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    The importance of maintaining, refreshing, and properly curating your website should not be underestimated. Your website is the central hub for your real estate business and it should be the place where all links lead.

    Consistently adding new and informative content is great (and essential), but if you don’t have a solid foundation with the basics in place you stand to lose business.

    Here’s a checklist of the basic features you need to have on your website in order to be successful:

    1. Professional photos and videos – These are the first images potential buyers or sellers will see when the come to your website. Photos should be sharp and clear, and the properties you’re promoting must always be up-to-date. Keep videos to about 15 seconds — 30 seconds max — and straight to the point.

    2. Eye-catching design and logical navigation – Work with an experienced graphic designer to keep your site fresh — what worked for you five years ago may be incredibly dated now. Choose a color scheme and logo placement and use it consistently online and in print to build your brand. Use a readable font, include a sitemap, and keep the navigation simple and intuitive.

    3. Mobile-friendly navigation – Responsive web design makes viewing your website on any a device a breeze. More people are relying on smartphones and tablets to conduct their house hunting and you’re going to lose them if they can’t see the whole page on their device.

    4. Optimized search bar – You want to get visitors on your site to go deeper than just your homepage, so make sure your website is searchable.

    5. About/contact information – Provide a brief bio along with a commitment to service or mission statement, as well as your full contact information.

    6. FAQs – Use frequently asked questions to explain your role in both buying and selling transactions, as well as general questions about the home buying experience. FAQs provide immediate information for potential customers and reflect your experience and expertise.

    7. Distinctive property descriptions – Pictures may be worth a thousand words, but a solid, well-thought out property description can make all difference. Don’t be afraid to tap into the viewer’s emotions. Also play up distinctive elements of the property — tell a story whenever possible.

    8. Effective call-to-action buttons – Don’t be ambiguous. If the viewer is providing email information to download your newsletter, make the call to action Download Now.

    9. Comprehensive neighborhood information – Schools, shopping, healthcare facilities, and other local amenities are important to customers house hunting in your community. These resources also make great referral partners. Try featuring a different business each week.

    10. Capture email addresses – Building your contact database is the most important way to reach new customers. Offer a newsletter, informative email campaigns, etc. to secure email information from new visitors to your site

    11. Free real estate resources – Connect with pertinent local and national resources to provide useful market information.

    12. Links to and from all social media platforms – While you always want to note a great new listing on your Twitter feed or Facebook timeline, don’t give out all the details. You want those followers to go to your site. You also want them to share what they find on your site, so be sure to have social media share buttons no more than a click away.

    13. Reliable hosting – A good hosting service provides speed, security, and site back-up — so don’t skimp.

    14. Testimonials – Shoppers value customer reviews. Give testimonials their own page or, better yet, incorporate them as a design element on each page or on your homepage as a revolving graphic.

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