The Third and Final Part of the Series
If you’ve already read part 1 and part 2 of our guide to optimising an estate agency website, this is the third and final part of the instalment. We’ve previously offered some tips and tricks for optimising your property listing page and your property search page. But this is arguably the most important out of all of them: how to optimise your homepage.
We all know how important first impressions are, but do you know the time it takes for a user to make their mind up about your website? You may be surprised by the answer … but we’ll reveal that later on.
If you need to catch up on part 1 and part 2 first, don’t worry! Just click the links below to gain direct access to the guides.
Making the First Impression Count
Think back to the last time you carried out a search online, were you impressed with the first website link you clicked on? If the answer is yes, then the chances are you carried out what you needed to do on there. However, if you didn’t like what appeared on your screen, it’s likely that you returned to the search engine’s results page and found another website to use instead.
“You only have a few seconds to capture someone’s attention!”
You never get a second chance at making a first impression, which is why a well-designed homepage is going to be one of the most powerful assets for your estate agency. The latest reports show that it only takes 0.05 seconds for a user to form an opinion of your website, which means they’ve probably already decided whether or not they like what they see before they’ve blinked. Though there’s the fairly common saying of “don’t judge a book by its cover”, this rule doesn’t tend to apply to websites. So, as an estate agent, it’s more important than ever to ensure that your homepage is up to scratch.
- 94% of users tend not to trust a website that looks old fashions and out of date
- 86% of visitors want to see information about your products/services on the homepage
- 64% of users will get your contact information from the homepage
- 52% of people want to see an ‘About Us’ section somewhere on the homepage
- 38% of people will stop engaging with a website if the content/layout is unattractive
What Estate Agents Need on Their Homepage
Because the bulk of your website traffic will land on your homepage, it’s essential that this is optimised and designed to the highest possible standard. If you feel like the homepage of your estate agency website is missing something, don’t panic! We’ve outlined some of the most elements you need to include on your homepage to have your website be successful online.
1. A Heading
When a user lands on your homepage, they want to know straight away what it is and what you offer. You don’t want to add too much content into your H1, it’s important that you keep it clear and concise – especially on the homepage. This heading is a great place for you to include your primary keyword. H1s are typically designed to be the biggest and boldest element on the page, so make it count. A user’s eye should be drawn to it immediately, which is why placing it above the fold on a website is key.
So, for example, if you only offer rental flats in London, your H1 is going to look a lot different than someone who provides all kinds of properties in the Costa Del Sol. How would they differ? Let’s take a look below.
Flats to Rent in London
Property for Sale in Costa Del Sol
They tell the user what to expect, without being overly complicated. They’re simple and straight to the point, so they’re going to be effective.
2. A Subheading
By keeping your main heading short, sweet and simple, you allow yourself more room to create an engaging and compelling subheading. It should complement your H1, which can be done effectively if you zero in on exactly what it is your estate agency offers.
Let’s go back to our two examples, the estate agent who offers rental flats in London and the one who provides properties in the whole of the Costa Del Sol. Their subheadings are going to read something like:
Find the rental property of your dreams in the heart of the UK
Live a life of luxury and soak up the Spanish sunshine with a property in the Costa Del Sol
Do you see where we’re going here? Although every estate agent’s goal is to help people find a property, it’s all about making it clear and making yourself stand out from the competition.
3. A Killer Search Facility
After reading How To Optimise a Property Search Page, you should know all about creating the perfect search function for your users. For someone to successfully navigate your property search facility, you must bear in mind what is important and what isn’t to the user. Yes having more options in there might make it easier for you and your sales team, but it’s only going to put a user off. All they want to be able to do is to find a suitable property in the location of their choice.
Keeping it simple on the homepage is a must! Having too many fields to fill in can get a little confusing. Even just having an option to select the desired property type and the preferred location will be enough on a homepage. Remember, you can always add an ‘advanced search option’ for users to select things like budget, min/max bedrooms and anything else that helps them to narrow down their search.
On most estate agency websites, the search facility will be included above the fold. It can be placed over a header image to make it stand out even more.
4. Call to Actions
A homepage should compel users to carry out their search. Once they land on your estate agency website, they should want to dig down deeper and find a property that suits them. A call to action (CTA) is something that can help to convert web visitors into actual customers. It’s best to have more than one on a page and they should be placed in spots that are easy for the user to find.
Some tips for making the most out of your CTA’s:
- They should be visually striking – try putting them in a colour that contrasts and also complements the colour scheme on your homepage
- Keep the text simple – CTA’s should not include copy with more than 5 words unless necessary
- They should be action orientated – to inspire the user to click and find out more
Some examples of a good CTA would be:
- Download the London area guide
- Sign up for free
- Subscribe for more property details
- Start your property search today
- Let’s search together
- Send me more information
5. High-Quality Imagery
Establish your identity as an estate agent with high-quality images that showcase what you offer. The images you choose on your homepage should convey the right message to your users. Thanks to this, you’ll be able to let everyone know exactly who you are and what it is you do.
The images you select need to not only be relevant to your brand, but they need to be aesthetically pleasing too. It’s no good using blurry photos that are dark and dingy, as this will be an instant turn off. By keeping the imagery on your homepage clean and quality, people are much more likely to stay on your website.
Top tip: Remember that if you want to optimise images for mobile users, it’s best to use high-quality images that have a reduced file size.
6. A Section to Sell Yourself
The statistics about 52% of people wanting to see an ‘About Us’ section somewhere on the homepage speaks volumes. Telling people about yourself is a great way to build trust and relationships with your users. It doesn’t need to be jam-packed full of information – after all, that’s what the actual ‘About Us’ page is for – but it should give readers a brief idea of who you are and what it is you do.
7. An Easy-to-Use Navigation
Not only is the home page the beating heart of your website, but it’s the hub of everything you do. Without a well-laid-out navigation bar, a website can appear cluttered and unorganised. Keeping it simple will keep your website visitors happy as they’ll be able to find the information they need quickly.
Want to know a Property Webmasters pro tip? It should not require more than three clicks for a user to reach an important source of information on your website.
When you’re offering a product or service to someone, especially one which is a large investment like a property, client testimonials can be a great element to include on your website. Not only are testimonials signals of trust, but they help to establish credibility. Why do they work? Well, they’re not coming directly from you: they’re not a sales pitch and they come from people who have previously had a positive experience with you. Testimonials are unbiased and are from real people, which is why they’re a great tool for helping conversions.
9. Useful Resources
A user should be able to access all kinds of relevant information about your estate agency directly from your home page. It’s always worth having a section below the fold yet above the footer to showcase any resources that may be useful to the visitor. This includes blog posts, news articles, area guides, buying and selling guides etc.
10. Contact Information
We’ve had estate agents come to us and ask why they aren’t getting any leads. Well, you may not believe us, but it’s surprising how many agencies we’ve spoken to that don’t have their contact information clearly on display. Many people go to a website’s home page as this is where they think they’ll find the details they need to get in touch with someone. Your home page should include all of your contact information: telephone number, fax number, email address and postal address. As well as this, having a contact form on the home page is a must. This should be set up so that it comes directly through to your inbox so that you don’t miss a single thing.
Remember, as soon as you’re contacted, don’t let that lead go cold! It’s astonishing how many estate agencies don’t have the time or the resources to reply back to potential customers. As soon as the mail hits your inbox folder or as soon as the phone rings, there should be someone there who is able to help with that person’s property search. You’re much more likely to turn a lead into a customer if you engage with them, so don’t forget to reply to their messages.
Do’s and Don’ts
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 to find out more about how we can design you a website – not just a decent homepage.
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