Unless you’re a brand new agent (or, perhaps, a really old one), chances are you already have some kind of presence on the Internet, whether it’s a full-fledged website or just a page on your agency’s. But creating a website isn’t enough: you have to maintain it as well. We’ve said it before elsewhere, and we’ll say it again: your real estate website is never finished. Instead, it’s always evolving. But you have the power to control that evolution and steer it in the right direction, and just like any step in the evolutionary ladder, that means making room for new and more advantageous traits while preserving the best ones from the old site.
The best way to start is by pinpointing why you’ve decided to redesign in the first place. Some of these are good reasons. Some are not. First, here’s a sample of the bad.
Why You Shouldn’t Redesign Your Site
1. You don’t like the look of the old site.
Being concerned about the look of your site isn’t necessarily a bad thing. After all, if your site looks dated, you look dated. But just remember that human beings are creatures of habit.
Consider the example of Facebook. Almost every time they revamp their site, users flood the airwaves with negative feedback. Even if people subsequently embrace the changes, the initial reaction usually isn’t favorable. (If you’ve been on Facebook long enough to remember one of their redesigns, you’ll know what we mean.) Some users even start groups, petitioning to “bring back the old Facebook.” Granted, this doesn’t convince people to stop using the service, but that’s because it’s, well, Facebook.
Your site, on the other hand, has more to lose: While there’s only one Facebook, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of real estate companies out there looking to take your leads away.
2. You have a new logo.
It’s understandable why logos feel so important when it comes to marketing. The Coca-Cola script, the Apple logo, the red, yellow, and blue of Google — they echo through our whole society. Even people halfway across the world with no access to a television or computer would recognize the Nike swoop insignia. Now that’s brand recognition.
Nevertheless, symbols like these can only be truly compelling if the company they represent has something great to offer consumers. Consider McDonald’s, for example. That company’s logo hasn’t changed since its inception, and it’s one of the most recognized in the world, not because it’s inherently good (though some might say it is), but because the company has worked tirelessly to provide a product that people want: cheap, fast, tasty food.
When it comes to your real estate website, your focus should be the same: centered on providing consistently the great content and service your clients are searching for, rather than on some little symbol.
3. One of your biggest competitors has a new site.
Just because a rival company has unveiled a sleek new site doesn’t mean you should rustle up a new one. “New” doesn’t always mean better, and that goes for both you and your competitors.
Consider, for instance, that brand new sites often have bugs, especially if they’re rushed to market. That means a competitor’s redesign could actually work to your advantage, frustrating their clients enough that you can scoop them up for yourself. Even if their website works just fine, by jumping on the redesign bandwagon, you run the risk of producing something that’s not up to as high a standard, not to mention being viewed as a follower or copycat.
A website redesign shouldn’t be a knee-jerk reaction. Instead, it should be focused on careful research, the result of meticulous planning, and based on specific goals for what you’re trying to accomplish.
At bottom, these are excuses for redesigning your site, whereas you should be looking for reasons. Here are a few good ones:
Good Reasons to Redesign Your Site
- Get found by more leads
- Convert more leads into customers
- Achieve measurable results
- Automate your marketing
- Reduce your marketing costs