5 Key Signs Your Website is out of Date

Is your website out of date?

As an estate agent, we cannot reiterate enough how crucial it is that your website is one of your most powerful and effective tools, in order to capture those quality leads your agency craves!

This guide highlights exactly how you can determine if your agency’s website is out of date and what you can do in order to update it. Obtain the leads your agency deserves through the power of your website!

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By Luke Fleming
5 Key Signs Your Website is out of Date

Something we cannot reiterate enough is the power and effectiveness that your website should have. It’s something we often discuss but it’s often overlooked from when we’ve spoken to prospective clients. If your website isn’t one of the most powerful platforms that you have, then something is wrong. 

Almost every Estate Agent out there has a website, it’s nothing out of the ordinary and if you don’t, then this article isn’t for you. As mentioned, although almost every estate agent has a website, most don’t have a website that performs as it should. 

So, how do you know if something needs to change? What are the key signs that your website is old and needs to be replaced or updated? We’ve listed 5 key things out of many to help you understand.

Performance 

First of all, a clear sign that your website needs to be updated or changed, is how is it performing for you? Is your website yielding the number of leads that your estate agency needs? There are a number of different variables that will contribute to lead generation, but if your website is getting visitors and these visitors are rarely turning into solid enquiries, then it’s time to think why that may be. 

Usually, this is because the website isn’t fit for purpose and needs to be analysed. Another area to measure other than leads generated is technical performance; metrics such as site speed, SEO scores, bounce rates and so on. These aren’t just fads that are constantly mentioned by marketing and web design professionals, they actually matter.

Think about it, if you were looking to purchase a property and the web page you stumbled upon is slow, no imagery was loading and the form was too comprehensive, it would very much put you off. The best websites for estate agents are well-designed, easy to use, simple but effective designs and are a lot less common than you think.

Something that we take extremely seriously with our websites is SEO and website speed. Our solution has been developed to provide a fast and secure platform for estate agents to enjoy. 

Our dynamic metadata and URLs pull through to help avoid duplicate content, giving your website a great chance to rank within the SERPs and our development team are always on hand to deal with any support requests or questions you may have regarding performance.

Your brand is much more than just a logo and online, the best way to make a great impression of your estate agency is to provide users with an exceptional user experience. Bad performing websites reflect poorly on your business, making you appear less professional than the competition.

In an already diluted industry, can you really afford to be lacking in that area?

One of the more frustrating aspects of this topic comes to light when an agent is spending money on advertising. While we absolutely agree that taking advantage of paid marketing is the way to go, spending money to send users to an outdated, slow website is one way to make sure they never return. 

Before you even think about marketing, make sure your website is more than competent to be able to cope!

Below, we have created a brief checklist that is important to think about when discussing performance for your estate agency website:

  • Site Speed – As discussed this is extremely important, we would suggest a load time no longer than 2.5 seconds. 
  • Usability and mobile compatibility – Is your website easy to use and navigate, get a fresh pair of eyes to run through the process from property search to enquiry, is it easy, quick to do and hassle-free?
  • Search functionality – The most used part of the website is typically the search functionality, it must be comprehensive and easy to use!
  • Content & Call to action – Is the content on your website well-written? You need to make sure you portray the messaging on your website perfectly. The call to action needs to be prominent and clear.

Only once you are satisfied with all the above should you be happy with your website, if there are any question marks over the above points, work to improve them before you do anything else.

Functionality

The next key sign that your website needs to be upgraded or changed, is the functionalities that your website possesses. With websites, there are always trends that can come and go, however, with the digital industry constantly evolving, it’s crucial that you don’t fall behind. We’ve highlights some key features that our websites include as standard that you need to be considering:

  • Simplified Homepage Search – As mentioned previously, this is typically the first interaction a user will stumble across on your website, make sure it is simple to use, with clear CTA’s.
  • Virtual Tours – An essential part of any post-covid estate agency website is the ability to add virtual tours, where possible of course. Integrating this feature onto a property page can really catch the attention of a user, making them stay on your website for longer, increasing the chance of them converting.
  • Video – People buy from people, videos of the property from the outside in slow-motion is a great starting point. Walkthroughs that feature some sort of commentary from a sales executive can be even more effective.
  • Property Alerts – Next, we have an absolute no-brainer! Property alerts have been around for a while and this feature can help your website bring back users who have been on your website and have left, notifying them of any new property you add to your website.
  • Property Shortlist – Adding something to a favourites section on your favourite eCommerce website is nothing new, if you are looking to take advantage of a feature like this for your estate agency website, it allows you to help users build up a list of potential new homes!
  • Share Search or Property – Becoming easier and easier to integrate every day, social media ‘Share To’ icons are something you can take advantage of. Screenshotting a property on mobile or trying to copy the whole link is not as easy as clicking the ‘Share on Whatsapp’ button your property pages could feature.
  • Members Area – Again, we are looking to provide reasons for a user to return, the ability to save properties would certainly help. Bringing a user back to your website to see if there have been any adjustments in price on a property they are interested in.
  • Area Guides – Not everyone is 100% certain where they want to purchase a property, especially if it is a second home abroad. Why not give the user some extra information on what there is to do within the area, are there any amenities? Is there a first-class international school available? All of this information available at a user’s fingertips is a huge bonus.
  • Behavioural Overlays – When used in the wrong way, pop-ups can be irritating and off-putting. But when done right, you can regain the interest of a user who is about to leave the website. Exit intent strategies can pop up with the offer of a guide or information as a user intends to leave, potentially swaying them into staying for longer.
  • Digital Property Valuation – For sellers, a digital property valuation can answer exactly what they are looking for. In turn, this provides you with the details you need to take their inquiry further, allowing your business to potentially see some return from the valuation enquiry.

Does your website feature the above functionality? If you’d like more guidance or clarity in regard to some of the functionality above, please do not hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to help with our expertise. 

Integrations 

Firstly, before we go into the details of different integrations for social media channels, live chats and more. We will cover how a Propertybase website integration can really modernise your website. Propertybase CRM is a hub of powerful tools that connects all of your data in one place. The system is designed to help you reach new leads first and drive repeat and referral business through targeted content and outreach. This is a first-rate system that can be used by real estate agencies big or small. Here at Property Webmasters, we are proud to be partners of Propertybase as it allows us to provide real estate agents with affordable yet high-quality website design and development services.

When you choose to integrate your Propertybase CRM with a website by Property Webmasters, all of the hard work is done for you. Everything will be under one roof, saving you time and meaning that you don’t have to worry about a thing.

When you add a property and complete all of the details within the CRM, there’s no need for you to add the same content to your website, Propertybase does this for you! Also, when someone submits an enquiry, you don’t need to worry about how you manage it – it will show up within Propertybase!

Throughout this article we have mainly discussed front end improvements however, this integration is something that can really improve the performance of your website, behind the scenes.

If you would like more information about the potential with Propertybase, please get in touch here!

Now we can continue with the smaller integrations that are an absolute must. Starting off with Social Media Channels, there are so many integrations that you can include on your website in order to allow a user to share a property in a message, to their timeline and more. Add social sharing links to your blog posts, create a social login option for a user who may want to sign in via Facebook, remind subscribers of your social community and incentivize them to share your content on social media. 

The most popular social media integration would be Whatsapp, sharing property to a friend via a message is extremely popular!

Next, we have live chat integration. This is especially important if your website operates in multiple territories, having a chatbot for when someone is not always around is logical and easy to implement. Not only that but, different users will have different levels of comfort with what information they give away and how they interact with your business. Not everyone will be comfortable ringing up your office to ask for more information, so the introduction of Commversion or another chat bot will help add another level of data capture to the website. Commversion is a partner of ours that operates a pay per lead scheme that is effective and manageable for agents.

Property Webmasters would class this piece of functionality as relatively basic but essential to maximise the potential for lead generation. We want to make it clear that the website is undoubtedly missing out on potential enquiries due to the lack of a quick and easy way for users to ask any question they may have via a chatbot. 

Do not miss out, get a live chat feature on your website and we can guarantee some sort of lead enquiry coming through within a few days after set up!

Appearance

How would you feel if I told you your website only has 2 seconds to engage, gain the trust and leave a great first impression on your new users? Research shows that visitors to your site make a judgement whether they will stay or leave your website within 50 milliseconds (0.05 seconds)! So when it comes to your website appearance is everything…

One priority when it comes to the appearance of your site is that it HAS to be mobile first responsive! 

Mobile accounts for approximately half of web traffic worldwide, in the first quarter of 2021, mobile devices (excluding tablets) generated 54.8 percent of global website traffic. – Statista

This stat cannot be ignored and with mobile usage constantly increasing this is a huge audience that could be gaining the wrong first impression of your site by simply not being mobile optimised. By making your website optimised for mobile you are keeping users satisfied, allowing them to navigate your website on the most convenient platform for them, meaning they will be more likely to trust your brand and refer your business to others.

Another simple question to ask yourself is how does your website look? Does it look out of date? If so, a design refresh could be the answer. When it comes to the design of your website you need to make sure it coincides with your target audience. For example if your website is overly complex it may deter your audience away from your site if they are unsure of how to operate and navigate your site. If you are unsure on finding the right middle ground when it comes to the certain features, such as CTA positioning, A/B testing is a great way to get feedback on what works best for your audience!

Choosing the correct colour scheme for your site is also a hugely important factor when it comes to your design. We want to make sure that visitors to your website can easily navigate their way around as well as relate colours with certain parts of content, information and your business. If you are using colours that do not match your branding or are just not consistent throughout your site, new users are less likely to remember your brand. Your colour scheme is potentially the first thing that a user sees when clicking onto your site, so it is crucial to ensure that you are making a positive lasting impression within the first few seconds of a user visiting your site.

One key design element we have found that works the best is an asymmetric design. Not only does this help balance the visual elements of your site but also helps direct your site visitors to the most important content on your page. Another style we find works well is Brochure style websites, these are usually less salesy and focused on images and simplicity, this usually works best when there is a clear face to the business as it builds trust of the brand.  

In the Real Estate industry, imagery is key! When listing properties or simply just adding images to your site it is important to leave a quality lasting impression on your audience. Professional photography is a great way to convey the value of not only your properties but also of your services. When it comes to high-quality images it is important to keep in mind that the larger the file size the longer it will take to load, so it is important to keep in mind that you need to find the right balance between file size and resolution, and if done correctly can be a simple but effective addition to your site! 

Combined with imagery, animation is a great feature to add into your website. Animation keeps visitors on your site longer resulting in a lower bounce rate, this means that visitors will stay on your site longer to watch the animation resulting in higher levels of engagement and interest. All from adding a few simple animations and videos to your site this can help increase the number of users revisiting your site and clicking through to other pages. 

Content

How regularly are you uploading content to the website?

It is extremely important to regularly upload content to your website. As well as your website’s content providing your visitors with key information, it is also especially beneficial for your Search Engine Optimisation efforts. On-page content allows Google to crawl, index and rank your web pages, allowing your site to rank on search engines.

It is crucial that as an estate agent you’re regularly uploading content. Due to the high volume of competition there will be plenty of other real estate websites, meaning in order to rank high on search engines you have to invest your time into SEO. We also understand that as an estate agent, you already have plenty on your plate. That is why we provide a Search Engine Optimisation service for real estate agents. With our professional advice and guidance, your website will gain more traffic ultimately resulting in generating more leads. 

If you aren’t regularly uploading content to your website, your web pages could decrease in position when ranking on search engines. Due to the fact that you wouldn’t be providing Google with the information it needs to deem your website relevant and the fact that your competition could be overtaking you through their SEO efforts, inevitably you will see a decrease in organic traffic.

Blog Articles

A blog article is a piece of writing that can be uploaded to a website in order to inform visitors about a particular subject. For example, at Property Webmasters our blogs help our real estate visitors with their struggles and inform them of key information that we know will be beneficial. 

As an estate agency, your website’s articles may include area guides, buyers guides and latest trends in the property market. This is key information for both your visitors and Google. Being able to provide a greater user experience in addition to benefiting your Search Engine Optimisation is a fantastic way for your agency to get increased rankings, as well as become even more credible.

Case Studies 

A case study is text that provides an in-depth examination of a real life case or cases. A case study could highlight a group, individual, event, action, organisation and more. Case studies allow you to provide your visitors with indisputable information and data, bestowing greater credibility for your agency. For example, at Property Webmasters our case studies consist of digital marketing and website development challenges we have faced as well as our solutions and results of those challenges. This section of our website allows our real estate visitors to see how we have overcome challenges that may be similar to their own, resulting in a sense of comfort. 

Case studies are a great use of on-page content for your website. As previously mentioned, content provides search engines with information which allows it to rank your web pages. As well as this benefiting your real estate Search Engine Optimisation, this allows users to gain insight as to what your agency has overcome in the past.

Testimonials

A testimonial is a person’s written or spoken statement, typically about a product or service. When testimonials are displayed on websites, they allow your visitors to gain indication as to what your services are like from your client’s perspective. A non-biased opinion would help users to build trust towards the company. Not to mention, just like all other on-page content, testimonials benefit your Search Engine Optimisation. 

Testimonials are essential for your real estate website. When users visit your site they are able to gain an understanding of what using your services has been like for others. This would be a very important step for those who are looking to use your agency, meaning testimonials would help to capture leads.

Search Content

Search content is another way of providing Google with further information in order to crawl your pages. Search content is generally displayed towards the bottom of the page and delivers extra information to your audience. For example, your agency’s website may have a mixture of houses, apartments and villas for sale in a variety of locations. In this case you could add search content to each variation, in order to display more content on that page as well as benefit your SEO. The search content here could be an overview of the area as well as the properties you have to offer. 

Meta Description

Meta description is an element of your website’s HTML that provides a summary of what that particular page consists of. This text benefits the user as they are able to see if the content you are offering is relevant to their search. Being able to judge this before entering the page will also benefit your analytics as your bounce rate may not be as high as it would be if those on your pages didn’t already know what to expect.

Your estate agency will benefit from this as it is yet another way to aid your SEO efforts and help your users understand what your page is about. 

Conclusion

After reading our article, do you believe your website is out of date? Performance, functionality, integration, appearance and content are just some of the many variables you need to regularly monitor, adapt and update in order for your website to be powerful and effective.

We understand that as an estate agent you may not have time to monitor, review and update all of these elements of your website. However, in order to achieve your agency’s goals they have to be done. That is why here at Property Webmasters, we can help with all of this and more! If you are struggling to find time where you can truly look into these factors of your website, it’s clear that you won’t have enough time to strategically plan to update them. 

If you are interested in finding out more about how we can help your agency’s website to thrive…

Contact Us Here!

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