Your Real Estate Website: DIY or Buy?

Building a landing page

A professional looking website is the cornerstone of a real estate agent’s robust inbound marketing strategy. Your website can help you establish yourself as a real estate expert and educational resource for your clients, as well as create and grow your personal brand.

According to the National Association of REALTORS®, the first step in the home search process for buyers of all generations is to look online. That’s why agents must focus on their web (and mobile) presence to effectively assist their clients.

Building and maintaining your own website requires planning, usability knowledge, consistent content creation, and more!

Sure, you could use WordPress to create a simple, free blog. But with little lead-generation functionality, limited SEO, and no MLS links, your website is nothing more than a digital flyer or business card.

To achieve success with your website, enlisting a skilled web designer may be your best bet to getting things right the first time.

Whether you hire a professional or DIY, keep in mind the following best practices.

Plan Out Your Website’s Design and Function

As the saying goes, always look before you leap. Think about what you’re trying to accomplish with your homepage—more than likely, you’re looking to generate leads.

Don’t just think about the “what” of your website. You should also strategize the “how” (how are you going to build your website and create content for it?) and the “why” (what is the purpose of your website beyond a virtual business card?) before you dive into the details.

Building a business strategy includes answering questions like these:

  • What is your objective and who is your audience?

  • What do people look for when they come to your site?

  • How will they benefit from your content?

  • What do they need and when do they need it?

  • Is another communication medium better to disseminate certain content?

  • How do you plan to keep content fresh?

  • How do you plan to share your content across multiple channels and drive traffic back to your website?

  • Are you prepared to follow up on the leads generated by your website?

Your Website Content is Key

Your website’s content is the most important part of your strategy. A beautifully designed website is useless if it doesn’t include relevant content.

Here are some guidelines to follow:

  • Do not repurpose material from other sources without editing or crediting them. Write clear, summarized, and “scannable” copy and use eye-catching imagery. Be aware of copyright and use restrictions.

  • Don’t let your site get bloated with information no one will read, understand, or even care about. Get rid of half of the words on each page, then get rid of half of what’s left.

  • Understand your audience and provide content that speaks to them.

  • Make critical information prominent and reduce the distractions on the page.

  • Periodically review the entire site to remove information that is no longer needed.

When in Doubt, Hire a Professional to Help

You’re busy, and websites take a lot of time and effort to build and maintain. It’s okay to admit that you might need assistance from a professional.

Web professionals (designers, developers, writers, etc.) can develop web strategies, create content, and build pages.

Good web designers are experts at creating a positive user experience, reinforcing your brand, optimizing visuals, and writing precise, readable content.

They understand grid systems, white space, color theory, and more, and they know how to integrate these components into a seamless design.

What is most important when considering whether to build or maintain your website? It boils down to a few questions.

  • Do you have the time, energy, and skill to develop a site that reaches your audience, meets your objectives, and contains clearly written, valuable information?

  • Are you using your resources wisely?

  • Are you prepared to keep the site refreshed and up to date?

Sometimes, the most expedient course of action is to work with a web professional to help you get started, even if you intend to maintain your website yourself.

Check out a couple of options below to generate more leads and close more deals!

  • Real Estate Webmasters can help you design and maintain your website, keep track of leads with a CRM, and even expand your reach with custom branded apps.

  • Real Geeks provides custom IDX websites, lead generation tools, integrated inbound marketing strategies, and a CRM to track and convert leads.

  • Placester’s Agent Pro tool helps you build a mobile-friendly website to drive traffic, capture leads, and increase audience engagement.

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