To Create Web Appeal You Need Real Estate WordPress Themes

wordpress real estate websitesIn this internet age, real estate professionals should spend more time working on the web appeal of their listings instead of focusing on the actual curb appeal.

A professor from Old Dominion University discovered some interesting observations of consumers in a study titled “Toward An Understanding of Real Estate Home Buyer Internet Search Behavior.”

Prof. John Seiler study used a device called “ocular tracking technology” to find out what buyers looked at when they viewed a real estate page on the internet. He also cited the importance of “eye-tracking” in getting to the true behavior of subjects in the study, as opposed to conducting surveys or focus groups.

Bottom line: eyes don’t lie.

Seiler reported that the main photograph for a home listing, the curb appeal shot, was viewed TWO TIMES LONGER than any other photograph in the mix. Consumers spent on average, more than 20 seconds staring at that main photograph.

Their eyes wandered all over the photo, checking out every aspect of the property. It’s as if the subject tried to absorb as much information as they could while waiting for some sort of emotional lever to click to see if they liked the home.

Some people might scoff at 20 seconds. Think it’s not much time. But understand, on the web, if you get anybody to look at anything for more than 3 seconds, you’ve hit a digital home run.

An agent might think, well, I did work with the seller on making their home look nice and tidy.

But what about the photograph? Who shot the photograph? Did they get the right lighting? Did they pick the best angle? Is it composed properly? Does the photo “pop” on the page?

And then this is key, you can help a homeowner get their house ready as best as possible. You can shoot or arrange for spectacular photographs of the property.

But if your website is not maximized for displaying those photographs, then all that effort will be for naught.

Today’s home buyer looks for web appeal as much as for curb appeal. As we know, the majority of home searches start on a couch, not driving around in a car as once was the case.

Those listing photos on a website have to sing. They have to jump off the page. Grab someone’s attention.

Not only do web visitors spend time looking the main photo, but Prof. Seiler’s study shows more than 60% of their time was spent just looking at photos. Not the text.

Sorry to report this. But he said more than 41% of visitors in the study never bothered to read the agent’s comments.

Photos dominate.

Real estate WordPress themes provide more photo options

This begs the question. What sort of web platform as your using to display those photos?

Are you using an old and clunky internet website where the photos are small and don’t jump off the page and grab the visitor? Are you using a website theme designed specifically for real estate?

Are you using a web platform where you have to ask a developer to load your photographs for you?

If you can load the photographs yourself, does it take forever? Is it easy to add captions?

Can you maximize those photos for the search engines by adding target keywords? Is it easy to add a link from that photo to another page? Can the photograph be resized easily?

When was the last time you revised or upgraded your website? How do you go about giving your real estate website a fresh, exciting new look?

What’s the best answer to all those questions?

Real estate WordPress themes.

That’s the answer. This easy to use content management software is used by nearly 30% of website owners today and it continues to grow as people abandon outdated and awkward platforms. (The second leading web platform is used by only 6% of web owners).

display real estate photographs

Real estate WordPress themes are considered the best platform to optimize the display of homes for sale photographs.

User-friendly WordPress content management software is used by nearly 30% of website owners today and it continues to grow as people abandon outdated and awkward platforms. (The second leading web platform is used by only 6% of web owners).

The usage is so intense that there are reportedly 88,888 blogs posted every hour (which as you know, includes a bunch of images) and more than 2.13 million per day. How’s that for an endorsement?

WordPress was first designed by developers at Automattic to provide a simple platform for novice bloggers. It was also designed to be easily scanned by Google and Bing robots to determine relevance and rankings.

It became so popular, that eventually a full website version was created. Companies such as Home Junction now use this efficient software to build custom WordPress real estate websites for brokers and agents.

Sure, WordPress is incredible when it comes to adding textual content. There’s a simple box in the middle of the screen where you can type or paste text. There are WYSWIG commands so that a person can easily make the text “bold” or “italic” or even a different color.

It’s easy to insert a link. Add tags. Create sub-heads.

As you can imagine, WordPress applies the same simple controls to add images as well.

A broker or agent can easily insert a photograph into a blog or onto a page.

There are controls to resize the photograph, add a caption, add a link or add some tags.

What’s even better, is that WordPress is an open-source platform, which means developers have been busy for years created thousands of useful plugins for web owners.

There are dozens upon dozens of plugins for photographs. Use these plugins to create brilliant Photo Galleries. Or to make photographs leap off the screen.

A WordPress real estate website company such as Home Junction can help you build a website that enhances how your listing photos will appear on a page.

Web appeal is the new curb appeal. Get the best tool to display photographs out there.

Seriously consider switching to a WordPress real estate website, your buyers will spend more time there and your sellers will certainly be impressed.

 

 

 

 

 

How To Use Real Estate Data To Write A Blog When You Don’t Feel Like It

real estate data for blogsIt’s okay for real estate professionals who write a blog to admit sometimes it’s just a big pain and that’s when real estate data can come to the rescue.

Let’s face it. For busy brokers and agents who manage everything from open houses to newspaper ads to home stagings, finding the time and motivation to write can be difficult.

Of course, that’s putting it mildly. Writing a blog on certain days can be downright agonizing.

Follow these simple tips from pro bloggers

Don’t fret. Here are a few tips to help you get something down on a page even when you find it difficult to write.

  1. Write as though you are talking to a friend

First off, this is the blogosphere, not a Nobel prize contest. Don’t try to be Ernest Hemingway or JK Rowling.

In fact, don’t even think of your blog as any type of fine writing.

Think of it more as a conversation.

Pick a topic and then write about it as though you were telling a story to a friend.

Don’t worry about finding the perfect word, or the right descriptive sentence. Frankly, your readers don’t care.

They just want to get to the essence of what you are trying to say. So talk to them by writing the way you speak.

  1. Make just one or two points

People are busy. The attention-span for web users is beyond limited. Think in terms of seconds, not minutes.

Don’t try to write a dissertation on all aspects of real estate in modern-day America.

Just pick one or two key points. That’s all you will have time to present and all readers will want to know.

If you have multiple topics in mind, pick one or two and save the rest for the next blog. You will always need ideas for blogs. Just don’t use them all at once.

Real estate data will provide plenty of topics

  1. Use real estate data to add credibility to your blog

Here’s where real estate data can make your blogging life much easier.

By partnering with a reliable real estate data provider such as Home Junction, you will have access to a wealth of data about the communities in your marketplace.

Data on Recent Homes Sales, Sales Trends, Demographics, Crime Stats, Cost of Living Indices, etc.

Pick one and write about it.

Use the data you get from Home Junction to back up your commentary.

Point out how home prices in XYZ community are starting to rise. Or, let people know that homes are selling like hot cakes in ABC town over here.

Maybe there are some interesting demographics about a particular community. For example, you may notice that many people in the P&J subdivision have doctorates. Perhaps a bunch of professors from the local college are all flocking to one area.

Another item to point out are what types of homes are selling. Perhaps high-end homes are selling in one area as opposed to home sales in the county overall. Compare one community to another.

(By the way, you can point out how consumers can visit your website and use your Home Valuation Tool to see find their own estimate on the value of their home. This will give them tremendous insight into the status of properties surrounding that home and their particular marketplace. People love this functionality. Why not? It provides credible real estate data on the most expensive thing they own.)

  1. Show, don’t tell

Are the words still not coming to you? That’s fine. Add pictures.

Use screenshots of charts to provide images that elaborate on the real estate data you are discussing.

People love images. That’s why Instagram has a gazillion followers. Instead of trying to think of how you can add more paragraphs to the page, think of adding screenshots of different data charts.

Show the trend line for recent sales in one community. Or the direction of home prices in another community.

An image says a lot. And that’s a lot of words you don’t need to add in your blog.

real estate data charts

  1. Get the content on the page, then take a break

Here’s something that might surprise you – not even Ernest Hemingway could write a great page of text on the first try. In fact, he’s famous for admitting “First drafts are ____________.” (You fill in the blank).

Rather than squeeze your brain hoping for the right words to get out, just start typing something. Anything.

Eventually, things will start to flow.

After you write your first draft, go take a break. Do something else.

Then come back and edit what you’ve written. The second draft will be much better.

Rewrite again if necessary. Read the text out loud. Proofread what you’ve written one more time and you are probably ready to publish.

(If you use a WordPress real estate website, all of this writing, rewriting and posting images is much easier to do. With WordPress, you can also add plugins that will help you optimize that page for the search engines like Google and Bing. WordPress provides so much versatility for real estate professionals in this day and age that it really should be the platform of choice).

Bonus tip: Be passionate

This tip should really be number one but we made it last because we want it to be the icing on your content.

As a blogger, you don’t necessarily need to be a wordsmith. Especially if you are a broker or agent.

People don’t expect you to be a whiz with a keyboard. In fact, if your writing is too lofty or verbose with big fancy words, you will turn people off.

But what you can do to put zing into your prose is to be passionate. Show enthusiasm.

Get excited about a new subdivision opening up in your area.

Use a real estate map plugin to show where a new school is being added to the neighborhood.

Let your feelings jump up and down on the page (figuratively, of course).

For example, perhaps your local real estate data plugin indicates home prices in one particular neighborhood are finally starting to rise after years of being stagnant.

Maybe you know a bunch of homeowners who live there. You know they have been waiting anxiously for their properties to appreciate like other neighborhoods. Get psyched up. Be the provider of good news (positive real estate data). Act like a cheerleader for their properties.

As you can see writing a real estate blog does not have to be a big chore. Follow these tips.

Remember to:

  • Make your writing seem more like a conversation with a friend
  • Get the words down on paper, no matter if they don’t totally make sense or the writing is sloppy
  • Provide some images or screenshots
  • Show enthusiasm about properties, neighborhoods and recent data updates
  • Refer to that bank of hyper-local real estate data offered by providers such as Home Junction to make the whole endeavor a whole lot easier

 

The Great And Scary Benefits Of Using Real Estate Plugins

real estate pluginsIf you are a broker or agent and don’t use a WordPress website, you are basically missing out on real estate plugins and thousands of other cool features (many free) that you can provide to visitors.

And if you aren’t working with a seasoned developer for WordPress real estate websites, you might be adding some features that could put your site at risk.

Last count, there were 52,000 plugins available on WordPress. More than two hundred show up in a search for real estate plugins alone. (Many others that brokers might want to add, such as contact forms, can be found in the general selection).

Plugins are basically like the apps you download for your phone. They are tools to help with lead capture, navigation, search engine optimization, photo galleries and thousands of other uses. In fact, there is basically a plugin available right now for practically anything.

One of the incredible aspects of WordPress is that it is an open-source platform. Which means outside developers are encouraged to create these bits of software that can be integrated into the WordPress platform.

Remember, WordPress started as a way to provide a simple tool for bloggers. And it caught on big time. Now 41.7 million new posts are published every month on this platform.

This platform is so successful that it has become one of the leading content management systems in the world.

WordPress is like the iPhone of website software.

Smartphones and iPhones are incredible devices. You can carry a phone in your pocket, surf the web from a coffee shop and shoot pictures and videos better than most cameras on the market.

But when you consider the thousands of apps that are available for iPhones and smartphones, then those devices literally become phenomenal. A device you must own.

Real estate plugins come in all forms

Same thing with WordPress real estate plugins.

Many plugins are free. Some are very cheap. Others cost more but are worth every penny. Many times you can try a limited version and then upgrade to a paid plugin with more features.

The founders of Home Junction Inc. have been involved in the real estate website business for the past 20 years.

They developed several powerful plugins specifically for WordPress real estate websites (and they also build those websites for brokers and agents)

Their most powerful plugin is a real estate data API that basically gives brokers and agents a way to add a vast warehouse of current and accurate real estate data.

That real estate plugin allows a broker or agent to add super hyper-local information, right down to the neighborhood level.

For example, on the Butler & Butler real estate website, you can look at several communities with homes for sale.

When you navigate to one of those properties, there are tabs for Area Information, Schools, Recent Sales, etc.

real estate website plugins

Home Junction fills those tabs with information that is updated regularly.

Take Area Info for example.

Click on the tab and you will see charts for changes in home prices for the past several quarters in specific communities.

That’s not for the county. It’s not for the zip code. It’s for that particular community. A community that an agent might be farming.

You can’t get more hyper-local than that.

Home Junction also offers a geo-spatial, real estate plugin that allows brokers and agents to integrate maps into their website.

We’re not just talking about a link to a Google map.

We’re talking about real estate map technology that is integrated into a local MLS database. When a broker or agent pulls up a map on their website, they can show the location of homes for sale in that area.

Then it goes further. In addition, they can also show which amenities – such as schools, golf courses, restaurants, highways, etc., are in proximity to those properties. That tool alone can significantly boost the price and appeal of any home.

As savvy brokers and agents know, home buyers don’t just buy a home, they buy the neighborhood (and the schools).

These real estate plugins help buyers get a true understanding of not only the value of the home, but also the value of nearby amenities and a current snapshot of market conditions.

That’s persuasive info.

Plugin security is a major concern

Now, as we said there are tens of thousands of plugins available through WordPress.

If you don’t have a WordPress real estate website, you should seriously consider adding one because you will have access to all these incredible tools and features. You can add an incredible number of new tools without hiring a coder to create them for you, at a significant cost and time delay.

With WordPress, a broker or agent can easily add content, write a blog or upload photos. It’s literally child’s play. What a relief right?

Here’s the next important factor to consider regarding real estate plugins.

Just like anything on the world wide web, there are people out there with good intentions, and there are people out there with negative intentions. There’s another group which consists of people who are a little sloppy with their coding and create plugins with security holes in them.

Every broker and agent need to be wary of the second two groups.

Frankly, most brokers and agents don’t have the expertise nor the time to investigate every plugin. It’s a tough job. You could search through thousands of plugins, read the reviews, check out the number of users and even see when they were updated last.

In addition, many hackers have a hobby of trying to punch holes in internet security. It’s important to keep all plugins updated to prevent any types of attacks. Also, some plugins can slow down a site or cause the site to crash frequently.

That’s why working with a seasoned WordPress real estate website developer is a smart move.

Get with the times. Jump on the WordPress bandwagon. And when you work with a company like Home Junction, you won’t need to worry.

WordPress websites and real estate plugins are a powerful combination.  It’s a winning strategy for any broker or agent, as long as they choose the right partner to guide them.

WordPress Real Estate Websites Make It Easy To Build Referrals and Resources

wordpress real estate websitesWordPress real estate websites create several strategic advantages for brokers and agents because of their versatility, ease of use and speed.

That’s why WordPress is one of the most effective website platforms in the world and the most user-friendly for busy real estate professionals.

Let’s just give one example.

One web strategy that brokers and agents can use to build up a business is often overlooked. That strategy involves “outbound links” or basically links that you place on your website and in your blogs that link out to other websites.

Many people might think, “Why would I ever put a link on my website that would give people the opportunity to leave. Are you crazy?”

Don’t be afraid to link to other relevant websites

But that mindset is not how the internet community thinks.

There are three important reasons to consider outbound links from your real estate website.

  1. Recognition as a Valuable Resource: one of the great facets of the internet is its interconnectivity. In fact, the web was originally designed by the military as a way to connect various bases and government departments.

People can find your website on the web by searching on Google or clicking on directory listings, yellow pages, links from other sites, etc.

You can find just about anything in the world by visiting search engines or Wikipedia and following the link trails to find the answers you want.

Same goes for your website. People look to real estate professionals to basically know ALL the answers about a particular market or neighborhood. Those are BIG shoes to fill.

To show consumers that you are truly a valuable resource, it’s smart to provide valuable links on your website to important destinations – local schools, hospitals, chambers of commerce, city departments, etc.

Sure people might leave your website and go check out one of these locations. But chances are, they will shoot right back to your site once they see what’s offered.

The sites you should link to are not competitors, but helpful aides for consumers to find the answers they need.

Even if the web visitor does not return right away, you will have established in their minds that your real estate website is the go-to-place for local questions.

  1. Recognition by the Search Engines: as a segue from the resource factor listed above, adding outbound links has valuable implications for how you rank on search engines.

Google and Bing have hundreds of factors they use in their algorithms to determine the relevance and value of a website when they make their rankings.

One of those factors they consider is how valuable is the site as a resource for consumers. They calculate that value by how many outbound links the site provides to other relevant and useful websites.

In fact, an internet marketing company called Reboot conducted an extensive study on outgoing links and found: “Outgoing relevant links to authoritative sites are considered in the algorithms and do have a positive impact on rankings.”

(Note: Did you notice how we linked this blog to the Reboot page for reference?)

Now, who do you link to? Warning: not just anybody.

Educational sites such as schools or colleges that have a .edu in their web address are considered valuable. So are government websites that have a .gov in their URL.

You don’t need to worry too much about trying to figure out which sites would be considered valuable by Google and Bing. They already have that figured out.

The best strategy a broker or agent can do is just figure out the sites to link to that they know would be valuable to consumers looking to buy a home in that area. Google and Bing will do the rest.

The one thing you don’t want to do, is just put up a bunch of links for the sake of having links. Too many links to sites that Google and Bing don’t like can be harmful to a website’s rankings. Choose carefully and sparingly.

  1. Referrals and Goodwill: you can also use links to help you connect with other people who might be helpful to you for referrals or to spread the word about your brand.

For example, perhaps your town has a really cool museum. You decide to write a blog about that museum. You add an outbound link to the museum’s website.

Next time you visit the museum, perhaps you might mention to the director about the blog you wrote and the outbound link you provided

Any entity looking for publicity will love this and be truly appreciative. Perhaps one day, that museum director will refer you to a friend who just moved to town and needs a house. Perhaps one day that museum director will list their house with you.

Or, perhaps that museum director will be so thrilled that they will blast a note out on their Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest accounts about the article you wrote about the museum. That could be quite a few eyeballs seeing your brand name and visiting your website. All for free.

WordPress real estate websites are built for simplicity

WordPress makes it easy for the average person to add links. (Actually, it makes it easy to do a number of functions).

A broker or agent might think, “Oh boy, here’s yet ANOTHER task I have to do.” As if you already didn’t have a list a mile long.

Here’s the great thing about WordPress real estate websites.

Adding outbound links is easy. (“Easy” is another word for user-friendly and that’s a phrase you will see constantly associated when WordPress real estate websites are mentioned.).

Many of you probably already know how to link to another website.

All you need to do is go to the website that you want to link to and copy their web or url address in the browser’s address bar on the top of your screen. For a shortcut, just hit the Control button and the letter “C” on your keyboard.

Then open up a WordPress page. Type in some text in the content box.

Run your cursor over a word where you want to insert the outbound link.

Go to the menu at the top of the page. Look for the icon that shows what looks like a chain and click on it. (Similar to the one you use for hyperlinks on Microsoft Word pages).

A window will appear. Paste the url address into the window (hit the Control button and then the letter “P” on your keyboard.)

Bazinga, you are done. Hit the “Preview” button at the top of the page to check out how the text and link appear. When you are finished posting content, always click the outbound link to make sure it works.

With WordPress real estate websites you don’t need to be a coder. You don’t need to call up your webmaster to get him or her to add a link. You don’t need to know how to program HTML code or Java script. You don’t need to take a half hour to add one link.

With WordPress real estate websites, this function is fast. In fact, that’s the basic idea. All WordPress functions are built to be fast. And simple to do.

Sure we get it, how does a busy broker or agent find the time to add outbound links, photos, blogs, videos, etc?

Well, WordPress real estate websites, compared to other platforms, will give you the time and the tools to get it done, quickly.