In the last blog, we recommended that in order for appraisers to maximize their brand presence, they really need a quality website. A quality commercial appraiser website is one that was created or updated in the last 3 years, and that works well on both a desktop web browser or a mobile device. So, where to start? The impression that many have is a website is either A. something that will cost thousands of dollars and take months to complete, or B. my niece in high school can put one together in a weekend for basically no money. For a small business professional, both are wrong. Sure, it’s possible to spend thousands and take months to complete. But for a 1-3 person company, that’s overkill. Instead, here are a few steps to create a simple, professional-looking website for very little money. It will only take one rainy weekend to get it done, and there are a ton of resources available on the web to help.
To create a good impression, a commercial appraisal website needs to look professional, but doesn’t need to be elaborate. Here are the sections important to include. In fact, they can all be on the homepage:
There are a variety of companies that make the process of building a website easy for someone who doesn’t code.
Any one of the sites listed earlier will help with creating a domain name unique to your commercial appraising company. Create one that is easy to type in and contains your full business name. That way, potential clients can do an easy web search, or just type in the name. However, do not just take the free version that these sites provide. It will be something like “jacksonappraisalservice.wix.com”. Pay the few dollars to get your own name. Those free versions will also leave a lot of branding on your site which just tells the world you’re cheap.
The web is a visual medium, so good photos make a HUGE difference. Fortunately, it is not necessary to hire a photographer or buy a lot of images for your site. The website builder products have many photos to choose from. Avoid ones that have groups of people; they always look staged. Stick to pictures of the property types you appraise or the local skyline. If more photos are needed, a great place for free photos is Unsplash.com. The “hero image” for this website is from that site, found here. A word of caution—don’t just take photos off the internet. First, that is against the law. Second, some photographers work with services that search the internet, looking for the photographer’s distinct watermark and will take legal action. Using the builder site and Unsplash are easy and safe options.
The one place where paying for photos is smart is for the team. Don’t go to the JC Penney photo studio or “Glamour Shots” in the mall (…are they still around?) Instead, hire a local photographer who does family and senior portraits. Take the pictures outside a property type relevant to the appraisal services. Follow the photographer’s advice on what to wear. Really, only one shot of each person is needed. It’ll cost a few hundred dollars, but it will be worth it. The photographer will make you look your best. Research shows website visitors have much greater trust in a business relationship when they can see the owner. Use that same headshot in your LinkedIn profile.
Here are some good examples of commercial appraiser websites:
Following these steps will raise the profile of any commercial appraiser and make it easier to bring new work into the firm.
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