The Real Estate Website Design Elements You Need to Succeed
By Matthew Bushery
About Website Design
Want to know what elements of a real estate website design are vital for your site? We’ve got you covered. The crucial components of the best real estate website designs are listed in detail below, along with examples of sites that incorporate them.
Clear and Concise Navigation Bar
Getting lots of your leads to your real estate website: That’s the main goal with your marketing. Fail to provide those site visitors with comprehensible and easily identifiable navigation, though, and they won’t stick around for long. Data shows three in five Internet users can’t find the information they need right away when visiting websites. Don’t be one of those sites. Clearly label each of your site’s pages (e.g. your about page, listing pages, blog) at the top of your site. For a great example, see how Arizona-based Vintage Real Estate (a Placester customer) set up its navigation bar:
Having said that, your landing pages are an exception, and work best without navigation because their purpose is to keep visitors on the page so they provide their personal details (like email address, phone number, and housing preferences). Visual Website Optimizer research has even shown landing pages without navigation lead to much higher conversions.
Eye-Catching Imagery and Videos
Including videos and images is a must for any agent who wants to successfully capture leads from their website. Listing videos and photos should be front-and-center. Video testimonials from happy customers are also effective. Take photos of the best restaurants, stores, and other venues in your market. In short, your website (and real estate marketing as a whole) will benefit enormously from heavy use of video and images:
Website articles with relevant images receive 94% more views than posts without any images. (MDG Advertising) CLICK TO TWEET
Use of video on landing pages has shown to increase conversion rates by up to 80%. (Eyeview Digital) CLICK TO TWEET
60% of consumers are more likely to click on local search results with images than those without. (BrightLocal) CLICK TO TWEET
Video is projected to account for nearly 80% of all website traffic in 2018 — up from 66% in 2013. (Cisco) CLICK TO TWEET
Succinct (But Attractive) Forms
Instead of perusing your site for a lengthy period of time, many visitors prefer to sign up for email newsletters or to be contacted about a listing. That’s where forms come into play. Lead capture forms that request information about visitors, as mentioned above for landing page forms, are how agents find some of their most qualified leads. The key is using the right language and design to capture visitors’ attention and convince them to fork over their information.
Research from HubSpot shows that forms using language like “click here” and “go” tend to lead to the most clicks. Meanwhile, a case study from consultancy firm AnalyticsExpert found making phone number inclusion optional for visitors who fill out forms led to higher conversion rates. Some other best practices regarding forms for your real estate website design include:
- Adding the call to action (CTA) at the top: Tell visitors why they should fill out your form (in other words, what’s in it for them) above the form itself. Otherwise, they won’t know exactly what it is they’d receive by providing their personal details.
- Testing your forms for functionality and ease of use: Put yourself in the shoes of your site visitors. Would they think filling out your form was quick and easy? If not, adjust your fields and layout to make it simpler for them to comprehend and fill out.
- Using pop-up forms right (or not at all): Forcing your visitors to pay attention to your form alone can make them angry. However, pop-up forms do tend to lead to higher conversion rates, as Crazy Egg notes, if implemented correctly.
- Test different versions of your forms: It’s essential to A/B test different kinds of forms over time to determine what works best for you.
Short, Appealing Calls to Action
Calls to action that persuade website visitors to click are crucial facets of website design for real estate agents — just make sure yours lead to something worth clicking on. Convincing copy like “Free home buying guide download” or “Click to learn the secrets of selling” may earn you plenty of clicks, but few will download or remain on your site if there’s no meat in your content.
Develop detailed landing pages (like ones dedicated to specific listings or aspects of your business) and long-form content (like ebooks and reports) for your core audience. Then you’ll have plenty of pages and offers to link to in your CTAs, and you’ll see increased engagement with your site.
Multifunctional, Easy-to-Use Search Feature
The best real estate website designs make it easy to learn more about agents’ and brokers’ businesses and listings. That means a detailed search function that allows for easy filtering is a necessity. For an example of a detailed search tool that allows users to filter their preferences in several ways, take a look at Chicago Realtor Shay Hata’s listing page. All of the major criteria home buyers want to specify for listings is available:
Sizeable Social Media Links
You can amplify how much of your content is consumed by sharing links on social media and, just as importantly, adding social sharing buttons on all of your pages so visitors know where to find and follow you. Having teeny, tiny buttons that lead to your social accounts as part of your real estate website design isn’t enough these days. You need to make your social presence well-known, with big, bold buttons. Place sizeable buttons that link back to your Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and other social media accounts at the top and bottom of each page.
Effective (and Limited) Use of Add-ons
User-friendly tools like widgets and plugins offer visitors the chance to further engage with your site and give you the opportunity to turn those visitors into bona fide leads. For instance, WordPress websites offer thousands of widgets, plugins, and other add-ons for users. These range from ones that allow for direct chatting with site visitors to adding polls and quizzes to your sidebars. However, adding too many of them leads to an overly busy real estate website design that’s not easy on the eyes.
The point of your site is to provide visitors value and make it easy for them to find what they’re looking for in seconds. Install a few tools to your site if you think they can enhance your site (and if it’s even an option — some site providers don’t allow add-ons), but if you notice dips in time-on-page for your site, examine whether it’s due to the additional features.
Important Information Above the Fold
On average, only slightly more than a quarter of website visitors read everything on a given page. One reason is that they don’t scroll to see an entire page. Rather, they only view the portion of a site that’s loaded onto their screen — the “above-the-fold” portion. While HTML5 and parallax scrolling making it simpler (and more fun) to scroll through web pages, most people simply don’t take the time to check out all of a site’s content. Include all major information about your business above the fold so even if your audience doesn’t scroll down, you still put all of the important details right in front of them.
Implementation of Responsive Design
Last (but most definitely not least) is responsive design. This makes your real estate website design look just as phenomenal on mobile devices as it does on desktops — which is vital. Two in five searchers don’t click on search results that aren’t mobile-friendly, so make your site responsive if it isn’t already so your audience enjoys a clean and effective user interface and, thus, has a great experience.
See 24 of the best real estate website designs in our Academy post, and see how responsive design can grow your business in this article.
What are your top real estate agent website design musts? Tell us how you keep your site optimized in the comments below.
Published on November 21, 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.