Boost Your Estate Agency with 7 Vital Web Design Hacks

Website design is crucial for lead generation and property sales. There are a few reasons why you should think about a website redesign. Maybe your website design and content no longer reflects the goals of your estate agency. Or maybe your website has a high bounce rate and visitors aren’t converting.

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Adam Jennings By Adam Jennings
Boost Your Estate Agency with 7 Vital Web Design Hacks

Being on the first page of Google for your key terms or throwing a large budget at PPC adverts or social ads will get users onto your website. But, if your website is not user-friendly and easy to navigate with clear call-to-actions, your conversion rate will suffer.

Your website is a sales pitch, a display of services, an advert. Think about it, why would a seller want to list a property on your website? There are so many estate agents out there and competition is fierce, you need to make sure you stand out from the crowd. Let’s take a look at what your estate agency should be harnessing to make sure you provide the best service for online users.

Throughout this guide we will run through some of the most vital website design features your estate agency must have in order to compete and beat the competition.

First Impressions (Homepage Design)

It is true that you only get a split second to make a first impression to a potential customer. Which is why a well-designed homepage is essential for your estate agency. Branding and website design is essential if you want consumers to engage with your website. The overwhelming majority of traffic will land on your homepage, it must be optimised and user friendly.

The key elements your homepage must include:

  • A Heading – When redesigning your website it is essential that your homepage has a heading. It tells the user exactly what your agency has to offer.
  • Subheading – This heading should refer to your main page header, featuring a snappy tagline to entice users to continue to navigate your site.
  • CTA’s – Create visually striking and snappy call-to-actions, once users land on your estate agency website, they should be pushed to find a property to buy or to list their property on your website.
  • Search Page/Filter – Search filters on estate agency websites must stand out and be easy to use, if your search filter is complicated, people will not be able to find what they are looking for.
  • High Quality Images – High quality imagery can make your website stand out and look very appealing. Showcasing what your agency has to offer.
  • About Us Section – Giving the user an idea of your history as an estate agency, when you started and what your company is about builds trust.
  • Testimonials – Buying property is a large investment, client testimonials is a way of building trust with users who have just found your website. Real people with real opinions of how your estate agency helped them. 
  • Contact Information – Lastly, it is surprising how many agencies forget to clearly display contact information on the homepage. Whether that be in the footer or at the top of the website, phone numbers, email addresses and postal addresses should be easily found.

In today’s highly competitive property environment, having a modern and user friendly website should be a given. Impressing users who enter your website can lead to them choosing you over your competitors. You must keep working to develop your website, if you dont you will get left behind. First impressions are extremely important, ranking first on Google is excellent but if your site is not up to scratch you will lose potential leads. Are you harnessing your agency’s full potential?

User Experience

Your main goal when looking at website design should be for the user to have the most seamless experience on your website so browsing your doesn’t feel like hard work, and that’s where lots of estate agents go wrong.

Good design is not something the average user looks at and says ‘wow, that’s a great design!’ Good design is something that is easy to use, read and interact with – it is almost invisible. It makes users want to engage and experience your website and evokes a specific emotional response. 

We design websites with user experience at the forefront of our design thinking, this takes into consideration things like ‘how’ the website makes the user feel and ‘what’ is the user trying to get out of this website and ‘why’. 

Here are some things you must take into consideration to create the best website experience:

  • Aesthetics & Visual Design

To really make an impact your website must look stunning and aesthetically pleasing. It is essential that your website looks good. Make sure to keep the design balanced, not too text heavy. Your estate agency will no doubt have some fantastic imagery of property so make sure you use it. 

  • Mobile Compatibility

Your website must be mobile compatible. Google released the mobile first algorithm years ago and some websites are still not optimized for mobile. A large section of web traffic comes via mobile and tablet devices, if your website is not compatible it will not display properly on the device and the user will struggle to navigate around the website.

  • Fast Page Load Speed

40 Percent of consumers will wait no longer than three seconds for a web page to load (hobo-web). This stat seems to increase every year as the patience of internet users is seemingly thinning. When thinking about a redesign, make sure to remove any unnecessary content and imagery that could be slowing your website down. Also compress any new imagery, minify & compress source code where possible.

  • Usable Forms

For estate agent web design, forms are crucial. They allow users to interact with the site. Forms are also very useful for generating leads for your agency. To get the most out of your site, it is important to ensure the forms are easy to use and accessible to everyone. Make sure you get enough information from the lead. Encourage the user to input a message, phone number, email and full name.

  • Website Flow

To keep people engaged with your website and keep the average session duration high, your website has to flow and be engaging. Adding interactive elements or bullet point section/tiles will help to segment information and stop constant scrolling from top to bottom. Ideally you want as little scrolling as possible. There are some things to keep in mind though, users are more likely to notice items near the top of the page, therefore you should set up your page with order of importance in mind. Next, avoid creating dead end pages and redirect loops, they cause confusion and additional navigation is needed for users to get to where they want to be. 

Estate Agent CRM

As an agent you need to be on top of all the leads that come through your website. When redesigning your website, you should think about adding a CRM system if you have not already. One example of a CRM system for estate agents would be Propertybase. There are loads of CRM systems available, make sure to do your research before integrating one into your website.

Lead & Contact Management

  • Centralise all of your contacts – One-stop information database
  • Connect and manage your lead sources in one place
  • Automatically route leads based rules and business processes bespoke to you
  • Get real-time notifications of lead activity on your mobile or desktop
  • Segment your database for automated and targeted follow up

Reports & Dashboards

  • Real-time dashboards allow you to stay on top of operational, financial and marketing performance
  • Motivational dashboards allow your entire team to see exactly where they stand
  • Get the answers you need no matter where you are with the Propertybase mobile app

Property Listing Management

  • Customise videos, images, and details to highlight the very best of your property listings
  • Browse and access listing inventory nationwide
  • Save money by pushing your property listing database to a growing list of real estate portals

Automation, Process & Workflows

  • Assign tasks to yourself or your team, and take advantage of scheduled reminders
  • Integrate your calendar to keep track of your days
  • Automate your marketing efforts to consistently and reliably stay in touch with your network

Managing your leads and workflow is essential to improve the performance of your estate agency. Not only can a website redesign improve the look and usability for customers, it can improve the lead management for you and your staff. Doing this manually can cause harm to your lead management. Integrating with a competent CRM will help you to stay current and manage your portfolio.

Detailed Property Listings

One of the key pages to focus on when redesigning your website is the property listings pages. If you want your listed properties to gather attention and interest from potential property renters or buyers, it is essential to have detailed information about each property on your estate agents website. There are some key features that must be included if you want to have a perfect property listing page.

  • Clear Pricing

Pricing must be clearly displayed on the listings page, whether it be the full price for the house or the rental cost per month. Making this stand out will draw attention and this will help consumers decide whether they can afford this property or it can help them move onto a different property.

  • Number Of Bedrooms, bathrooms, garages and garden

This may sound obvious but, giving as much information on your listings page helps to build up excitement and buyers can use this as a checklist to make sure the property fits what they are looking for.

  • Property Floor Plans, Brochures and other relevant details

It is handy to provide visitors of your property website the ability to print or download a printer-friendly version of the properties they are interested in, straight from the property page. This brochure should include descriptions, floor plans, maps etc.

  • Property Maps

Every well-designed property website will have a map on each property page. This builds trust with consumers who may recognise the location or they can view the property via the map.

  • A competent, professional gallery of imagery

Be honest, do your images look professional? Almost all estate agents have images, but a lot of them aren’t very good. If you’re trying to sell a property online and the images are dull and uninspiring, it will be harder to show the consumer just how great that property is.

  • Call To Actions

A CTA is a planned marketing message that can be found around a website. For estate agents and real estate property websites, it is important to have well-defined call to actions. An example of a CTA on a property search page could be ‘Find Your Happy Place’ above the search filter. The whole point of a call to action is to try and control where your visitor goes on your website, especially if you want them to look for a specific featured set of properties. We have created an in-depth guide on how to optimise a property listing page.

Property Filtering & Shortlist

Property search is definitely one of the most important features on an estate agent website. Having a filtering system that is effective and accurate is essential if you want to give consumers the best results.

Every customer could be looking for different things when searching for their dream property. Some features are more important to certain people. This is why your property search filter must have the necessary information available. Property Type, Location, Bedrooms, Bathrooms, Min/Max Price and a reference section must be included. Even adding a drawmap is a very important feature, users can search for properties within a specific location with pin-point accuracy. Properties are presented based on their exact drawn property search area.

Another great feature to think about when designing a new property website is a property shortlist. This is a basket feature for properties, held in a members area section on the website. This allows users to save properties in a shortlist area for an easy review. One key benefit from a website owner point of view is that this encourages visitors to create an account, this gives out contact details. Also, users will be encouraged to come back to the website to review their shortlist. Automatic notifications can be set up for the visitors to recieve if there have been any price drops or one of their shortlisted properties has been sold.

Google Friendly & SEO Ready Design

When designing a website you must take a look at the impact the new design and content will have on your search engine performance. Online marketing is extremely important for estate agents. One way to make sure that the new website design is efficient in the search engines and for users is to create a great website structure for your estate agency. As an estate agent you can’t turn your back on SEO. It’s clear that with a well-thought-out SEO strategy, you’re able to improve your business. If you’re not optimising your website but your competitors are, they’ll overshadow you online which means your chances of being found organically will dramatically decrease. Without SEO, potential leads are less likely to visit your website as your competition is ranking above you.

When it comes to technical SEO, it’s often seen as an option – but it’s actually a necessity. People often think they’ll be able to climb up the rankings by just producing a lot of content. However, at the heart of any good website is a system that runs technically sound. A website that doesn’t work well on a technical level will struggle to get found online organically. 

Some technical essentials for a property website:

  • Website Speed – To load property pages and the homepage in under 2 seconds, this provides a good user experience.
  • Robots.txt – Instruct web bots to crawl your website.
  • XML Sitemap – This file will list all the URLs for a website.
  • Site structure – A good site structure provides a good UX and it means for better crawling via the search engine spiders.
  • Canonical’s – Canonical’s are so important for property websites and estate agents, they allow for you to pass link equity back from a property page to the landing page, giving it a higher chance to rank in Google and stopping any complication of multiple pages clashing against each other. 
  • Redirects – Making sure all old content has the new updated links and all 404 errors are quashed will help your website to perform better in the SERPs.

When you know what context and overall architecture is changing (or remaining the same), you can work to protect or proactively optimize at the page level for the specific elements that help with relevance – URL, page title, meta description, body copy etc.

How deep the changes are to architecture and sitemap overall will control how much you need to focus on relevancy of content at a depth level to ensure you don’t lose subject matter content on your website.

When redesigning your website make sure to take an audit of your original website and even if everything goes smoothly you still may find that rankings drop, do not worry. You just have to work hard to get them back!

Managing Your Project

A project is designed to bring about change to a business’ activities, products and/or services. The output of a project should improve specific outcomes and ultimately provide more benefits for the business. In the estate agency industry we can use this logic using the following example;

  • Output = New website
  • Outcome = An improved website, functionally & visually, that portrays the estate agency well online with the ability for buyers/tenants to easily search for relevant listings, as well as clear details of how buyers/landlords can advertise their property
  • Benefits = More leads, a better presence online and heightened consumer trust

As mentioned earlier, a website is an estate agent’s biggest salesperson – it works 24/7 and is available to everyone around the world at any given moment. If the project constraints (investment, timeframe, scope & quality) are all set to align with the business’ required benefits, the rewards should be huge.

At Property Webmasters, we carefully manage the project process to ensure there is full clarity from the onboarding stage until closure/launch. Communication is key, and relevant documentation is maintained to ensure the output is produced as required.

Worried you won’t be able to do all of this yourself?

Property Webmasters are experts in creating estate agency websites and are able to help you create the best online platform to help you sell your properties. Get in touch with our team of experts to find out more about how we can design you a stunning new website that WILL make an impact.

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