4 Ways To Make Sure IDX Works for You

As a Real Estate Agent, one of the most critical components of your website is the ability for site visitors to be able to search for homes. Think about it, they’re on your site to begin with for one of three reasons:

  1. They’re in the market to buy (or sell) real estate right now,
  2. They want to know what they’re home is worth,
  3. They want to know what the market is like.

Today, let’s focus on the first point: Searching for Homes.

A great IDX will not only get indexed in search and drive traffic, it will keep site visitors engaged long enough to consider your offer (a.k.a. hiring you as their real estate agent). But in order for your IDX to effectively engage visitors (and convert them), it needs to accomplish a few things. Your IDX should…

  1. Generate traffic
  2. Be easy for buyers to navigate
  3. Capture leads
  4. Increase listing awareness

Let’s look at these points in further detail…

Generating Traffic:

In order to generate leads, you need to focus on driving some traffic to your site first and a good (indexable) IDX is going to help do some of that for you.

The next step is to look at your site traffic and determine your conversion rate. For example, ~800 site visitors = 2-3 leads generated. If you know that number, then you know that you’re daily goal minimum is 800. From there, you can work on finding ways to increase that number and estimate conversions.

A few questions you need to ask yourself about your current IDX are…

  • How much of your IDX content is indexable?
  • Where does your IDX content currently rank in search engines?
  • How much of your traffic enters from a listing page?
  • How many site site visitors to hit “X” number of conversions?

Ease of Use:

If you’re making consumers jump through hoops just to be able to search for homes you can bet they’re going to click away from your site and go to your competitor’s site. In the end, the easier you make it for people to search for homes, the better. Give them what they’re looking for by placing an easy link to your Home Search page in your navigation and by placing a Quick Home Search form on your sidebar. Remember, the more they engage with you on your site, the greater the like-hood they’ll consider choosing you as their agent.

A few questions you need to ask yourself about your current IDX are…

  • What percentage of your site visitors view an IDX page? Can you increase this number by making your site easier to navigate?
  • How many listings views does your IDX average? Are you displaying results effectively? Are you making it easy to search for homes?
  • What feedback have you received from users? Have you ever taken a moment to poll your readers and ask them: “How can we make our IDX search tool easier for you to use?”

Capturing Leads:

At the end of the day, if you have a ton of people visiting your site and few conversions, then there’s a disconnect somewhere and your number one priority should be on figuring out where that leak is so you can patch it up and increase that number. So ask yourself:

  • What percentage of your IDX users register? Can you limit your registration fields to ask for less information and increase the number of registrations?
  • How much control do you have over registrations? Are you able to modify the number of listing details views and results views before requiring registration?
  • What incentive does your IDX provide users for registering? Listing updates via email? Save favorites? And…?

Increasing Awareness:

Lastly, how are you bringing attention to your own listings (and/or your office listings)? Do you have a Featured Listings page? How easy does your IDX tool make it to embed listings on your website? A couple of questions you should ask yourself are…

  • How can you incorporate listings on your site? Can you embed listings on a post or page? Can you create and embed map modules with property markers that link to listing detail’s pages?
  • What are the various ways that you can use your existing IDX to promote your own listings?

Maintaining a Website is Like Maintaining a Home:

Every week you have to mow the lawn and occasionally, you have to trim the hedges. A few times a year you might plant flowers and re-seed the lawn. And if you don’t do these things, the landscape becomes overgrown and well, it looks like no one cares.

What happens then?

Site visitors start to click away in search of another, more reliable source of information. One that’s updated often and neatly maintained.

Action Step: Spend some time look at your site and giving yourself a bit of a self-audit. How can you improve your site lay-out and navigation? How can you make your IDX tool easier to access to increase awareness for your listings and increase your lead capture?