It's been almost 30 years since the internet (WWW) became public and since then every keen marketer has been looking for the holy grail … website leads! Nothing beats the dopamine hit you get when someone out there wants to know more about what you are selling.
When your world is dominated by, where your next listing is coming from, knowing your website is a lead generating machine is a great peace of mind. But more often than not we hear from agents who are saying “I don't know where my leads come from”... Or even worse “I’m not getting any leads”.
So we’ve jumped in to create this quick checklist to help you work out if your site is a lead machine for the holy grail - a potential listing, or just a digital shopfront - it shows you’ve got some listings and getting buyers into their cars to look.
When we think about website challenges that can hold you back there are really two key areas where websites miss the mark.
- No-one knows the website exists.
- If they do find it .. the website isn’t sticking it’s hand up to say “talk to me”.
Let's start with this first section.
Is your website getting found? (And to be honest this whole section is about knowing how to please the Google-God.)
1. Do you have a local listing? (Google my Business)
Google loves it when you love Google..all of Google. This does include Google My Business, and YouTube. Unless you are an up and coming digital real estate agency you’ll have an office with a physical location. Setting up your GMB account will mean that Google links you to that location on their maps - AND helps you to appear on search results like “Real Estate Agents in Newcastle”
Want to know more about Google my Business check it out here
2. Does your website help Google find you?
The whole world of SEO (Search Engine Optmisation) is pretty full on, and as a business person and not a digital marketing legend, there are probably only a few things you need to be doing here.
Check out the top must-haves:
- Does your website have a dedicated url?
- Is it hosted on its own IP address?
- Is all your content indexed properly?
- Do you have a sitemap?
- Do your pages have titles that match what your website visitors would be looking for?
- Do you have a 404 page? (Just in-case something goes wrong)
So you’ve probably looked at this list and gone, “What language are you talking in?” We get it - and we know there is more to it than can be discussed in 1 paragraph. If you want to know the answers to these questions - you can speak to our Siteloft team (a Rex product) they can run a quick of audit of your site and let you know if its 👍🏻 or 👎🏻.
3. Are your ads linked to your site?
While we’d love to live in a world where we can all be found on the first page of a Google search (this is called Organic Search), generally we need to put some time or money on the table to get noticed.
Social ads on Facebook or Instagram, display ads (images) on the Google Display Network or search ads (the words only ones through Google Ads) are all drivers of paid traffic. Using paid campaigns is the way to jump ahead of the competition - especially if you have a website that’s killing organic search, or a brand name that everyone searches. (When you actually type in “INSERT BRAND NAME homes for sale” that’s a branded search)
Your ads (sometimes called Pay-per-click or PPC) need to be linked to your website .. and you need to understand how to track or measure the traffic that comes from them.
You want everything coming back to you, and only you.
4. Does your website deliver what your ads are promising?
This reason is another one centered in the Google world. In the good old days we could advertise something (like socks - because everyone needs socks) and get the clicks or traffic to come to your site. But now the game is around ad-relevance. The higher the amount of relevant content on your web page (that matches what you are saying in your ads) the more traffic you will get.
So that's the first part done! Getting visitors to your site. No visitors = no leads. So let's move on and assume that you’ve nailed the first part of the checklist. Let’s start to look at the actual site, and how it is performing.
5. Is your website loading quickly enough?
If you’ve been reading anything about website conversion ... the most talked about topic (especially by website developers) is ‘Load Time”. In our digital first world, attention spans of consumers are less than a minute … in fact it’s under 3 seconds.
When a site takes too long to load (10 seconds on desktop, 3 seconds on mobile), visitors tend to hit the back button, and move off your website and onto the next. This has two impacts - first you lose a potential lead, but under the hood you’ll also see this increases the bounce rate which hurts Google's view for your site (and therefore your search rankings).
“53 percent of mobile site visitors leave a web page that takes longer than three seconds to load.”
6. Does your site display nicely on a mobile device?
Mobile devices (excluding tablets) generated 51.53% percent of global website traffic. (Q2 2020, Statistica)
You know how this works, because you will have experienced this yourself… you have your phone out, you look up a site and it just doesn’t work right - the navigation is broken, the copy is tiny and the images are all in the wrong place. What’s the first thing you do… you leave the page.
Since the introduction of the iPhone back in January 2007, the talk amongst website designers and developers was about the need for “mobile responsive” - this meant that the components on a webpage need to be reorganised in a way that makes sense on a phone (or a tablet). If sense can’t be made then often the content can be hidden.
These days the talk is more about websites being designed for mobiles first and then expanding that content for desktop.
A quick and dirty test has been put up by Google here but our advice - simply bring up your site on your phone.Try and do what your homeowners and buyers would be doing. Does it work?
7. Old and outdated design
You know if this applies to you ... so we won’t spend too long here. Just like our taste for interior decoration or colours varies overtime - so does the design aesthetics we like to see on real estate sites. It might be hard to stay ahead of the trend - but you definitely want to be surfing the current design wave.
This means you need to see your website as an asset with a used-by-date. And be ready to allocate the resources to updating the design every 3-5 years. Right now the worst thing about your site looking like it should stay circa 2008, is that visitors arrive… and then go .. and it’s going to be really hard to get them back.
Design is a subjective thing and is most importantly a foundation of your brand. But implementing great design sits on scale where cost needs to be balanced against impact. A custom site from a cool digital agency works for some offices, but not for everyone. Siteloft sites provide a solid happy medium between bespoke and an off the shelf builder like Wix or Square space. Get in touch with the Siteloft team if you want to find out more.
8. Is your content organised in the way your visitors think?
This one is pretty basic … stick to knowing what people are coming to you site for, and make it easy for them to find it. When someone can't find what they are looking for, they’ll get frustrated and leave … there goes another potential lead.
As humans we are easily distracted, our eyes are constantly scanning the environment looking for something cool, and avoiding anything that is too hard. If you have pages grouped illogically, if the navigation is too tricky, or if you make people jump through unnecessary ‘click’ hoops - your chance of getting that vital conversion plummets.
9. Are your forms too long? Asking too many questions?
You need someone to follow up with but you don’t need their life story. We know it's tempting, you’ve got a form, lets just add another couple of questions to help ‘win’ this opportunity.
Our advice - don't do it! If you really want more, look at sending a follow-up email with an extra question or two. But don’t risk losing the lead because you asked something that will A) - slow then down B) - make them wonder why you are asking, and C) - make them question their privacy and data. It’s not worth losing the lead.
10. Is your contact information front and centre on every page?
Your website is your best sales person - it’s working 24/7 and you can choose what is said, but not everyone wants to wait for a callback. It's about removing all the barriers - if someone is even thinking about calling you for a split second - make sure they can find your details.
If your contact details aren't on every SINGLE page you could be losing leads simply due to frustration from trying to find your number. (And in this instance we have assumed that you do have an online form that is accessible from every page)
It also directly impacts your customers' experience. Vendors and buyers must be able to quickly find your contact details when they are out and about and go to your site.
11. Does your site give too many things for visitors to do?
We call them calls-to-action - often found in a button form, these are the quick punchy statements where you are asking the visitor to do something. “Enquire” “Find out more” “Ask me” the options are endless - the point is don’t make the list endless. Unfortunately it's not as easy as selling a product online with the obvious “Buy Now” button. Pick what works for you and stick to it!
If your site has too many competing demands, chances are your website visitor will ignore them or worse leave … bye bye lead!
12. Do the words you use sound like the way you talk?
This is the last one we’ll cover here - but often the most overlooked. Today’s website visitors are looking to find an agent that they can relate to. How your copy reads (i.e. how it sounds in their heads when they read it) makes a lasting impression.
Even in the B2B space, conversational language is much more effective than the traditional, verbose language that used-to-be associated with professionals. The trick we rely on is trying to read the copy out loud. If you do this, and record yourself, when you listen to the playback do you sound like a real (and authentic) human being or a robot?
While Google doesn't distinguish here between the two, remember the aim is to have visitors stay on your site longer, view more of your story and choose to engage with you.
Just having a website isn't the solution, in order for your website to be delivering leads, you’ll need to keep it fresh, relevant and engaging. If you’ve ticked more than 5 of the boxes above, or if you are frustrated that your web agency still hasn't made the changes you briefed them about 3 months ago, a Siteloft site might be the answer. Book a time to chat to one of our website specialists and see how your site performs in our basic audit - it might be the solution to your leads in 2021.