For marquee properties with large marketing budgets, designers typically have a library of assets on hand when creating a property listing website. A beautiful site can easily be designed around lush photography, videos, drone video, floor plan illustrations, and the like.
But for smaller properties with little or no marketing budget, it can be a much greater challenge to design an effective property website with enough content to appeal to buyers or investors. You may have only a couple of photos and a short description of the property at your disposal. With such minimal assets, where do you even start?
Here are a few best practices to help you take a small property website from basic to beautiful.
1) Single-Page Layout
When you don’t have a lot of content, the best approach is to design a single-page scrolling website. This format provides plenty of room to showcase your listing without having to build awkward sub-pages with empty template sections. Single-page layouts are also ideal for audiences accessing the site from a mobile device (quick to load, simple to scroll).
2) Create a Logo for the Property
A unique property logo is not just another asset for your design, but it also helps give the property an air of distinction. With design tools like Photoshop & InDesign, you can easily create a logo using an interesting typeface and iconography. As an alternative, there are many free PNG generators that provide tools to create a quick text-based logo file.
3) Leverage Flat Color and White Space
In the absence of content assets, use flat color blocks to fill space on your page, and balance them with roomy white space in between. This will give the feel of a rich browsing experience and highly polished design, even when there isn’t much content to showcase. For traditional print designers, simplifying designs with plenty of white space is a sharp contrast to cramming tons of information into a PDF flyer.
4) Add Icons
Including icons in your page design adds more visual interest, as well as provides additional navigation or branding elements. Free icon sites, such as flaticon.com, provide an extensive selection of icons in a range of colors and file formats.
5) Add Local Content
Local content helps you showcase your property’s context and deepen its story. Many city websites include public domain visitor content, such as videos, photos, and information on local communities and amenities. Other images can be purchased from stock photo sites. Enriching your site with local content can give buyers and investors a rich snapshot of the area and opportunity.
6) Embed Interactive Maps
To further ground your property in it’s physical location, consider embedding an interactive map into your property website (check out: mapbuilder.com, mapbox.com, esri.com). This not only pinpoints the property location, but also adds context by surfacing nearby restaurants, hotels, and attractions. A great approach is to categorize points of interest within 5-10 miles by places to live, work, and play.
7) Add Hover States & Animations
Once you have your page designed and images in place, it’s time to bring it to life. Add hover states to your links and buttons, and animate background images to provide an even more immersive experience. Leveraging both scroll-based and hover-based animations can drive visitor engagement within the website, and allow real estate marketers to control the story being told about an individual property.
8) Contact Form
Rather than simply listing contact information, also include a contact form into your single-page website to make it easier for prospects to reach out. If your company uses CRM like Salesforce, or marketing automation tools like Marketo, be sure to sync your data with these backend systems that will enable you to track and further your engagement.
Next time you design a property listing website—regardless of the property size—consider incorporating these best practices into your design approach.
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