Published: 28/06/2021 By Chris Gilbert - Website ConsultantWe talk a lot about the importance of a good website design here at Webdadi; and this mainly comes from our virtually-daily conversations with property agents who have websites that simply aren’t doing the job they need them to do.
The main jobs of an estate agent’s website design is to inform, encourage and entice vendors to give an agency an instruction to sell their property, and for buyers to find the new property of their dreams; but in truth, that remit is only half the story. Along with supporting successful lead generation, a property agent’s website also has to make an agent’s life as easy as possible, too. After all: who wants to be constantly trying to manage a website when you’ve got a busy agency to run?
A property agent’s website should make the business of both generating and managing online leads as effortless as possible; however in our experience, there are a number of core issues which prevent this for happening – meaning that instead of a website being a critical asset, it’s actually more of a critical waste.
If any of these scenarios sound familiar, you may have a website that is working hard against you, rather than working hard for you…
- Your Website is a Generic DIY Build
There’s no denying that the rise of DIY websites has been great for small businesses looking for a new website on the cheap; however, many of the website templates on the market today are extremely generic and not designed for the specific needs of a property agent.
DIY websites – whilst initially cheap and easy to create - will have limited technological and design capabilities. It’s also often the case that generic DIY website platform builds are unable to easily integrate with plugins or tools outside of the website’s platform; meaning that should your property agency undergo a growth spurt or need additional user functionality, you’ll find it very difficult to do this easily without having to pay a web developer to make it happen.
Many of the generic DIY websites will also only have limited or cheap website hosting packages; meaning that whilst it’ll undoubtedly be cheap as chips, you’ll have to deal with slow website loading times, shared hosting and very little in the way of support or customer service. Cheap hosting packages may get you online for a low cost, but there are plenty of downsides to consider, too…
- You’re Reliant on 3rd-Party Software Integrations
Another way new website owners can look to reduce the cost of web development is by using website software plugins that offer vital user functionality. For example, some of the most popular software plugins for estate agents include property valuation tools, schools data and property data import.
It’s easy to understand why software plugins are so popular; they offer the type of user functionality that would often take a lot of time and additional cost to create from scratch, and are generally extremely easy to ‘plug in’ to a website. However, whilst the positives are obvious, there are some very large and not-so-immediately obvious downsides; these include:
- Generic Results – It’s common for 3rd-party plugins to give results based on a shared data source. Take many instant valuation tools that are currently on the market for example; these often rely on general data taken from the UK Land Registry Office; meaning that regardless of the agency or area you use, if they’re using the same plugin, they’ll often give the same results! This isn’t just frustrating for the vendor, it’s also harmful to an agent’s own USP…
- Software Conflicts – The more 3rd party plugins you bolt onto a website, the greater the risk of software conflicts that can prevent a website working correctly, or even breaking it all together! Remember, many DIY platforms are built to serve just an immediate purpose, so often won’t be built to run large numbers of plugins.
- Increased Vulnerability – Using non-native plugins on your site can also offer an opportunity for hackers to attack your site. As you have no control over the code or security of these 3rd-party integrations, any vulnerabilities they may have will give nefarious individuals another potential route of attack into your own website.
- It’s Always A Challenge To Update Content
One of the founding principles of good SEO (search engine optimisation) is to have a site that has good quality content updated on a regular basis. However, if you find it difficult to update your site’s content, or perhaps can only update a limited number of pages, then you could be harming your website’s organic search performance.
For estate agents, having a website where you can update content quickly and effectively is truly a must-have – and this is especially true when it comes to your property listings. If you can only change a limited number of items on your site or, worse still, have to pay a third-party supplier to update your website, just how is the website making things easier for you as a business?
- Your Website Struggles to Rank Well on Google
Finally, a key warning sign that your site could be a critical waste of time and money is how it performs on Google search listings. A poor Google rank is perhaps one of the key indications of something being majorly wrong with your website, and after all, what’s the point in having a great looking website if no one can find the thing in the first place?
When we consider that the property market can be reaching new heights one minute, to dramatically dipping the next, it’s essential that property agents have a steady and consistent brand presence. This is where ranking well on search engines such as Google comes in. However, if your site doesn’t rank well organically on search engines, you’ll undoubtedly find it increasingly difficult to attract the people you want to do business with, or even generate meaningful inbound customer leads.
If any of the above scenarios sound familiar, maybe it’s time you thought about building a website that really works for you? Book a 15-minute chat with our expert consultants today to see how a Webdadi website can remove the obstacles to successful sales and marketing for your business.