We discuss the following website design mistakes and how you can avoid them:
- Difficult navigation
- Too much text
- Not mobile responsive
- Lack of branding
- Missing lead capture
For real estate agents, having a website is not negotiable. It is a core part of building an online presence and serves as a destination where prospects can learn more about you and your services.
You have full control over your website, which is what makes it such a powerful brand-building tool. With proper execution, your site will help you project expertise, reinforce your value, and build trust with prospective clients.
The only problem is that it’s quite easy to make website design mistakes that will produce the opposite of your intended effect. That is, a poorly designed website will cause potential leads to leave as quickly as they arrived, and you’ll miss out on the opportunity to convert them into clients.
Don’t worry, though — you don’t need to know a complicated coding language to avoid the most common website design mistakes. Most website builders and third-party hosts make it easy to create a clean, easy-to-navigate site. You do, however, need to know what to look for to ensure you don’t flip a switch or do something that jeopardizes the strength of your site.
Avoid the following five mistakes and you’ll be on your way to creating a beautiful website that helps you grow your business.
Mistake 1: Difficult navigation
This seems like a no-brainer, but what does it actually mean? What is difficult navigation? Simply put, your website shouldn’t have too many destinations for buyers and sellers to get lost in.
Think of it as the difference between a fork in the road with two paths to take, or a fork in the road with a dozen paths to take — the latter is overwhelming and confusing, so it’s best to keep it simple.
The navigation bar that sits at the top of every page should have just a handful of options and each destination should be worded clearly and concisely. For example, you can use “Buyers” or “Search for Homes” as one of the link options. Since these are terms that users easily understand, they know that when they click the link, they will be taken to a page that is relevant to their needs. That page would host, for example, an interactive tool where buyers can search for homes through an IDX integration.
Difficult navigation can also mean an experience that users aren’t expecting, and if they get frustrated, they’re likely to make a quick exit. Stick with the experiences that users are comfortable and familiar with, so they can assume you’ll be as easy to work with as your website.
Mistake 2: Busy/too much text
A text-heavy site is the web equivalent of an in-your-face car dealership commercial. It’s overwhelming, off-putting, and delivers too much information at once. Strive to keep your website clean, not cluttered. Leave white space around text, images, and forms. Use eye-catching photos to provide a visual break from blocks of text. Offer interactive elements to take the place of text.
For example, instead of explaining how a homeowner can determine the market value of their home, use a lead capture form to offer your own expert evaluation.
Mistake 3: Not mobile responsive
In website lingo, responsive means that a site is built to work well on a desktop computer, tablet, and smartphone — it adapts its look to fit the device, so users have a seamless experience no matter where they view it.
Essentially, the website that loads on a desktop computer will be its complete self, with a fully visible navigation at the top and each section of every page laid out in the way the website designer intended. Once you need to condense the website for tablet and mobile, those elements condense, too. The navigation menu is typically collapsed behind what’s called a hamburger menu (which is three stacked horizontal lines). Components, like text and images, will be aligned vertically instead of side-by-side since the width of a mobile screen can no longer support that arrangement.
If your website isn’t responsive, it means that someone viewing it on their tablet or phone might have trouble navigating, and is more likely to leave out of frustration.
Mistake 4: Lack of branding
A generic website should be avoided if you want to stand out from your competitors and differentiate yourself in the crowded real estate space. It doesn’t capture who you are, establish your expertise and unique value proposition, or reinforce your brand in any way. One of the reasons real estate agents should have a website is to build and strengthen brand awareness, and you can’t do that if your generic site can be confused for any competitor’s site.
An easy way to incorporate your branding is to apply your logo or name, slogan (if applicable), and brand colors throughout the site. If you add those components to your header and footer, they will automatically appear on every page. You should also find relevant spots for your headshot, phone number, and email address.
Mistake 5: Missing lead capture
Lead capture forms encourage your website visitors to take action and are therefore important tools to help convert window shoppers into leads. Not having them placed around your site is one of the biggest web design mistakes out there. It seems obvious, but it’s easy to overlook. Just pairing your email address and phone number with, “Looking to buy or sell? Contact me!” won’t be persuasive enough to convince some people to get in touch.
A true lead capture (also called a lead magnet) form offers buyers and sellers an irresistible reason to submit their contact details.
Here are a few examples of topics that you can use to create lead magnets on your real estate website:
- E-newsletter signup
- Free home valuation
- Market trends/update reports
- Gated content (e.g. a buyer guide that will be sent out once the lead submits their email address)
- Free consultation session
- Webinar registration
These are just general topics. Your lead magnet needs to persuade buyers and sellers that it’s in their best interest to sign up.
You wouldn’t want to just write, “Submit your email address to receive my e-newsletter.” Instead, you could write: “Looking to buy or sell in the Atlanta area? My weekly e-newsletter is packed with dos and don’ts specific to this area, the latest ATL market trends, and what you need to do before starting your real estate journey. Sign up to be in the know!”
How Homesnap Can Help
If you aren’t familiar with building or maintaining websites, it’s easier than you think to make website design mistakes that can cost you leads. More than 60,000 real estate agents around the country trust Homesnap Pro+ to handle it all for them.
We can set up a customizable, professionally designed website for you in minutes, with several themes to choose from so you can make your site unique to your business. It will be fully responsive on all devices and include lead magnets on multiple pages, as well as an interactive home search tool connected to your MLS. You’ll also get your own domain name, and we’ll manage all the back-end technical needs that go along with it.
Take a peek at what your real estate website could look like!