The Complete Guide To (Easily) Creating Your Real Estate Website
Whether you’re a Realtor looking for the best website builder for real estate… or you actually want to know how to create a design for your own real estate website, we’ll show you how.
First, we’ll show the reasons WHY you should have a website (if you want to skip that go straight into the list of “Done-for-you” website builders, go here).
Then we’ll show you a list of the easiest and most effective website builders for Realtors. Then we’ll go into the technical details of it, like:
(Go ahead and click these links below to take you to the sections)
- The best website builder for real estate agents and investors
- How to build a website from scratch
- Marketing your website for the utmost traffic
Let’s get started…
Note: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links, which means we make a small commission if you buy something. You don’t pay anything extra by purchasing through these links. See our affiliate disclosure for more info. Thank you!
Why you need a real estate website
It’s the 21st century and people are more skeptical than ever.
GE Capital Retail Bank did a study that found:
81% of consumers conducted online research before buying!
Now, that’s not specifically real estate, however, it DOES represent the general population… especially for BIG transactions like real estate and TRUSTING someone (you) to represent them and their house.
Now we all know that referrals are the BEST leads… But not all leads come from referrals; regardless of where the lead comes from, we want to establish:
- Social proof
- and Authority …
… Before they reach out to us.
Doing this can lock in their trust in you, and secure you a listing contract or a promising buyer. And the EASIEST way to do establish trust is by having an effective, persuasive website.
So let’s jump into how to do that in the next section.
There are not a whole lot of vendors (website builders) out there in the real estate space. There are only about 3 website builders that specialize in real estate, and then there are more generic ones like “ClickFunnels” who specialize in selling products online, not real estate.
They’ve been around for 5+ years delivering ready-made websites in the real estate industry. They give you multiple SEO-friendly pages that they’ve tested and tweaked to be high converting as well.
- Looks like others – Because they are “templates” everyone who purchases the same package and design as you will have the same look and copy as you…
- Pricey at first – Getting a website made via WordPress (which we show you below) is very cheap. However, with plug-ins and hosting you have to get, the price of “building yourself” does add up to near the price of Carrot.
- Doesn’t come with SEO service – Many real estate agents and investors mistakenly believe that having a website means traffic will come. that’s not true.Put it this way… Your website is a retail store.
But if it’s situated in the back alley, with no signs, and no advertising, it’s likely you’ll get anyone to go through. Same as your website. It’s just a “storefront”. You need to position your site in places where traffic comes: Search engines, social media, etc. Carrot doesn’t come with built-in SEO services.
Most website builders don’t offer SEO services unless you’re paying $1,000 or more.
However, Carrot pages ARE SEO friendly (clean HTML, and strong keywords associated with the pages). And they come with monthly articles that you’ll need for SEO.
1. Overnight site – Once you try it with Carrot, you’ll literally have an overnight website. Getting someone to design a site from scratch can take 2-4 weeks.
2. Multiple designs – They do offer 5+ different designs
3. Training – They have lots of free training available for digital marketing and how to bring traffic to your site, and real estate-related news.
4. Gives you ready-to-use content – Content is a huge component of a marketing plan. And They provide content for free.
5. Concierge service – They also offer a very affordable option to their members where you can have a complete custom website design and copy they make for you.
6. Pricing – Although their price may seem steep… it’s really not if you compare other vendors that do something similar, and the monthly cost of holding on to a similar website that you build from scratch (with plugins and good hosting).
There are other vendors that are similar, but in comparison to what they do and offer, we put Carrot at the top of that list – they’ve been around longer, they understand digital marketing and SEO, and they’ve created and designed sites specifically for real estate agents AND investors (you just have to choose which one you are in their demo page here).
For those that want their OWN website — one they build from scratch — let’s dive into how to do that…
1. Buy a domain ($10+ a year)
When you’re creating a website, your domain is the most important part. Your domain name is like an address for your website, and it will be how people can find you on the internet.
What domain to choose: The very first thing you have to do is consider what your URL is going to be. If you’re under a broker they may already have one for you, so just use that. If not, and you’d rather use your name… that’s not a bad option to buy your own URL/domain. As building a BRAND in your farm area requires some name recognition, it’s a good idea to build your brand with your name rather than focusing on the broker you’re with.
Two options for getting a domain name:
- Getting one that’s never been taken before – this takes some searching (we’ll show you how).
- Or make an offer on one that has already been taken – that can be a pricey option. If you’re looking to buy a domain name that’s already been taken by someone else, then you’ll need to contact the owner directly and make an offer. This type of transaction typically involves intellectual property rights, which means you may need to pay a lot more. Depending on its demand, the price tag can easily reach four- or five figures (Investor Carrot – the website builder we mentioned above, paid $50K for the domain “Carrot.com”).
Where to go to buy a domain:
There’s a “domain” name, and there’s hosting. Just because you buy a domain name does not mean that you have a website.
You’ll then need to hire a service that “hosts” your website – like leasing out a building for your retail store; the name of your retail store and all the property inside is like your URL and your website, but just like how your retail store needs a building, your website needs a hosting service.So, there are numerous places where you can easily buy a domain…
But our advice to you is to buy a domain directly from the hosting service that you’ll be using. They (almost) all sell domains and it’ll be an easy integration if you use the same hosting service
So let’s dive into some hosting services for you to BUY your domain and host your site…
[NOTE: Find a “.com” url. That’s the best for credibility in this case]
2. Choose a hosting service ($50-$20o per year)
You’ll now need someone to HOST your website.
If you were to go with Carrot, they do all that for you.
But if you’re building from scratch you’ll need to purchase a yearly hosting (or month-to-month).
This is a VERY important decision to make because there are many to choose and many of them vary in performance.
Choosing a bad hosting service can mean:
- A slow website
- A clunky website
- A website that crashes often
All these can dramatically affect your performance when potential buyers and sellers land on your website.
So, as website builders ourselves, we’ve narrowed down the top three in the market, all work in the “WordPress” theme website builder (we’ll cover this in a bit):
Top Two hosting services:
When it comes to hosting your real estate website, Kinsta is one of the most reliable and secure options available.
WP Engine offers a variety of features designed to make creating and managing a website easy. With WordPress as the backbone, Kinsta provides managed hosting services that allow you to focus on what’s important—your business.
Here are some pros and cons of using Kinsta for real estate websites.
- Security: Kinsta provides both hardware and software firewalls to ensure your real estate data is safe from malicious attacks. It also offers daily backups, so if something happens to your data, it can be easily restored with minimal disruption.
- Performance: Kinsta uses various caching methods and technologies to ensure fast loading times across all devices. This helps make sure your clients get the information they need quickly, helping you close deals faster.
- Support: The team at Kinsta is available 24/7 to provide technical support in case something goes wrong with your website. They have a wealth of knowledge and can help troubleshoot any issues you might encounter quickly and efficiently.
- Price: While Kinsta offers great features for security, performance, and support, it does come with a hefty price tag that may not be within every real estate agent’s budget.
- Customization: If you’re looking for more customization options than what is offered out of the box with WordPress themes, then you may need to look elsewhere. While there are some plugins available that add additional functionality, they still may not offer enough flexibility for more advanced users when compared to other platforms like Squarespace or Wix.
Our second choice is Blue Host.
It won’t have better support or performance compared to Kinsta, however, if you’re looking for the CHEAPEST, Blue host has the best bang for our buck
3. Design your website ($200+/year for plugins)
All of the hosting services above offer easy integration with the builder “WordPress”.
This is the builder we recommend.
And this is the next step you’ll take AFTER you’ve chosen a hosting service and purchased your domain.
Once you have chosen your domain and hosting service, it is time to start building your website in WordPress!
1. First, install the WordPress software on the hosting platform (the three I mentioned above make it SUPER easy).
2. Then, select a theme for your website (this is the “look and feel” of the sire). This will determine the overall look of your site and how easy navigation is for visitors. It’s important to choose a responsive theme that works well on multiple devices, including mobile phones and tablets.
3. Next, add content to your website such as pages, blog posts, images, videos, etc. You’ll want these pages at a BARE minimum:
- Home page
- About/Team page
- Contact page
- Listing page (if you’re a realtor with listings)
4. Finally, add contact forms and other essential features such as an email opt-in form so you can collect contact information from visitors interested in viewing your listings or interested in your cash offer (if you’re a real estate investor).
This will help grow your mailing list which can be useful for future marketing campaigns.
The email provider we highly recommend, that we use, and that integrates easily with your site is Klaviyo
Use our affiliate link here to get a quick start guide to email marketing for real estate
Social media links:
Also, consider adding social media buttons so people can easily share articles from your blog or other pages on their own accounts too.
If you want to skip all this and just pay $99 a month for a “ready-to-go” real estate website… just got with Carrot. We use it ourselves.
With any website you build, regardless if you use Carrot, some other vendor, or build your own, you’ll need to USE it.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization):
This is the process of making web pages appear on page one in search engine results, and it starts with creating content that others are looking for on the web. So for example, if someone is searching:
“Buy my house fast in [your local area]”
“Houses for sale in [your local area]”
The goal would be for YOUR site to appear at the top of that search.
This takes TIME, and it’s not instant.
You’ll have to allow Google to see your site as a trusted and reliable source of information for consumers, and this takes time and action.
An action plan for SEO includes:
- Writing four articles per month, every month,
- Targeting highly searched local keywords
- Having a “backlink plan” — which is creating links to other local sites with high domain authority.
For this action plan, you’ll need a list of keywords…
Fortunately, Carrot has a free “SEO KEYWORD BIBLE” you can grab by hitting the image below:
This is similar to SEO, but it’s not organic…
Instead, you’re PAYING for ad space, so that when someone Googles the above searches, your site will be at the top with the word “ad” next to it.
Paid search results are often more visible than organic search results, and they allow you to target specific keywords with ads that link to your website.
For example, someone searching for houses in the local area or estimates on home values could see your ad and be directed to your website’s landing page where you can have them opt-in for email updates.
This requires SOME know-how; some experimenting; OR just hiring someone to run your ads — Carrot offers help in this arena.
As a real estate agent or an investor, you should be also building content inside social media for your online presence.
Creating content like videos of listings or information about the local area allows you to build relationships and engage with potential customers in a meaningful way while still linking back to your website.
While this isn’t a direct traffic source… however, by creating lots of social media content you can also drive traffic from that content to your site.
Social media has two components:
- Paid – Where you’re paying for ad space inside Facebook, for example
- Organic – Where you’re consistently posting desirable content.
Finally, don’t forget about offline marketing methods like mailers that include your website address.
Integrating both online and offline tactics will help ensure that more potential buyers discover that you’re the local real estate pro!
If you’re using ReiSift (for mailing list filtering), or Deal Machine (for sending mailing via driving 4 dollars), or Propstream (for your mailing list provider)… then make sure you’re placing that URL inside your mail so your expenses aren’t for nothing!
While the easiest route to take as a real estate professional (an investor OR a Realtor) is just to use this vetted website builder, Carrot, that gives you a ready-to-use website that’s SEO friendly AND gives you monthly content and free training…
There is the option of building your own from scratch which offers some pros (reduced cost and more control).
But regardless of the route you take… You still have to USE your site and market it.
The best ways to use it are:
- SEO – getting your site to be trusted enough by Google (with articles and backlinks) to rank on 1st page
- Paid search – Paying for search ads on Google
- Social media – Linking your site to your consistent organic and paid social media content
- Offline – Make sure your flyers, business cards, and mail all have your URL and a call to action to go to your site. Creating a web presence today is one of the most important parts of your business as a real estate professional.
It’s something that CAN’T be overlooked as 80% or more of consumers do a “web check” as part of their “validity check” on whether or not to trust you.
We hope we gave you a thorough overview of what creating your website looks like!