Starting a new real estate website can be daunting, whether it’s your 1st or your 10th.
With so much market saturation and competition in the industry, it may seem futile or even impossible to see success. However, everyone brings a special something to the world of real estate that another person needs.
Figuring out what that special something is and then displaying it appropriately is the secret to a successful website.
Today, I’m going to help make starting a new real estate website (or updating an existing one) much less of a daunting experience, and maybe even kind of fun.
First, what’s your scope?
There are a few different types of real estate websites that you’ll find across the Internet, and knowing which one will work best for you and your clients can simplify how to actually start one. These types can include:
The Search Tool
These sites are generally impersonal, can have either a wide or niche audience range, and requires firm marketing & advertising plans. The crux is differentiating your site from all the other – bigger – ones that have spent thousands of dollars on being the best in the business.
Depending on your idea of success for this venture (and how wide your audience is), the scope of work will vary.
The Business Card
When you just need an online presence so people can find you in the digital realm from the offline world, the Digital Business Card will serve you well. Simple, very little effort required, but won’t actively encourage leads alone at its smallest scope.
Fairly small and simple sites that work well for when you’re referral-based, starting out, or already have a steady marketing footprint for other projects and just need a platform for yourself.
Essentially a business card site, but built with the intention of pulling in leads by showing your expertise. This may involve neighbourhood recommendations, enhanced listing pages, video market updates, and flashier displays of your service.
The intention is to provide an online experience that can make a lasting impression. Go Black Belt, or go home.
The Neighbourhood Guide
Focused on providing information about specific neighbourhoods that you work in, with the intention of gaining leads through the listings provided. All the while presenting yourself as The Source for this neighbourhood. Not overtly specific to an agent; similar to the Search Tool but expanded.
This website type has a large scope, as heavily personalized content needs to be gathered, especially if you’re not the first in your area to have this sort of project – and really want to stand out.
So you’ve got the idea for your project. Now what?
There are three key things involved in figuring out where to start, no matter what kind of real estate website you have:
- Knowing who you are & who you want to be in your career,
- Knowing who your ideal (and/or realistic) client base is & what they need,
- Identifying concrete goals for achieving success (as it applies to you.)
Let’s dive deeper into these three key items below:
1. Who You Are
Several personal factors will affect what type of digital approach will be most efficient for you.
Your natural attitude. Are you energetic? Gentle? Bold? Reserved?
Don’t try to be someone you’re not. If you come off neutral and “everybody’s friend” online, but in person, you have a strong opinion and a bold personality then your client may feel distrustful.
How much time (and/or money) you are able and willing to put into your digital presence.
Generally, if being found on the internet in a saturated market is your goal, then you will need to put in a lot of work to get there – or have someone do it for you.
Your unique qualities
Something we advocate a lot for is to find your niche. It’s a lot easier to come up in the search ranking for something that hundreds or thousands of other people aren’t also vying for. What sets you apart from other people?
These aspects all flow into a couple of very important branding properties: Your Brand Identity, and your Brand Promise. Your website needs to show consistency in these areas first, and only second does the design of it matter for consistency across your other marketing vehicles.
If your messaging and purpose don’t align across all aspects, then your foundation will be unstable for the fancier parts. Did anyone expect to hear a designer say that their work is secondary to anything?
What’s a Brand Identity? What’s a Brand Promise? We’ll tell you everything you need to know (and more) about Branding for Real Estate agents in our ebook, Dojo – The Blueprint for Real Estate Marketing Mastery. Learn more and order your copy here.
2. Your Ideal Clients
When I ask people who their target market is, the most common answer is “I want to work with everyone.”
While it may be true that you work with a variety of professions, personalities, and situations, there are likely some that you mesh particularly well with – and ones you don’t! We want to attract more of the former and less of the latter for real, quality success.
What does this mean for your website? Well, people are more likely to interact with things that are reflective of themselves. If you can make your website seem like it was built for them personally, the chances of turning that viewer into a lead is far more likely than simply presenting the same generic information found across the web.
For example, meet Kindra Sowden.
Kindra works frequently with women of different lifestyles in Saskatoon – a small, targeted niche. This effectively equates to a smaller pool of clients but is basically guaranteed quality connections resulting in high return/referral rates. Her website’s design, content, and flow makes her memorable and distinct.
Kindra’s website reflects her audience by personalizing:
- the imagery (gentle, feminine),
- the colours (reminiscent of her area, adding a comfortable atmosphere), and
- the content (shows her relatability and understanding of her audience, provides testimonials to back it up).
Who do you picture when you think of your favourite client? What did they like about you and not like about others? You can paint a much clearer picture of what you need for your website with these answers in mind.
3. Your Goals & Success
This is a tip that is relevant to creating the perfect real estate website, but can also relate to your entire business overall or even aspects of your personal life!
Many will share that the best way to know if you’re doing well is to know what “doing well” means to you. Nail down what success means to you personally, understand it, visualize it. Success could mean:
- “I want 1 lead every month from my website’s contact form.”
- “I want to raise the number of people looking at my website from 200 to 2,000 by the end of the year.”
- “I just want to feel happy and confident about how I appear online.”
- “I want to rank on the first page when people search for ‘Brentwood Real Estate’.”
Knowing your end goal makes it easier to know how to get there. It may mean you need to hire a content writer, run Google ads, or make connections with people who can help boost your real estate website in the search ranks – and it also means you’ll know exactly what is needed to see your own kind of success.
Ninja Tip: Show, don’t tell. This is my favourite piece of advice to give during website design customizations. Our first instinct when viewing a website is not to read a bunch of text, it’s to skim first and see if there’s something of interest there. If that interest is piqued, then we’ll dive a little deeper. Tap into the subconscious mind to grab attention through visuals such as strong imagery and video, and put your hard-earned testimonials to good use by using them in calls to action: “This client says my negotiation skills got their dream house purchased in record time. Can I do the same for you?” Why yes, please…