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2009-03-20 22:43:47

Real Estate Website Gadgets – There Is More To It Than You Think


When you’re developing a real estate website plan, there are a great many things to consider. From a very broad perspective, there are two major areas of concern:
Site Look and Design – This is important, but don’t place your planning emphasis in the wrong areas. You want a pleasing site, with colors and presentation that invites the visitor to stay a while. If you’re working with a site design or theme vendor, they have probably researched visitor behavior, and their template and design choices likely are structured with this in mind.
A major area of design is the navigation structure. Well designed real estate websites make it easy for the visitor to get around, and to locate specific information they need. Part of this is your responsibility, though. Naming of links and buttons to clearly indicate where they will take the visitor is critical.
Content and Marketing Focus – You simply cannot short-change planning in this area. What are you trying to accomplish with your site? Most of our clients tell us that they want their real estate website to actually bring them qualified leads and business that becomes commissions. With that as the mandatory goal, you’ll want to provide content on the site that is in demand by the real estate consumer, whether a buyer or a seller.
What do your customers want? Consider what they ask you about as your first hint. All of the questions you answer on a regular basis become your web page content topics. Statistics, information about the area’s businesses, shopping, cultural activities, education and employment are all the subject of search engine queries.
Taking these ideas into account, you’ll want to provide a lot of content that answers questions about real estate and your area. But, what else can you do to provide value to a site visitor that will make your site more “sticky?” You want them to “stick around.” Widgets, or gadgets, are useful tools to provide added value and services to your visitors. 
Think a bit about what a real estate site visitor is searching for on your website. Of course, they want to look at listings, but what goes along with that desire? Once they locate a few homes that are appealing to them, what else might they want to know?
The Calculator Widgets – Whether first-time homebuyers, or they’ve been around the block a few times, nobody has payment tables in their brain. There are a number of calculator widgets of value to your site visitors. There is the payment calculator, where they can enter the sale price, mortgage interest rate, and expected down payment, getting the amount of the monthly payment returned to them.
There are widgets for loan qualification, determining the visitor’s purchase ability based on their income and expenses. There are loan amortization gadgets to show them how their payments are broken out to interest and principal over time. All of these calculators are not of value to every visitor, but one or more of them will be useful to many of your site visitors. They will appreciate their availability on your site, plus they’ll stay longer.
Featured Properties – Let’s forget for a moment the thrill of getting a buyer for one of your listings, with a chance to handle both sides of the deal. A featured property widget allows you to display your listings prominently on your home page or elsewhere, with images and basic information to prompt a click for more info. The real value here is to show a prospective listing client how you’ll prominently display and showcase their home. It’s one more nail in the lid of the listing presentation box.
Weather and News – You want to present yourself as the local real estate expert, but you also want to bring your visitors other real estate news, even from a national perspective. Again, everything they can find pertaining to real estate on your site is one more reason to stick around a while. For those who don’t already reside locally, a weather widget is usually appreciated. If they are relocating from far away, they may return to your site regularly to see how the climate is in your area.
Language Translation – The Internet allows your site to be viewed by prospects world-wide. Don’t assume that they all speak English.  A language translation gadget will allow a European site visitor to read your site in their own language. They will appreciate it, and likely continue to visit your site until they make a decision to do business.
There are other widgets and gadgets, with more being made available on a regular basis. Always evaluate them in relation to their value to your site visitors, as your screen real estate is every bit as valuable as your area’s real estate.
Peyman Aleagha is the founder and President of . RealtySoft provides Realtors with Real Estate Web Design Real Estate Print Marketing and Free IDX solutions. Find out more about RealtySoft by visiting   

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