By Charlie Allred
Ninety percent of home buyers search for their new home online. Knowing this statistic, how is your online presence?
Most real estate agents have the website their broker provided them, however, these are merely a page on the brokerage’s website that bring absolutely no leads to the individual real estate agent. I think of most static real estate websites (meaning the information never changes) as a yellow pages ad – it sits there online, no one sees it, and therefore the agent gets no leads. I refer to my website either as my website or my blog, I use the phrases interchangeably because I believe every real estate website should have a blog.
I’ve created a list of nine must-haves for your real estate website to be a killer online real estate agent.
1. Address Your Niche: Instead of addressing all of Phoenix on my website/blog, I address specific niche communities. I mostly feature south and central Scottsdale on my website. However, I have blog articles covering the Chandler, Tempe, and Ahwatukee real estate markets as well. I don’t talk to all of Phoenix at once because it hurts my chances of showing up in a customer’s search results. I’d much rather show up in the search results for “McCormick Ranch,” a Scottsdale neighborhood. By addressing my niches one at a time, the reader sees that I’m an expert in the area and that I understand their needs. I encourage real estate agents to have blog posts on each neighborhood where they specialize. Don’t try to fit too many neighborhoods in one blog post. If you do want to address multiple neighborhoods in a single post, try something like my Guide to Scottsdale Zip Codes, which gives a Scottsdale home buyer the big picture.
2. Easy to Navigate: Make sure your site is very easy to navigate for your prospective clients. I want a Scottsdale home buyer or seller to easily find the information they want on my website. I have a featured topic of “Scottsdale Real Estate” and a drop down for the best Scottsdale articles. You could do this with your niche neighborhoods. I also link within blog posts to other blog posts that the reader may find interesting.
3. Keyword Driven: You want your website to be found by your prospect, right? Make a list of your ideal prospects, the area of town they want to purchase or sell their home. What is the price range of this home? What neighborhood is this ideal prospect’s home? These are all great keyword ideas you’ll want to use in your headlines, posts, and in blog categories or tags to help make sure your prospects find you.
4. Use Categories: To make your site very easy to navigate, use three or four content categories regularly, such as neighborhood names or local information. Then you can rotate through the categories when writing your blog posts. If you decide to write one article a week, you will have one new article each month in each category. Again, make sure you use focused, specific categories rather than broader city information, otherwise your posts will never find their way to the top of search results.
5. Home Search: Most template websites for real estate include a home search component, and your site should of course contain this ability. There are tons of ways to make this happen. On my website, the prospect has to sign up for access, it’s free and I start by sending an auto-email sequence to the prospect. You can give it away for free without a sign up required, that’s up to you.
6. Home Page: What is your goal of your home page? My home page features my “genius home video,” which is one of my signature marketing tools. I make a video for every listing regardless of price. The luxury homes have much fancier videos, but the premise is always the same. I want my listings to be found on first page of Google search results, and I accomplish this by using YouTube. Recently, I’ve started to take this further by installing riders on my real estate signs that say “Google ‘address’.” My online presence is my marketing strategy, and my clients hire me because of the power of being found on page one of Google.
7. Lead Capture Tools: You want to have the ability for your prospect to sign up for a free resource on your website. This free resource could be searching the MLS, a seller’s guide to your area, a buyer’s guide to your area, or whatever other resource you believe is important to your potential clients. All they have to do is sign up in order to receive the information. This provides value for your prospects and creates a way to help you build a list of potential home buyers and sellers.
8. Responsive Design: Your website should be viewable on mobile devices, this means your site needs to be responsive and mobile friendly.
9. Above the Fold: The first thing a prospect sees when they first land on your site is what’s considered “above the fold.” Make sure your visitors to know what site they are on and why they are there without having to scroll down the page.
If you are just starting your online marketing, check out my article on developing a Killer Online Strategy.
Charlie Allred is a Phoenix-based designated broker for Secure Real Estate and author of the book “Pinnable Real Estate: Pinterest for Real Estate Agents.” She is a Pinterest expert who coaches agents on how to gain more leads, followers, and clients by using Pinterest. Learn more at her blog: www.PinnableRealEstate.com.