Things to consider before you agree to buy a new website
Over the past couple of months, I have been working on a brand new estate agent website for one of my clients in West London.
They had purchased a website about 4 years prior but felt it didn’t showcase their brand very well, it was a bit clunky and looked tired. It was also quite difficult to amend quickly, usually, they had to send amends off to the original developer and wait a few weeks, sometimes longer, for the changes to be implemented. There was a content management system to use for news or blogs, but it was not particularly user-friendly or particularly appealing to read once the articles were published.
So I was called in to speak to them about my services, along with a number of other website developers, and their previous chap too. I won the business based on a few different points, which I thought were worth sharing with you if you are planning a new site yourself.
- I was an estate agent for 30 years before I started building websites. Why is this important? Well, I know exactly how the journey works, for all property disciplines (sales, lettings, new homes, auctions) so I can guide the customer in the correct way. There is nothing worse than visiting a website and not having a clue where to find what you are looking for. It happens A LOT and estate agency websites have lots of entry points, in particular, properties, which can bring the customer onto your site without going via the home page or a natural entry page. Make sure people can stay on the site and mooch around because it is easy to navigate from their entry page to other ‘relevant’ pages.
- I work on many agency websites because I write blogs and manage social media campaigns, which often require me to create pages on a website, so I know how most other website work. I cannot stress to you how important the ‘back-end’ of a website is. I think most estate agents just consider how it looks on the glossy front pages, but, believe me, that is only the tip of the iceberg. With an ‘easy to manage’ website, you should be able to update that glossy exterior easily, keep it relevant to the Season or to any events you are involved in or showcase any amazing properties you have, without a trip back to the developer (or additional costs). It really should all be accessible from your desktop. My websites not only look amazing, but they work beautifully and are well-cogged machines behind the scenes.
- I am still heavily involved in the property industry, sitting on the exam board for ARLA Propertymark, and on the Board of Agents Giving, I am a Member of the NAEA and that means I can write your website content for you, if you so wish! This seems to be a part of the website process that most estate agents forget about. As most website developers are not in the industry, you will have to find the time to populate your site with the content you want, or at least send the writing and photos over to the developer to enter it into the framework for you. Not with JP Gardner & Associates, I can build the site and fill it with amazing content for you, so you just meet with me a few times, answer any queries I have as I go along, and VOILA the site is ready and perfect.
- I can also develop the site going forward, write your blogs weekly or monthly, populate your area guides, I can even travel to you and take photos or film videos for your site, keeping everything fresh, relevant and totally unique to you and your brand.
Do not think that a website is something you purchase off a shelf, plug-in and go. It is a work of art and takes time, patience and a lot of loving care to make it work. The site I have almost completed is for a one branch independent agency and it will launch with around 70-80 pages, all beautifully written, designed and laid out by yours truly. That’s a lot of work if you undertake it yourself, so be prepared and if you want something totally bespoke to your company, to your values and your branding, then choose your developer wisely.
If you have any questions or would like to discuss your own new website, contact me on 01923 627777.