Designing portfolio websites for holding companies such as REITs and hedge funds requires a lot of thinking, planning and development strategy that if not done correctly can really tarnish your hard-earned brand.
Often these mistakes come from inexperienced firms that may be terrific designers, but not always strategically aligned with the real estate development industry.
Here’s a few things that we see far-too-often that are easy to fix before development, but can be very problematic after the damage is done.
Have you ever browsed a real estate site only to find a slew of empty listings? This is a direct result of not outlining data integrity standards in the planning and development.
It’s becoming increasingly popular to use portfolio management sites like VTS (View the Space) that offer terrific APIs to connect real-time information into your websites. The concern however, is making sure to build in appropriate quality controls so that every listing looks terrific on the front-end of the website.
For instance – we could build you parameters that only show listings with:
By doing so, you would have an automated system that ensures everything your prospective users see is accurate and complete.
The best REITs and development groups have a strong mantra that permeates their online presence.
Depending on who your target audience on the site is e.g. investors vs. tenants,etc., it’s important to complete the story of why that property is in your portfolio and how it connects to your overall group.
If this isn’t properly conveyed, it can seem like the property is the black sheep – the one that’s not in the fold like all the others and that can raise questions about your company’s ability to strategically acquire and manage its holdings.
We start every website project with an audit, that puts on paper what the goal of the site is. If there’s discrepancy within an organization, we deliberate until we can pick the one purpose for the site – then we build around that.
Far too often, websites intended to sell space, either commercial or residential, end up becoming information dumps that are highly utilitarian but lack no sense of priority.
Once you declare who your target user is, your site needs to help them find what they’re looking for as quickly as possible. Otherwise using your website just becomes a frustration and that angst will flow unnecessarily into your customer support team, or worse, to your competitors.
As the world literally fills up with unending information, it can be all-too-tempting to give people “everything” instead of a curated selection that has priority, hierarchy and searchability.
Recently we were auditing a site and found that there were completely separate databases for listings, and total owned inventory. Not only does that create double work in managing the information, it separates users from browsing your properties and being able to take a desired action on them.
Smart information design consolidates content as much as possible, while allowing appropriate flexibility for different user groups.
Now that we’re in 2018, I hate that we even have to still bring this up, but mobile optimization not only hurts your site from a user experience standpoint, but Google now penalizes sites that aren’t mobile-friendly.
When was the last time you looked at your traffic? If you’re like 100% of our other clients, you’re seeing a growing trend of mobile users on your site. That is absolutely not going to stop.
When was the last time you updated your site? Does anyone in your organization care about the website?
Is there any chance that someone could browse your website, and think that maybe that’s how you take care of your properties also?
How you do anything is how you do everything.
Personally, I love such a drastically convicting quote but boy does this scare me!
If your company owns real estate, then that is exactly where people are intending to live, work, retire, play, etc.
It really, really matters that you are making a compelling case for the value you are offering because decisions like this can’t always come down to numbers.
Every website needs to have a plan in place for how the site will grow and continue adding benefit to the users. This usually means regular blogging, project updates, company news or at a bare-minimum social media automation.
We build websites using the WordPress platform, because it’s easy and flexible for us as developers to build with, and easy for our clients to manage after launch.
If you’re interested in learning more about how to manage your own WordPress site, we invite you to join WordPress Wilderness – our private group dedicated to empowering non-technical owners to masterfully wield the power of their websites.
After reading this you’re thinking “Holy $h!t” we’re in trouble! Don’t worry – book a call on my calendar and let’s talk about getting you back on track.