If you read my first blog post or the About Page, you know that I am a Real Estate Consultant in Walnut Creek, CA. I am with the Steve Quanstrom Group, and in the fall of 2013 we launched a brand new website.
Why? Because our old website was horrible. It looked extremely dated, and was nowhere near being mobile-friendly. After joining the team, I figured that it was crucial to our online presence to have a website that was easier to use. More importantly, the previous site had no way for our team to “Blog,” and post articles.
Here is a quick look at some key aspects to the new website:
- Responsive Design (Site automatically adjusts to the screen size of the viewer).
- Design Color Scheme now matches our Logo.
- Property Search – Easier. More Powerful. Mobile Friendly. Available on every page.
- Better Lead Generation Opportunities.
Let’s take a closer look at these elements.
Navigation: We were keen on transitioning to our menu buttons to be horizontal across the top of the page. This makes everything easier to see at a glance. We now have less items to click as well, simplifying the experience. We made it clear that people can easily find where to conduct a property search, find “buyer” information, “seller” information, information on our communities, our blog and contact information.
Blog: This might have been the most important element to us in launching a new website. All things aside on google rankings and such, it was important that we now have the ability to consistently post content regarding real estate and our local community. So far since the launch, we have done very well on keeping up on posting content. We have posted a diverse set of topics ranging from home improvements that pay off (or don’t), to how to price your home right, to local market updates. While we post some “generic” articles about home improvements, pricing your home, and how to buy a home…we mix in a lot of local posts to the areas we serve.
Responsive Design: This was another crucial point we needed to make happen. Everyone, their mom, two year old and pet cat have a smartphone or tablet. We wanted to keep things simple for our site visitors on various devices. This meant making the site responsive to minimize the “pinch-to-zoom,” need found on other websites. And what is huge, is that the property search function on our website is mobile-friendly as well. We find this to be very important because the visitor needs to digest the details of a home, and it needs to be easy to do so! What has worked well for us as well, is at the top of a search result is a direct phone number to reach us.
Color Scheme Matches Our Logo: Previously our website was built from a cheap template. There were a lot of color schemes but we had no way to match our actual logo. FRUSTRATING! So now we are able to use precisely the same maroon and gold colors that make our logo. This continuity is very important, and we are excited we were finally able to do it.
Property Search: Our old website had a fully capable property search utility, but not only was it difficult to use on a mobile device…it was difficult to use on a computer! That was not the kind of experience we wanted to provide people who were awesome enough to visit our website. It is now much easier to search via specific details, and also it is easy to save a home search. We made sure to include a social sharing function as well so that people can send their friends what they find.
Better Lead Generation Opportunities: There are now better, and multiple ways visitors can submit their information. They can do so in order to save a property search to reference later. We enable visitors to fill out a simple form requesting us to do a market analysis of their home and determine a price range. Another area is we give away free content, like our ebook “Home Buying Guide,” where the user submits their email address, and we send them a link to download the ebook for free. Previously, all we had was a “Contact Us,” page. This is a greatly improved element for us.
Whew…winded yet? I am!
Those are some key elements in launching our new website last fall. Even though property search is a huge part of a real estate website, I feel like the blog is the most important part. Anyone can search Zillow or other websites (which aren’t always accurate or updated with current information anyway), but our blog is where we make ourselves unique. We are able to offer up articles based on our experience and knowledge. What has really done well are the articles that offer information on our local market. We make sure to present that data in a very simple and straightforward manner. We always think, “Easy to digest!”
I do want to make a quick note that we started using the iOS app Pressgram on our blog. So many people have a huge fascination with filtered photos and instagram. But what good do filtered photos do for the online presence of our business if they are stuck on instagram’s website?! We use Pressgram so that when a social media follower on Facebook or Twitter click the filtered photo we share, they are brought directly to our website. The app has definitely helped us increase our pageviews, and with a low bounce rate! You can see our “Photo Stream” here.
I will be writing more about Pressgram soon. First I will publish a quick article summarizing the app, and then I will do another article that specifically discusses the application in the real estate industry.