When it comes to real estate WordPress themes there are many advantages. And then there are the minefields.
When the difference between a shoddy WordPress-based real estate site can mean the loss of buyers for million dollar homes or sellers for your target neighborhoods, you might want to invest the time to make the right choice.
Here are some of the do’s and don’ts when deciding on real estate WordPress themes:
First of all, be sure to find themes in the real estate niche. There is nothing clunkier or more time consuming (and will be more aggravating) than trying to adapt a cute general theme for an extensive real estate website.
Sure, there are a ton of visually stunning web themes out there. But those are great for showing off the afghan somebody knitted or the recipes somebody cooked up. As a real estate professional, you know there is quite a bit involved in the business of selling homes. Use a theme geared for that purpose.
Secondly, speaking of niches, it’s best to go with a developer who has experience and specializes in working with agents and brokers and knows their way around real estate WordPress themes.
You might know a very talented expert in WordPress who has created some stunning websites for local restaurants, furniture stores and insurance agents. But the real estate business is a complicated one and you need a web developer who knows the online pathways used by home buyers and sellers.
Third – how well does that so-called real estate WordPress web developer know your industry? Did they just decide one day a year ago to specialize in real estate WordPress themes because they figured, that’s where the money is, as opposed to say, working with dog groomers or plumbers?
Do they really know the real estate business? How many years do they have under their belt creating real estate WordPress themes and websites? How many websites have they created for brokers and agents? You certainly don’t want to be the first client they are going use to “learn the ropes.” Or even the second, third, fourth or fifth client.
Here’s why. There are a myriad of elements that go into creating an effective, efficient and secure website and choosing the right real estate WordPress themes has incredible implications associated with it.
Here are a few of those critical factors to look for when shopping for Real Estate WordPress Themes:
— Fast-loading. When home buyers or sellers are searching for real estate companies on the Internet (and as you know, that’s where 90% of them start), if it takes a few extra seconds for your website to load up on their screen, you might have lost them before they even had a chance to see who you are.
“Ah, this homepage is taking forever. I’m not waiting.” Poof. Gone. Could have been a buyer looking for a $1.8 million home on the golf course. Like the one you just listed yesterday.
— Cross-browser Capability. Sure, your website’s homepage loads nice and fast on Google Chrome. But what about Internet Explorer? Or Firefox? Or Safari? Are potential buyers vanishing into the webiverse because your real estate WordPress theme is not fully optimized on all browsers? That’s where an experienced WordPress developer shows their chops.
— Responsive. Speaking of browser capability, what about mobile sites? Mobile is huge. The younger the buyer or seller, the more mobile-oriented they will be. That includes tablets as well. It’s estimated 30% of web traffic is now mobile. Many people will search the web on their desktops or laptops during the day, but at night, when they are relaxing on their couches, they prefer their ipad, iphone or smartphone. You certainly don’t want to lose out on that huge segment of the market with real estate WordPress themes that are not mobile ready and responsive to all platforms.
— Social Media Capable. Another key factor that is critical for success with real estate WordPress themes is that they do a great job integrating social media functionality into every page as well. Are all the buttons to share and like on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Tumblr etc. all built into the themes and easy to find?
Sure, a web developer might add some links to social sites, but are they effective? Are they maximized? One person sharing a photo of a listing with a friend could be a huge influencing factor. Just imagine the power of a friend on Facebook telling a buyer, “Ohh. That’s a cute home. You should buy it.” That one comment could be the trigger that pushes a buyer over the edge.
— Updating. Sure, you might find real estate WordPress themes you like. One might be suitable for the time being. But guess what, the web is constantly evolving. Websites, browsers, and basically all things digital are constantly being updated for efficiency, functionality and security. What if your IT person chooses one of a dozen cute real estate WordPress themes from a company that never bothers to update that theme? You are going to be lost in the digital dust. All of your competitors will advance ahead of you.
— Security. This is a major issue and one that you don’t want keeping you up at night, especially when a seller notices they can’t see their million dollar listing because your site has been hacked. Go with a reliable WordPress real estate development company, not some fly-by-night company overseas that decided to make a fancy real estate WordPress themes on a whim.
— Custom Themes. Then you might get the website guy who tells you, “Hey I found a really cool theme for you. All I have to do is tweak it a little and we can adapt it for a real estate website.” WRONG! That project can turn into a major nightmare. The odds are 99 to 1 it will go way, way over schedule. You can’t have your site under construction when people are out there looking for million dollar homes. You need something virtually ready to out of the box.
Sure, you might want to do some minor custom work to an existing real estate WordPress theme. That’s why it’s smart to go with an experienced real estate website development company. They built the themes, they know how to customize them. Some, like Home Junction Inc., will have themes with customization built right into them.
Say you want different colors, different backgrounds, different photos. You sell homes in Tucson and you want a cool desert theme in the background. Or you sell golf course homes in Florida and you want a eye-catching fairway in the background. Find a company that can customize easily without breaking apart a theme and recoding it from scratch.
— Coding. When it comes to coding, most people don’t realize this, but not all coding is the same. Some web developers can use slopping coding to create a page that might look okay upon the first appearance. But when it comes to loading speed times or search engine optimization or adding content, that code could start to drag down the site or make it more likely to have broken links or 404 error pages.
Nobody wants to see a 404 error page just as they are checking out that $2 million waterfront home you posted on the site.
— Search Engine Optimization. As we said, poor coding in real estate WordPress themes will hamper a site. The Google, Yahoo and Bing robots might not be able to scan the site correctly. They might not be able to truly determine the relevance of the site. So, they might not post you on Page 1 when someone conducts a search for homes in your community. Ouch. That’s disastrous.
— Navigation. Finally, not only does Google need to get around the inner coding of your site, but a consumer needs to be able to travel about your site with ease. That’s why when choosing real estate WordPress themes, you want one with solid navigation. You don’t want to be testing different paths for a consumer to take, you want a theme that is already tested and proven in that area.
Mr. Home Buyer does not have all day to find what they want. They need to go from point A to point B with ease. They want to search for listings in XYZ neighborhood and they want your website to take them quickly.
Then they want to see relevant information about the neighborhood where that listing is located. They want to learn about the schools, recent home sales and demographics. Can they find it?
Perhaps they want more information. They want to be contacted by an agent or broker. Is the lead form handy for them to fill out? Is it offered to them in a handy, but not in-your-face manner?
As you can see, there are WordPress themes out there by the bucketful and then there are truly effective WordPress real estate themes you can probably count on one hand.
That theme has got to be just perfect. Or, those consumers are gone. Never to return. And these people are not looking at afghans or restaurant dishes, they are looking at four-bedroom, 3,000 sq. ft. properties.
That’s why it pays to adopt a real estate WordPress theme developed by experienced real estate web developers. Because every bit of code, every photo and every link in that theme is specifically geared to attract, impress and persuade those home buyers and sellers.
For more information about Home Junction Inc. and their array of specific real estate WordPress themes, go here.
Here’s a background link about how to pick a WordPress theme.