The way you present your agency website to both buyers and sellers is just as important as the way you present a home to potential buyers.

At least that’s the belief of Mike McColl, Managing Director of New Zealand-based International Realty, who recently took out the award for Best Real Estate Website in New Zealand at the Asia Pacific Property Awards.

Mr McColl is an industry expert with more than 15 years’ experience with the three largest real estate companies in Auckland.

In the digital age, agents are generating more and more leads through various online sources and your company’s website is often the focal point. Prior to designing his site Mr McColl spent many months researching exactly what both buyers and sellers wanted in a website and went on to build an incredibly powerful marketing tool for his business.

Transparency and Convenience

Mr McColl believes that potential sellers need more information than what most agents currently provide. At the same time, buyers need convenience.

“From my interviews over several months with both buyers and sellers, sellers wanted absolute transparency. They wanted to see commissions and methods of sale. They wanted the best high-resolution photography of their property showcased perfectly,” Mr McColl said.

“Buyers wanted to find information easily in just a couple of clicks, they wanted to contact the agents easily, click on an email link, they wanted to see maps, full property information and open home times, they wanted no information hidden.

“Potential sellers love our ‘Concierge’ page, which provides contacts with trusted and professional people who can assist with preparing your property of sale.”

As Beautiful as a Premium Property

You only get one chance to make a first impression. Your website is the first point of contact with both buyers and sellers, and how it looks and functions is vital.

“Our site is highly visual and pleasing to the eye,” he said. “It’s high resolution in retina display, features higher pixel density, and is very simple to navigate by even the least proficient users.

“The landing page of a real estate website is the first point of contact so we must look the best in every respect.”

Back End Power

While the presentation can draw in buyers and sellers, a great website needs to be a powerful marketing tool encompassing both data analytics and lead capture.

“The back end is easy for me to send out newsletters to my database, and the website is connected to Google Analytics so I can see the website traffic, where it’s coming from and the views per property,” Mr McColl explained.

“Google Analytics supplies an incredible amount of data such as devices used, traffic channel, views from social media (which is performing best) and country, age group etc.

“I have an appraisal page that invites sellers to contact us, and also a ‘Request a listing Presentation’ form which works very well.”

Mr McColl feels that the industry as a whole is working hard on improving the user experience when it comes to website design and functionality, but believes there is more to do.

“There are some companies who have brilliant websites, but not enough,” he said.

“My personal thoughts are, there is plenty of room for improvement by many companies with their websites. Make your website very attractive within seconds of people landing on it. Make it clean and clear, make it easy for people to make contact with you in seconds, and make all the information required by both sellers and buyers very accessible quickly.”

“It is also very important, to ensure your property photographer is the best you can find, to showcase vendors homes properly. There are some dreadful property photos being used for marketing.

“Overall, make it an excellent experience for all visitors.”