The real estate industry has come a long way over the years. The days of relying on word of mouth -- or even just the Yellow Pages -- as your primary method for finding new prospective home buyers is long gone. Today, if you want to be a successful realtor, you need to compete for prospects on the internet, and that means having a website.
Not just any realty website will do, though. In a sea of real estate sites, you will need to ensure yours stands out from all the rest. Luckily, there are some important facets that you can incorporate into your site to draw more visitors than your competition and, by extension, lead to more business. Here's how to design the perfect website for your own real estate business.
The first thing you need to ensure is that your real estate site has some basic functionalities, the most important being a method for showcasing your listings. Before you feel like you've got to begin populating a database by hand with images of listings and descriptions of each property, though, worry not -- there are tools that will do that for you.
To cut all the red tape, make sure that your web developer of choice designs your site to pull information from an MLS application programming interface (API) that will provide listing information automatically. There are a number of places to find APIs, so feel free to choose which one is the best fit for your realtor office.
Every realtor site worth its salt can showcase listings, so you've got to provide more than that if you want the perfect real estate website. This means you're going to have to personalize your site in ways that will draw the eye and keep the attention of your visitors. Besides an elegant, professional design -- something that your web developer will work with you to come up with -- a fantastic way to catch a visitor's eye and keep them coming back for more is to write a real estate blog and host it on your site.
Adding regular content to your blog is a great way to showcase listings and agents, tell personal stories, and add value for visitors by providing home renovation tips and other relevant content for home buyers or house sellers. A blog is also an excellent marketing tool as well, as blog posts can be shared on social media and help to generate buzz for your real estate business.
Finally, it doesn't matter how elegant your site is -- or how valuable its content -- if it can't be found. You need to ensure that your site is optimized so it can be found in web searches. With real estate being specialized geographically, a focus on local search optimization is ideal. One of the best tools for this is to use the Google My Business tool, which ensures that your real estate office's information (name, address, phone number, and website address) will come up in both Google searches and on Google Maps.
Other options to consider are ensuring your site is optimized for viewing on mobile devices. An increasing number of individuals rely on their phones, tablets, and other devices more than their desktops or laptops, so designing your site to be mobile-friendly means you'll never risk turning away a prospective new client.
In the end, there's no "secret formula" for getting the perfect real estate website. However, the ideas listed above will get you well on your way to dominating the local realty scene!