Welcome to Week Three of the Website 101:
Working with Websites Self Learning Tutorial
A successful real estate Web site isn’t something that you slap together in a matter of minutes; It requires strategic planning. Join us this week as we learn how to effectively plan your site.
- Planning Your Website Layout
- Customizing Your Site
- 3rd Party Integration and External Resources
With your target market in mind, you need to plan your Website by identifying what pages to have on your Website. Consumers are looking for listings so you need to make sure your listing pages are displayed prominently. They are also interested in relocation tools.
When designing the structure of your site, remember that Main Pages are displayed in the Main Menu bar, and Subpages are displayed on the left or the right of the site (depending on your chosen theme) as part of the Subpage Menu. Since each Subpage belongs to a Main Page, clicking a Main Page in the main menu will automatically display the appropriate Subpage menu items.Example Site Layout
Below is an example site layout (areas shown are not to scale). Notice the Subpages are displayed in a column on the left, while the Main Pages are displayed in a horizontal bar above.
- Read more about planning the layout of your website.
- Download a Worksheet to help plan your Site Structure.
To bring attention to specific features of your Website, you can use web boxes which breaks up the page into distinct sections, allowing you to highlight areas that your target market finds compelling.
While you are working on your Website, you may want the site to remain online while you are changing your content in the back. You can use hidden pages to achieve this. Hidden pages can also be used as a visual tool where they don’t show up on a menu or sub-menu, but can be linked to.How to Hide a Page
From the Website Control Panel, click Edit Site in the main menu. Click Manage My Pages. Next to the page you’d like to hide, place a check in the Hide from Menu box.
Top Producer Websites and Realtor.com Featured Websites provide the flexibility to customize default website themes if you don’t find one that perfectly suits your needs. You can read and print out the instructions by going to our Customizing A Website Theme article, and you can watch the video below:
An important part of your site planning invloves collecting a list of all of the 3rd party and external resources you would like to include on your website. This includes integrating your Top Producer products, providing access to other online tools and resources, and even compiling a list of other websites that you’d like to provide links to. Once you have a list of resources you’d like to include, you will be better prepared to plan your overall site structure.
If you subscribe to one of the below products, click the link to find out how to integrate it with your website.
Other resources you will want to consider making available on your site include:
- Social Media: Include links and images inviting people to view/join your Social Media Website (Facebook, Twitter, etc).
- Calculators: While your website includes both a Mortgage Qualification Calculator and Payment Calculator, you may have access to other preferred calculators provided by external sites. If so, these could be included as an External Content Page, or simply a link to the other site.
- MLS Search: If you do not subscribe to Top Producer IDX, and instead have an IDX Solution from another source, it likely can be added to your site as an External Content Page. For information about including your 3rd Party IDX, contact your IDX provider.
- Government Resources and Regulations: Providing links to official government websites and their information about taxes, tax exemptions, zoning bylaws, investment and rental income regulations, etc, can be useful to both buyers and sellers. These can be included in a Links List Web Box.
- Community Websites: If you know of some good websites that highlight your local area and events, providing links may encourage visitors to purchase in your area, and increase the value of your website as a one-stop-resource.
- External News Feeds: If another site provides daily news about the real estate market (targeting consumers, not industry professionals), and provides an RSS feed, their headlines can be included on your site automatically as part of an RSS Feed Web Box.