Published: 09/06/2021 By Chris Gilbert - Website ConsultantAn estate agent’s web design has a hell of a lot riding on it. Not only does it have to encourage people to either make probably the largest investment of their lives, but it also needs to build vital audience engagement to instil trust in people to give agents those all-important new sale instructions, too.
Of course, property will always be in demand and people will always need somewhere to live; be it rented or purchased. But, when it comes to a property agent’s website, having a good selection of properties for your visitors to choose from is only a tiny part of what will draw people to your business…
Your Virtual Shop Front
It’s a fact that the most successful property agents always take huge pride in the appearance of their brand. If your offices or general appearance appears scruffy, worn out or unapproachable, this will affect people's perception of your service. The same is absolutely true of your agency’s website! In fact, with the past year seeing many retail businesses shifting their services to online platforms thanks to rolling lockdowns, you could argue that an estate agent’s web design is now more important than ever – it’s vital it does everything you need it to in order to generate new instructions and customer leads.
So, what are the key front-end aspects of a great estate agent web design that will not only build essential audience engagement, but also generate good quality customer leads?
A Design That Reflects Your Brand
First and foremost, your website really has to look the part. We bet that if you visit a website that’s not responsive on mobile devices, looks outdated or doesn’t match your user expectations, you’ll probably click back to your Google search pretty quickly!
Making that fantastic first impression in the virtual space is just as important as when it happens in-person. A great looking property website that matches your own brand, offers a great user experience and makes it easy for people to find what they’re looking for will mean visitors will more likely stay on your site for longer. This helps increase engagement, build web traffic, improve search rankings and, most importantly, increase the likelihood of visitors becoming good quality leads.
Look at it this way: would you feel confident in listing your property with an estate agent who’s website looks cheap, doesn’t work well on mobile devices and feels like it was built by a student in their bedroom? Probably not…
Tools and Resources That Enhance the User Experience
As well as looking fab-u-lous, an effective estate agent web design also has to offer an intuitive and useful user experience for people searching for their ideal property. This is where your website needs to have tools and resources that not only allow visitors to make an informed decision about buying a property through you, but also maximising the time they spend on your site, too.
For estate agents, a successful website design must have core functionality and resources that includes:
- Property Search: This really is an absolute must-have, because if visitors to your website can’t easily browse the properties you offer, they’ll likely leave to somewhere they can! Having this this type of website functionality can help buyers or renters find the property they really want; but for potential vendors, also demonstrate the type of properties you sell and their potential worth.
- Regularly Updated Property Listings: Along with having good property search functionality, it’s also critical to ensure you’re able to update and add properties quickly and efficiently. The last thing you want to be receiving are good quality enquiries for properties that are no longer available! So, having a site that allows easy importing of property data is an absolute must. In addition, when a property is sold or no longer available, don’t just list a 404 page or message saying property is no longer available: recycle the URL to either display suitable alternatives based on that same criteria, or re-direct the user back to a search bar to continue their search.
- Instant Valuations: Offering potential vendors the opportunity to see what their property is worth is a fantastic first touchpoint for first-time visitors; so an instant valuation tool can be a fantastic lead generator for estate agents. However, it’s important to offer instant property valuations that are accurate and based on your own area data; not generic and out-dated land registry information.
- Added Value Information: The recent spate of lockdowns has had a big effect on what people are looking for in a property; with 31% of all property searches now focusing on access to green spaces such as parks and recreational facilities. With this in mind, it’s prudent to include as much added value information about the properties you sell as possible. The inclusion of a map with your property listings that lists local amenities can give users all the added value information they need to make an informed decision, all in one place.
When creating a web design for an estate agent, it’s important to make the actions you want a visitor to take as easy and intuitive as possible. This means you have a clear site navigation that labels where users need to go that will help to keep them on your site, and include clear calls to action that encourages visitors to take the actions you want them to take – such as completing a contact form, asking for a more information about a property or making a direct call to your agency.
A simple example of this can be adding a ‘read more’ button to your property listings. This way, a user can easily find out all they need to know about a property and know the action they need to do it. Going further, on your ‘read more’ listing, you could then include a CTA that encourages people to complete a form to contact your agency about the property they’re viewing.
Now, it might sound deceptively simple, but call to actions like this really do work! They create a ‘path of least resistance’ for users to follow in taking the actions that lead to results you want a website to produce: mainly, contacting you directly!
When all these elements are present on an estate agent’s web design, it’s often the case that they’ll perform better on Google search rankings, win more new instructions and drive more effective user engagement than those that don’t. Remember: like in real life, your website can only make a good first impression once; so ensure it has every opportunity to do just that!
If your website isn't making the best first impression with your target audiences, talk to the experts at Webdadi - you can get in touch with us via the link below.