September 7, 2021
Our Best Real Estate Website Design & Development Tips
In the second of our articles looking at different types of property websites, we’ll be taking a closer look at Real Estate website design & development.
Real Estate Agent websites – also known as Property Development Websites – tend to focus on selling homes within a specific development.
These developments are situated within a particular area and often aimed at young professionals or families looking to relocate to a desirable neighbourhood.
The homes themselves may be featured on big estate agent websites and apps such as Zoopla, but the developments will often run their own website aimed at encouraging enquiries from interested parties who may be willing to buy off-plan.
Property Development Website Design
For a property development website to be successful, it needs to compete with existing estate agent websites. Not only in terms of information detail but also raise the game in terms of web design.
Real estate agent websites are not just selling a home. They are selling a dream and a lifestyle. The design of the website needs to reflect this.
Property Development website design case study
One property developer who understood the benefits of redesigning their website was Saliena, based in Marupe, Latvia.
Saliena is a long-term client of our sister agency Devstars and wished to refresh their website to help sell houses and apartments within their Saliena-based development.
You can read more about the project here, but here are the top 10 website improvements that Saliena were looking for:
- Site speed
- Improved navigation
- Increased enquiries
- Improved Local SEO
- Professional Design
- Sell the lifestyle
- Attract sales, rental and potential developers
- High-Value Content
- Easier website management
So let’s take a look at each of these in more detail…
As mentioned in previous blog posts, website speed is crucial for ranking well in search engines such as Google.
Older websites often suffer from a range of issues that can impact site speed, such as:
- Too many plugins installed to add extra functionality that bloat the system
- Un-optimised images
- Out-of-date CMS that is not only slow but susceptible to security issues
- Too many APIs linking to 3rd-party services
- Insufficient web hosting
Building a new website is a great opportunity to optimise your online presence by streamlining your code, removing out-of-date plugins and APIs, optimising all of your images and setting up a hosting solution that will deliver excellent page-load times.
If your website is slow, we suggest running an audit using some great website testing tools highlighted in this article.
Although not particularly hard to navigate, the user journey at saliena.eu was improved by streamlining the main navigation in order to focus the visitor’s attention on key pages.
Demoting legal content and some deeper links to the footer helps keep the main navigation clutter-free and easier to scan with the eye.
Our top tip here is to remember Miller’s Law:
‘The number of objects an average human can hold in short-term memory is 7 ± 2’
The new navigation also stays fixed at the top of the browser for better UI & UX.
Making sure that potential customers can easily submit an enquiry should be the primary goal for any Real Estate website.
In the case of Saliena, the designers simply placed a clear call-to-action at the bottom of every page that directed the customer to the contact page.
From the contact page the customer can then decide to make an enquiry through the following methods:
- Enquiry form
- Visiting the showroom in person
Giving users a range of options to make contact is key to engaging a potential customer in the way that they feel most comfortable.
Boost Your Local SEO
Great SEO is always at the top of any wishlist when creating a website, but if your site is focussing on gaining business from or directing to a particular area, then you’ll need to focus some attention on Local SEO.
Including content that focuses on the local neighbourhood and details why the area is so good to live in will be valuable to your visitors. This content could include information about:
- Local Schools
- Travel Links
- Restaurants & Bars
- Local Retail
- Parks and Sports Facilities
Our advice is to create special pages for this content and/or write regular blog posts that highlight new developments in the area.
Sharing this content via social media and Google My Business will also help your local SEO strategy.
Google rewards companies that use their tools and will give your website a nice little bump in the rankings if you use them regularly.
Professional Website Design
Website design trends are constantly evolving. Driven by the vast range of devices that we use to access content.
Because of this, you should look to review your website design strategy regularly. Probably every 3-5 years.
The visual style of your site is key to connecting with your target customer and so should reflect the quality of lifestyle that they are aspiring to.
A clean and modern design filled with beautiful images will always impress the viewer. Making them feel comfortable when navigating through the site.
Avoid cramped page layouts and filling the site with too many CTAs (calls-to-action). This approach can divert the user from their chosen path and cause confusion.
A well-considered web design strategy will help improve the user experience, resulting in increased enquiries.
Sell the lifestyle
When a potential buyer is looking to purchase a property, they are not just looking for a new home, but a new life.
It is crucial for any real estate website to help communicate the dream of owning a new home and the wonderful new life that awaits the buyer.
This is often achieved through the use of great photography.
As expert website designers and developers, we know that we can design & build great websites. But it’s often beautiful imagery that really helps sell an experience.
In fact, we may go as far as to say that the effectiveness of a website can live or die on the quality of the photography. So make sure that your images are of excellent quality.
Attract sales, rentals and potential developers
As a development that was operating on multiple fronts, it was important for Saliena to reflect this with sections that were geared to promote sales, rentals and developments.
Each section includes the topline information that a customer would need to know about the home or land plot available.
Multiple pages help Saliena target specific keywords such as:
- Home for sale in Saliena
- Homes to rent in Saliena
- Property development in Saliena
Each page is completed with a clear CTA to help drive enquiries.
A regular estate agent will likely target customers in the same region as the properties that they sell, which means only requiring one language. But this is not necessarily true of property developers.
Selling property and land plots will often be attractive to buyers from other countries. Particularly if the buyer resides in a country such as the UK and they wish to move to somewhere sunny such as Spain.
Saliena regularly attracted website visitors from Russia, so they decided to translate their website into Russian to look more attractive to those buyers.
The website was also translated into English to look attractive to UK-based investors and buyers.
Our tip is to use Google Analytics to see where your website visitors are based and then consider translating your website into those languages.
Website translation will also help with Local SEO and Voice Search in your targetted areas.
As a potential buyer, there’s nothing more frustrating than not having access to the kind of information that is of true value.
With this in mind, Saliena understood that they had a greater chance of driving enquiries if they displayed detailed key information directly on the site.
Such high-value content includes:
- Accurate colour floor plans
- Property size & Price information
- Amenities & benefits list
- Extensive image galleries
- Map showing the exact location
In a nutshell, if you expect customers to spend a great deal of money purchasing a home off-plan, then make sure you give them as much detail as possible so they can make a truly informed decision.
Easier website management
All clients require a website management tool that is easy to use, flexible and secure.
For this reason, Devstars decided to build the new Saliena website using the popular WordPress CMS platform.
As experienced property website developers, Devstars knew that WordPress would offer everything that Saliena needed to manage their website content, including:
- Multiple user levels
- Multilingual capabilities
- Easy property management
- Flexible page layout creation
- Enhanced security plugins
Both LWDA and Devstars are WordPress experts and fully recommend this CMS for any property development website.
In an economic climate where homebuyers are increasingly budget-conscious, it’s essential that your website helps sell your properties to the best of its ability.
Your website needs to look great, function well on desktop & mobile devices, and provide the customer with great high-value content that drives enquiries.
Make sure you sell the dream. Use great photography to convey the lifestyle that your buyers are in search of.
And lastly, consider having your website translated into other languages to help target foreign investors.
Until next time…
We hope that you found this article useful as a guide to helping create an effective real estate website.
If you’re looking to have a new website designed & built for your property development business, feel free to get in touch with us at LWDA to discuss your needs.
We’re always happy to listen and will be open and honest with our advice.
Property Website Design Articles
This article about Real Estate Website Design was the second of four posts in a series focussing on various types of property websites.
These articles are as follows:
We hope that you find these articles helpful and look forward to hearing from you in the future if you’re a property website owner in need of website design services.