Regardless of what industry you work in or the type of business you run, one of the most important marketing decisions you’ll ever make involves the development and customization of your website. This is particularly true if you’re in a crowded sector like real estate. The competition is fierce and one good or bad decision can impact your brand. And while it may seem like a small or superficial detail, the selection of your site’s theme is critical to success. Let’s walk you through some of the things to consider when choosing a theme.
Consider Your Site’s Goal
The first thing to consider is your website’s goal. Are you trying to sell luxury listings , or is your aim to market rental properties? In these situations, the two outcomes are completely different. As such, it wouldn’t be smart to use the same theme.
If you’re targeting renters or first-time homebuyers, you may not need all the bells, whistles, and features of progressive websites. It’s possible that a simple, streamlined theme will do the trick. However, if your target market is experienced buyers who are looking to upgrade to luxury homes with all the top features and amenities available, it would be wise to show these buyers that you understand their needs by offering a premium website with unique touches. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach, but make sure you’re sensitive to your market’s needs.
Think About Site Speed
While premium themes are great, they also tend to be heavier than their free, lightweight counterparts. If you’re a first time website builder, this may not sound like an issue. Trust us, though, it is! Feature heavy themes will frustrate users and ultimately compromise your conversion rates.
If you want to check out the speed of a theme before downloading or purchasing, use the Pingdom Website Speed Test. This awesome resource will actually let you plug in the URL of a theme’s demo to test the speed.
There’s a big difference between mobile websites and responsive websites. A mobile website is essentially a separate version of your desktop website that’s specifically built for smaller screens. In other words, you have your desktop website and your mobile website; they have two different URLs. Typically they’ll look like: www.mywebsite.com and www.m.mywebsite.com.
With a responsive website, there’s no need for two distinct sites. These websites automatically reformat to the device. So, the URL is the same regardless of whether you’re using an iPhone, desktop computer, or tablet.
In the real estate industry, it’s important to carefully consider website responsiveness. A lot of your internet traffic takes place on mobile devices, and you don’t want to lose out on business because your site isn’t properly optimized.
Selecting a Theme
There are plenty of other things to think about – including which CMS system you’re using – but the three topics above are elements that many real estate professionals forget about until it’s too late. If you’re looking for some free real estate themes, check out these templates.
As always, remember that your selection of a website theme doesn’t have to be a long term commitment. If you find something better in the future, you can always rebrand your site and switch over. However, you also don’t want to continuously cycle through different themes. The more consistency you can provide for your customers, the better your results will be. What theme will you choose?