Real Estate Homepage

Is your Real Estate Site Homepage Really Serving your Customers?

The most important page in a website is none other than its homepage.

It is more than a page that introduces your business to the viewers as it actually works as a guide. If one gets lost, one can always go back “home” and start again.

It is also the most valuable page that glues the entire site together. It basically works as a tool for the users to get to the page or content they want to see.

In Real Estate, the homepage needs to be designed to address the interests of the visitor. Why are they even there? What do they want? Read our Complete Online Marketing for Real Estate to understand what they really want.

Buyers come to a real estate website to buy homes. Sure, they maybe on different levels on the decision making process spectrum but all the same, they are there to make a purchase – maybe in a few weeks or even a few months’ time.

They make their purchase decision after considering all possible options available for them. Possible options meaning price ranges, home specifications, location, commute time to and from work or school, security and ten to twenty to a hundred more decision making parameters.

So how can we help them in their quest? With the use of our site, of course!

Let’s start with the homepage. Here are some popular content and site functions you will observe in most real estate websites:

The Navigation Bar or the Menu

the-navigation-bar-or-the-menu

The menu or navigation bar is usually seen at the top of a real estate website. It typically has these items on them which are either hidden or perfectly shown:

  • Home and/or Logo to redirect directly to the homepage
  • Search (drop down for price range, communities)
  • Sales (recently sold homes)
  • Blog (blog area of the site)
  • About

Some other common items are tools such as Home Mortgage Calculators, Market Reports and a Sign-up | Login area which gives full access to the MLS and other restricted areas of the site.

Additional Navigational Experience

additional navigation

Most of the time items or content of the entire site can be cut to portions and displayed on the homepage as “teasers” of what the entire site actually contains.

Think of it like playlists. In iTunes, one can set up different playlists, right? The exact same thing goes for real estate websites. We can display homes in a variety of ways.

Some of these playlists are pre-made popular search criteria like Search by Price, Search by Area, Most Viewed Homes or Recently Listed Homes. You can cut up your library into as many playlists as possible.

In some recent sites we’ve made, we have even sliced them up into categories such as Search by Design and Search by Features.

This is an ideal way to set up the homepage as it allows the real estate agent to summarize the site and let the visitors proceed as they wish to other pages.

Some of these pre-made searches are more efficient over others. People would generally hit Search by Price much more than Search Homes by Design. So it’s better to place the more powerful search categories on top of the others for faster access to those pages.

An Overall Feel – The Intuition

an-overall-feel-the-intuition

In a sense, Google, Yahoo and Bing all do the same thing – they reply to our search queries. Zillow.com, Homes.com and Trulia.com also kind of do the same thing. They display results of homes for sale with the specifications given by their users.

But how did it feel like while working on Google or Zillow? Why did they stand apart from the others by almost by a mile?

A good reply to this would be that the overall feel of using their search services are very satisfactory. We get answers quickly and accurately and their interface, though very simple, is effective.

Your site content may be amazing but if it does not feel right or if it seems out of place, then this may cause people to leave the site and not come back. Or yes, they may come back, but very reluctantly.

We want the homepage to have the right feel. First of all it should feel smooth i.e. no rough edges such as slow load speeds, errors, glitches and vague content.

Another element of amazing homepages is that they should allow for a deeper navigation within a few clicks.

It’s like a child jumping back and forth – almost predictable on the outcome and without breaking any sweat. It literally should be a “walk in the park.”

Here are a few considerations you should be aware of that can affect the smoothness and easiness of the homepage:

Fast Page Loads

page loads

Slow loading sites are a disservice to your customers. It’s like asking them to fall in line when they want your service right now. Remember, they will not wait for your site to load. Use Google Page Insights to check your homepage and have your developer score above 95% to ensure fast page loads.

Accurate Page Loads for Devices and Browsers

accurate page loads

Mobile and Browser site compatibility audit.

I do not use Safari much, but most of your customers do. You may not use an Android device but thousands of your customers do. Not having all devices and major browsers ready to display your content shows that you do not care enough.

Although this is a tiring and time-consuming process, we recommend using manual inspections. There are some programs that can help you detect non-compatibility but they have not been 100% accurate. In fact, they are still far from it.

Fast and Up-to-Date Search Results

search results

Overall Site Search Functions and updated MLS results.

Information is the agent’s biggest asset. Outdated information is not helping you be on top of your game.

Here’s a list of other contents and functions within the homepage that need attention:

  • Site layout
  • Font consistency
  • Proportionally sized fonts and divisions of the page
  • Organized Navigational Sections (Search by Price, communities etc…)
  • Brand Content (About, Testimonials, Reviews, Sales, other achievements)
  • Contact Tools (Newsletters, Contact Us forms, Phone Number, Google Maps with Address, social accounts, blog updates)
  • City/Town Content – Not just for SEO, this content should prove that your site is the #1 resource for home updates, community knowledge, and market knowledge.

Art is important but design is when art and functionalities meet to satisfy a specific need.

The visitors are not in the site to be wowed. They are there because the homepage offers a service to them. Ultimately, the homepage and the entire site is the tool that helps them make their buying process easier and more effective.

So keep on at that homepage to see better results.

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The Art of Avoiding Random Acts of Internet Marketing

Almost every start-up or a business wants to do this:

  1. Get a domain
  2. Set up email
  3. Get logo done
  4. Start a website
  5. Do SEO to the website
  6. Do social media marketing
  7. Do email blasts
  8. Rinse and Repeat #5,#6, #7 and #8

 

We all know this particular formula. It’s pretty simple and can be delivered by anyone – which is also exactly the reason why many fail in internet marketing. The simplicity itself intended starts to actually seem to be more daunting.

For example, in the music industry, things can be this simple theoretically: 

  1. Make band name
  2. Get guys in the group
  3. Write songs
  4. Record and Perform Songs
  5. Promote Band
  6. Rinse and Repeat #3, #4, #5 and #6

By now, you understand how simple lists (like the ones above) can take years or even a lifetime to build.

Try Googling, “why does internet marketing fail” – the sites that appear in the results can be summarized into a recurring word – “lacking.”  Internet marketing fails because the people behind the business lack:

  • Experience
  • Expertise
  • Patience
  • Persistence
  • Uniqueness

When you “lack” these qualities, the alternative would be to do things randomly. Marketers are always in the NEED to do something – either their bosses are breathing behind their necks to get things done or they are their own boss and they feel they should write 20 blogs this month, make 20 links, have a Facebook following of 10,000, and do Snapchat or Periscope just because it’s the latest trend!

The best way to get around this faux-pas is to plug-out, breathe, and think why it is what we do?

Why are we even doing this in the first place?

If there is no real and genuine purpose for the content or the link, why are we even there?

Some really good information out there can help you level up your game.

Here is RCS (Real Company S#!@) coined by Wil Reynolds from Seer Interactive at MozCon 2012 and 2013. These are a must watch! I highly recommend you watch this as it will be a wise investment on your part to build your own insights into internet marketing.

RCS (Real Company Stuff), is the opposite of doing Random Acts. From now on, every activity that you do and perform, base it on doing Real Company Stuff. The best way for me to explain this to internet marketers is by telling them to not consider themselves as “out-sourcers” but as “in-sourcers.”

I ask them to think like what the client company would do if they had their own dedicated Search or Social experts in their own company and if their lives depended on it, what decisions would they make? What would they prioritize? How would they track their work and results?

This is how we perform at RedKite. We like to think of ourselves as doing RCS for our clients as if we were “In-sourcing” and removing any Random Acts of Internet Marketing.

Read how our Redkite SEO outsourcing services are based on actual “in-sourcing” ideas which support RCS thought process from concept to execution.

RedKite Social Marketing

How Do Businesses Use Social Media Successfully?

Hi! – This is Marky. Today I am here to help you understand,

  1. How you can setup your own business social media by looking at how others have set them up successfully.
  2. Then we will look further into what options you have for social media participation.

We will conclude in the end of this blog, that the three important considerations before doing any social media then would be,

  1. To use Social Media to Brand your business above anything else
  2. To use social sites effectively (Different sites will need different content or posts)
  3. To know what posts appeal to the humans on the other side of the screen.

Social media goes beyond just Facebook and Twitter. There are many niche sites that cater to specific industries.  Then, there are other social sites that perform different functions. Before we discuss how business use social media “successfully”, let us understand first how businesses these days actually use social media. Let`s look at the business social media landscape today.

Social Media as a Direct Sales Tool

Usually found in E-Commerce websites that involve direct retail, Social media can be an amazing sales tool. Providing discounts, early bird offers and the like. Found mostly in B2C businesses. The rule here is that you need to know how to manage your posts. If everything is promotional and you are not able to analyse data, you may do more harm than good.

ecommerce facebook

E-Commerce FB campaign has low interactivity due to over-posting and non-human approach

Social Media used for Company Branding

Most companies use Social Media to brand themselves better. This is the most practical way to actually do social media. B2B, B2C and also famous personas use social media for this purpose. The message and branding is communicated well keeping the community in mind. This kind of social media campaign focuses on the brand but appeals to humans on a deeper human-human connection. This kind of a social media campaign usually includes doing reputation management and customer service as part of their branding agenda.

Appealing Business 2 Business FB Post

Appealing Business 2 Business  Post by Cisco – More Interactivity than E-commerce website above.

Some just want to “Jump On the Bandwagon” 

Some companies just use social media, because they feel if they do not, their company may not seem human. They simply make up accounts, put a few posts and leave them to wither and dry. This makes these companies look dry, less fierce, passive and non-competitive. A Bad Idea!

Some do it for SEO

Many businesses have seen the co-relation of social media and its benefits for SEO and so they use them more as a tactical SEO tool more than anything else. They use social media to gain the favor of Google-bots and are not really focused on their social circles. A bad idea as 40% of consumers check Social Media websites and prefer to work with those who communicate better.

Social media for personal branding

Some social media is targeted towards niche markets, like law, fitness, medicine and real estate. Many experts participate in these kinds of social media to get better ratings and/or direct business referrals.

Amazing Results w/Personal Branding

Amazing Results w/Personal Branding – sample Shaun T. Fitness Guru

Summarizing the different ways businesses use Social Media

If you have a business and you have decided to start a Social Media Campaign, looking at the samples above, you will first need to know your Goals of the campaign. What is it you want from social media? Are your social media goals realistic and practical? Clearly looking at the above samples of Cisco and Shaun T., we clearly see the superiority of their campaigns. Their social media campaigns are superior since they

  • Have better interaction with their audience
  • Focus on the Human in their social media circle
  • Subliminally are still able to get their business goals fulfilled successfully

Since we know now, “How” businesses use social media and what appeals to their social media audience – let`s tweak other factors of social media that can make or break your campaign.

Social Media Websites – What’s best for you?

Facebook & YouTube

Good for B2B (business to Business — sample of Cisco above) and B2C kinds of business (B2C – sample Shaun T. and the E-Commerce / Retail site above)

Twitter

Especially perfect for Personal Branding. CEOs of big companies now use Twitter to endorse their personal names behind brands. Ex.. Tim Cook / CEO Apple.  ScreenHunter_1956 Feb. 27 11.56 ScreenHunter_1957 Feb. 27 11.56

Linkedin

Great for B2B referrals, peer reviews and endorsements and recruiting. ScreenHunter_1958 Feb. 27 12.03

Zillow, Trulia, ActiveRain, Bigger Pockets

Niche sites for Real Estate professionals to connect, recruit and to build their online reputation. ScreenHunter_1960 Feb. 27 12.12

Avvo, Justia, Lawyers.com

Niche sites for lawyers to build reputation, peer to peer ratings, customer reviews and more.. ScreenHunter_1961 Feb. 27 12.15

HealthGrades, ZocDoc, Vitals

Doctor Reviews, profiles, reputation and more

ScreenHunter_1962 Feb. 27 12.17

Yelp, Google Places and G+

General Business review Social website. ScreenHunter_1963 Feb. 27 12.18

The best advice I can give you is to follow a logical thought pattern. After that, try experimenting which can be very fun and there are still many ways to innovate how one can use Social Media. The benefits are rewarding,  as the loyalty you can get with Social Media is extensive. You can always call us USA:516-874-4777 or Philippines:046-416-2483 and learn how we can help you Market Your Business in the Internet.

Cheerios!

ScreenHunter_1964 Feb. 27 15.39

Marky

Social Media Executive

redkite philippines

RedKite Internet Marketing and Web Designs

2nd Floor Veluz Bldg. 1, Aguinaldo Highway,

Dasmarinas, Cavite, Philippines

Professional Webmasters – Functions and Costs

Hi! Today, I would like to discuss the FAQs (Frequently asked questions) regarding

1) What webmasters do?

2) How they can help your business and

3) What they cost?

In general, webmasters are champions in understanding and analysing websites. While they are generally not web-coders or developers, they have a solid understanding of how the WWW (world-wide web) works.

Q1 – What do Webmasters do?

  • SEO & GOOGLE WEBMASTER TOOLS

By Using Google Webmaster Tools, webmasters are able to communicate with Google-Bots efficiently. Google-Bot is the name of the crawler made by Google, they read websites. This is how they index websites into their database and through the application of their algorithm (PageRank), they are able to rank websites for specific keywords.

This function is fundamental for any SEO. The tools included in Webmaster Tools are:

  • Search Appearance

Tells you how your website is structured, if there are HTML improvements possible for better crawls and more.

  • Search Traffic

This portion shows how the website is linked internally and from external sources. It also shows how often the website had impressions and clicks.

  • Google Index

This tool is extremely useful and it allows the webmaster to check if the website is indexed correctly and if there are any reasons why the site isn’t being correctly indexed.

  • Crawl

This is vital for any SEO. This section demonstrates any warning or issues with crawls. It allows webmasters to do a quick “Fetch as Google”. This is also the place where the robots.txt file and sitemaps of the website are handled.

  • Robots.txt file is a command file that Google-bot reads before a crawl so it is aware of what pages to crawl and what not to crawl. Private pages and pages with sensitive information can be blocked by this file.
  • Sitemaps are the blueprint of how the webpages are structured. Though sitemaps, Google crawls can be made more efficient.
Inside Google WebMaster Tools

Inside Google WebMaster Tools

  • WEBSITE MANAGEMENT CRM/CMS

Webmasters are proficient in handling a wide variety of CRM and CMS.

CRM (Customer Relation Manager) is that part of the website where contacts, leads, sales and messages are stored. This is that part where billing and contact information can be stored and made use of accordingly. Some popular CRMs that you may already know are Salesforce and Zoho. In the Real Estate Industry, specialized CRMs like Top Producer and Property Base are very popular. CRMs can also be highly customized i.e. Webaflex (The Official CMS of RedKite, that is uniquely made to suit any business)

SalesForce - Popular CRM

SalesForce – Popular CRM

CMS (Content Management System) is that part of the website that allows content to be fed into the website. Website blogs, images, video, pages and other content in a website can be managed using the CMS. Some popular website frameworks that you may be knowledgeable about, have their own CMS like in WordPress, Drupal and Joomla. Others like Magento and Shopify are exclusive for Ecommerce websites. The CMS at RedKite — Webaflex, is custom made per client using a WYSIWIG (What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get) interface with Drag and Drop functions.

WordPress - Popular CMS

WordPress – Popular CMS

  • GOOGLE ANALYTICS

Google Analytics

Google Analytics

It is through Google analytics, that webmasters are able to analyse visitor data. Here are some data that can be analysed via Google Analytics

  • Visitor Location

Are you getting traffic from the correct Geo-locations?

  • Visitor Behaviour

Are the website visitors dropping off or navigating the website erratically?

  • Traffic Sources

Where are you getting all of your traffic from?

  • Conversion Data

Are people converting, filling forms and registering?

  • Landing and Exit Pages

What are my strong pages and my weak pages in the website?

  • Bounce Rates and Time Spent

Are visitors going back to where they came from after they visit my site? If so how many? How much time are they spending on my website?

  • LINK MAINTENANCE AND REMOVAL

Webmaster can be of general SEO help especially in looking at link maintenance and removals. Some good links can be lost over time. Webmasters can look at what links have high quality and monitor them for you. They can also remove unwanted links using the Disavow Tool in Google Webmaster Tools, which could be weighing your SEO progress. While this is more of a Job Description for a link builder, webmasters can be more analytical about link management for SEO.

Link Removal Bliss

Link Removal Bliss

  • REPUTATION MANAGEMENT

Webmasters can help monitor your reputation and alert you if there are any negative comments, reviews or slander against your business online.

Reputation Management

Reputation Management

  • SERVER & EMAIL CONFIGURATIONS

A very important duty of a webmaster is to assist in the configuration of email and servers. While web developers have knowledge in server-side assistance, webmasters have more in-depth knowledge about web-info technology.

They can setup email servers, database servers and web-servers. They are also able to remove viruses and other unwanted elements in servers.

Email/Server  Maintenance and Configuration

Email/Server Maintenance and Configuration

Q2) How can webmasters help your business?

Companies and businesses do not always have a webmaster position. While IT departments can handle a lot of the technical side of things, they cannot analyse and interpret data from a marketing point of view.

The webmasters work is clear. They are there to sort issues, troubleshoot problems and keep websites functioning for maximum performance. They know how important websites are for business and so they do their part. While they are not an active part of the marketing, their functions can help SEO. The webmaster is like a “Jack” of the internet. He is the “GO-TO” person when problems arise in a website.

Not all server and email providers have excellent customer service, sometimes it can take days to fix issues back and forth with the provider`s customer service teams. Having a webmaster means that you do not need to worry about your website going down or working inefficiently. This means that your single most important way of making business i.e. your website is in good hands.

500 error

Q3) How much do Webmasters Cost?

Hiring Webmasters can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars. It all depends upon the experience and the skills of the webmaster.At RedKite, we have found a way to make having a webmaster a reality for you at your preferred rate. Build Your Own Preferred Webmaster Package

I hope I have been able to explain these well.

Remember, you can always call us at US (516-874-4777) / PHILIPPINES (0063-46-416-2483) if you want any information.  Have a great day and keep your websites safe!

mj

mj sign

MJ

Projects Manager

rk

RedKite Internet Marketing and Web Designs

2nd Floor Veluz Bldg. 1, Aguinaldo Highway,

Dasmarinas, Cavite, Philippines

0063-46-416-2483

A RedKite User-Designed Website

Is there a formula to making websites?.. In my opinion, there is a production back-line like in every other industry, but thats it!.. there are ways to manufacture Ideas, but the most important and hardest part, starts with Imagination .

There is more what happens in the ‘behind-the-scenes” at RedKite Internet Marketing and Web Designs Philippines.  I want to share why I know RedKite Websites are artistic, scalable and most of all,  “User-Designed”  – A phrase I am working on, since we make websites, as we see how the end-users, would use them.

Any Successful Website Starts With Imagination

I like to make websites using plain “child-like” imagination. I imagine going through a website from two points of view i.e.

  • I think of how the website experience would be from the homepage going forwards and back.
  • I think of how this website experience would be from other landing pages (this is important especially for SEO since most visitors drop into a landing page other than the homepage. They maybe category pages or they may just be smaller blog pages or sub-service pages.)

After I get the feel of the navigation, I look for conversion points. Conversion points are those smaller pieces of content that drives a visitor to opt-in or to engage them to inquire about a product/service.  These pieces of content are generally customer reviews, testimonials and results.

Then, I think of how I am going to successfully get them to contact us, what information they need to supply us and how I will sort them into the database for future emailing.

At this point I am pretty sure of how people will use the website, I usually then proceed to thinking of an interface that can make sense of how quickly one can get to the most important data quickly. I want the experience to be engaging, impressive and most of all, intuitive.

After that, I am off to social media. I want to present us well in our social media. I want the social media accounts to be active with relevant social information. I want to see how I can get them to understand the purpose of what the site is all about, the people, the achievements.

From The Mind to The Wireframe

It is now time to turn this dream of a website and put it into a visible blueprint. This is the point where the Sitemap and wireframes of the site is then produced.  The sitemap and the blueprint, allows me to communicate the vision of the website into smaller chapters.  It also allows for the SEO team to see any glitches in the structure of the website and if it will make sense for Search Engines to correctly index and categorize the website.

The Wireframe To Photoshop

The Wireframe is then brought to life using Photoshop. This is the mock up process where the actual look of the site is developed. From menu bars, columns, text position and buttons, laying out a website visually is the most interesting phase of the entire designing process. At this point, the website is still hypothetical, a digital representation of a website, but still this needs to be sliced into something the internet and browsers can read.

Photoshop To HTML/CSS/PHP

The layouts are then sent over to the web team. They find ways on how to cut, slice and code the visual representation into something that computers and browsers can read and interpret using web code.

Code Back To Graphics

Once the site is coded, graphics check for accuracy of the Code. There should be no difference, “A” should be equal to “B”. The fonts, colors and images should match the photoshop design. If it is identical, it is sent backwards to SEO and Sitemap for a final check on SEO health.

Approval Of The Website

Is the website congruent with the vision? Is this website that was imagined, now existing in reality? Is it as close as possible to the concept?

If it is, it is good for a RedKite launch!

Remember, We Want You to Outsource Your Web Designs To Us, For a Reason (not just because its cheaper), but we don’t what you to take our word for it, we want you to call USA (516-874-4777) or Philippines ( 0063-46-416-2483),( 0063-928-980-9277),  and we want you to have a serious business discussion with us. We want to tell you why RedKite Web Designs can make a difference in your business.