You probably found thousands of homes on Google, Yahoo, Zillow.com, Trulia.com and Realtor.com. Yet, you may have struggled to find listings in your community. Frustrated, you hit the streets to find homes for sale in your neighborhood.
Websites are increasingly important to the buying and selling of homes. According to the National Association of Realtors, 87% of buyers search the Internet to find homes—making the need for more robust consumer websites a priority.
In a recently released white paper, real estate expert Kevin McQueen identified five areas most real estate websites miss.
“Consumers are looking for impartiality and help when looking for a home and an agent, and they usually start online,” explained McQueen. “It’s a great opportunity for the real estate industry,” he continued. “Websites like HomesDatabase.com have figured it out,” he said. “They partnered with experts who understand what consumers want online and developed a sound Web strategy to achieve success.”
In his white paper, MLS Listing Consumer Websites: 5 keys to a successful consumer-facing website, McQueen details his learnings, which are based on experience from online experts at Local Matters and leaders at a successful MLS real estate website, www.HomesDatabase.com.
1. Your website is a key business tool. Treat it like one! Your website has to be included in your overall business plan with a full strategy for the short- and long-term. Support it like other business strategies- with continuous evaluation and its own promotional plan.
2. Websites are increasingly complex. Find innovative specialists and experts. Online environments have grown beyond the traditional IT department. Websites are complex marketing and business tools that require specialized knowledge. Your Web partner should understand consumer behavior, search engine marketing and optimization, as well as other online advertising techniques.
3. What consumers want—consumers should get. By far, the most important piece to consider in a website is ensuring you address consumer needs and wants. Consumers will choose sites that offer powerful features and navigation options. Be sure you base your site on consumer behavior market research.
4. Measure the actionable, meaningful metrics. Identify key performance metrics that are tied to your business goals during the website planning stages. To understand what’s working and what’s not, consider monitoring more than just the basics.
5. Don’t set it and forget it. Agents participating in your site need constant reminders of the value of the website. Be sure to include them on news and information regarding activity generated by the site. Share some of the key metrics with them and ask for feedback on the leads they receive.
For more information, visit www.kevinmcqueen.com.