By Stefanie Hahn
Agents will often ask me to check out their real estate website. They want to know how it looks, do I like it and are they doing it right? I love when I get to peek into an agent’s website and get a glimpse of what is important to them. Many agents opt for a template site – and that can be okay, as long as the site has a few key elements. I like to see that the agent has some control over the site, too: content, placement, headers, page titles and link structure – but mostly content. You can have the most search engine optimized site out there but, if you content stinks, the consumer won’t stay long. Bonus for fresh content, because we know how much Google loves fresh content. Here is my “must have” list:
1. I want to see “search for homes” or something similar on the first page, right in front of me. I see so many sites that bury the home search behind pages and pages of pointless content. Consumers expect to be able to search for homes on your real estate website. Keep it front and center. Two other things that would be so great: keep your home search unencumbered. Don’t make me fill out a resume before I can see what homes are available in my desired school district. Just let me search on my own. And, secondly, please give me all the listings. Not just yours, your office or your company listings. I want them all.
2. Give me market snapshots – there are tons of cool tools that will help you do this … Altos, Top Producer, or do your own through your MLS data. I want to know what the market is doing in the area where I am buying or selling. Give me data.
3. Please identify yourself. I don’t need to see a photo, but your contact information should be prominent on your website. I also like to see social media links – LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter (or whatever else you happen to use) so I can stalk you online to see if you are the right agent for me.
4. Fresh content. Good content. Interesting content. And content that is spelled correctly would be nice, too. Depending on how much control you have over your site, the ability to change around your home page every so often or, better yet, blog on your home page would make me very happy. As a consumer, I have a ton of questions. When one of your consumers asks a good question, put the question and your answer on the home page of your site.
5. Finally, keep the design clean and uncluttered. You don’t need page after page of content about real estate procedures and practices. Let me get what I need and get out. If you can control your page titles and text headers on each page, keep them simple and direct. Community information on your real estate website can be great when it’s done well. Keep the content fresh, give me links and relevant information about the area and include photos and video whenever possible.
Those are the items on my must-have punch list for your agent website. They probably seem pretty basic and very obvious, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to unearth a search box, dig for an e-mail address or smile through stale, tired content. Put your consumer hat on … what would you want to see?
Stefanie Hahn is the education director for Coldwell Banker Hearthside, REALTORS® in Malvern, Pa. Visit her Web site: www.StefanieHahn.com.