Effective writing is essential for the success of your real estate industry website; however, you’ll need more than eloquence to attract, retain, and convert prospects to stakeholders.
Users expect a friendly experience that offers readability and easy navigation to the information they’re seeking.
Additionally, search engines look at your website from a different perspective than users: their goal is to determine the quality of your site structure and the relevance to information the searcher is requesting.
For humans and search engines, it’s vital to build a website that gets read by prospects and highly-ranked by search engines.
Let’s look at three fundamental aspects of real estate web design and some fruitful tips to ensure an innovative website that delivers on your monetary and personal investment.
User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) for Real Estate Websites
Simple advice that will resonate with you as a frequent website user:
When you land on a website, an almost instantaneous decision is made to stay and listen, or bounce right off the page by hitting the back button or closing the tab.
How do you get visitors to stay?
The most important part of your site is the content ‘above the fold,’ also known as the top of the home page.
Here is where you need to succinctly convey who you are, what you do, and why prospects should work with you.
Don’t expect visitors to linger unless you provide this information upfront. Strictly image-based headers may look nice, but they don’t offer a compelling reason for visitors to stick around and take in your value proposition.
On your header, include an H1 tag (the highest priority heading on your page – only one per page as an SEO rule). This is your primary headline, and if you want your page to rank, ensure that this text includes the target keywords. An H2 or subtitle is also useful to provide greater context for your brand and value proposition.
Depending on your prospects and what you’re offering, including a lead capture form for email and phone in your heading can dramatically improve conversions in conjunction with a download offer, e.g., ebook, whitepaper, newsletter, or valuation.
For the best UX and UI, implement a prominent navigation menu with clear anchor text (link text). If you go for an innovative or abstract look, ensure that visitors can quickly identify the menu.
Work with your developer to make each page and element on your site mobile responsive for correct and easy viewing on tablets and phones.
For both desktop and mobile, go with large sans-serif fonts. Tiny or obnoxious fonts can render valuable content practically unreadable, except for the most dedicated reader.
Topical question: Is video critical for my website?
Video is good, and if you have the time and budget to produce, it’s very effective; however, the written word is – literally – the most powerful tool (intentionally non-militaristic metaphor) in your locker. Poorly written video scripts and accompanying website copy that are not grammatically correct or that fail in expressing your voice and values result in money spent in vain on production and promotion.
Here are a few design tips:
- Utilize premium high-resolution imagery that immediately conveys or implies your message. Images with people are generally preferable – business is about relationships.
- Make sure the images are adequately compressed for fast loading and include alt tags for screen readers and search engines.
- Select a color scheme that complements and supports your brand and is visually appealing.
- Utilize large and easy-to-read fonts (sans-serif).
- Implement prominent navigation that isn’t too radical in its placement.
- Forget about pop-ups or music/video that plays immediately – instant turnoff.
- Implement clear, visible, and tasteful calls-to-action.
Integration and Lead Capture
Essential elements for an effective lead generation website are understanding user behavior and capturing their contact information.
Tremendous work and funds go into websites that ultimately fail due to a lack of lead capture forms, inefficient lead tracking, and no analytics for monitoring KPIs.
These are the key components to incorporate in your site:
- CRM integration: embedded lead capture, lead tracking, scheduled follow-ups, automated email campaigns
- Social integration and analytics: track ad spending and results, display embedded social content, automate retargeting campaigns
- SEO monitoring: keyword rankings, competitor analysis, SEO error reporting
- Search engine analytics: PPC results, retargeting, sitemaps, search console submission
SEO for Real Estate Industry Websites
SEO optimization is a deep subject, and we’ll get into it more in future articles, but for now, we’ll highlight the most common errors to avoid in developing your site.
Here are some significant on-page SEO errors that will put a damper on your prospect and capital generation efforts:
- Errors in HTML heading structure
- Slow site speeds – may not rank at all
- Improperly formatted and compressed images
- Slow and uncompressed scripts
- Slow server speeds
- Missing alt tags on photos
- URL structure errors
- SSL/site security errors
- Broken links
- Sitemap errors, unsubmitted to Search Console
- Low keyword density or ineffective placement
- Improperly formatted or missing meta descriptions
- Use of meta keywords not based on user search behavior and volume
- Focus only on core keywords. Limited long-tail/LSI keyword phrases.
- Missing geographic and niche-based keywords
- The list goes on…we haven’t even talked about off-page SEO (thought leadership and PR).
Searching for Solutions
Now is a crucial time for B2B and investor lead generation as we search for solutions and tools to enable us to achieve significant growth in the coming quarters – this period is often the beginning of the business sales cycle.
Appealing and effective web design that offers a positive user experience earns the respect, trust, and business of prospects – for which you’re competing with thousands of other professionals and firms.
As SEO optimization is a meticulous process – it takes time for changes to propagate – get optimized and integrated now to make sure you connect with every lead.