Is Your Real Estate Website Getting Old and Tired?

2 Aug 2018

How long has the anchor content on your website been up on the Web?  Take a trip through your real estate website with an eye on how many images and how much text could be updated for a fresh new look and better usability.  As you look through the site, keep one question top-of-mind: If I am a regular visitor, would I be bored having seen this content over and over?  Here are some tips and ideas for refreshing your site that will make it more interesting, especially for repeat visitors.  You could also generate more leads.

More People in Photos 

Actually, the first step in this process is to find all of the illustration type photos and change them out.

Find these type of images and try to replace them with photos that have people in them.  Many studies are indicating that images with people are better received than the illustration type.

Even better than these stock images, take your own with real people, buyers, and sellers, or even other people in your brokerage.  Get a simple model release to use their image online, and you can find examples of those in a search. If there isn’t a photo you can use that adequately illustrates your point, then keep the illustration, but try to replace as many of them as possible.

Check Your Navigation 

Does your button/tab navigation structure provide a fast and easy way for a browsing visitor to get to the information they want?  One thing some sites still have is top navigation that requires clicking on the top level nav to see the sub-levels.  So many sites have the drop-down function happening on a “mouse-over” action, not requiring a click.  Some visitors may not even realize that a click is necessary or they may be confused, so if you can use the mouse-over option, it’s a good idea to do so.

One site in a quick search for examples for this article had just three top navigation buttons; Find a Home, Sell a Home, and Mortgage.  While it’s simple, there was more room in that horizontal navigation area for more.  While most buyers will arrive with a desire to search for homes, others will want to learn more about the transaction process, or even neighborhoods.  While you can give them these options is a drop-down from that “Find a Home” top-level button, does that title really give them the idea that there is information about transactions there?  Maybe it’s at least better to change that “Find a Home” to something like “Information for Buyers.”  Better yet, leave the Find a Home button and add a buyer information button.

Update Text and Titles 

When you’re looking at the text of your pages, there is one consideration before you start rewriting.  Are you getting the SEO positioning you want, or at lease acceptable first-page positioning for some of your best local search phrases?  If you are, then don’t start changing your site text for the pages getting the good positions.  However, if you’re like most real estate agents/brokers, you’re likely having trouble getting first-page positioning for many or even any search phrases for your market area.  If that’s the case, then editing and even completely rewriting a lot of your text can be helpful not only for your visitors but also for SEO performance.

Pay particular attention to your page/post titles, as they have more influence on SEO and on visitor attention than the other text on the page.  Use the key phrases for SEO, but try very hard to get them into a title that also gets the visitor’s attention and a click.  There is a tool at the Advanced Marketing Institute website that scores titles and headlines based on three characteristics.  You can read about it there, but the idea is to appeal to the Intellectual, Emotional, and/or Spiritual nature of people to get them to want to read the content based on the title.

This is an example title for a page explaining title insurance.  The score of 16.67% is in the normal range for everyday people, not professional copywriters or even writing professionals.  It’s perfectly acceptable, but what if you want to spur more visitors to click to read that page?

That’s a pretty big difference in the score based on the appeal factors and also on being short and sweet.  This 40% is also more like the scoring professional copywriters get regularly based on their experience.  While the first title does say that title insurance protects their home, the second one puts it into the context of their need for it.

Take these tips to the bank, as you’ll make your site more user-friendly, and you’ll see your lead generation spike as well.