There can be a lot to consider when thinking about how your Estate Agency is portrayed online. For the majority of users, the beginning of their potential customer journey starts with your website. It is true that you only get one chance to make a first impression and with most UK and International Estate Agents operating in an extremely competitive market, you need to make sure that your first impression is a great one.
An estate agent website that is set up for success does not stop after the first impression. A good website has to do and say many things; capturing the attention of a user, displaying your agency’s unique selling points, having a clear call to action, all while placing importance on user experience and website performance.
Operating in over 50 countries, Property Webmasters has designed, developed and supported some of the largest real estate organisations in the world. Not forgetting the countless start-ups and small to medium-sized agencies we have worked and built up long-standing relationships with along the way.
Over the last 15 years, we have continued to innovate, providing PropTech solutions that push boundaries. So, whether you are building a website from the ground up or are looking to improve upon what you already have, our website buying guide will help you decide on what is best for your agency’s digital future.
93% of online experiences start from a search engine, meaning your website is one of the most important aspects of your business. With the majority of users utilising search engines for their needs online, how many people do you think will be actively looking for estate agencies?
With the ability to display the services your estate agency has to offer, your property listings, contact information, reviews, social media accounts and more, you can present all of your agency’s information in one place. To give you the power to make your estate agency memorable, you need to ensure that your website gives users the best first impression. Without a great first impression, visitors are most likely to question the legitimacy of your estate agency and exit your website. This would inevitably mean you possess fewer leads, a lack of sales and a potentially increased bounce rate.
Providing a great online experience for your customer base will increase the credibility, trust and professionalism of your agency. With increased impotence on social proof, you need to make sure that your website leaves no doubt in a user’s mind that your agency is the one for them. Done correctly, your agency will start to receive positive word-of-mouth referrals. You are also able to display your brand in a way that appears bigger and more successful than perhaps you are, that is not a bad thing at all!
When it comes to your agency’s website, it is no longer feasible to put it on the back burner. Users are more aware than ever of what they want and could get elsewhere, so when it comes to planning your new website you must put your target audience at the forefront of your strategy.
Ensuring that the company you choose understands the demands of the market, as well as upcoming trends of the industry, is one of the most important factors in your search.
We understand that not all estate agencies will have the same target audience and that it is not a one size fits all when it comes to your website design. To stay ahead of your competitors and in the mind of your audience, there is a list of must-haves when it comes to designing your new website.
Designed to get users to the properties that they want to see as quickly and easily as possible, this is a vital part of your website, putting user experience at the forefront of your design. Allowing front end-users to search intuitively for a property that matches their requirements, from price range and location to, minimum beds and special features such as swimming pool, garden and beach.
Giving your social media channels full exposure, we can have direct feeds from your chosen social media channels such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Agents can also share their properties on Facebook directly from the website CMS when adding or editing a property.
Ensuring your users are kept up to date and informed with the latest properties that match their requirements, property alerts are a great way of keeping your users engaged and interacting with your properties and site. This will also allow you as the estate agent to gather data from your website users which can then be used for marketing purposes.
Essential for lead generation, implementing pop-ups that are set to display periodically will ensure the best possible chance for your users to convert. From promoting a resource such as downloading a ‘Buying Guide’ to encouraging users to become a member as well as the most important one being exit intent.
Giving you the ability to add and change any content at any time, an easy to use content management system is key when it comes to your website. From testimonials to the ability to add and create news articles and blogs, you must be able to keep your website up to date with all of the relevant content.
Showing your audience that you have a tech integrated system will build confidence in your services as well as help convert them into a property listing when the client approves you as their agent.
Testimonials are perfect for building trust and a great reputation for your estate agency. Often used as a technique to give your visitors the final ‘push’ towards your services, without testimonials you will lose out on generating more enquiries and leads as 9 out of 10 people are influenced to buy a product or service by positive reviews online.
A make or break for estate agents when it comes to building a new website is will their Customer relationship manager (CRM) integrate with your new site. The answer to this is yes! Our websites are built to integrate with any CRM and any portal ensuring that you can have a high functioning website that coincides with your client’s every move!
Once your website is built and even throughout the entire process we are here as a digital partner, to provide proactive support. Not only do we safeguard your website, but we will also come to you with solutions on how you should be adapting to new changes in technology. We want to ensure that your site is at the forefront of your industry and audience! After the 24 monthly contract is complete we will offer you a completely free redesign making sure that we support your business through the constant changes in trends and demands of the industry.
With 57% of Internet users saying they would not recommend a business with a poorly optimised website on mobile and the average person spending 70% of their digital media time on a mobile device, it is no longer feasible to have a website that is not optimised on multiple devices. That’s why our websites are optimised for mobile, desktop, laptop and tablet, to ensure that no matter the demand of your audience there will be no barrier in communication.
We understand that your website is an integral part of your agency, that’s why we set a target of 4 weeks from the moment we have all of the necessary materials from your agency.
We don’t stop once your website is complete, it is essential that you understand how to maximise the effectiveness of your site. That’s why our growth consultants will demo your site to you, explaining all of the ins and outs. From walking you through your CMS to demoing how to update your content and pages. We can also support you with any queries or questions you have about the usability both from the user and agents side.
Our AgentPlus website solution is fully personalisable, allowing you to create a website that complements your agency and branding perfectly. Although if you require any custom features we offer completely bespoke website designs, ensuring that your website meets the exact demands and expectations of your agency and audience. We offer a range of customisations to take your estate agency website to the next level including a live chat feature, WhatsApp integration, instant valuations and many more!
Benefitting both your agency and your visitors, an SSL Certificate will add to your website’s user experience. For a website to be secure, an SSL Certificate keeps users’ data safe. The padlock at the top of a user’s screen will supply a sense of security and trust in your agency’s site.
Have you ever left a website because the page took too long to load or perhaps you couldn’t find the page you were looking for? Website usability is extremely important and should be one of the biggest considerations when building a website. Here at Property Webmasters, we ensure all of our websites are built with the user in the forefront of our minds. When it comes to ensuring the best user experience, we pay attention to every little detail.
As mentioned already, first impressions always matter. It only takes humans on average 1 tenth of a second to form an opinion of someone and websites are no different. Poor web design can instantly turn customers away with 75% of people basing the credibility of a business based on how their website looks. Colours, layout, fonts, logos and more all add to the design of your site, so you need to ensure you are choosing the correct details and are being consistent!
But a great website design isn’t just all about the visual appeal, you also need to consider whether a website is responsive (often referred to as a mobile-friendly website). Nowadays almost everyone owns a mobile phone or tablet so it’s so important to ensure your site is optimised for all devices. Not only can having a responsive website design increase your online visibility but it can also give you a boost in search engine results.
It doesn’t matter how impressive your website looks, a slow-loading website can be your biggest enemy.
Did you know that 53% of mobile site visitors will leave a site if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load?
Your agency could potentially be losing out on leads while your competitors are gaining them! There are so many factors to consider when making sure a website is optimised for performance and speed and that’s something that we take extremely seriously with our websites. Our solution has been developed to provide a fast and secure platform for estate agents to enjoy.
Did you know that 94% of people voted that website navigation is one of the most important aspects of a website?
That’s why having a clear and well-structured navigation system is fundamental in encouraging your visitors to stay. Our websites will give your customers a hassle-free journey to finding their perfect home.
Putting user experience first, easy and simple navigation should be at the forefront of your design process, as users will automatically expect a website to be easy to use.
It takes an average of 50 milliseconds (yes just 0.05 seconds!) for a user to form an opinion on whether or not they want to stay or leave your site!
Accessibility is one of the most important aspects of a website. This is a practice of ensuring there are no barriers or complications that prevent interaction with or access to websites by those with physical and situational disabilities as well as socio-economic restrictions. For your website to be up to standard, you want visitors to be able to navigate, understand and interact with your website.
The content on your website has the power to make or break your visitor’s opinions towards your website. If your content isn’t engaging or relevant, your visitors will simply leave your website. Relevant content will also be extremely beneficial for your SEO as keywords will help to rank your website and fresh content will indicate to Google that your website is active. Instead of thinking your site needs tons of content to be successful in terms of SEO, think more about the quality and relevance of the content. Search engines pick up on keywords and phrases due to the initial search made by users. Search engines then rank your website from most to least relevant on the results page. This means the more relevant the content, the more people will organically enter your website. However, don’t make the mistake of adding content that is relevant to another section of your website. This could mean that a user enters your website looking for ‘apartments for sale in Spain’ but ends up looking at ‘Villas for sale in Portugal’. This isn’t ideal for anyone. If the information isn’t relevant visitors will simply exit your site. This would inevitably mean a loss in leads and potential clients.
Over 41% of users expect a website to have a live chat, meaning they will be disappointed if websites don’t. Being able to instantly connect with your agency will be a great way for your visitors to gain extra information fast. The faster your response times are with a live chat the more success you’re likely to have with the leads generated.
Keeping your customer’s contact information up to date is absolutely essential. Depending on the size of your agency, you may or may not currently have a CRM integrated with your website. A CRM is a powerful tool that helps you keep all of your data in one place, designed to help you reach new leads first while keeping on top of repeat and referral customers.
It can be extremely tiresome to manually keep track of your leads, current clients, previous clients and more. Every estate agency is always looking for ways to improve and streamline its processes, allowing them to reach maximum potential.
A CRM is a necessity if your agency is looking to directly improve the scalability and productivity of your business. Use automation to track and monitor every leads journey, from start to finish. This will save your team hours per week on manual administration.
Market leaders within the PropTech space have developed solutions that save your team time as well as enhance customer experience.
There are hundreds of third-party applications that can be integrated seamlessly into any good estate agent website solution. This is a crucial question to ask your provider, and it features within our FAQs section of this guide!
For example, our website solutions integrate with all of these companies below and many more!
When it comes to investing in a new site, there are essential elements that need to be included. Think about what your users want to see. What will make them want to go ahead with your services? How will you ensure that your agency is recognised? A memorable and engaging design, clear call to action and up to date functionalities are just a few of the different segments of your website that need to be considered.
Website Migration is the operation of redirecting each web page from your previous site to your new one. When this is taking place your aim should be for this process to run as smoothly as possible, with one main focus being to minimise any negative impacts on rankings. This issue is something all websites face after the migration process yet when strategically planned, you can reduce the length and complexity of this disadvantage.
Website Migration can be undertaken for multiple reasons. Reinventing your brand through a new and improved design (including a responsive website), preferable navigation, platform changes, content changes and a website restructure. The list goes on.
Having a strategy that will allow you to overcome your objectives will ensure the process of Website Migration is much easier. A clear plan will benefit in outlining your objectives. Think about what you want your outcomes to be as well as what call to action you want displaying throughout your website. This could also help define what keywords you should be including in your content.
In addition to this, you should put thought into when would be the best time to start this process. We recommend that you migrate your website during a low traffic period, if possible. Typically when migrating your website you will have a dip in traffic for a few weeks and if you were to do this during a busy time then you could potentially be losing a great number of quality leads.
Once you know your clear call to action, what content you want to display throughout your website and when you want to start the migration process, you will need to set up tracking. This will allow you to regularly review the effects the migration is having on your website.
Before you even touch anything from your old website, you need to ensure you have the metrics to track the migration process!
Having the ability to monitor the likes of performance, rankings and traffic are vital when it comes to migrating your website. This will allow you to gain insight as to how much organic and referral traffic your new site obtains, as well as review any shifts in traffic.
Google Analytics is the perfect place to track the behaviours of your visitors and to do so you must include the tracking code on all pages of your new site.
Crawling your website before migration is so important and can be done through tools such as SEMrush. Crawling your existing website allows you to gain insight into things such as redirects or crawling errors from URLs. Typically, these errors appear over a period of time so when it comes to migrating your site you will know which URLs need to be replaced during the migration process. If you come across orphaned pages you need to update the site and link these during the migration. These pages have a strong chance of not receiving organic traffic if they aren’t linked to the rest of your website.
Having a complete list of URLs from your old site will result in nothing being lost during the transition. However, keep in mind that a website crawl may not identify every single page on your old website, so using your records and database would allow you to find the pages.
When migrating your site you want to make sure you are not losing any valuable content. This includes text, images or entire pages. The content on your current website needs migrating as this is what search engines already know about your website. Without this content, search engines may apply different metrics to your new site resulting in poor rankings and less organic traffic.
For your web pages to rank in the search results, you must include keywords and searches within your content. This is how search engines gather the information they need to crawl and index your website. Going through your current content and ensuring your on-page content contains those relevant keywords will be beneficial for your rankings as well as your SEO efforts.
Over time, a website builds organic visibility which is the result of the keywords and search rankings visitors and prospects use to discover their website. When you change content, Metadata, URLs and your overall website, you are changing exactly what search engines already know about your site, including the metrics they have applied to it that affect your rankings
Without getting too technical, we will discuss the software commonly associated with estate agent websites. This is definitely an important factor to consider when deciding on which supplier to go ahead with for your new website. Some things are worth spending slightly more money on in order to get a product and service that is a class above.
Why is this important? The framework your website is built upon can be seen as the building blocks for sustainability. The two main options for a typical website include WordPress, a notorious blogging platform that can be forcefully built into a real estate website using an abundance of plugins or a multi-tenant Laravel solution that has been custom built from the ground up.
One of the most important factors for a website include site speed, typically WordPress solutions can get weighed down due to the number of plugins necessary to turn the solution into a property industry-specific solution. Alternatively, a multi-tenant Laravel framework can be built to be as lean as possible, featuring dedicated functionality that is specifically for estate agents.
Having an industry-specific solution and CMS allows you to have the basics at your fingertips, instantly. At Property Webmasters, we have a multi-tenant solution that plays host to a range of our clients. This means we can continuously roll out enhancements to our solution immediately, which means everyone on AgentPlus will reap the benefits of the updates regardless of how long ago they purchased the website. It’s an ever-evolving platform.
The Yoast SEO plugin within WordPress can only do so much as some agents may be aware. Our solution provides automation for all metadata and URLs, this reflects the content or property entered into the website manually or from a feed. This makes sure you minimise duplicate content, keeping it within Google’s guidelines.
Ultimately, it is a decision between cheap and cheerful or reasonable and innovative. With a quick four week turnaround for our templated solutions and slightly longer for fully bespoke custom builds, the need for updating plugins and worrying about the security of your data is no more. With speed, ease and automation in mind, find out the total cost of our solutions below and find out how you can spread the cost to best suit your needs.
The question on everyone’s lips… how much will a new website cost me? Different suppliers have different costs, what’s important here is to understand exactly what you are receiving for the investment you are making. Remember, in most cases, you get what you pay for, so don’t fall victim to purchasing the cheapest solution out there. Before purchasing a website, our recommendation is that you should receive a few different quotes from suppliers. Within the proposal, it should outline exactly what you will get for the money. Examine the terms and conditions of the contract and make sure you know what is included and what isn’t. We want to help you understand what you need to consider in terms of how much the website costs and the different variables that will affect the price.
Before purchasing a website you should consider who is going to be behind the design and implementation of the website. Is all of the work complete in-house? This is important as you want to be investing in invaluable resources and industry expertise with your website. People that are experts in their field and have done this time and time again. The quality and cost of the website will reflect the people behind it, so choose wisely!
As stated in the previous section, the software behind your website is vitally important to long term success and return on investment. The framework your website has been built on can reduce the need to upgrade or invest more into your website in the future, which highlights why this needs to be considered before you decide which supplier you proceed with. With our specific solutions, new features and enhancements are included with our AgentPlus solution as the multi-tenant framework we have created from scratch allows us to do that, other frameworks such as WordPress don’t facilitate that, so if you’re wanting new features in the future, it’s going to cost.
Make a list of the essential requirements you want for your website. Before making a commitment, make sure to run through these requirements and confirm with the supplier that these are included in the initial agreement. The last thing you want is to be faced with additional fees for something you thought you had already paid for. The features of your website usually are one of the main things that contribute to the total cost. Compare quotes and the features that they consist of, you’d be surprised by the additional costs that are out there for things you would think is standard. Paying more at the beginning could save you big time further down the road.
Does the supplier have proof to back up what they say about their websites? At Property Webmasters, we like to be as transparent as possible to our customers in order for them to make an informed choice. Be very aware when in discussions with suppliers that they provide evidence to back up their promises. No one wants to feel like they’re being sold too, we’ve all been there where you have been promised the world and they have failed to deliver. We offer guidance to our customers and if our solutions aren’t the best fit for a customer for whatever reason, we will tell them. One way we do this is through case studies & testimonials. They provide legitimate evidence that a company can do what they say they can. With concrete evidence of case studies and testimonials, it could very well be worthwhile spending that little bit more!
Another factor that will contribute to the cost of the website is support. Does the purchase of your website include incentives such as bug fixes, technical support, dedicated project managers and training of the platform? These are all items that are there to make the purchase of a new website as smooth and stress-free as possible. As mentioned earlier, upgrades to our multi-tenant platform are rolled out and available to every one of our clients complimentary. Another unique feature of our websites is that after 24 months, our customers are entitled to a new website design as part of our package. This is like purchasing 2 websites for the price of 1, so again this is another incentive that contributes to the value of our cost.
Finally, an important piece of information to find out from a website provider is how the payment is structured. This is important as if it was one upfront payment, this could be quite a large payment in one go. We offer our customers flexibility in how they’d like to pay. For our AgentPlus websites, the total cost is £6000, however, those payments can be spread for 24 months. This means your new website is only going to be an outgoing cost of £250 per month.
The purchase of a new website is a big investment for any Estate Agent and one that can be very rewarding. The majority of an Estate Agents business should be handled through the website, so it’s so important that you are making the right choice. The thought of purchasing a new website can be a stressful ordeal and often this is what puts some agents off from purchasing a new website altogether. Like most buying decisions, it’s one that shouldn’t be taken lightly and you should consider all of the variables mentioned above to avoid disappointment. Shop around, speak to different suppliers and don’t be shy to ask questions. When will my website be complete? What support will I receive? What do you need from me to make this process as smooth as possible? You need to ask so you can make an informed decision and feel confident with your choice. There may be providers that offer extremely similar things and there’s not much in it to differentiate, so you may base your decision on who you’ve had a better experience with so far or who you feel is a better fit for your business. Who do you feel cares the most about your needs or who can get things done quicker. At Property Webmasters, we want our customers to be confident with their decision and we do all that we can to help them with that. Examples, case studies, client testimonials, website mock-ups are all great ways of doing this. Be mindful of the companies that provide limited materials to help you make a decision and if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
All AgentPlus and bespoke websites from Property Webmasters are designed with results and user experience in mind. Our renowned AgentPlus solution contains a variety of first-class templates that offer every feature the typical estate agent could possibly desire. With innovative technology at the forefront, our system will grow stronger as the development continues and our clients will only benefit from new features in the future. If you’re interested in finding out more about how we help Estate Agents, or you’re just looking for more advice, we’d love to hear from you.