• Video must be on a real estate website today
  • It's okay to make browsing decisions for your website's visitors
  • Investing in a website also means investing in its measurement

Have suggestions for products that you’d like to see reviewed by our real estate technology expert? Email Craig Rowe.

Earlier this month, Real Trends named williampitt.com, the website of William Pitt and Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International Realty, the no. 1 real estate website for design.

The site took home a couple of other Real Trends acknowledgements, like no. 3 in mobile experience and no. 5 overall. MichaelSaunders.com took home top prize in mobile and overall categories.

Pacificunion.com, climbSF.com and realtyaustin.com also were named top sites.

Each company should be commended and emulated for dedication to their respective user experiences. If we see five new companies on this list next year, I’ll consider the industry very technologically healthy.

However, of the five, I think other companies have the most to glean from williampitt.com. Here’s why:

Real estate first

As soon as the page loads, listings dominate the viewer experience. This immediately entices home browsers and potential listing clients alike.

The banner video of featured listings with clear price, location and only basic details pulls in the higher end of their market and demonstrates commitment to getting the listing front and center in front of a buying audience.

Climb has a captivating opening image carousel, but it’s selling the city of San Francisco first, and itself second. Then, there’s the glaring typographical error. Also, if the median price of a home in San Francisco is a $1,000,000, isn’t every home a Million Dollar Listing?

I also feel that visual browsing is a much more effective vehicle than asking buyers right away to enter ZIP codes, neighborhoods or addresses, especially within mobile environments. The type-search option is there on michaelpitt.com, but visuals rule the web today.

Listing pages

Homebuyers have an obscene number of Internet resources. The faster you can categorize an option for them, the better.

Williampitt.com’s listing card layout on its first scroll provides a prominent property visual with location and price. Hovering over an option offers second-level information; a click then opens its image-heavy listing page. This can provide marketing teams with a clear sequence of user events for tracking browsing habits and buyer interest.

Browsing options

The site took great care in creating a consistent look for its market-wide search results. Plus, it isn’t holding listings’ features hostage for your contact information.

I can’t stress enough how ineffective this email capture tactic has become. You can’t afford to put up barriers between a buyer and your data. Earn their contact information; don’t bully them into giving it to you.

Homebuyers have an obscene number of Internet resources. The faster you can categorize an option for them, the better

The Communities menu is a great way to sort listings according to commuter preference, waterfront living, golf neighborhoods, or second home investments.

Each of the many regions within the agency’s reach is nicely blanketed with school breakdowns, available listings and well-rounded descriptive narratives.

You can’t afford to put up barriers between a buyer and your data.

I hope they integrate specific community videos, as RealtyAustin does.

Local hotels, restaurants and shopping options round out the content for each community. Granted, it’s a Yelp feed, but remember: Yelp is the number no. 1 site in the world for such reviews. Why not save customers a step?

Williampitt.com provides a crazy amount of relevant content for an exceptionally hectic corner of the country.

Michaelsaunders.com, REAL Trend’s no. 1 overall website, does a superb job of parsing out lifestyle options, too.

REAL Trend’s rankings should be carefully scrutinized by agents looking to bolster their Web presence. How sites are developed is going to be ever more critical as advancing Internet technologies make sharing relevant real estate data ever more challenging.

Do you like any of the sites mention here?  What do these sites lack? Let us know!

Have a technology product you would like to discuss? Email Craig Rowe.

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