The days of flipping through a Rolodex are gone and word of mouth has gone digital. In the 21st century, a real estate agent’s business card is their website. Do you know how you’re being perceived? A subpar site (one that loads slowly, looks amateurish or lacks key information, for example) can stall a fledgling career in short order, but the right online presence can turn casual consumers into long-time clients.

To ensure you’re investing in the latter, embrace these best practices and avoid key mistakes so you can build your brand and your commission advance.

Ditch the DIY — Your Future Commission Advance Could Depend on It

Would you advise homeowners to market and sell their own property? Not likely. You know that there’s a reason you’re top in your field, and you could probably list a few dozen reasons homes sell better (and for a higher price) when an experienced agent is in charge. The same philosophy applies to web design. A skilled site designer can help with all of the following (and don’t be afraid to use this checklist as a guideline for questions during the interview process):

  • Dynamic and responsive design so your site can be easily read on a variety of devices
  • Reliable hosting and streamlined design so your site loads quickly and has little if any downtime
  • Clean and modern design elements that incorporate both substance and style
  • Integrated multimedia so you can incorporate video and graphic content as well as text
  • User-friendly features that make your site easy to navigate

If you’re absolutely committed to designing your site yourself, pay for a decent template and spring for the accompanying support package so you have a strong starting point and access to help along the way.

Reconsider Spontaneity

Whether you’re redesigning your site or crafting one from scratch, you need to have a plan. What is your color scheme? Do you have a logo? How do you want your menu designed? Do you have an overall layout in mind? All these things matter, and cohesive branding is essential if you want to build a following that recognizes your product (which, by the way, is you!) regardless of the format with which it’s being presented.

Embrace Authenticity and the Big Listing Advance Will Follow

Your site should look and feel like you. From the content to the layout, a website needs to reflect the person or business it’s representing. If you’re a small brokerage that focuses on family, let that come across. If you’re a huge firm that prides itself on an expansive roster of commercial clients, perhaps you’ll lean towards a sleek, modern site design with an industrial edge.

Don’t Be Afraid to Tweak

Ensure that your agreement with your web designer has a revision process and design approval built in. You shouldn’t just be satisfied with the final product; you should be thrilled. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Can potential clients find your contact information easily?
  • Does the page load quickly?
  • Is the design consistent across both PC and mobile?
  • Is the layout easy to follow?
  • Are the images and design elements original?

If the answers aren’t a resounding yes, work must continue. Give clear guidelines and be detailed about what you don’t like and what you’d prefer instead.

As a real estate agent, it’s easy to get caught up in the immediacy of property showings, new client meetings and concern over the all-important commission advance, but none of those things matter if buyers and sellers can’t find you in the first place. Devote resources to smart web design, and your brand will reap the benefits.