Building a website sounds like a simple and easy thing to do, but there’s a lot of research and decision making before you should begin. Here are a few questions to ask yourself before building your commercial real estate website or getting a redesign.

1) What do I want my website to do?

Generate Leads. Most commercial real estate companies want a lead generating website.  You should build your website around the concept of trading visitors something for their name, email address, company name, and phone number. Usually white papers, access to a newsletter, or a type of mailer. Having a marketing piece to exchange for information is the easiest way to gather lead information. Simply relying on a “contact us” page may not be enough.

Educate. While most cre companies want a lead generating site, a majority actually have an education site. This type of site explains the offered services and expertise of the company or agent but does not offer any incentive to exchange information.

2) Who should design my website?

The internet is a dark and scary place.  It’s easy to be victimized so be sure and do your homework on whoever is designing and hosting your website.

Be wary of companies that charge a small fee for the website design and then offer full hosting and domain support. Ask who owns this website and what happens if you want to change providers. They make their money on the monthly fees and sometimes will slowly raise their prices over time. Often, you’re stuck with them. To leave, you’d have to build an entirely new .COM and start over from scratch.

Calico Marketing offers website design at easy, flat rates and requires you to choose your own domain and hosting. This makes it easy for you to change providers or hire someone in-house to make revisions and updates to your website. This means your site is never held hostage for monthly income.

3) Who should host my website?

I, personally, really like Bluehost.  They provide great email, domain and website hosting for a reasonable fee. Also, all their tech support centers are located in Utah. Another good hosting option is GoDaddy who has support centers in Arizona.

A good rule of thumb is to never allow a designer to host your website. You don’t know what awful reseller package your taking part in and other websites you’re associated with. Often times, if one website gets hacked (on a reseller account) your website is also accessible to the hacker. When your website is hacked it can affect your Google rankings and even your emails.

4) What should my website look like?

Did you notice this was the last tip? Most people obsess over this one aspect but without content, purpose (from tip #1) and solid support (tips #2 & 3) a website won’t function.

Color schemes largely will follow your logo colors. After all, those are your company colors. Unless they’re absolutely horrible, you should match the color scheme on your logo.

To figure out your preferred layout, visit competitor websites. Write down what you like and dislike about each site. You’ll end up with a firm collection of website layout ideas!

All websites should be responsive (mobile and tablet friendly). Google is beginning to punish websites who have not updates their layouts by lowering their search rankings in mobile searches.  But even if you don’t care about Google rankings, 40% of internet searches are now done on smart phones. Being available to those people is a huge way to boost website traffic.

Simple is better. The easier it is to navigate your website, the more likely you’ll have people downloading your white paper or filling out your contact form. More leads can translate to more sales!