When you are thinking about creating the perfect online home for your business, there are many things to consider and choices to be made.
Make an informed decision
Rule 1. Don’t mistake a website designer for a website builder
Almost anyone can claim to be a website designer. Many graphic designers are reasonably proficient at downloading a WordPress (or similar) template and filling in the forms with your details. This can leave you with a very pretty website that may look great but doesn’t function effectively for your business.
It also means that if you want to make changes to your website, you may not be able to, either because your website designer doesn’t have the technical knowledge or your template won’t allow the changes you require.
A good website builder will be able to build your website from the ground up and adapt it to your needs.
Rule 2. Pick a website builder that specialises in your industry
Every industry has its own special requirements. There are many different rules and regulations pertaining to the property industry and if your website designer or builder is unaware of them, you could find yourself in hot water and facing large fines and in many cases, bad publicity.
A specialist website builder will not only be able to advise you on the legal requirements of your website, they will also be able to provide industry information and advice on tools and systems that are proven to work within it.
Rule 3. Don’t listen to the hype
Let the facts speak for themselves. Sometimes it can seem as if there almost as many website builders out there as there are estate agents and all claiming to be the one that will get you noticed, catapult you to the top of Google Search results and help you achieve amazing success.
Take it with a pinch of salt and check their history. Have they got an extensive portfolio of work? Are they experienced and knowledgeable in both property technology and the property industry? How long have they been around and how many of their customers have been with them for a long time?
If they haven’t got the evidence to back up their claims, give them a wide berth.
Rule 4: Ask around for recommendations
It’s amazing how many people love to tell you about their experience with an estate agent and the same applies to property website builders, so ask other estate agents or industry experts who they would recommend. Bad news always travel fast so you will also find out who to avoid!
Quality specialist website builders are always well known within the industry so ask around and get a feel for your prospective supplier’s performance.
Rule 5: Get some quotes
Quotes are a great way of weeding out the good from the bad. In life, you always get what you pay for so check what is included in your quote and very importantly WHAT ISN’T!
Many an estate agent has assumed they were getting a great cheap deal, only to find that once they’d signed up, the things they really wanted and needed come at an extra premium!
Never forget, your website is often the first impression your potential clients and customers will have of you, so the cheapest isn’t always the best option.
Much like turning up to a valuation in sweat pants and trainers, if you aren’t going to dress to impress, it is unlikely that you will get the business.
Rule 6: Check you are getting the most up-to-date technology
The WWW and the internet are evolving at an incredible rate and we have now moved on from http to https secure websites, so make sure your website builder provides this and for FREE.
Many will provide it for you but at an additional cost. A good proactive website builder will have upgraded to https as standard on all of their websites and regard this as a natural progression, not a premium product.
Rule 7: Make sure you can choose the estate agency software you use
If your website builder is competent and knowledgeable, you should be able to choose exactly what software you use. Integrating any one of the many different software packages should be a doddle for a good website builder, so if you aren’t given a choice, think twice before signing up.
You should also be free to change your software at any time so ask if this is allowed. If it’s something your website builder isn’t keen on doing or says it isn’t possible, maybe they just don’t have the technical knowhow!
Rule 8: Find out how they will keep you informed on your website’s performance
If your website builder does not voluntarily provide you with transparent information regarding your website statistics, step away fast. You shouldn’t need to spend hours trying to work out Google Analytics to find out the long way round if they aren’t forthcoming.
A website builder who is confident that they are providing you with the best possible service will automatically supply you with this information, clearly, freely and with transparency. Look for a website builder who provides as standard, things like a data dashboard so that you can check your website stats at any time.
Rule 9: Don’t get locked-in
If your website builder wants to lock you into a contract, ask them why? There is no technical reason why you should need to be locked in.
Once you have had a website built, it should be yours, to do with as you please. If you are being provided with a fantastic service and the service is living up to your expectations, you won’t want to leave.
When a supplier does what they promise, they really don’t need to rely on a contract to retain your business, you will stay with them because you want to.
Rule 10: Find out what support and maintenance system is set up
This is an area where ‘local website designers’ often let estate agents down. Many are small, one or two-person outfits and often have limited technical skills for when things break or go wrong. One person is on holiday and the other is on appointment and there is nobody to help when you need it most.
This can also become extremely frustrating if you have changes to make to your website or just want some advice but can’t get a reply to an email or talk to someone on the phone.
Even some of the larger companies don’t have the technical back up and knowledgeable staff on hand to make sure everything is running smoothly. This is where asking for recommendations is really worthwhile.
Quite often, it is not the building of a website that creates issues, it’s the long-term support that lets businesses down.
If you want to learn more about how to get the perfect property websites for your business, get in touch with The Property Jungle, the UK’s most experienced property website builders.
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