When most estate agents approach building a website, the analogy they sometimes have in mind is an island or a beautiful destination. They plan to create some lovely pages that show off their company: meet the team, company history, testimonials as well as property search.
All of these pages are, of course, very important, but you can’t be so insular if you want people to find you, and if you intend to attract new vendors and landlords to your website. You need to consider how your website is connected to all the other websites out there.
So, rather than looking great like a beautiful desert island, we think a better metaphor for your agency’s website is a “country”, because it really needs to be connected to, and have relationships with, lots of other countries.
Let’s call it Switzerland in fact, with some very important land borders with other “countries”: these other countries are all the places where your customers are active online, and it’s important that you have suitable connections with them. Let’s extend this analogy to explain it further:
- Google, more than any other search engine, is a powerful neighbour, like Germany – the links between Google and your site ensure people reach you, and you have to be careful to stay in its good books
- Facebook, Twitter and other social networks (LinkedIn, Google+, etc) are opinion-formers, a bit like France. A good social profile on these networks certainly helps to raise your profile, but a substantial benefit is that Google uses your social connections in its rankings to determine how popular you are with other people – Germany cares what France thinks of Switzerland!
- Rightmove is a bit like Italy, as people may not think of leaving it to visit you. To address this, you need to invite them across the border, for example with intelligent email systems.
- Other countries in our analogy, which represent other sites or specialist portals, or even the use of mobile phones and email, are important to consider, as they are all places where your customers spend time – as such, you want to ensure they have a chance of leaving those places to visit you
The land borders between your website and all these places, where your potential customers are spending their time online, are crucial to get right: they determine whether people ever reach your site.
Homeflow can help you by ensuring your website is both a beautiful destination, but also structured properly, to optimise its connection into the online property world. And in our experience, the difference between getting this right or wrong really matters; it often results in a two-fold jump in traffic and enquiries when you really get it right.