Ever notice that most real estate sites in a geographic area will have almost the same content? The majority will include IDX (MLS Reciprocity) listings. There’s an About Me page, some buyer and seller pages, and probably one or two contact forms.
The sad truth is, it’s excruciatingly boring for prospective buyers and sellers to wade through a bunch of local agent sites. They’re all the same. The home page will usually have an image slider at the top. (Sliders rotate photos.)
Many lazy sites will just post scenic photos of the local area, but a few agents do use the slider effectively to display large, stunning images of their listings, linked to an on-site listing page. (The home page should never link out of your website, to IDX/MLS or any other website. Your bounce rate will go through the roof!)
If you’re listing homes, you want to be proudly displaying your inventory. Your real estate photographer is your secret weapon. A drop-dead gorgeous magazine-quality alternative to the slider on the home page is a masonry layout with large in-your-face photos. Each image in the panel links to the applicable on-site listing page.
Many agents believe that if they can just add a super cool IDX search interface, a flood of buyers will contact them for a showing. However, statistics indicate that visitors rarely complete an MLS search on the first three visits to an agent’s site. So if they’re coming back a 5th or 6th time, before they even consider making a connection, guess what they’re checking out… you.
Are you introducing yourself effectively on your home page? People aren’t going to slog through a lengthy bio on the home page. One of the very best introductions you can make is through a welcome video. Given the choice between an agent they’ve already met, by way of video, and all the other strangers, your chances just went up significantly.
Does your home page reflect your personality, passions and desires? If you're a sailing enthusiast, you may be the very best person to show prospective buyers boat properties in Deep Cove. But prospective buyers won't know this if your home page fails to let your audience know who you really are. The same goes for interests like golf, skiing, horses, etc.
Your video should get them to like you. Instead of bragging about your sales awards, provide some valuable local insider information. You want them to begin to trust you. And they should come to the end of the video believing you can help them buy or sell a property. Present your USP (Unique Selling Proposition) clearly, so they understand what makes you stand out from all the other agents that want their business.
Your home page should leave no doubt in your visitors' minds that they've come to the right place. For example, if they're looking for a condo in Vancouver East's trendy renovated buildings, and that's your specialty, your home page should provide evidence of that and link to more information.
If you need to get visitors to return several times, are you providing compelling calls to action on your home page?
1) Are you asking them to exchange their email address for a very desirable whitepaper or ebrochure with valuable local information? You could create something like: “10 Things You Must Know to Get The Best Price For Your Vancouver East Condo.” Subscribers to your list have given you permission to influence their decisions again and again. Make sure your emails deliver and link back to more great content.
2) Is your home page leading them to the useful hyperlocal “evergreen” content pages you’ve created, and your latest blog posts? Are your blog posts so valuable they’ll subscribe to your RSS feed in their reader, or email blog updates, to make sure they don’t miss a single post?
While usually not part of the home page itself, make sure your website’s template includes your phone number in the header and additional contact details in the footer.
Your home page is the most valuable page on the site. Make it a labor of love. Be prepared to tweak it to reduce your bounce rate and increase the number of pages your prospective clients visit. I welcome your questions and comments below.
Need some one-on-one help with your home page? A free 20 minute coaching call may be a game changer.