A guide to hosting your real estate website

A guide to hosting your real estate website

Whoever first said ‘you should never judge a book by its cover’ was clearly not thinking about the not-too-distant future of the internet. For the importance of an online home to businesses nowadays is vital – especially to the real estate sector.

Yet if having the best possible website for your business seems intimidating, flip it on its head to appreciate the true value of what this actually means. Unlike the not-too-distant past,  pre-internet, when finding a house consisted of driving through neighborhoods, sorting through flyers and relying predominantly on a physical, walk-in visit, the opportunities today are endless and start at the touch of a button, with 90% of home buyers searching online, according to the National Association of Realtors.

The internet is changing the way we do everything, including how we view real estate. So, what are the must-have features of a real-estate website? Read on!

Property listings

The more detailed the listings, the better, so ensure they are kept up-to-date and relevant.

Maps

Maps are vital as they allow users to easily identify a location of interest, as well as enabling you to display addresses easily and efficiently.

Search

The more properties you have in your online directory the better, but only if you have an efficient search engine to accompany it, otherwise, your greatest asset will swiftly become your biggest downfall. Your IDX (Internet Data Exchange)-enabled portal should allow a quick, filtered and relevant result – every time. Giving your users an option to save favorite properties is another must.

Images

Adding relevant, high quality and fully-optimized images is a no-brainer, and in this highly visual industry, the more professional images you have (ideally five to ten) showcasing different angles and dimensions, the better! Don’t forget to tag the photos and give them proper names to ensure you rank higher in search engine results, too.

Floor plans

People like to see facts, figures and diagrams, so the more information you can include in this, the better.

Virtual tours

A really nifty feature of the best real-estate websites will allow potential buyers to experience virtual tours of the properties on sale. It’s a lot simpler to scroll through a screen than muster up the motivation to go and actually look at a property that you know very little about, so this is a great way to easily harness the interest of your customer base before they take the next step.

Navigation

Work towards a clean, clear and eye-catching design that complements the actual content of your website and highlights your Call to Action (CTA) through relevant buttons, links and a user-friendly, interactive menu consisting of both titles and drop-down tabs. A smooth redirection to pages of interest and highlighted feature listings are absolutely vital, especially in a website with so much material on offer. A slideshow is a popular way to do this.

Capacity

Choose a hosting website that will allow a substantial number of pages so as to accommodate everything you have to offer.

Blog

Blog posts provide consistent, relevant information that lie outside the scope of directly selling houses – adding overall value in the form of expertise and advice, as well as boosting your SEO. Your hosting provider should offer WordPress as the industry-leading platform.

Resources

Potential clients will always look favorably on extra material such as up-to-date community information and financial resources.  

Social media

Ensure your website is connected to all your social media channels through easy-to-use, clickable icons so that your users can easily share listings, blogs and other relevant content. Another great boost for SEO, too!

Data capture forms

Gain new leads through forms like ‘What’s My Home Worth’ and ‘Find My Dream Home’.

Fast

With so many pages on offer, it is absolutely imperative that your website loads quickly so that your audience doesn’t look elsewhere, and with the right hosting provider by your side offering the required bandwidth, this should never be a problem.

Responsive

Since browsing on smartphones is more popular than desktop these days, enabling your website to function properly no matter what the medium is absolutely critical.

Security

With so much data on offer, it is absolutely imperative that your website uses SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) to ensure your clients’ details are kept private, and any hosting provider worth a dime should provide this.

Contact

Ensure every single listing owner is easily contactable with up-to-date and verified information about the owner. An online inquiry form is a popular way to do this.

Home sweet home!

To find out how we can help you achieve all this – and more – do not hesitate to contact us.