Split-Second Websites: How to Make a Great First Impression

For real estate professionals, having a great website is more important than ever: according to a recent study conducted by Google, visitors form an opinion of a website in as little as 50 milliseconds. With so many choices at their fingertips consumers are looking for real estate websites that immediately resonate with their needs and expectations. Here are some tips for building a real estate website that makes a strong first impression.

Start with a great website template

If your website is living in the past, you’ll have a hard time convincing visitors to stick around and learn more about your business. Above all else, make sure to invest in a modern, intuitive website design or template that’s mobile friendly and easy to personalize with your own branding and content.

Looking to redesign your site? Placester’s new and improved NAR Edition websites feature our all-new Highland website template, available exclusively for REALTORS®. With cutting-edge design, beautiful images and professional content, Placester’s NAR Edition websites help REALTORS® showcase their brand, at no cost.

Optimize your homepage images

High-quality images are the backbone of any great real estate website. As smartphone and computer manufacturers race to pack the most pixels into their device screens, it’s crucial that your website images look great. If the images on your homepage are grainy, fuzzy or overly generic, visitors may come away with a negative impression of your brand.

Nevertheless, bigger isn’t always better. The larger your image files, the longer your site may take to load. Nearly half of consumers expect a web page to load in two seconds or less, and 40 percent of people say they’ll abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load. To make matters worse, a slow site can also harm your search rankings.

The proper resolution for images on your site depends heavily on your overall site design and image placement. Visit Placester’s academy for tips on how to compress and optimize images for your site.

Add a strong tagline

Depending on your website’s layout or template, you may have an opportunity to provide a short tagline that sits front and center on their homepage. An effective tagline can quickly sum up your brand and show visitors that you have exactly what they need.

To see a great tagline in action, look no further than Maurice Montoya of San Luis Obispo, CA, whose site tagline reads: “San Luis Obispo County Golf Home Specialist.” In just seven words, Maurice communicates his location and unique expertise to assure visitors that they’ve come to the right place.

Tell a story with your logo

Similar to your tagline, your company logo is a shorthand for your brand and should be displayed prominently on your homepage. A mediocre logo can give visitors second thoughts about your professionalism and expertise, causing them to look elsewhere for a real estate professional.

However you choose to design your logo, make sure it’s easy to read and simple enough that a visitor could draw it from memory without much trouble. If possible, try to use colors and elements that tell a story about your strengths or specialties. For instance, REALTOR® Katie Clancy of Cape Cod, MA incorporates an Adirondack chair over a blue background to evoke the oceanfront homes that her team specializes in.

Need help refreshing your logo, or creating a new one? Visit Placester’s Academy to learn about free and low-cost resources for designing a real estate logo.

Choose the right domain

Your website’s content and appearance aren’t the only factors in making a great first impression—in fact, a consumer may form an opinion of your site before they even visit, just by looking at your URL. For instance, if you’re using a lesser-known top-level domain (e.g. examplerealty.biz) or a subdomain (e.g. examplerealty.kw.com), consumers may perceive you as less professional and more generic than your competitors.

Instead, invest in a personal URL that’s easy to remember, descriptive of your business, and unique to your brand. If possible, incorporate industry or geographic terms, like San Francisco’s Mary Ann Cadorna (www.sanfranmaryann.com). Finally, try to secure a .com domain—or, better yet, claim your .REALTOR domain and show visitors that you meet the NAR’s professional standards.

Interested in creating a website that makes a great first impression? Sign up for our new Highland website template and customize the colors, images and pages to match your brand.

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