Is your real estate site mobile friendly?

stock mobileMobile is becoming a more and more popular way to access information on the internet.  Whether it someone searching from their iphone while parked in front of one of your listings, or a couple in bed at the end of the night looking for their dream house on a tablet, having a site being mobile friendly and responsive is critical.  And even more important, the number of people visiting your real estate site from a mobile device are just going to continue to climb.

Even more crucial is the fact that Google is looking at ranking sites from Google searches on mobile devises differently depending on how well – or not – your site performs for mobile users.  So if you are getting organic free search traffic from Google – meaning you have visitors (or you want to have visitors) that find your site by typing in a keyword search your site ranks for – then making sure your site is mobile friendly is crucial.

What are “mobile devices”?

While most people consider mobile devices to be only smart phones, they actually also cover things like tablet computers such as the Surface or iPad and all screen sizes in between.  Essentially, anything that isn’t from a desktop computer or a regular sized laptop is lumped into the “mobile devices” category.

Is your site ”mobile friendly”?

A site being “mobile friendly” means that visitors who visit your site on a mobile device find that you have either a mobile version of your website, or your website uses responsive design, so that the website changes width based on how wide the screen is for each of your site’s visitors.

Many people only bother visiting their own website while they are sitting at their desk because they are working on their site or they are talking with a client about something that appears on their site.  It just never crosses their mind to see how it looks on any other kind of device.  Due to this, not many people visit their website on a regular basis from a mobile device such as an iphone or ipad.  First, you should check and see what your site looks like in mobile.  Is it clear and concise, or are you forced to site scroll to get the information you need?

How much of your traffic is mobile?

If you have an analytics program, such as Google Analytics, you can see the percentage of your traffic that is mobile versus desktop.  You particularly want to look at the mobile bounce rate, meaning how much of your mobile traffic goes to a page on your site and then leaves immediately without clicking another link on your site.  However, if your site takes a long time to load, you might not see all the mobile traffic you really have, since many people hit the back button before your analytics code loads.  If you have a high bounce rate and a high percentage of mobile traffic, you need to fix this immediately before it costs you more potential home buyers or sellers.


While poor navigation can be a detriment to a website from a desktop experience, and can make a site completely unusable in mobile.  Can you easily find the link to your listings?  Your contact information if they want to give you a phone call?  Your biography page?  What about your property search button?  These are the things you want to ensure people can find easily and quickly but which are often pretty difficult to find when viewing a realtor’s website on a phone.

Color Usability

Often, color schemes that look great on a desktop computer look horrible on a mobile device – or even when you view the site on a laptop versus a desktop.  Make sure that the colors of your website also work on an iPhone.  Make sure your color choices, particularly font (text) color choices are still easily readable.

How fast is your site?

If your site takes too long to load on a mobile device, people are simply going to click the back button and go to your competitor’s site instead.  There are lots of sites that load with the seemingly speed of light, while others  are loading at a snail pace.  You want to make sure your site loads quickly, so you aren’t sending that potential home buyer or home seller to your competitors instead.  Often mobile versions of websites are “lighter” and load less items (such as not loading widgets or videos automatically) that it would load for a user on a desktop.

Having a mobile friendly version of your real estate site is crucial, especially in the years to come.  If your site doesn’t perform well on mobile devices and you haven’t looked into redesigning your site to handle that traffic better, you should definitely consider a plan to recrify that within the next year.

Creating neighborhood pages for your real estate site

waterparkIf you are real estate agents whose market area covers a large number of neighborhoods, small towns, and suburbs, it can be difficult to ensure the your website encompasses all these areas, and also so the potential homebuyers and home sellers know the you work in those particular neighborhoods and can help them either find what they’re looking for, or sell with they are looking to sell.

Which neighborhoods do you market in?

First, make a list of all the neighborhoods in areas you market to, and rank them from most important to least important. Now you want to focus on the ones you consider most important first, as these are the ones that you either are most active in or bring the most commission in for.

Discover what is awesome about each neighborhood

Second, you want to find unique things about those neighborhoods. Don’t just consider the public schools, investigate private schools, charter schools and even the sought after preschools. Look at the activities that are popular in each area. Are there museums, great parks, touristy attractions, great shopping districts, great hikes or bike paths?  Water parks for kids? Great local farmer’s markets to buy organic produce?  Are some neighborhoods better suited to growing families, or eco-friendly types?  Which is pet friendly?  Ideally, you want to gather up all the information potential home buyer looking at the various neighborhoods would want to know, and things that you can tempt them with that can sway them to one particular neighborhood over another one that you might not sell as much in.

Show off your knowledge

Any real estate agent can tell you the population per capita, the median house value, the average annual income for family – for the most part that stuff is pretty boring and if someone needs it, they can find it very easily. Instead you want to show off that you know these neighborhoods, the are active in them, that you are very familiar with what each neighborhood has to offer. Spouting off per capita figures is not going to show that,  but talking about the great lakeside walking path or the historical museum does show off the you know what neighborhood intimately.

Tell potential homebuyers about why each neighborhood is unique and interesting

Now, you want to create webpages for each of these neighborhoods. Go out on a sunny day and take some pictures.  Write up all the interesting things about each neighborhood, and this means either you or someone you trust in your office writes it up, as you need to have all original content for each of these neighborhoods. If you just “borrow” content from another websites, it will rank in Google, and you could find yourself being sued for stealing the content – something you definitely don’t want have associated with your real estate site.  And make sure that these pages do have a lot of details. A short four line paragraph won’t get the job done, but having four or more paragraphs will.

Link them up!

Don’t forget to include links to some of the interesting places include, like museums or parks or annual events. Remember your website is in a vacuum, you want to give your visitors the tools to find more information easily, so that they know they can then go off later to click through some of these links, rather than feeling they have to stop everything and Google that great museums you mention right away.  Not giving them a way to leave won’t make it less likely that they they will leave your website.

Bringing all your neighborhood pages together

You also want to create a great landing page for all these neighborhoods, where you will then link out to each of your neighborhood pages. So your landing page could include things like a map so a person can see easily where the different neighborhoods are located in, small photo or two of each of the neighborhoods so that homebuyers can get a sense of the type of neighborhood each is, such as some are known for Victorian-style houses, whereas others might be known for their more modern approach to buildings. You want to include a short blurb about each neighborhood, short little snippet that also gives people an idea about each neighborhood, with the link to the in-depth neighborhood page created.

Show off your neighborhood pages on your homepage

Now, you will want to link to this landing page from the home page of your real estate site. You can choose one of your pictures from one of the neighborhoods  and feature that on the homepage along with the blurb about “Can’t decide which Seattle neighborhood is best for you?  We can tell you the best features about each!”

Keep them updated

Don’t forget to go back and ads any new details, or update on things like new parks that have opened, summer fairs – basically anything that’s happening in each of those neighborhoods that is interesting, that is new and that people are excited about.  It is always a good idea to go back to update and refresh these neighborhood pages every few months. You might have mentioned that great local coffeehouse on the corner that is since closed its doors, or have some other information that becomes dated, and that is not the impression you want to give potential clients.  And this could include going back and taking the photos every few months, and don’t forget you can then pin them to Pinterest!

Promote them!

Don’t shy about promoting these pages. If someone says they’re not sure what neighborhood they should be considering, or they’re trying to decide between two, recommend these pages so they can look at things more in depth.  And there’s lots of opportunity on Facebook and Twitter as well if you see discussion about what neighborhood to live in.

Many real estate agents make the mistake of only looking at the larger market area, such as Seattle instead of Kirkland or the Queen Anne neighborhood, not to mention “Seattle real estate” is going have some pretty hefty competition, whereas “Queen Anne real estate” is not nearly as competitive, and you can set yourself apart that way with these great neighborhood pages.