20 Amazing Real Estate Website Optimization Tools
By Matthew Bushery
About Website Design
“That which is measured improves. That which is measured and reported improves exponentially.” Those words from esteemed mathematician Karl Pearson, said roughly a century ago, still resonate today — especially as it relates to real estate websites. Mobile-ready, IDX agent websites are the foundation for real estate marketing success. But it’s the analysis of real estate websites that allows savvy agents and brokers to get ahead.
Here are 20 resources that can help you maximize your responsive real estate website’s performance and ensure you move visitors swiftly down the sales funnel and put money in your pocket.
Heat Map and User Experience Tools
Ever wonder why some pages on your real estate website perform better than others — and what you can do to improve the performance of weak pages? Heat mapping software can provide answers. This technology shows which areas of your pages visitors view and click on the most. These tools have come so far along that you can now even view recordings of specific user actions on your site and track their experience.
While you can’t view who the people are (there’s still some semblance of privacy online), you can use this information to assess your user interface (UI) — like discovering the best places to place links and ways to adjust your calls to action (CTAs) to get better click-through rates and improve the user experience (UX).
One of the more popular heat map tools is Crazy Egg, which allows you to see how far people scroll down your website’s pages, where those visitors come from (e.g. an ad, an external site, etc.), and what links are most (and least) popular. The service’s “Confetti” feature shows every single click on a given page, including the referral sources for those links.
Three distinct types of heat maps, along with a host of other useful features, are available with MouseFlow: one that shows page clicks, one that identifies mouse movement on a page, and one that displays scrolling trends. Additionally, the software offers live mouse tracking, meaning you can see how visitors interact with your real estate website in real time.
Inspectlet is another software solution that allows you to monitor use activity on your website as it happens. When it comes time to comb over visitor data, you can use the service’s many filtering options. For instance, you can add a filter to see only what new visitors who spent between two and 10 minutes browsing your site did while they were there. This information can be used to figure out if your site navigation is easy and if you offer the right kinds of content.
ClickTale offers most of the aforementioned features as well, but it also provides a unique conversion funnel mapping tool that makes it easy to track how your site visitors end up becoming leads. For example, the funnel will show which users landed on your homepage first, headed to your listings page, then filled out a form (like those for an email newsletter subscription or to download content). Its heat map also makes it easy to discover which areas of your pages are optimized best. Simply scroll over an area and you get instant click and view insights.
Some of the top features offered by Ptengine include not only heat mapping capabilities for desktop computers, but also for mobile devices. See what your website visitors’ activity looks like on smartphones and tablets. You can also use the software to compare and contrast user behaviors through a segmentation feature, and track things other than link clicks, like video views, form completions, and social sharing button clicks.
There’s no heat map feature with UsabilityHub — rather, the software is meant to help you optimize your website before you launch (or at least launch certain pages). Essentially, you send a mockup of one or more pages into the platform. There, users can test out your site and alert you to problems (and successes) with links, link placement, navigation setup, design, and ease of completing tasks. The results of these tests can help you learn how to get traffic to your website and maximize the functionality and aesthetics of each page.
A/B Testing Tools
Aside from learning how users interact with your real estate website, you should also test components of your site — which can be done using the tools below. Each of these tools allows you to determine if you’re truly making the most of your site and giving your audience content they want to consume. For instance, you can set up two different landing pages featuring different forms, CTAs, links, or designs to see which performs better. It’s testing like this that can help you optimize and promote your website, get visitors to stick around longer, and secure more leads.
One popular A/B testing tool is Visual Website Optimizer (VWO), which contains an array of handy features. Whether you test different versions of the same page or hundreds of different features on your website, VWO can help you implement tests, track results, and make the necessary changes to better your site. Any alterations you make to a page can be done in a drag-and-drop-style format, meaning you don’t need significant coding experience to make adjustments (and don’t have to hire an expensive designer to help out).
The Content Experiments feature of Google Analytics is an excellent resource, as it allows for the creation of multiple iterations of specific landing pages (in your case, perhaps multiple versions of your listings page). Doing this will allow you to determine if one version of your landing page outperforms others by a significant margin. The video above from Google explains the process of setting up a page experiment from start to finish.
Enter the URL of the page you want to revise, move that page’s components around, save, add an Optimizely-provided line of code in your HTML, and just like that you have a new iteration of that landing page you can test and track. Whereas some A/B testing platforms are meant for big companies and marketing agencies, Optimizely makes it simple for small businesses and professionals, like real estate agents, to test out different elements of their sites. The data collected in Optimizely even integrates with other popular software, like KISSmetrics and Google Analytics, so you can keep tabs of your metrics in one location.
An easy-to-execute, four-step plan is what you get when using AB Tasty. Simply make amendments to your site, choose the pages to report on, track how those changes affect your site’s performance, and then adapt those pages further to ensure they achieve your desired traffic and lead generation results. AB Tasty’s page editor and visitor targeting options are straightforward, and its analytics dashboard allows for uncomplicated examination of your site’s metrics.
Grammar, Spelling, and Writing Tools
At the core of your real estate website is the content. Each page can have a different type of content meant to accomplish specific goals. Your about page should show visitors your background, qualifications, and sales history. Your blog should provide educational posts that inform their decision-making. Your listings page should display local homes for sale and neighborhoods in to-the-point detail. The one thing each of these pages has in common is they need to be coherent — that means proper spelling, grammar, and sentence structure. The services below can help make sure your site’s copy is clean and effective.
Google and Word documents, along with other writing programs, come with comprehensive spelling and grammar checkers. Grammarly is one of many helpful writing apps for real estate agents that separates itself from the pack due to its ability to not only look for misspelled words and poor grammar, but also to offer vocabulary suggestions — and that includes copy you write in Google Docs, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and many other online avenues. Grammarly even checks for plagiarism by comparing your content to other text across the web, which helps ensure your writing is your own.
Even the most creative people have difficulty in structuring their copy and saying what they want to say in an easily understandable manner. That makes Ginger Software — which offers sentence structure recommendations to help you succinctly and accurately express your thoughts — valuable software for real estate agents. The tool has a translation function as well, which can help you duplicate pages in another language and appeal to buyers and sellers who speak other languages.
After the Deadline is a free, minimalistic tool that helps you create clean, crisp real estate website copy that’s effortless and enjoyable to read. Whether you’re working in WordPress or a browser like Chrome or Firefox, there’s a downloadable plug-in option for the software that helps you craft precise content. After the Deadline spots misused words, spelling errors, and even writing voice (like passive and active) to ensure consistent tone throughout your copy.
Visitor Feedback Tools
Sometimes hearing directly from your audience is the best way to determine what fixes need to be made to your real estate agent website. Email is an optimal method for securing this feedback, but instead of wasting hours manually crafting personalized messages to specific leads and clients, use one of tools below, which, in addition to helping you secure customer reviews and testimonials, serve as useful apps for real estate agents looking to get notes and criticism from visitors (and show you care about their experience visiting your site).
Big brokerages and small agencies alike can benefit from GetFeedback, which makes it simple to develop sleek-looking surveys to send to clients and leads. Share it with them via email, social media, or even your site. Every time someone fills out a survey, you view their data in real time. Plus, if your firm works with Salesforce, you can integrate your GetFeedback responses and lead info into the customer relationship management (CRM) database and share that data with colleagues.
Most web users spend much of their time using their mobile devices, so using responsive surveys they can fill out on their smartphones and tablets makes sense. Survmetrics’ platform supplies agents with a unique way to construct user feedback surveys that look great on mobile devices, take mere minutes for recipients to complete, and can be shared in numerous ways (email, social media, and QR code). Want to export survey results? You can transform your data into CSV or Excel files in seconds. Want to know where results come from? You can determine where someone was located when they filled out the survey.
Qualaroo’s strength is giving professionals and brands more context behind their data, and its feedback offering provides real estate agents just that. Use the software and you can create exit surveys for visitors to complete as they leave your site so you can find out about their experience. Additionally, you can develop questions to be asked to specific types of visitors (e.g. new ones vs. returning ones). Even integrate your survey data into solutions like Salesforce, Marketo, and the aforementioned Optimizely to accurately track your audience.
If you don’t mind getting a simple thumbs up, thumbs down, or “meh” from your real estate website audience, Customer Thermometer is an ideal solution to use. That’s not to say the service doesn’t provide informative data. Rather, it just simplifies that data for agents who just want to know if the overall experience on their site (and specific pages) is favorable. The feedback thermometer can be included in your email footer, published on your site, and sent via third-party tools. The big plus with using Customer Thermometer is you’ll get an evaluation from your visitors without taking up too much of their time (and potentially annoying them).
General Website Performance Tools
As opposed to excelling in one or two areas like many of the tools above, the solutions below offer insights when it comes to your website as a whole. Each of these software options helps you take a deep dive into your site’s performance and understand what precise aspects work well, and which need adjustment.
Yet another resource from the almighty Google that can better your real estate marketing strategy. Head to PageSpeed Insights, punch in your URL, and you see which facets of your site need attention. Each aspect of your site will get a speed score and, unless that score is perfect, a field will populate saying “Show how to fix.” This will guide you through the necessary steps to remedy any ills. The video above may be a bit technical (it’s really aimed at developers, not the general public), but it provides info regarding how to approach resolving speed problems. The main score to look at is the one for User Experience. If it’s low, prioritize making Google’s recommended fixes ASAP.
You may not be in school anymore, but that doesn’t mean you still can’t get graded. The good news is that Nibbler gives your real estate website detailed grades, and reasons for its grading. For instance, if you have poor descriptions in your hypertext links — like linking a report on home prices to the word “prices” instead of a long-tail phrase like “this report on local home prices” — Nibbler will alert you to the specific links that need fixing. It’s possible you have a lot to amend on your site, but knowing the elements that require attention will only improve your site over time.
The previous two tools offer grades for your website. Internet Marketing Ninjas provides the tools needed to improve those grades. You’ll find just about everything you need to better your web presence, including features that help you mend issues with links, images, on-page search engine optimization (SEO), meta data, keyword density, and much more. Each of these tasks may take some time to complete, so figure out which issues need fixing first and foremost, then slowly repair the remaining problems using the detailed tools (and perhaps even consulting services) offered by IMN.
Download our informative, 72-page ebook The Ultimate Guide to Launching Your Real Estate Website to get yours up and running today. And see the top design elements your site needs.
What website optimization tools do you use to improve your real estate agent website? Share your preferences with us in the comments below!
Published on February 20, 2015
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.