In last week’s blog post I mentioned three things that your visitors would expect to find on a real estate website: 1.) Listings, 2.) area information, and 3.) transaction advice. This week we’re going to focus on the first of those topics: Listings.
We’re going to start here because, realistically, this is the #1 thing that most people want. It’s absolutely essential for buyers who expect to find inventory, and even sellers would find it useful to search for a comparable property to get an idea of how they should price their own listing. A real estate website without listings is like a shoe store without shoes. It’s your product.
However, it’s not enough to just have a button for your listings (or your office’s) and a button where visitors can search the MLS. There’s a few things wrong with that approach. First, that’s what every real estate website has. It’s “standard equipment”. To stand out you need to be exceptional. Second, your visitors are then required to do all the work. They could have done that anywhere (including on Trulia, Zillow, and Realtor.com, which they’ve probably already done). They came to your site hoping for something exceptional, so you need to give it to them.
So, how do you do that? What you need to do is make it easier on your visitors by giving each of your target niches or “hot shopping topics” their own custom page. In just one click you should take them to pages that do all of the searching for them and then show immediate listing results. For example, here are a few possible custom MLS searches you could add to your website:
- Starter homes or luxury. Basically, create a page that has a maximum price range (great first homes) or a minimum (for higher-priced luxury). Or, you could even do mid-priced (put both a minimum and a maximum price filter) if that’s your top selling inventory.
- Homes near an attraction. Why do people in your area move? Is there a major employer or military installation nearby? Do people want to live by the lake or by the beach? Is there a district everyone loves (like an arts or historic area)? If so then filter to just listings around that highlight.
- Specific areas (communities, neighborhoods, schools). Most shoppers know where they want to live. Narrow it down, and while you’re at it “feature” an area. This can also tie in with the second thing visitors want, area information, which we’ll be talking about more next week.
- Specific property types. Instead of making your visitors choose from several types while searching, at least make a separate button for rentals, land, or anything else you’ll offer to them.
Better yet, combine some of these ideas and get super-specific. If you hit the nail right on the head for someone then you’ll immediately be a perfect match in their minds. Create a few of these options if you need so you can give your visitors options versus making them play around on their own.
For more advice on this topic and also to see other ways that your MLS tools can keep visitors coming back for more I’d recommend checking out our class ” Feature Focus: Using XSites IDX As A Lead Capture Tool“. That’ll give you some good ideas and examples while working on making sure your website is equipped well in this department.
Next week we’ll look at the second thing visitors expect out of your site (and the one most sites lack): area information. Stay tuned.