In today’s global marketplace, it’s not enough to have just a local presence. To capitalize on opportunity, an interactive commercial real estate website is a must. In the commercial real estate industry, even huge franchises (you know who you are!) are plagued with poorly constructed websites. The good news is if you have a functional, beautiful website, you’ll out perform most of your competitors.
1) Avoid Content-Page Neglect. Mediocre website designers will spend hours on your home page. Getting that parallax animation working with an Eric Burns effect, and other tech-babble that looks cool, but you have no idea how it works. Sure, the home page is amazing, but your content pages look like a slap together of stolen internet images with some copy-paste content from your brochure.
Why do designers spend 90% of time on your home page and slapdash your content? Your home page is what’s advertised in their portfolio. Website designers’ potential clients are unlikely to see the crappy job the designer did on the rest of your website. However, your website visitors will spend only 15-seconds on your homepage (source). Instead, visitors will engage in your content. In fact, visitors spend 4x longer on your content (source).
If website visitors spend less time on the home page than the content…why are you allowing a designer to half-ass the pages that matter most?! Don’t neglect your content pages! They’re important!
2) Mobile Ready. Remember how I stated website visitors spend 4x longer on your content? That doubles again on the mobile (source). It makes sense, as most of us are “wasting time” on our phones and are more apt to read than skim. Also, 52% of web traffic is now from mobile devices (source) and rising steadily each year.
3) Ability to Track. If you’re paying for a monthly service and they disallow access to traffic info (like Google Analytics, etc.) you need to run. Monthly reports are great but keep access to Google Analytics or other service yourself. Be sure to check your traffic counts once in awhile and where visitors are coming from. Goal tracking is important when offering a white paper or other call-to-action.
4) SEO Setup. Don’t underestimate the power of SEO! Even simple changes to your meta tags, submitting site maps, and submitting articles for publishing are great ways to gain traction in search engines. 5 Simple Ways to Better SEO.
5) Articles or Blogs. Consistently publishing fresh content is a great way to captivate an audience and keep them coming back. It’s also a great way to increase your search engine rankings, as the more content you have about a particular subject, the more Google will rank you as an industry expert. 7 Tips to a Successful Commercial Real Estate Blog.
6) Conversion Centric Website. This is my specialty. Getting those website visitors to fill out a form, or contact you is “conversion centric.” This can be done with multiple calls to action including “Download Free PDf” or “Free Consultation” or “Get the Property Brochure” requests. Visitors are prompted to exchange their information for a piece of information. 5 Steps to a Lead Generating Website.
7) Email Marketing. Yes, this is still a thing! Your website should integrate with an email system like Mailchimp for a seamless email marketing strategy. Send your potential clients a few emails regarding services they would be interested in and your monthly newsletter to ensure you’ll be top-of-mind when they’re ready to buy/sell/lease.
8) Social Media. I know, I hate it too! It takes forever and the amount of content you’re required to constantly blast is mindboggling. But it needs to be done. Search engines like Bing are beginning to use “social signals” in their rankings. Google will likely follow suit. Be prepared with your social media accounts before social media becomes the next SEO.
9) Security. Websites without SSL (the green lock showing “Secure” next to your URL) are being pushed to page #2 and 3 of browser searches. Most of the time, this is easy to install. It only requires a call to your hosting provider and a credit card for the annual subscription. However, if you’re using WordPress or other CMS, be sure your website designer is available in case things go wonky. WordPress, in particular, will show blank images after an SSL install. This is easily fixed but requires a website designer to make the necessary changes.