Creating Amazing Estate Agent Websites

11-12-2014

As with any website, Estate Agent sites need a balance of crucial digital elements to be successful; meeting users needs, delivering profitability (in whatever context that is) and creating a meaningful, painless experience.

Today I’m going to talk through some reminders of this and some tactical options to employ in relation to this industry specifically. Consider this article a collection of tips to help make Estate Agent websites perform better and make an impact on people.

1. Understand your users and design for them

This might seem obvious but a massive proportion of businesses across industries fail to understand their users before they design. Often websites are built for internal stakeholders and as a result, a site is created that appeals to management and staff but not to their users.

Users should be at the very centre of everything you do. Every design choice, option, Call to Action should have the user considered. Focus on the User Experience and what journeys users take to reach their goals. Take time to understand barriers and how to conquer them and don’t be afraid to experiment with doing something different.

2. Added Value is crucial

If you’re not doing anything different or giving users Added Value, they’ll migrate elsewhere, or just not come to you in the first place. Huge websites such as Rightmove have become hugely successful in collating property information and that’s great for your agency in a way, but the by-product is users have migrated away from localised Estate Agent websites. This means the brand experience is significantly lessened; in this context you need to view Rightmove as a competitor and create an experience that a user would prefer over the giant.

An example of this is Grier and Partners, an estate agency in East Bergholt and a client of ours. They employ a ‘Seller’s Secret’ feature which gives users a piece of short, relevant information about the property.

3. Ignore mobile at your peril

It’s surprisingly the amount of websites that aren’t responsive, meaning they’ll work on devices such as mobile and tablets. The migration of users over to mobile devices has been substantial over the last few years and in many cases, especially in a B2C discipline such as Estate Agencies, the mobile shift means people are viewing sites on their mobiles and tablets above desktop devices. Frankly put, if you’re not optimising for mobile, you’re alienating a huge amount of your users.

4. Integrate technologies

Look out for new technologies and how they can benefit users and your ultimate cause of connecting homes with people. Clever mapping solutions or mobile extra features can bring a wealth of Added Value to the User Experience, but take a considered approach to such new features. Include these technologies where appropriate, relevant and an improvement to the overall experience, there’s nothing worse than a website full of features that don’t really add any value.

5. Measure, review, improve

Ensuring the site is performing well and you’re meeting the needs of the users isn’t a project, it’s an ongoing task that sees you measuring performance and user behaviour, reviewing and understanding trends, then making improvements.

6. Expose yourself

The definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Don’t fall into the safe trap; experiment, do something different, leave a lasting impression, communicate your personality and connect with people. Use new approaches, engage with people and make a difference.

I hope the above few tips help inspire you to get on the right track with your website, or indeed continue along the path you’ve already taken.

Remember, ‘User is King’ and their ability to find your website, get to what they want and have a positive experience is paramount. If you need any advice just drop us a line and we’ll be happy to help.