Commercial real estate websites should have two essential functions:

1) Represent your brand

2) Help grow your business.

But the best web designs can also help you attract, engage and convert visitors to leads (whether tenants or investors). If the metrics show your visitors are looking and leaving, then your website is failing its job. Take a hard look at your website and ask yourself if it stacks up against your competitors? Having a professional website design combined with relevant content can make for a memorable user experience and have a significant impact in growing your leads.

Here are 5 ways a CRE website can help you generate more leads:

1. First Impression

Unless the customer is a word-of-mouth referral, a website is often a potential customer’s first interaction with your brand. Make the right first impressions with a professional website design presenting the most important information in the first top quarter of the landing page. Remove useless information and avoid cluttering the page with fancy graphics or advertising. Select an easy-to-read typeface and invest in high-quality photography and video. Including video on a landing page can increase conversion rates 80%, but that video must be well produced and reflect your brand.

2. Builds User Trust

User trust means a customer chooses to explore your CRE brand because the information is relevant to their needs, it’s fast and easy to find, and they aren’t bombarded with a hard sell. Website design should build user trust on every page. The first step is with a mobile responsive design. More Internet users search for relevant information on their mobile devices versus a desktop. A slow loading website that does not display well on a mobile device turns users away. That customer is unlikely to revisit the website ever again. Create a design that automatically sizes to the device, loads quickly, and auto-expands content as users scroll.

Provide previews or excerpts of key content that will drive the user further into the conversion process. Every page should have a specific title and the menu must follow a logical hierarchy. Visitors should be able to find what they need within three clicks of landing on your website. If they can’t find what they need, the visitors will leave.

3. Sets Your Marketing Foundation

Your website acts as an online “hub” and sets the foundation for other marketing activities.

Many other marketing channels rely on a website to send visitors to in order to be effective.

For example, if you’re running a social media or email marketing campaign, just making noise and creating awareness is not effective. These channels should target potential prospects, pique their interest and then get them to land back on your website where there is more information and possibility to convert them into a customer. The same holds true for offline marketing (print collateral, signage, advertisements), where the objective should be to send them to your website where you can better track activities and measure success.

4. SEO Visibility

Most web users don’t scroll beyond the first page of search results. The higher your rank in search engines, the better chance your website has of attracting new visitors and consequently, converting visitors to leads. Search engines reward websites that have a mobile-friendly design, unique content and a strong user experience. Combined with basic best web design practices like clear page titles and headings, an effective web design helps web crawlers correctly index your website, leading to better optimization. The reduced bounces and increased traffic thanks to a clean, user-friendly web design signals to algorithms that customers find your website a valuable resource.

5. Always On

Unlike an onsite sales center or brokerage team, your website works for 24 hours a day, every single day of the year. That means your website is a virtual sales machine that is always working for you to capture new leads. In addition, there are no geographic barriers which means that almost anyone in the world can find and access the information on your website, and contact you.

Conclusion

Building an effective commercial real estate website can provide meaningful results for your CRE business. It provides a powerful first impression, builds user trust, sets a solid foundation for other marketing activities and helps increase awareness online. Best of all, it works 24/7.

There are plenty of options if you want to improve your online presence.  Besides hiring an in-house web designer or working with a generic website builder, CRE marketing platforms such as SharpLaunch offer customizable “plug and play” website solutions specifically tailored for commercial real estate.

For more complex custom projects, agencies like inMotion Real Estate Media or NeoScape offer high-end web development services. These companies are at the forefront of real estate design and apply best practices for CRE websites.