In the world of web design, there’s an ongoing debate on where website development priorities should lie. There’s a fine balance between usable, practical content (the steak) and design and visuals (the sizzle). For estate agents, this balance is paramount, and understanding its importance is key to converting visitors into leads. Let’s delve into how striking the right balance can make or break an estate agent’s online presence.
The Steak: Content & Usability
Usable practical content is the meat and potatoes of your website – it’s what your visitors are hungry for. For estate agents, this means providing the information potential buyers and sellers are seeking. Here’s why it’s contending for the top spot as the “most vital” element for converting visitors into leads:
1. Mobile Dominance
Over 500 property websites run by Homeflow showed that mobile devices generated over 65% of global website traffic. As mobile usage remains high, ensuring your website offers a smooth mobile experience with easy access to information is critical.
The average conversion rate on mobile is roughly 2.45%, while desktop conversions are twice as much with just over 5%. However, with the larger share of traffic coming from mobile, neglecting mobile optimisation can cost you leads and revenue. Users need to access the information they’re looking for effortlessly. Mobile drew the largest number of new users at 65%, and mobile generated the highest percentage of returning visitors at 74%. In the UK, where people spend an average of over 3 hours on their phones daily, providing easily navigable and informative content is essential. You want visitors to find what they need without frustration.
2. Usability and Simplicity
Usability and simplicity are the unsung heroes of user engagement and conversion. A website’s usability directly impacts how visitors interact with it, affecting their overall experience. An intuitive, well-organised layout, straightforward navigation, and easily accessible information can make all the difference. When potential clients find it effortless to search for properties, contact agents, or access valuable resources, they are more likely to stay engaged and take the desired actions. A well-structured, user-friendly website not only boosts conversion rates but also enhances the overall user experience, making it a win-win for both estate agents and their clients.
3. User Engagement
Engaging your website visitors is essential for retaining their attention and driving conversions. Homeflow’s estate agency websites offer the ability to include informative content, captivating visuals, well-placed calls to action, and user-friendly navigation. Social media integration, interactive tools, and a responsive design also play vital roles in enhancing the overall user experience and keeping visitors engaged.
4. Content Is King for Conversions
Content, especially well-crafted written, useful and often educational material, plays a pivotal role in driving website performance. According to Hubspot, for web aficionados metrics such as sales, leads, and conversion rates (31%), total monthly visitors (30%), and click-through rate (28%) remain of utmost importance. The impact of written and video content on conversion rates is substantial. Informative, educational content not only engages visitors but also encourages them to linger on the site and take desired actions. High-quality, relevant written and video content that effectively communicates the brand’s value and offerings can significantly enhance conversion rates. Conversely, poor or irrelevant content may deter visitors, resulting in lower conversion rates.
The Sizzle: Design
Design is the sizzle that adds visual appeal to your website, but it’s important to remember that it’s there to complement the steak. Poor design can hinder the potential of converting leads for estate agents. Here’s why design matters:
1. First Impressions
Homeflow found that 94% of first impressions are related to a site’s web design. In property, where first impressions count, a well-designed website can reinforce your brand and make a memorable impact.
2. Visual Elements
When asked what visual elements they value on a company website, 40% of consumers said images, 39% said colour and 21% said video. A well-designed website, such as those from Homeflow, can enhance these elements, making the content more engaging.
3. Striking a Balance
Homeflow‘s approach emphasises the importance of striking the right balance between attractive and user-friendly designs. While 22% of consumers visiting a website for the first time look for eye-catching colours, 21% will leave a site with “outlandish” colours.
4. Usability Matters
Homeflow found that 60% of consumers rate usability as an important design characteristic for online shops. Design can play a significant role in making a website easy to navigate. And as we mentioned, the ‘Steak’ we referred to above, aids significantly in converting visitors to those all-important leads.
The Perfect Balance
For estate agents, finding the sweet spot between engaging practical content and design is the key to converting visitors into leads. Poor design can drive potential clients away, no matter how great your content is. Conversely, a stunning design with no substance won’t keep users engaged.