12 Essential Real Estate Website Maintenance Tasks
By Matthew Bushery
About Website Design
When real estate agents hear the words “website maintenance” they probably ask themselves, “Who do I have to hire to take care of that?” But most website maintenance should actually be self-service — it’s easier than you expect. From updating meta descriptions and titles for blog posts to testing new forms and landing pages, here are 12 real estate website maintenance tasks agents should perform regularly.
1) Review your website analytics.
First and foremost, examine how your website has performed. Head to Google Analytics to examine high-level metrics, like how many new and returning visitors your real estate website received during the previous week, to more specific ones, like which blog posts performed best. There is no one right schedule for monitoring your site’s analytics, just get in the habit of doing it regularly. Determine what works best for your schedule, then pick a regular day and time to go over your site’s metrics and adjust accordingly.
2) Optimize your content for SEO.
Speaking of Google, focusing on search optimization for your website is important as well. Appraise your site for areas where you can improve its searchability. Landing pages can be updated to include more relevant, timely keywords. Blog posts can be altered to incorporate popular and competitive key terms too. Even your “about me” page can use a dusting from time to time to take advantage of real estate keywords popular in your area (in other words, long-tail ones for your market, like “buyers real estate agent in Denver”). Keyword research is necessary to improve all pages of your site, so use platforms like those offered by Google AdWords and Moz to revise your SEO strategy.
3) Add in new calls to action and alter current ones.
Even if you have successful calls to action (CTAs) for newsletter sign-ups, contests, or promotions, they can always be improved upon. A/B test different copy, color schemes, and locations on your real estate website regularly. It’s amazing how small changes, like altering copy from “Download here” to “Download now” can impact effectiveness. If updating your CTAs leads to lower engagement levels, revert back to the old ones that worked relatively well for you. There’s no such thing as too much real estate lead generation, so prioritizing this maintenance task is important.
4) Update your agent bio.
Have you earned a new real estate accreditation? Did you recently have the most sales in a year? Were you interviewed by a notable publication? Add them to your bio page so you can show buyers and sellers your stellar reputation. Anything that puts you in a glowing light in the eyes of your audience should be included on your website and implemented in other aspects of your real estate marketing.
“Create a minimal viable product or website, launch it, and get feedback.”
— Neil Patel
A prime example of a fully detailed agent bio page comes from Zephyr Real Estate in San Francisco. Agent Susan Olk relays all of the pertinent information her audience needs in her agent bio: work history, accreditation, contact info, address, professional photo, social media buttons, and value proposition (hobbies are a bonus, and that info definitely makes her relatable).
5) Replace old images with new ones.
Another component of your real estate website that can become dated is photography. More than two-thirds of consumers find website images very important in their buying process. That means continually adding appealing imagery — photos of your listings, those of your local market, and images of you at open houses and in the office. There are a few ideal options for real estate website photos: Take them yourself, find stock photos, or hire a photographer. Whichever avenue you go down, ensure the photos are high-quality and accurately depict your listings.
6) Update and test forms.
As with CTAs, adjust copy on existing forms to increase conversions. You may already get a fairly high sign-up rate on your forms, but testing is a necessity to ensure you get as many leads as possible. One test from Quick Sprout found three or fewer forms on a landing page got the highest click-through rate (CTR), while the CTR diminished for pages with more than that many forms. Additionally, asking for certain personal info, like phone number, age, and address, also hurts your CTR. Test different form copy and fields to determine which proves best for your CTR.
7) Test all forms and thank you pages.
Developing new forms is great, but only if they work. After visitors fill them out, they should receive what they requested (e.g. an eBook, a consultation, a weekly email) and be taken to a thank you page. These pages should get right to the point in thanking visitors for filling out forms with short copy, but they should also include social sharing buttons to spread word of your form offer and social proof, like testimonials from others who have filled out your forms to receive a promotion, content, or whatever else you offer.
8) Ensure design consistency across all pages.
If you have lots of branding elements (logos, colors, slogans, etc.) that represent your company, include them uniformly across all of your pages. The header is the most common place to include any branding, as it’s the first thing visitors see. It takes visitors less than two-tenths of a second to form an opinion about a website, so make sure your visitors get a positive view of your website through its quality design.
9) Develop new types of content.
Even if your content marketing strategy has hit the head on the nail, you can always try to improve by creating new types of content. If you produce mostly news-related content, try some evergreen articles, like “how-to” posts and list pieces. Perhaps try an ebook, whitepaper, or market report as well. To improve site metrics and increase leads, develop content that’s outside your comfort zone.
10) Test your site for user experience.
One thing many agents forget to contemplate when selecting a new real estate website theme is the user experience (UX). Ask yourself if visitors will enjoy your real estate website design, be able to easily find everything they need, and quickly identify information on every webpage. Here’s the site of the Boston-based Barka Real Estate that is not only beautiful, but also makes it simple for users to traverse (Editor’s Note: This site was created by Placester.):
11) Make sure you have backup files.
One of the worst things that can happen to a real estate website is losing essential files. Avoid a catastrophe by backing up your files. If you have a site hosted by WordPress, follow these instructions to backup your site files (some automated backup options exist). There are other services like Dropmysite, myRepono, and CodeGuard that allow you to save old versions of your site and all files. These platforms usually charge by how much data you need saved or on a monthly basis.
12) Perform a grammar, spelling, and syntax check.
A few typos here and there won’t deter visitors from checking out your blog posts, but if you have dozens of minor spelling and grammatical errors across your website — especially on your homepage — your credibility will go down the drain. Analyze every page for misspellings and odd phrasing to ensure your messaging is crystal clear. You may have great real estate blogging skills, but if your content confuses readers, you can say bye-bye to getting return visitors.
BONUS: Three Tips for the Technical-Minded
1) Examine your Google Webmaster Tools setup.
Another item from Google to check on is Webmaster Tools. This can help you ensure there are no major red flags on your real estate website that require fixing. Google offers some tips on how to troubleshoot the most common ones, such as making sure your sitemap is correctly set up. Webmaster Tools also offers helpful videos, articles, and a support center to assist your every need. Think of Webmaster Tools as the best mechanic you’ve ever had. It can keep your site running smoothly and alert you to any troubles.
2) Investigate HTML for errors.
HTML code isn’t the prettiest thing to look at, but it requires some attention to detail on occasion to ensure it’s properly functioning. One small error in HTML code on your website could lead to missing multimedia, odd characters, or a number of other problems. If any blog posts or pages look funky, you’re likely to find the issue by inspecting the HTML. We created a little HTML cheat sheet to help real estate agents troubleshoot minor dilemmas.
3) Check your website’s speed.
Countless services exist that allow website admins to check on their websites’ speeds. Try free speed-checking tools like Pingdom or GTmetrix to learn how fast your website’s pages load. In terms of actually improving your site’s load times, Google offers PageSpeed Tools, which provides insights into the factors that affect page load times on your site and how to improve speeds.
If you want to overhaul your existing website, check out our Real Estate Website Redesign Kit.
What website maintenance tasks do you find most important? Share your views with us below!
Published on September 9, 2014
Written by Matthew Bushery
I'm the Sr. Content Creator for Placester, where I educate real estate professionals about modern marketing and, in turn, help agents and brokers make the most of their online presence, earn more traffic, and generate more leads and business.