Michele McKay initially called me to help her with her profile that she was using on her marketing materials. Michele, who had been selling real estate for 6+ years, had also spent part of her career running a successful architecture firm and working in interior design. Unfortunately, her efforts to write about herself were uninspiring.
A new profile emphasized her commitment to her clients, high customer service ethic and, as a former architect, her love of houses. Her background means that she brings an extra dimension to every relationship—making sure that
the homes her clients buy are structurally sound and represent good value.
Time for a new website
Michele wanted a little print leavebehind of some kind, but before we began work on that, she decided that a website was more urgent. We looked at realtors were doing in this space, and for the most part, the examples were uninspiring. Many of the default sites that the real estate agencies provide for their agents are rudimentary and leave no room for individuality or creativity. For those realtors who had gone to the expense of building standalone sites, few were truly impressive.
As a former architect, Michele understands the power of good design
In this case, it translated to her brand, so she flew to LA for a photoshoot with a photographer whose work she admired. The results were stunning, and we ended up with a logo and a really dramatic picture of Michele that will distinguish her from the competition. Remember that realtors, in general, are photo averse. They often are using photos of themselves on their business cards and other marketing materials that are ten or more years old, so Michele’s new image is not only contemporary but dramatic. There are thousands of real estate agents in the East Bay community, and we want Michele to stand out from the crowd.
Working in Gutensite
After comparing options, we decided to work in a technology called Gutensite; it’s been around for more than ten years and is based right here in Walnut Creek. This platform is easy to use, stable and very smart. Best of all, they provide tech support. My job? Web and content developer and project manager.
We chose a template and began work on Michele’s site
While I had done one other site in Gutensite, there’s still a learning curve. Fortunately, Gutensite is right there to help. We worked through getting the MLS feed hooked up and were delighted that it automatically provides a breakdown by community—Orinda, Walnut Creek, Moraga and Lafayette—alleviating the need for the user to apply his/her own filters. We tried several templates, examining aesthetics as well as usability. We wanted to make it as intuitive as possible for our users to navigate through the site, and we ended up using a different template than that with which we had begun.
I refined content for Michele’s profile, added a page for Our Community and Working with Michele. We created a page for some of Michele’s great testimonials, and were delighted with the way that Gutensite automatically inserts quotation marks to make this a very attractive page. Another small change—the most important information on a website is contact information, but the design displays her email address and phone number in the lefthand column in very small type. I wanted more visibility. We added it to her logo so that it’s at the top of every page—much more accessible and it doesn’t detract from the overall design.
This Gutensite template is image driven
This template is ideal for anyone who has a portfolio of his/her work. For Michele, we used a beautiful photograph of one of her properties on each page. We also imported little thumbnail images on the Community page. We added a blog—Michele thinks she can commit to writing a blog once/week. It doesn’t need to be a tome—rather, whatever is going on in the news that’s relevant to the housing market—tips for selling your home, economic information, community events and activities. Lamorinda is where Michele grew up and came back to live, so her knowledge of the local landscape is an important asset. We added two blogs to get started, along with a couple of images.
Domain Name: MicheleMcKay.com
Michele bought several domain names from GoDaddy, and I orchestrated the domain name transfer, with some help from Gutensite’s tech team. This was the final step; michelemckay.com is now live.
The results/what’s next
We’ll continue to tweak the site, including adding sales activity. Both Michele and I are delighted with the results. Working with Gutensite has been a wonderful partnership, and I know that if I run into any problems, they will help me find solutions. Michele’s site is clean and elegant. It will serve as a wonderful backdrop for the houses that Michele will be listing and selling. Best of all, the site’s design is timeless—its style is simple and stylish and should stand Michele in good stead for some time to come.
Are you a realtor, confused about website options? Talk to us at Top of Mind Marketing. We’re working with a growing list of realtors to build websites that adapt to their needs.