Real estate agencies routinely juggle many tasks, which have multiplied exponentially with the advent of the internet. In addition to optimizing traditional real estate listings, a real estate agency must also be concerned with commercial real estate website design. Optimizing real estate web design carries unique challenges, but several hacks will help your agency maximize its online presence.
Who is your end-user?
When initially designing your website, determining all your potential end-users, or your target market is the most important. Knowing your users means learning the best optimization methods.
For instance, is your commercial real estate in a high-demand area? Is the demand increasing, or is it declining? Who is your audience in a particular area, and which characteristics would your “dream clients” have? In short, the more you know your audience, the more you can tailor the website specific to their needs, which will set you apart from the competition. Furthermore, you will also increase your chances of attracting those dream clients.
Should the real estate website prioritize usability or aesthetics?
Real estate is a unique industry that depends heavily on visuals in order to begin converting prospects to sales. For this reason, real estate agents may wonder if the aesthetics of a real estate website are primary concerns over usability, given that the images of commercial properties are generally what draws in initial views. However, while a strong emphasis on aesthetics is important for the real estate industry, just as it is for the hospitality industry, you should always remember your target end-users.
Consequently, the usability of a website is of paramount importance. Ensuring a smooth experience for end-users is critical, particularly given the unusually intensive competition in the real estate market today. Some of the most common usability issues include overly complex navigation, enormously oversized menus, and abysmally slow loading speeds. Furthermore, real estate websites must be “mobile-friendly” in addition to the classic desktop design, which means optimizing your website for tablets, smartphones, and any other popular mobile device commonly used by your target market.
Which usability characteristics are the most important?
Whether you’re designing your commercial real estate website for the first time or optimizing an existing website, the navigation and search tools should be the most important considerations. Exceptional navigation, which includes excellent search functionality, will draw repeated interest from prospective tenants, landlords, and property brokers.
Navigation should be simple and intuitive, leaving no mystery to the end-user where to visit next. Nearly two-thirds of mobile users will stop browsing a website if it is confusing to navigate, which serves as a strong motivation for optimizing navigation. More specifically, if it takes end-users more than three clicks to arrive at the content they need, they are likely to leave. You can avoid excessive clicks through the effective use of breadcrumbs, bold buttons, clear titles, and a logo that links back automatically to the home page.
Furthermore, you can approach your website’s search tools with the same objective in mind: simple, intuitive usage. More than one search tool can be incorporated into your website and an excellent analogy of multiple search tools. Google offers a “simple search,” as well as more specified searches via its specialized search engines, including Google News, Google Books, and Google Scholar. End-users can further tailor their search with the filters available in these specialized search engines, such as searching Google News only for articles published in the last 24 hours. Envision a similar scenario for your website, wherein end-users can engage in a proficient search in either a very simple or very advanced manner, including all the relevant filters that a prospective commercial real estate buyer would need at their fingertips.
While the above may seem overwhelming, bear in mind that optimizing a website is almost always a work-in-progress, as evident from the continuous optimization of major platforms, including Google and Facebook. It can be overwhelming at first, which is why it is the most important to focus on the points outlined above.
Once you have a functional, “mobile-friendly” website, you can always consider incorporating some type of system where end-users can rate your website’s usability, much in the same way other successful giants, such as Booking.com, continuously request feedback from end-users on their platform. Seeking continuous feedback is one of the most effective ways to ensure a smooth end-user experience.