Commercial real estate website design can be tricky.  I’ve noticed agents and brokers get caught up in “I want my website to look better than THAT guy’s.”  So much so, that they don’t put thought into their own business goals.  When you’re thinking about building / redesigning your website, what exactly do you need?  Do you need to turn-around your current listings?  Do you need more leads?  Do you need something that comes up when potential clients Google your name?  These are the main questions you need to ask yourself before getting caught up in the look and feel.  Any designer can make a website look nice, but can it perform?

1) Turning around Listings.  If turning around your listings is key, make sure it’s as easy as possible for people to view and find your listings.  You will have two options to consider.

Integrating your Listings (IDX).  The great thing about using an IDX like LoopLink is that there is no double entry.  Once you’ve added your listings into LoopNet, LoopLink with immediately post them onto your website.  Most IDX options will show a map with all your listings marked, a grid of all your listings with thumbnails, and will allow users to click on each listing to learn more.  When you’re using a paid option, these IDX systems will block viewers from seeing other agents’ listings and information.  This is an extra monthly cost by whatever IDX system you’re using.  Here are some popular options with basic pricing.

Listings Directly on your Website.  There is no monthly cost with this, but you’ll need someone to post listings onto your website.  Unlike the IDX options, your listings will not auto-populate.  However, you’ll have a lot more control over the look.  Need a map?  Show a grid of your listings?  No problem!  Code will allow you do make your listings look exactly the way you imagined.  See our exclusive commercial real estate software.

2) Lead Generation.  If brining in new clients is your goal, focus your commercial real estate website on lead generation.  I like to offer something in return for information, like a white paper.  “5 Tips to Selling your Commercial Property FAST!”  Offer the free PDF in exchange for their name, email, and phone number.

Integrating your forms into MailChimp can make the follow-up process extremely easy.  I suggest emailing the free PDF (to prevent fake emails) right away and setup two to three automatic, follow-up emails.  I usually give the follow-ups about 7 days in-between and separate the services provided.  For example (1) Seller Services, (2) Buyer Services, (3) Leasing Services, (4) Consulting Services.  They’ll receive 1 month of follow-ups, and you’ll be able to send a monthly newsletter to cultivate those future leads!  Your form entries can be exported and used for other marketing endeavors like calls or mailing.

3) Comes up when clients Google you.  This one is easy!  Just a single page with your services will do the trick 90% of the time.  I suggest you buy domain I.E.  If you have a common name, don’t be afraid to use hyphens (it’s a myth that hyphens are bad for SEO) or “CRE” at the beginning/end.  Just make sure your name is in the domain – it’s the easiest way to rank higher in Google when your name is searched.  If you have a very competitive market or a common name, you may need a blog or additional SEO services to get your website to rank.  But I wouldn’t get too caught up in the possibility – only worry about it if you’re having a problem.