Published: 19/07/2021 By Mark Tew - Senior Website ConsultantNow we hate to break this to you; but a great website is never truly finished. Yup, alarm bells may now be ringing in your head, but by coming to terms with this, it’s actually the best thing for your property agency now and in the future.
It’s at this stage you may now be wondering: “how exactly is this a good thing?” Perhaps your website has created issues for your business in the past and the thought of having to look at it all over again gives you the shudders, but there are seven incredibly important and beneficial reasons why…
SEO Performance (How a site ranks on Google)
Firstly, one of the most valuable things you can take away from this blog, is that search engine optimisation and your website go hand-in-hand. How your website ranks on Google is fundamental to the success of your estate agency and for generating leads for your business.
However, it’s getting harder to climb up their search engine these days.
Google employs thousands of people to filter out search engine spam and their search spiders are constantly crawling websites to decide how far up they should rank. Their algorithms are continuously changing, and where you were ranked a few years ago (or even a few days ago for that matter) is almost certainly not where you’re ranked now.
So, whilst your estate agency may be number one for something very specific – is it on at least the first page of Google for estate agents in your local town or city for the search terms your customers are using? If it’s not, we’re hitting a problem because as you know, barely anyone goes to page two of Google...
That’s why you need to have an ever-evolving relationship with your website. It’s not just about updating your website every few years so that it looks slick or new; it’s about having an editable website platform that allows your website to grow and evolve. By regularly updating and refining your site, you’re giving your business the best chance of ranking strongly against your nearest competitors, and generate those all-important new leads.
Quite simply, the best websites are continuously edited and refined – meaning they’ll have a better chance of being number 1 on Google.
The next thing you may be thinking is, what kind of simple yet effective things can I do to my website design to ensure my SEO game is strong? Think blogs. Blogs are a great way to generate organic traffic to your site and with the best, most up to date key words, can boost your ranking considerably. They can do the heavy lifting for your site and you won’t need to worry about changing your main pages too drastically.
To guarantee that your blogs are most effective, make sure to do keyword research. The best key words change all the time and your competitors may latch onto the one’s you’ve been using, so make sure to look into the most recent key terms so you stay on top.
The needs / growth of your business
As mentioned, by continuously aiming for your site to have the best search engine ranking, your property agency will continue to stay visible to potential customers.
Websites in general though, are also there to support business growth and should be able to evolve with the needs of the business.
Let’s say your estate agency is expanding and you’re just about to open your second branch. You should consider modifying your website to ensure you can reach those new customers where your new branch is located.
It could also be about modernising your site and keeping up with web design trends (don’t worry, we’ll go further in depth shortly!) to appeal to younger customers. Alternatively, it may be about targeting new key words specific to your new target customers.
Either way, your website will propel your business immeasurably if it can be easily updated and adapted when needed – without costly re-developments.
Customer and internal feedback
The best websites actively look for feedback; whether that’s call-to-action feedback forms or emails sent to their customers, either way they always want to know the experience people have had with using their website.
The reason why the best websites do this, is because it can help identify any issues people may be encountering that’s hindering user experience. It can pinpoint any difficulties customers have had such as finding it hard to find a certain page or property, any errors on the site or whether the contact details were too low down on the page.
By understanding these issues, you can address them, make the necessary adjustments, and create a smoother user journey. Subsequently, it should bring down your bounce rate and increase your visitor retention rate and as already stated, create further leads for your business!
Changes in browsing behaviour
As you’ll know, website browsing is no longer restricted to desktop devices. Therefore, it’s vital that a property agent’s website design can accommodate for every screen size and still function correctly; otherwise known as mobile responsive web design.
However, one of the most vital screens your website should accommodate for, are mobile phones.
According to Statista, in 2021, 92% of people in the UK use a smartphone; a statistic that’s very hard to escape. And, when we now consider that over 50% of all global website traffic is now through a mobile device, if your website isn’t mobile responsive, you may be in trouble…
If you think about it, if you need to look up something quickly, most of the time you’ll grab your phone from your pocket and just search it up there and then. So, let’s say someone clicks on your property agency website, and they have to zoom into each and every property or the images are taking minutes to load, more often than not they’ll swiftly click back. Not ideal, right? People simply don’t have the time these days for outdated web design.
Conversely, by streamlining your website and transforming it into a mobile responsive site, you’ll start to notice that more people are staying on your site for longer increasing your visitor retention rate substantially. Which of course, leads to more customers and more properties sold!
TLDR: Having a mobile responsive site is the best thing for your business, and well designed, responsive sites, really do equate to more successful businesses!
Technology improvements & trends
The best websites also keep up-to-date with technology. Technology is ever evolving and what’s around now, may not have been around a few years ago and vice-versa.
Bearing this in mind, ask yourself: is your website based on the latest technology and able to accommodate new functionality? Also, does you have website have the technology potential customers need when looking for a property? This may include your site having online instant valuations, schools data and making sure it’s best suited for the most popular browsing platform.
By keeping up-to-date with the latest technology, your potential customers are less likely to jump to your competitors as the user journey on your site will be smooth and efficient.
You may also want to consider having your own technology i.e. your own valuation tools. The reason being for this, is that even though third-party technology may keep your costs down, in the long-term it could lead to your site having poorer SEO and less quality data.
The need to test, evaluate and improve on its performance
You may be getting fewer visitors or a higher bounce rate and you’re not sure why, so the number one thing you can do is to test your site. You could consider making your property call to actions larger and higher up your screen, making those button colours brighter or shifting your contact information to the top of your site (easy to do with a flat design website!).
Either way, don’t be afraid to experiment; it could have a truly positive impact and could lead to more customers for your estate agency.
Conversely, if that’s not made a huge difference, you know the problem doesn’t lie in what you’ve altered. Or if it has, you know you only had to do some simple tweaks; a better, less costly alternative to a whole new site.
Long story short: the best websites are continuously tested. If your current website doesn’t allow you to make the types of changes we’ve mentioned easily, then you could need a new website a lot sooner than you think…
Your own company’s brand and identity
Finally, the best websites continuously alter their brand identity.
This may sound a little scary, but it could not be more important. As we’ve just mentioned, it’s important that you test and evaluate your site - and the same can be said for your brand identity.
Firstly, take a step back and try to be objective as possible. Ask yourself, is this how we want potential customers to see ourselves? If it’s not, then let’s go through what possible design ideas you may want to consider for your site.
The kind of things you may want to think about, is whether your colour palette is too bright (or perhaps not bright enough!), whether your typography is clear and even large enough to be read on screens (you don’t want people squinting at those property descriptions!) and finally, whether your logo is clear and crisp - not blurry.
You may want to consider that your colour palette may not be working as you much as you desired. Perhaps that orange and that blue may not be attracting as many people as you thought it would. It could also just be about toning down your colours or using a little less of that orange.
Overall, by recognising that some of your brand identity assets need some tweaking, in the long-run you can lead more visitors to your site and down the line, generate more leads for your estate agency.
To conclude, we’ll end this blog with the very sentence we started with - a great website is never truly finished. Having a growth driven website is honestly the best thing for the growth and needs of your property agency and will ensure it’s successful in all aspects.