Credibility makes the difference between a website that makes money and one that doesn’t. Here are the top ten ways to make your website more credible:
1. Make it easy to verify the accuracy of the information on your site
Chances are that unless you’re Warren Buffet or Stephen Hawkins, people won’t just “take your word for it.” Stating something on a website without backing it up makes it opinion rather than fact – and most people don’t care about your (or my) opinion. Here are some ways to make it easy for readers to verify the accuracy of information on your website:
- provide citations
- provide references with links
- provide source material with links
Make sure to link to credible sources as linking to garbage will lower credibility.
2. Show that there’s a real organization behind your site
This is the point where I take issue with video-blogging. If a REALTOR is filming a video from his/her car “office” it looks more like a bank getaway than a business ยูฟ่าเบท.
Showing that your website is for a legitimate business is paramount to earning credibility from visitors. Here’s what’s important:
- Include a physical address
- Include Photos of yourself or office (make sure they’re good, recent photos)
- Describe awards, and memberships (chamber of commerce, business bureau, etc.)
- Mention credible organizations you’re a member of (your brokerage, etc.)
3. Highlight the expertise in your organization and in the content and services you provide
Make sure to:
- Highlight REAL expertise of team (supported by qualifications and training)
- Include affiliations with respected organizations
4. Show that honest and trustworthy people stand behind your site
Including bios and information about the people who stand behind your website puts real people, and real accountability behind your business. Increase trustworthiness using images and text. Talking about families and personal interests can lend credibility but should be used sparingly.
5. Make it easy to contact you
I’ve said this one before and I’ll say it again: make sure your contact information is front-and-center. The most successful REALTORS I know include their direct cell phone numbers as their primary point of contact. Very few top producers I’m aware of put brokerage phone numbers on their websites at all.
6. Design your site so it looks professional
Most people will initially evaluate website credibility by visual design alone, so make sure it’s top notch.
7. Make your site easy to use – and useful
Sites win credibility when they are useful and easy to use. Critical to REALTOR websites are:
- Listings, listings, listings!!
- Full MLS listings search
- Lots of photos on listings
- Neighborhood statistical comparison
- Blog with good quality market and local information
8. Update your site’s content often (at least show it’s been reviewed recently)
No need to elaborate on this one. An easy way to do this is to have a blog.
9. Use restraint with any promotional content (e.g., ads, offers)
Guidelines for promotional content:
- Avoid having ads on your site. If you must have ads, clearly distinguish the sponsored content from your own.
- Avoid pop-up ads, unless you don’t mind annoying users and losing credibility.
- Make sure your writing style is clear, direct and sincere.
10. Avoid errors of all types, no matter how small they seem
Broken links, typos, and grammatical errors are ALL noticed by users.
Sam Prochazka manages RealPageMaker, a company that has been building REALTOR Websites since 2002. Sam Prochazka regularly contributes to the Real Estate Websites Blog.