I ran across this terrific post from Dennis Miloseski, Founder and CEO of Milobox, a new real estate web development company. He talks about ten reasons why agent websites fail. He hits on a lot of great points here.
10. There is more emphasis on you, rather than your listings.
Most agents are paying way too much for web sites that stroke their egos, building the “look at me bio sites” rather than leveraging open services of the web to give their properties the most exposure online – the real job of any agent site. Remember that most visitors are looking for homes, don’t hide them.
9. You’re not leveraging the power of Web 2.0
Designing for the modern web is essential, especially now. Does your site enable the ability to connect to free open services? For example; Widgets from Zillow or Trulia? Mapping from Google? Finance Widgets from Bankrate? Automated feeds for maximum property exposure online? The list goes on and on. These services are all free, how many are you leveraging on your current site?
8. Your web site visual design is dated, really it is.
Does your web design look like the all too typical Realtor template site? Do you have a complex site design that discourages fast navigation to your property listings? In recent user experience studies, most users surveyed found that realtors put way too much information on their web sites. Battling through a sea of information, irrelevant resources and links was the number one reason for site abandonment and lost leads.
7. Your site requires a computer science degree to maintain
Agents spend a pretty penny to have a site built, then most are stuck with something that becomes dated and too complex for them to maintain. “Going custom” isn’t necessarily the best approach when you lose the ability to keep your web site fresh and updated with ease. Developing a custom look and feel with simplified maintenance is the way to go in the long-run.
6. You’re paying way too much for no good reason
Most agents with the resources and finances to go premium end up paying way too much for their web site and services. Did you know that the average realty web site with over 50 custom listings + high-res photos can be hosted for FREE? Did you know that unlimited syndication and single property web sites cost your service provider ZERO dollars once connected to a provider feed? If you’re paying a high monthly for web site services, understand your options.
5. Your online services are spread across multiple providers
Currently, services are sold by piece meal all over the web. Use a template or custom site provider to build a site… Get up-sold itemized services and pay a pricey monthly fee… Use another provider to syndicate your properties… Then talk to another expert about optimizing your site for search. The list goes on and on, you get the picture. 2009 is the year to re-think and aggregate your service providers to streamline unnecessary expenses.
4. You feel handcuffed and too invested
Already invested the time, patience, and sweat into a site and feel that you’re handcuffed to it? Think again. Getting up and running with a more efficient web solution will streamline your maintenance overhead and ultimately save you time and money in the long-run. New site solutions are designed to leverage Web 2.0 scalability, something that is not found in most template offerings and custom site providers of yesterday. Importing listings, updating information, and linking resources on a new site is easier than you think.
3. You blog therefore you think you’re done
Blogging is an excellent way for you to build a personal connection with your audience. It’s also a great way for Google to find you. When your blog is finally ready to convert that lead for you, what happens? In some cases your lead is lost to another local agent that leverages a better listing system. Don’t get caught by being a local expert and then falling short in capturing leads. Buyers are looking for beautiful high-res photos, simple property pages, and new age features not found in most IDX listing tools, how do your property pages stack up?
2. Your online identity is too complex
Simplicity fuels the elements of great web site experiences. Simple design accounts for ease of use, speed, visual appeal, and accessibility. Great design starts with the design of your site’s fundamental function, showcasing properties and generating leads. Your visitors will thank you for having a clean site design that focus on the features they need to accomplish their goals. Always be selective with the information you provide, less is always better.
1. You don’t focus on visitor’s needs and goals
Focus on discovering your buyers and sellers actual needs. Your web site should speak with an approachable tone and provide a gradual relationship path. Your site visitors will reach out to you when they are ready. Put yourself in your visitors shoes and stack rank why people are at your site. These items should be the most accessible features, available immediately from your homepage. By not intruding on these goals, you’ll find that converting leads becomes a much easier exercise.