www.mypropertyconsultants.com.au is a new dynamic Real Estate website designed and developed by TechEquipt. What were the important steps of this website journey and what can we can learn from them?
This website is a unique responsive website that is both on brand and meets key business objectives. Here we will outline some of the key steps we took to make this project a success.
Finding the right partner
During this process, we found it important to identify that we are the correct match for the client and they are the correct match for us. The best relationships work when you can help each other and strive towards a common goal. We certainly found this with My Property Consultants.
Understanding the business
The initial step involved forming an understanding of the My Property Consultants business. We needed to understand the history of the company, their brand, their key performance indicators (KPIs) and what makes them a company that stands out. This is often a step many developers do not take and expect the client to tell them what they have to build. By understanding the client we can provide valuable opinions, options and deliver the product they need as while we provide a skill set they don’t have, knowledge of their company, business and market is vitally important – which only they can provide.
We found an exciting professional company with years of local experience. We had to express this with their website.
After getting an understanding of the business we supplied various ideas based on our years of Real Estate development knowledge and combined our ideas with their own ideas. We outlined a site structure with features and functionality. Putting this in writing was a key step so we always have a reference point to come back to which really started the next step, our planning.
Planning focused on all the major areas listed below. The main focus was really breaking down tasks as much as possible, outlining dependencies and outlining the expected time against each task.
Additionally, we presented a number of ‘optional’ features to My Property Consultants that worked within their feature set that we believed would increase their overall success. A number of these were brought into the project
We also outlined our own expectations as in internal benchmark to strive for. This included things such as page speed, flexibility and user-friendliness.
Finally, we performed a risk assessment. Every project has risk. Our standard risk assessment outlines the key areas that risk the success of the project and we estimate the potential impact of each. Leaning on our experience with similar projects, we completed the risk assessment and allowed for that in our project management and delivery timeframes.
After working with the client on structure, features and functionality our lead designer was given a full written brief both in writing and via a meeting. My Property Consultants, in turn, supplied their current brand assets including a complete brand style guide.
We found a key aspect of the My Property Consultants brand was to use bold colours via the use of pink and solid black. We felt these colours were often used to bring attention. When someone is driving past a signboard, open for inspection sign, or office these bold colours will bring attention to potential buyers and sellers. With a new website, we’ve already got their attention so we wanted to drive the user to the property photos and the ‘Call to Action’ areas (CTAs) . Thus, while giving respect to the brand we primarily used the bold pink as a CTA.
The design went through multiple rounds internally, but all that hard work paid off when we presented the first design to the client and explained the use of functionality, transitions, and how we would leverage focus areas to maximise their core metrics. The client loved the design/UI/UX we were proposing.
The design was turned into an inVision app so we could bring the design to life showing the animations and transitions which also gives a scale version of the eventual end result.
Using the design information, we then started to outline the technical documentation which includes website wide general information (Such as SEO guidelines, speed expectations etc.) and documentation explaining each page functions. This was given to the development team to start the build.
In the initial research stages of the project, we determined which providers we had to integrate the website with. A key integration was with their CRM, Box+Dice. Members of our team had personally worked with Box+Dice previously and we decided to fly to Melbourne to meet them face-to-face. A key to any project requiring an integration is that your integration partners not only get on well but work together for a common goal. Box+Dice allowed us to integrate with them and all listings entered via Box+Dice will automatically display on the website.
We discussed, then setup the appropriate content management system and hosting. The CMS chosen for this project was Wagtail (https://wagtail.io). Our hosting recommendations were based around balancing budget and speed while allowing for future expansion. My Property Consultants chose to use TechEquipt for their web hosting on this project.
All the development tasks were documented, broken down into smaller manageable tasks, assigned to developers and timelines supplied and monitored. By outlining timelines upfront, it was easy to know if we needed to assign more effort and communication on the current progress and requirements became simpler. It also allowed us to better analyse the impact of external items holding us up.
We had regular work-in-progress (WIP) meetings with the client, helped them understand what their deliverables and expectations as part of the build were. As with any Real Estate website, there is a lot of Agent driven content including client photos, write-ups about their company, office information and testimonials). We also provided assistance around using the new CMS. Any new project needs all stakeholders on board and the best website projects can be looked at poorly if the advantages and progress have not been properly communicated amongst the whole team.
After the website had been developed on a staging/testing environment, there were multiple rounds of testing – you can never do enough testing. Testing included:
- Load testing
- User acceptance testing.
- Cross-referencing listings received vs their stock list
Testing is an iterative process and ensured that with each iteration we were developing a stronger overall asset for My Property Consultants.
Every project ends with an evaluation of what went right and want did not go so well. We can always learn from a project and do the next one better. In this project looking at our major external dependencies and having a backup plan was invaluable.
While the project was a success with the marketing manager commenting that they wanted to walk around with a sign highlighting they had this new website, the next time we are going to be even better.
Even more important is the stats that show the real results. After 2 months of being live, My Property Consultants have an 83.41% increase from Organic Search when comparing to the same period last year (according to Google Analytics). This shows the new website and the SEO is really working.
A project like this is not a set and forget, the client does have more data to enter via their CMS. But more importantly, they have a significant asset that they want to use to get the best possible return on investment. We will look at our KPIs, our analytics and work out how to help their digital strategy. The website is one piece of the puzzle, an important one but you must continue to grow and improve to be in front. To help on this front, TechEquipt will be working with My Property Consultants ongoing to help build on the platform we’ve developed hear and continually tune the website to ensure customer growth.