blocks (depending on your registrar).

Can I update my own website?

With us – absolutely! We’re only too happy to give you login access so that you can upload your property photos and information as well as write blogs, upload videos, etc.

However, I know that not all webmasters offer this access because they like to charge a fee for doing this.

We restrict the access you have to code so you can’t break anything! The pages on our websites look very much like Microsoft Word documents and are easy to drive.

 

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