Developing a brand people can trust online is easy.
- Position yourself as the “go to” expert in your community by developing highly relevant, educational, and useful content.
- Develop relationships with your readers by following up with them and showing them that you’re there for them and that you care. Follow up with educational drip campaigns, listing email alerts, etc.
- Lastly, complement your content with a great professional-looking design.
Sounds simple, right? And yet, so many real estate websites miss the mark. Instead of building trust with their readers, they’re losing them. Due to poor design, poor content, or poor user experience.
Here are 12 reasons people don’t trust your real estate website and what you can do about it …
1. You have a poorly designed website.
Having a good professional looking design matters just as much as developing high quality content. Your design should complement your content.
2. Your website has a poor mobile user experience
Just like having a nicely design website is important, having a mobile-friendly website and IDX solution is just as important. Consumers are increasingly searching from homes on their mobile devices especially on weekends when they’re on the go and potentially looking at open houses. If you’re not provided a good mobile experience for them, you’ve lost them.
3. Your domain name is too long and “funky”
A domain name is an opportunity to make a good first impression. Gone are the days of ranking well for a keyword-rich (exact-match) domain. So instead of trying to rank with los-angeles-homes-for-sale(dot)com. Go with something that reads well, that sounds well, and that you can build a brand off of. Like my friend Irina did with PasadenaViews.com.
4. Your content is dull and boring
If you are good at your business (and I suspect that you are) then your content should never be dull and boring. Whenever you write an article about using gift-money as a form of down-payment, or you are explaining the escrow process, write the way you talk in person. Ditch all of the fancy real estate jargon and write instead as if you’re standing there with your reader having a casual, fun conversation about real estate. Let your voice reflect in your writing. It will allow readers to get to know, like, and trust you faster.
5. You’re using generic stock photography
I have nothing against using stock photography. I use on many of my posts. Then again, I’m not selling real estate. If I were an agent, I’d take every opportunity to take my own pictures and use my own photography in my posts. In my posts about the community. In my posts about that great local taco joint on 7th street. In my posts about that great new listing on Grand Street and how I helped the Johnson’s buy a new home. Ditch the fake images of happy-go-lucky homebuyers and provide an honest, authentic user experience of what it’s like to work with you as an agent. Again, this will allow readers to get to know, like, and trust you faster.
6. You’re using fake customer testimonials (and it’s obvious)
This is a tough one when you’re just getting started in the business. You don’t have any previous customers to get testimonials from. But instead of writing a hyped up and blatantly obvious fake testimonial it’s better to get an honest review from a colleague or a business partner (like a local lender) that can talk about the type of agent your are (analytical, diligent, hard-working, honest, caring).
7. You don’t have any trust signals or badges on your site
This includes things like the Fair Housing logo and your REALTOR® icon and prominently displaying your DRE number. To some consumers these things tell them you’re a real business and as a result, they can trust you.
8. Your website is too cluttered and busy
Have you ever gotten into someone’s car and it was overly cluttered and messy? How did it feel? A little “icky” right? Well, just as I’m sure you wouldn’t take potential home buyers out to look at homes in a messy car, don’t let them search for homes on a messy website. Clean up your navigation, your sidebars, and your content. Get rid of all of the “junk” and just stick with the essentials.
9. You haven’t published anything new in the last 7 months
If you’re not going to publish a blog post every day or every week, that’s fine. But you probably shouldn’t display your blog front and center on your homepage. Focus instead on creating some evergreen content and linking to that on the “Resources” page of your website. In real estate, the market is always changing (daily/weekly). If you’re blog is outdated it’s a red flag to the consumer that says “this agent doesn’t really know the market” or “are they even in business any more?”
10. You don’t have a phone number or any other contact information prominently displayed anywhere
I’ve done business with vendors that I’ve Google and found online. But only the ones who had contact information displayed and that I was able to call. Rarely do I ever submit a contact form unless it’s a brand name that I recognize and trust. I understand the desire to want to hide your phone number so that you don’t have to deal with vendor calls, but you know what? It’s part of the game. Deal with it. Better to display your phone number than to not display it at all and miss out on opportunities to connect with a consumer who’s ready to go out and look at a property.
11. You don’t have an “About Us” page
The “About Us” page on my website is one of the most visited pages on my site month after month. And to this day, it generates of steady stream of blog subscribers. Readers are going to want to learn more about you. They’re going to want to put a face to a name and get to know you. Having a well written about page is going to allow you to increase your know, like, and trust factor with them.
12. You don’t have any real customer reviews of you or your agents
If you run a brokerage highlight the work your agents are doing every day to service home buyers and sellers. I like how Thompson’s Realty does this with Review Our Agents. It’s a website that includes reviews from sources like Zillow, Trulia, Yelp and allows consumers to submit their own reviews right there on that very site. It’s one thing to say your agents are good at what they do. It’s more powerful when you share these stories and recommendations from your very own customers.
We can go on and on about why consumers don’t trust your real estate website. This covers some of the most obvious reasons I’ve come across …
How else can you build a more trust-worthy looking website to better connect with consumers?