We have conducted research (partly on Reddit) among real estate websites. And found out that the most common issue with the websites in the industry can be fixed in a very easy way. This is just ridiculous how many online resources are affected to it.
Photos are the most valuable assets of a real estate website. When not optimized they also are the source of the most common issues that have a serious impact on page load performance. However, optimizing images is the fastest and easiest way to significantly improve your website performance. Keep in mind that every extra second of a page load time means loses of dozen(s) percents of conversion ratio, and lower positions in Google search results.
A lot of image files originally have a huge resolution. While being applied on a website page, the size is reduced to a much smaller value than the original file has. The right approach is to store images originally in the size they will be applied to the website. Or, if you need the same image in different sizes, then create multiple image files of necessary sizes and load them depending on the user’s display size. This can be achieved easily with modern browsers.
Along with image size consider adjusting the quality of images. Speaking of JPEG format images (one of the most popular formats on the internet) reducing the quality value from 100% down to 92% can result in saving more than 50% of file size. And your website visitors will never notice a difference between 100% quality and 92% quality.
Size and quality optimizations combined together will bring delightful results at a very low cost.
People usually come to your website without a strong intention to stay there for a long time, and they leave very easily. They don’t read long text copies and they don’t fill in long forms that look intimidating. You can try advanced tricks to engage your website visitors into the process of populating long forms (I even saw forms with 5(!) mandatory fields) or you can just make the forms very short. What your sales team only needs is an email from a prospect. So in most cases, such a form with a single input field works good enough — “Interested in our offers? Leave your email!”.
Finally, the painful and highly disregarded point — website design. It is quite common for small to midsize companies to ignore the value of design. I will explain what I mean using stats and metaphor.
First, the stats. If you look at Apple’s revenue numbers you will notice that they are selling expensive electronic devices much better than some oil companies sell oil. I mean really big oil companies that sell the resource everyone needs. Moreover, there are more performant and cheaper electronic devices on the market, but consumers prefer to buy Apple’s devices. The reason is distinctive and always top-notch design.
Second, the metaphor. I bet you pay serious attention to your look, especially before a meeting with a prospective buyer or a potential investor or a person who you are planning to partner with. Needless to say that the first impression is very important. The same principle is applicable to a website. A messy website with huge images here and there will not earn you credibility. Quite opposite — it will make your potential customers thinking that you don’t care enough to invest time and effort into your business.
If you can’t afford a professional fully-featured website, then pay for at least a few hours to have a simple but modern and performant website that will load fast and will produce a delightful first impression on your visitors. I’m pretty much confident that you will be impressed by the result!