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RISMEDIA, October 12, 2010—Getting visitors to come to your website when they are looking for real estate information is just half the battle in today’s market. Not only do real estate professionals need to provide site visitors with the content they are looking for in an easy-to-use format, they must also set up a website that will effectively turn leads into transactions.

Here are five ways to start generating transactions from your website today.

1. Usable design – There are many aspects to choosing a design for your website, from consistency with your offline branding, to expressing the spirit of the area and the customers you focus on, to portraying a professional image. The underlying requirement for success is that your site makes it easy for prospects to find what they are looking for and directs them to leave their contact information so they are converted to a lead.

2. Qualified traffic – When you drive traffic to your website, make sure it is qualified traffic. You should ensure that users being sent to your site were searching in your geographic area and for real estate in particular. If you are employing SEO for organic traffic, the keywords you are optimizing should reflect this. If you are running CPC campaigns, the text of the ads should contain area(s) and real estate term(s). Two effective and inexpensive ways to drive qualified traffic are posting your listings to Craigslist and syndicating your listings. Both allow you to control geographic area and real estate relevance.

3. Content users want – Visitors who come to your site need to find a reason to stay in order to give you their contact information. Providing content they are looking for is a way to keep them on your site and keep them coming back the next time they want information. Three highly sought after types of content are homes for sale in your area, community expertise, and sold homes data.

4. Flexible and properly positioned lead capture tools – Striking a balance between never asking for contact information and keeping all content behind lock and key is important. Users want to know that the content they get from your website will be useful. They may be more likely to leave their contact information if they can at least see samples or a subset of the content you provide before they have to identify themselves. Your website should be flexible enough to allow you to find the right time and place to ask them for their contact information, as well as let you decide which pieces of information you require (name, email, telephone, etc.). Lead capture tools should be tied to the content you are providing. So if your site allows users to search homes, you should have a lead capture form located on your home search page. If users can also view local community information, you should have lead capture there as well. Having multiple lead capturing strategies on your site gives you the best opportunity to generate leads.

5. Immediate, consistent, and personalized follow up – No matter what method you choose to follow up on new leads from your website, the most critical aspect is immediacy. Your website should send you new lead information to whatever place you are most easily reachable—whether via text, e-mail or in your website management system. Many website visitors take time to cultivate into qualified leads. Your website should also allow you to follow up regularly with leads in an automated fashion. Tools such as new listing alerts and recent home sales updates should go to your leads without you having to click a single button.

Ryan Whitlock is chief operations officer at Z57 Internet Solutions. For more information on generating transactions from your website, visit