A lead generation website benefits real estate professionals with new prospects. The exposure, the increased sales, the opportunity to open up new markets-all sounds super exciting, but who is going to create the site? Hiring a real estate web designer can be a challenge. This guide will help you identify the best candidate for the job.
Hiring a competent, full-service web developer to create your website can be an easy, no stress solution to get the results from your website that you are looking for.
Hack or Highly Qualified? Following are questions you should ask any potential web developer to make sure they are the right fit for your site.
Pretty Pictures or Real Code Your developer candidate should do more than just drag and drop HTML editors. Many wannabe developers use the drag and drop method, instead of writing the code themselves, which creates confusing code, long load times and potential problems for search engines.
Room to Grow How will the site be updated? Are you responsible for updating the content or does the vendor offer a maintenance agreement? Can the developer do extensive database-driven applications?
Fly By Night Anyone can say they are a website developer, it’s important for you to do a little research to find out your candidates background before hiring. Can the candidate supply testimonials from customers? Does the candidate have a portfolio of sites he/she has created? How long have they been in business?
What Will Your Role Be? Building a website requires collaboration. While the candidate is a subject matter expert when it comes to website developing, you are the subject matter expert on your business. Inquire what the candidate expects you to deliver; text, graphics, links to the MLS and other real estate related sites, etc.
What’s this Going to Cost? While hiring the teenager across the street may seem like a great idea, and can save you money upfront, caveat emptor. Your website is the first impression people get of you and your company, an unprofessional site communicates unprofessional business. Spend the money upfront to assure a professional site that can be expanded and gets results!
Red Flags when hiring a real estate web designer
- The candidate does not know how to code using HTML.
- No lead generation or CRM capabilities built into the webiste
- No IDX Integration. Visitors expect to search listings and view properties from the MLS.
- Not mobile responsive web design. The website should look great on smart phones and tablets.
Questions to ask when hiring a real estate web designer
Could you code an entire website only using a text based editor such as notepad? The answer should be “yes”. This candidate understands HTML.
What Do You think of Audio?
Traditionally audio that automatically turns on is frowned upon. Your candidate should suggest having audio that must be turned on by the viewer.
What Programming Languages are You Proficient In?
OK, if the candidate can’t name even one, move on. Some “languages” the candidate should know include HTML (hypertext markup language), CGI (common gateway interface), PHP (Hypertext preprocessor), ASP (active server pages), and datatbases like MySQL (my structured query language).
Do you get the MLS data, and if so how often do you update?
Does it include my personal listings?
What can I do to customize it?
If a licensee uses a free frame solution, he or she cannot change any main features of the site and gets no search engine benefits; however, if the vendor obtains the information from a feed (ftp or RETS) this entails the IDX will be integrated into their site and allows changes to the MLS component, the licensee can customize the site more.
Do you have a Content Management System (CMS),how easy is it to use, and how much support is available if I need help?
CMS systems allow the site owner to add/edit/delete any aspect of their website themselves for free versus having to pay someone and work on their schedule. CMS systems are supposed to be easy to use (some are better than others) and a licensee always wants to make sure he or she can still get support in case it’s needed. WordPress is an open-source content management system (CMS) and blogging software based on PHP and MySQL technologies.
What is the price and what does that include?”
Asking this question allows the licensee to avoid any unexpected costs later. Having clarity on how much content, hosting capability, updating capability, and customizing are included in the initial cost will help to understand the bottom line. The licensee should also feel comfortable ensuring that a written contract is drawn up and signed before any work begins, and asking any questions that are not clearly represented in the contract to be answered and added prior to signing.