The 16 Elements of a Highly Effective Real Estate Website

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Of the people that go to your website, 95 percent of them are there to find out more about your business or services. In other words, virtually every visit to your website is an opportunity for you to close a new client… or lose one. Eek!

I know, I know. You’re crazy busy and your website isn’t priority numero uno at the moment. Still. If you take 15 minutes to go through this checklist and determine to fix whatever elements are lacking, you will have a healthier, more productive business when you’re done. You can handle them on your own schedule, even. But believe me: you’re losing cash-money every day you procrastinate!

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Here Are The 16 Elements Your Site MUST Have:

Below I outline the 16 things you really need in your website. Without the following, you run the risk of not standing out or being the best.

1. Company Name and Logo 

Make sure you have your logo in the TOP LEFT corner of the page. Users remember a logo in this location 58.4 percent more than when it is in another area, according to this useful infographic from Crazy Egg and Single Grain.

2. Call to Action

In the TOP RIGHT, you need to tell people exactly what their next step is. Maybe it’s “Call to Sell Your House NOW,” or “See Available Homes Now.” Whatever it is, make sure it’s clear and easy to find.

Related: 4 Steps to Creating a Successful Real Estate Website

3. Simple, Clear Navigation

There are two main objectives for your site’s navigation:

  1. To give visitors a clear, easy way to find any page of your website, and
  2. To steer visitors towards the pages you want them to visit.

Any page that doesn’t help you convert a prospect into a customer isn’t important enough to be on the main navigation bar.

4. A Clear, Bold Headline

A study from the The Poynter Institute showed that “dominant headlines most often draw the eye first upon entering the page.”

The first thing visitors see on your website should be your crystal clear headline that tells them exactly what they can get from your website. Don’t get cutesy. Clarity is more important than cleverness. This is your big first impression.

5. A Graphic that Supports the Message

The main graphic on the page needs to not only match the general idea of real estate or homes but actually reinforce the headline. In other words, don’t just show a house. Show a house with a sold sign while the seller is still on the phone with you.

Related: 8 Quick Tips for Naming your Website

6. Color that Pops in the Right Places

Color matters because it helps you direct the “eye-path” of the visitor. Make sure the most important areas draw the eye first.

7. Subheads that Lead into Text

Anytime you have a bundle of text with no headline or sub-headline, people won’t read it. Generally, people skim websites. If you have no big bold way for them to discern what the text is about, they will assume it is not important and move on.

8. Benefits, Benefits, Benefits

Sell your benefits, not your features. A benefit is what a prospects gets. A feature is what you sell. Make sense? Think from the prospect’s viewpoint. They don’t care that you have a proprietary home-flipping system. They DO care that you can make them money. See the difference?

9. Your Offer

Your offer should be something specific that gets them to fill out a form or call in. FREE information pack, guaranteed buyer, complete listings, etc. You can’t reach your lead generating potential without a good offer.

10. Contact Forms

80% of sales are made on the 5th to 12th contact. That’s why it’s so important to collect contact info. Forms are the best way to do that on a website. You want a form on every lead generating page of your site.

11. Specific Button Copy

This is a small-but-important change. Never have a button that just says “submit” or “click here.” Instead reinforce the value of clicking the link. Say something like, “Get My FREE Info Pack NOW!” It makes a difference.

12. Reassurance Items

You need elements on your site that will reassure visitors that you are a real business with friendly staff and a good reputation. This includes elements like:

  • About Us Page
  • Office Location Information
  • Ratings/Reviews from Real Customers
  • Links to Your Social Media Pages
  • Security Badges (for secure forms)
  • Icons for Your Awards, Memberships, and Certifications
  • Guarantees

13. Buttons that Work

CHECK ALL LINKS ON YOUR SITE. If they don’t work, you look bad and frustrate your prospect. Not good.

14. Ways for People to Find It

I don’t have time to get into here, but your site must be optimized for search engines. If Google doesn’t know what your site is about, they won’t rank it highly. IF they don’t rank you highly, no one will ever find your site without entering the address directly (or you paying to send them there).

15. A Clear Path

This goes back to eye-path. Figure out the exact process you want your ideal prospect to take on your site, and then design it so the website funnels them in that direction. Visitors will spend 69 percent of their time looking at the left half of a Web page. Knowledge is power. Be intentional about where you are sending people.

16. Ongoing Improvement

No matter how amazing your website is, it can ALWAYS be better. To see how your site’s performing, get Google Analytics. Then keep your eye on your metrics to see what areas need improvement.

A lot of the above should be pretty self-explanatory and easy to fix, but some are harder than others. If you need any help implementing these elements, you can always speak to one of my consultants for FREE.

Just tell them you read the website design article on BIGGERPOCKETS!

Be sure to leave your comments below!


About Author

Joy Gendusa (G+) is the founder and CEO of PostcardMania, a firm that specializes in direct mail marketing, and the author of the 95-Step Total Marketing Checklist. She used postcards to grow PostcardMania from almost nothing—just a computer—to a $20 million enterprise in less than a decade.


    • Eric, definitely! We have a couple of those on our site for first-time visitors, as well as forms on our most popular pages. I thought #10 might have included those, but specifically naming them is even better, so thanks for your comment!

  1. It so happens the current slackers who are hosting my site have let their system go into disrepair and are now unresponsive at putting my site back up.

    It’s very important that you host your site at a credible hoster and not the same org who built the site. It’s ok to buy sites. Just don’t host with the same folks else you’ll be wishing you had the source to your site some day when it evaporates along with your data base of contacts.

    • Curt, that sounds AWFUL! It might even be a worst-case-scenario as far as business site building goes. Sorry you had to learn this the hard way! I definitely agree though — even if you have your site built by someone else, make sure the host is well established and that your team has full access to it.

      Also, Curt, what are your plans now? Starting over? I talked to one of my web developers and he mentioned that a shortcut you could use is looking at cached versions of your old site and collecting your old content that way. At the very least, you won’t be starting 100% from scratch.

      Let me know if you need any more assistance on this!

  2. Hi Joy,

    The logo is a must if you want your brand to be recognized throughout the world. One of the first things you see when you hit my site is my Coleman Marketing Group LLC (CMG) logo to the top left side of the page.

    This was all done to get your attention just for a moment so down the road you will be like..
    “I remember that logo..yea thats from the Coleman Marketing Group LLC”

    So Joy, I’m about having that logo, and if you don’t then good luck.

    Antonio Coleman “Signing Off”

  3. Definitely, U have covered all the essential points that are very essential for a Real Estate site to have on it’s site in order to make it’s site more handy and it should also not be too complex. All the things should be made clearly.

  4. I just wanted to note that real estate websites which require you to create a login just to view property photos are the quickest way to lose potential clients. If there’s a pop-up that gives the option to give your email to receive a newsletter for example, but that you can dismiss – that’s fine. But creating an unnecessary layer before viewing photos you could otherwise see on any other site, just directs traffic elsewhere.

  5. Dmitriy Fomichenko

    Nice post Joy. It is important to stay up-to-date with the latest technologies. Adding to the list are mobile-optimization and use of landing pages for special offerings. You can offer ebooks or similar written material to the readers. The key is to offer something that adds value to the reader. Thanks for sharing!

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