Brokers and agents might be interested to know there are several ways to make writing property descriptions easier…and more effective.
Everyone knows writing is tough. And every type of writing has it challenges.
Just ask Ernest Hemingway who made writing look easy.
He is famous for saying, “There is nothing to writing. All you need to do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
We’re sure the same applies to creating property descriptions. We know many times agents are faced with trying to come up with flowery and exciting text for that 3/2 town-home in a community where they previously sold four 3/2 town-homes and now they have to make this one sound different.
So first of all, our hats are off to all those real estate pros who wear many hats, one of them being those days when they need to switch from being Phil Dunphy* to a William Shakespeare. (*The dad in the TV show “Modern Family).
There are plenty of articles out there on how to make those property descriptions stand out.
Well-known tips for property descriptions
Here are a few tips most people know:
- Specificity: If the seller just underwent an extensive renovation of the kitchen, describe as many attributes in detail as you can. Bigger counter space. Big gas oven. Marble counter tops.
In the book Freakonomics, the writers mentioned these were five power words that were common in property descriptions – “granite, marble, state-of-the-art, gourmet and Corian.” We’re sure there are plenty of other power words out there.
- Brand Recognition: if the seller added something fancy, such as a Wolf oven, be sure to point out this is a “Wolf oven.”
- Emotional Words: This part can be tough when describing that 3/2 townhome just like the one you sold last month. But go to Thesarus.com or WordHippo.com and see if you can find some new, exciting words that might evoke some feelings in the reader.
That might be tidy closet space with extra shelving; spacious and brightly-lit living rooms; a yard where a dog can run, kids can throw a ball and mom can relax on a lounge chair on a deck overlooking it all.
- Custom Stuff: Sure a 4/3 is similar to the other 4/3s on the same block. But chances are there is something unique about that property.
Maybe custom closet space or a custom made tiki bar in the backyard.
People like different. Humans are wired to look for new. Dig it up. Promote even the smallest upgrade. (This writer once lived in an apartment that had a built-in ironing board in the closet. When you are a 20-something who has to iron their own shirts, a built-in ironing board is one of the coolest things ever).
- Borrow from the Web: if you think great writers don’t borrow ideas from other sources, you are in for a big surprise. Because they do. So should you. The beauty of the internet is that if you are selling homes in Annapolis, you can go view homes listings in Los Angeles. That will definitely help you brainstorm new and invigorating phrases.
- Be Chunky: Web readers are different than book and magazine readers. They read fast. Real fast. They also don’t read long paragraphs. They prefer to get their information in “chunks.” Avoid long text. Use lots of paragraphs. When possible, use bullet points or numbered lists.
Tech tools to optimize writing
Here’s the tech part.
- Average Session Duration: Another big advantage of the Internet as opposed to old school mediums such as newspapers is that you can track everything.
The perfect place to track how well your pages are performing is to use Google Analytics, a free tool from Google that measures the number of visitors, pages they visited, where they came from and a myriad of other factors.
For property listings, one of the most critical factors you could check is Average Session Duration or what is also referred to is “Time on Page.”
This feature tracks how long a person spends on each page.
Say for example, you write a property description for a 4-bedroom ranch.
You post the description on your website.
You promote the new listing.
After a few days, go to Google Analytics and check the Average Duration statistics.
To establish a baseline, first check out how your other pages have performed. If it appears that the average person spends 3 minutes on your listing pages, then that’s a indicator. (Obviously, these times are going to vary greatly depending on the property, price and location. But still you will see a pattern).
Now, after promoting your new listing, check out the Average Duration times.
If it’s very low, just a few seconds, then one issue could be your property description. Maybe it’s a dud.
The verbiage is not grabbing anybody’s attention. Maybe the description is too short and does not contain enough attributes.
Then, there’s always the main photograph. As we discussed before, that initial home photo is so important in some cases you could almost forget the text.
If that photo is not powerful, you are already starting from behind. Same goes for other photos as well.
In this day and age of smartphones with high-resolution, there’s no excuse for not showing a ton of images. Consumers expect that.
As we all know, you only have about 3 seconds to catch the attention of most web visitors.
So, that initial photograph has really got to pop. So do the first couple sentences of that product description.
- WordPress Real Estate Website Design: Now, many brokers and agents are not going to want to hear this and many already know this.
But it’s worth mentioning because there is a tech twist.
The secret to effective writing is rewriting. Nobody, not even the greatest writers such as Hemingway, get it right on the first draft. That’s nearly impossible.
Secondly, after you publish that description and you see it online, that’s when all those other ideas start flooding in. But give yourself a day or two. Then look again to have a truly objective view of your writing and where improvements can be made.
That last phrase is critical. How easy is it for you to make improvements? Is it a big deal to go into your website and revise the text? Or the images?
If it is, consider switching to a WordPress Real Estate Website Design.
Because this is what you need to know about WordPress – this platform was designed specifically to make it easy for people to write. It was originally built for bloggers.
The concept behind the software was to make it super easy for a person to create a web page and starting putting their thoughts into electrons online.
It’s like the invention of electronic paper for the common man.
With a WordPress Real Estate Website Design, an agent can jump right in and revise their property descriptions. Instantly.
They can easily add more photos. Or delete crummy photos.
Then there’s the Search Engines.
The developers of WordPress not only built this content management platform to make it a breeze to write an online blog. They also made it super easy to maximize the site so it can be found easier by Google, Bing and other search engines.
There are simple fields where people can enter keywords.
- Plug-ins: There are also WordPress plug-ins such as Yoast that tell you how well you are maximizing that page for your target keywords.
Yoast will let you know if you have enough keywords, or too many. It will also give you other hints to optimize that page for search engines.
The plug-in actually reviews your writing and gives you a Flesch score rating. That rating indicates the “readability” of your text based on factors such as sentence-length. Most people don’t read on the 12th grade level. They read on a fourth or fifth grade level. This is particularly true for web readers who read fast.
After spending all that time struggling over the wording for your property descriptions, you certainly want it to be “readable” by most of the general public.
So, if you are promoting a property in Hidden Harbor, WordPress and Yoast will help you build a page that is easy for Google and Bing to determine is relevant to that neighborhood.
That in turn, will help make sure your property listing is not hidden way back when people search online for properties there.
Because WordPress is an “open” platform, there are tens of thousands of plug-ins available out there to help you make your property pages more powerful. That includes plug-ins for hyper-local market data or home valuation widgets just like the large portals use to attract leads.
Because of all these factors, a WordPress Real Estate Website Design is incredibly effective. That’s why this one company commands 30% market share of ALL websites in the World.
Certainly worth looking into, right?
- Grammar Helpers: There are also many programs online that can be integrated into your computer to help with spelling checking and grammar. Grammarly is one of them. They have a free version you can use for initial review and some minor tips. They have a paid version for in-depth reviews.
If you struggle with writing, you might want to sign up for this program (or other like it such as Ginger).
Jetpack is a writing program that’s available as a WordPress plug-in. (See how we told you there are thousands of these helpful tools built specifically for WordPress websites?)
Real estate is not an simple business. And wordsmithing is certainly not easy either.
As F. Scott Fitzgerald once said, “All good writing is swimming underwater and holding your breath.”
Sure, writing a book is hard. But few people ever get published or earn money doing it.
Conversely, if you think about it – writing a winning description for a $1.5 million home that results in a sale will pay a lot more than most published authors make from a book.
Property description are very, very important.
Luckily, in this day and age, there are tools out there that can help agents stay afloat through the process.
When it comes to content management, consider a WordPress Real Estate Website Design to make it effortless to revise text and images, to incorporate many of those plug-in features and add extra SEO impact to your pages.
If you want to learn more about WordPress Real Estate Website Design, Real Estate Plug-ins or Analytics, feel free to call the experts at Home Junction.