What do we need from Brokerage Websites?

Bad design will effect engagement and conversion on brokerage websites

A Millennial’s perspective on the standards real estate websites should meet

After months of research on 2000 brokerage websites, with features including simple property searches, neighborhood statistics, and endless variations of quality, usability, and functionality, how would I describe the realm of real estate websites?

Far too many with outdated presentation,  frequently slow to load, and frustratingly hard to use.

Don’t get me wrong. There are dozens, maybe hundreds of quality brokerage websites, but far too many look like Web 1.0 static pages more suited to browsing on the old Netscape browser.

With the rise in website vendors and free or almost free web builders, there’s not really an excuse for anyone—especially businesses—to have an inadequate website. The technology we use to create websites advances continuously, and the experience most brokers remember from building their existing websites—even from a few years ago—is far different. We can now create or rebuild real estate websites quickly, painlessly, and with a minimal amount of effort from the brokerage team. Meaning updating your web presence won’t detract from your daily business. Good news for brokers and their management teams.

There are three characteristics that I look for in a business website, and are especially true for brokerage websites:

  1. Aesthetics
  2. Functionality
  3. Navigability.

So why are these characteristics important for brokerage websites?

What does your real estate website look like? Is it sleek, simple, interesting? Everyone knows what makes a website attractive, but its not the easiest thing to achieve. “Everyday Joe” may be able to make a website with all the functionality you need, but what good is that functionality if no one wants to stay on your brokerage website for more than a few seconds? (Learn about  real estate website bounce rates here.)

That’s not to say functionality isn’t important. Brokerage websites should have a powerful search feature with deep customizability and attractive listing details, accurate and up-to-date market price comparisons, social integration, and area information including schools and businesses.

Navigability is an often overlooked characteristic in any business website, but it is one of the most important aspects to a user. Logical, simple, easy to read and understandable menus are important for a pleasant user experience.

As the next generation of homebuyers, Millennials will force brokerages to upgrade their web presence or fall dramatically behind others who do. Personally, my impression of a company is greatly affected by their website. I will often make a buying decision within seconds of my first exposure to a business’s online presence.

When was the last time you evaluated your website? Do your customers utilize it? Do you gain any value from it?

How can you make it better?

This article reprinted with permission from PCMS Consulting. The original can be found here.