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What Do Realtors Need in a Website?

Maria Antoinette Madison Real Estate Agent

This research was conducted by Maria Antoinette an experienced Madison realtor. specializing condos for sale in Madison WI. According to the 2009 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 85-90% of real estate purchases start on the web. Even if that statistic is somewhat off, it nevertheless remains true that most potential customers now start their property search online and choose their Realtor based on what websites they find.

Over 60,000 agents serve the New England area, all of them looking for new clients. Consumers now have many options when they search the web for a Realtor or property. They can visit specific brokerage websites like RE/MAX or Coldwell Banker, browse listings at Trulia or Redfin, search Google, and much more. Most Realtor website discussion focuses on SEO and is one of the first 10 results that come up for certain search terms. While this is good practice, it remains true that all websites have the same goals and that there are already plenty of resources out there that discuss SEO in depth. I will therefore instead focus on what happens when people reach your website and how you can influence their decision to choose you as their agent.

Web usability studies have shown that users care about speed, appearance, clutter, and content. For Realtor sites, this refers chiefly to listings: buyers want to look at listings, and sellers want to see you working their listing. Today, I will focus on the visual aspect of your site. If potential customers find your design unattractive, they will likely move on to the next site. In my research for ListingInjector, I have looked at thousands of different real estate websites. I can, therefore, tell you with confidence that most sites look horrible, making the ones that look halfway decent standout. Sites are often cluttered, hard to navigate, and apparently more interested in selling mortgages than real estate services. When the web exploded in the early ’90s, people explored the medium by building sites in a simple text editor. Today, however, companies use teams of professionally trained engineers to design and build their websites. This has raised the bar of what constitutes an attractive website, and when you don’t meet your users’ expectations, it reflects poorly on your commitment to your customers as an agent.

With this in mind, here are some simple rules to follow when exploring your next site design:

  1. Keep it simple and clean. In contemporary design, less is more. When people visit your website, they are seeking specific information: sellers are looking at how you promote your properties, and buyers are looking for user-friendly listings. A common mistake is to offer an IDX service that does not flow with the rest of the site, looks awkward, or is hard to use.
  2. Know what you’re selling. Mortgage brokers and advertisers will pay you for ad placement on your home page. You should always ask yourself if $50 a month is worth the loss of commission on a potential sale. Think of your website cost as a part of your marketing: you would never put a mortgage broker’s ad on your marketing material. If you must sell ad space, do so only in a way that flows with your site’s design.
  3. Create a cohesive look. I often have seen agents spending money on a professionally designed site only to detract from their overall look with low-quality images or a poor layout. Spend a bit more money and have a graphic artist clean up your images and integrate them into your design.

Next time I’ll talk about content and how not to become a slave to it. However, if you are looking forward to growing your online presence and rank your website higher on search engines then I recommend reading this wonderful piece on real estate SEO.

What Brands Can Learn From AC-DC

Australia’s greatest musical export AC-DC recently returned to home soil for a major sell-out tour.

These guys are simply amazing. Still rocking after all these years, packing in the crowds year after year after year. Who would have thought the band would still be one of the biggest rock acts in the world some 35 years after their formation in Australia in 1974?

POP QUIZ: What was the first gig AC-DC played? (check the answer at the bottom of the post!).

Let’s face it, any brand would kill for AC-DC’s longevity, their cross-generational appeal and the fanatical fan base that continues to buy their product year in, year out.

So what can brands learn from AC-DC?

1.  Consistency

AC-DC has been consistent in a number of ways for the past three+ decades. Angus Young’s school uniform, the driving bass and the thumping drumbeat, and the no-nonsense blokey song titles are core trademarks of AC-DC’s look and sound.

And, by all reports, the band’s concerts certainly live up to all the hype. These guys are consistent performers!

2.  No frills

With AC-DC, what you see is what you get. Joint ‘CEOs’ (spokesmen Angus Young and Brian Johnson) come across as a pair of fair dinkum blokes, no artifice airs or graces from these guys despite their exalted rock god status. The band’s attitude, like their music, is down-to-earth. People like that!

3.  Give the customer what they want

AC-DC know their audience and they don’t muck them about. This comes back to consistency. Give the punter what they want and they’ll keep coming back for more. AC-DC do that better than most.

4.  Remain true to your roots

AC-DC understands the high degree of respect their fans hold for the band’s former lead singer, the late Bon Scott. The band itself also hold their mate in high regard – as a mark of respect, they steadfastly refuse to play the anthem “It’s a Long Way to the Top” at their concerts. They’ve always remained true to the spirit of Bon Scott, and the fans respect this.

Even the recruitment of Brian Johnson was classic rock ‘n’ roll. Track down this dude from some no-name band and give him a shot at fronting one of the biggest live acts in the world. Fairytale stuff!

(Interestingly, yesterday was the 30th anniversary of Bon Scott’s death).

5.  Don’t screw the marketplace

AC-DC could make millions of extra dollops of cash if they wanted to simply by doubling their output of recorded music. By keeping the new stuff a bit scarce, they keep demand for their music at a premium. Ditto for touring.

Not touring for years builds massive anticipation for their concerts (although I suspect the reason they don’t tour much is the fact they’re all around the 60-year age mark!).

This is one brand you’re not going to see line-extended within an inch of its life!

What can your brand learn from AC-DC?