By Jaime Westman

Image is everything. Or so it’s been said. Your appearance during client meetings is obviously important, but have you given much thought to how your website looks? It’s pretty important as well because a sharp, clearly defined, informative and easy to utilize online presence can get you noticed and contacts. Whether you’re able to set a site up a site yourself or have an expert do it for you, there are a few basic things to keep in mind, with content, design, search boxes, market updates, contact information and a little personality at the top of the list.

Content

Think about your homepage as the beginning of a book. If it’s not engaging, the reader isn’t going to delve into it much further. You’re trying to captivate visitors by telling them that you’re the right agent for the job. But don’t be too cute or include too much inside jargon. Being accurate and coming across as approachable works best. Explain each aspect of your job and tout your community’s best assets. You should also make it a goal to guide visitors through a potential transaction by using current market information.

Design

Your site should reflect your style and personality and include your company logo and some civic or professional awards you might have received. Be consistent in your fonts and typefaces because people of all ages might be visiting the site. Avoid trying to be too fancy at the expense of not being able to read the words. Also, there should be a flow between pages to make looking at information and listings a seamless process.

Search box

Information overload and clutter are rapidly becoming problems these days. If someone is on your site and wants to “search for homes,” allow them to do that easily and quickly by placing your content directly below that option. A search form should be easy to spot and immediately accessible, and the listings should be clearly displayed. If you decide to have links to listings, make sure they’re prominently displayed as well.

Market updates

There’s nothing worse than going on a site and seeing outdated information. Buying a house is a big decision for a potential client, and visitors to your site want to know if you’re the right person to help them achieve that dream. Providing new and relevant market listings and snapshots will help in this regard. Use all of the resources available to you as a Realtor, including MLS reports for your area.

Contact information

Your smiling face is nice, but it’s not going to get you any leads on its own. Make sure all of your contact information stands out on the page. This includes your office address, phone numbers, e-mail address and links to your blog and social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. By telling people more about you, the trust and comfort factors likely will increase.

Personality

As stated, being accurate is crucial, but that doesn’t mean you have to supply facts like a textbook. Give visitors fresh and interesting content about a certain listing or neighborhood. Let them know why this particular house or area of town would be perfect for their situation. And even though we live in a texting world, make sure you’re content is grammatically correct and that the words are spelled correctly. Add testimonials from satisfied clients if possible, and set up a question-and-answer or FAQ section to show them how helpful you can be.

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