Imagine this… It’s Black Friday and you’re the CEO of one of the biggest shopping centers in the world. In the middle of the day, at noon, your in-store payment processing system crashes.
For six hours, shoppers have to pay with cash or leave without buying.
Not only does it hurt your company’s revenue stream, it hurts your company’s reputation.
Sound like a nightmare?
Well, this is exactly what happened to Macy’s on November 24th, 2017.
And similar horrors happen online — from security breaches to untimely website crashes to load-speed issues. In the digital age that we’re all living in, those scenarios can have the same impact as a downed Macy’s on Black Friday.
After all, how would you feel if your information got stolen while on a real estate agent or investor’s website? Or if you had to wait a full minute just for their website to load? Or if their website crashed while you were looking at house listings?
You get the point. These are problems… big problems.
Fortunately, you can avoid most of these revenue-killing scenarios by choosing the right real estate website host. In fact, here are four things that you should consider when selecting hosting for your real estate website.
Real Estate Website Hosting Consideration #1: Security
One source reports that 86% of websites have at least one “serious” vulnerability.
And perhaps there’s no more important real estate website hosting consideration than security. If your website is open to peering eyes, then your information or your visitor’s information can get stolen.
If someone steals your visitor’s information while they’re on your website, then you can count on them never visiting your website again. And you can definitely count on them never working with you.
Sadly, this is such a problem that 71% of adults say that they are not confident that their information will stay private when working with a company.
For that reason, 86% of internet users have tried actively to minimize the visibility of their digital footprint while 55% have tried to hide from specific people or organizations when online.
Clearly, people care a lot about their privacy. If that privacy is violated, then, generally speaking, it’s an unforgivable sin of online business.
And if someone steals your information… well, it’s quite difficult to manage a website when a cybercriminal is running around with your login credentials.
But real estate website hosting security isn’t just important because you want everyone’s information to stay safe. That is the most important reason, but not the only benefit.
Take SSL integration, for instance. Websites that have HTTPS instead of HTTP actually tend to rank better in search engines, which means more passive traffic and better real estate lead generation.
And since 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine, that SSL integration can help unlock a wealth of revenue-generating potential.
Sure, it won’t automatically place you at the top of the rankings, but having SSL on your website is par for the course — if you don’t have it, then you’re likely to fall below the competition in search engines.
For the sake of your privacy, your visitor’s privacy, and even your Google rankings, you should consider real estate website hosting that has the following features.
- Restore data points — You never know when your website is going to crash. In the tech world, things sometimes happen for no apparent reason. Ideally, you want a real estate website host that has a disaster recovery plan.
- Network monitoring — More than likely, you don’t have the time or ability to actively monitor your own website servers. That’s okay, though. Just make sure you choose a real estate website host that will consistently monitor the network for malicious attacks, diverting each one.
- Simple SSL integration — Adding SSL to your website can be a bit of a pain if you haven’t done it before. The best real estate website hosts will offer to do this for you.
- Network firewalls — If your website host doesn’t have network firewalls to protect its servers, find a new website host. This is simply expected in the real estate website hosting world.
At Carrot, we offer all of these protections so that you never have to think twice about whether or not your website is secure. We even have several dev team members behind the scenes who constantly help monitor your website to respond to any problems within seconds.
Whatever real estate website host you choose, though, make sure it offers the above four things.
Real Estate Website Hosting Consideration #2: Speed
The speed of your website impacts two primary revenue-generating factors.
First, SEO. Across the board, faster websites perform better in Google. In fact, the top players load in about .6 to .7 seconds.
The faster your website loads, the better chance you’ll rank above the competition.
And speed becomes an even deeper consideration when you find out that users spend an average of 69% of their media time on smartphones instead of desktops or laptops.
Often times, that smartphone isn’t as good at loading massive images, videos, or other visual files.
Which means that your real estate website host should store your website’s information in the most organized and speedy fashion. You don’t want people leaving your website because they’re sick of waiting for it to load. And you definitely don’t want to lose customers because the competition’s website was faster than your own.
Here’s the reality: people are impatient. Some studies even compare the human attention span to that of a goldfish.
Of course, when you actually get into the nitty-gritty of that study, it becomes quite ridiculous. There’s no argument that the human attention span is far superior to that of a goldfish.
So what’s really going on?
People have more options and easier access to those options than ever before. Which means they are less patient of lengthy load times (for instance) because they can find a million — literally — other websites that will load faster and offer a similar solution.
Said another way, the primary reason that you need a fast website is because people expect it.
So then, the two reasons that website speed matters are because it helps your Google rankings and people won’t wait for a slow website.
Which is why, at Carrot, we test our customer’s real estate websites regularly, to make sure we’re making them as fast as we possibly can.
In fact, here are three things we do to keep our customer’s websites fast. If you don’t choose to work with us, then you should choose another real estate website host that offers similar functions.
- Powerful CPUs and abundant RAM — We use extremely powerful Central Processing Units and an abundant amount of RAM that ensures we can keep up with the demands on all of our thousands of customer websites.
- Purpose-built servers —We leave our servers designated for specific operations so that there’s never a shortage of computing power for our customer’s websites.
- Load-balanced server clusters — Our servers can handle an infinite amount of demands. With load-balanced server clusters, we monitor our customer website’s load speed and computing power, adding servers as the demand increases, and removing servers as the demand decreases.
Real Estate Website Hosting Consideration #3: Scalability
You don’t want your business to outgrow your website hosting.
Ideally, you want a real estate website host that will grow with you. As your website traffic and conversions increase, so too should the bandwidth of your hosting servers. Of course, with many website hosts, that’s not the case.
Some real estate website hosts neglect scalability because they want to keep costs low. Others do it because they are outright lazy. Frankly, though, the reason doesn’t much matter.
What matters is having a website that scales with your business — rather than holding it back.
Otherwise, you’ll have to change website hosts as your business scales, which usually means a few days of downtime for your website and sorting through a confusing hash of DNS records.
To ensure uninterrupted online presence and safeguard against potential cyber threats, consider opting for a DDoS protected VPS.
And this isn’t just important if you want to grow your real estate business into a massive corporation. It’s important for the real estate industry as a whole. Some seasons naturally expect more sales than others. More sales mean more traffic which means a larger demand on your website for bigger and stronger bandwidth.
June and July, for instance, almost double in sales from December and January.
If your website can’t handle those rising and declining trends, then you’ll miss out on massive sales potential for the year.
With a scalable host, though, you’ll never have to worry about your website slowing down or crashing because of an overabundance of demands. Within seconds as well as years, a scalable host will adapt to your online popularity rather than requiring you to adapt to it.
There are many different ways to accomplish this on the tech side. But at Carrot, here’s how Austin, one of our developer geniuses explains what we do to make our website “infinitely” scalable.
We can “infinitely” scale the number of web servers in our load-balanced cluster. Load balancing means that the requests sent to Carrot are spread out among an arbitrary amount of servers. We track the average response time and the average amount of load on the servers in our cluster and if the load becomes too high, we add more servers to our cluster. A good analogy is opening more checkout lanes at the grocery store if lines start to get too long.
Real Estate Website Hosting Consideration #4: Support
When thinking of real estate website hosting, most people don’t immediately consider support.
The reality is, though, that when your website goes down for no apparent reason, struggles to climb through the rankings, doesn’t convert like you want it to, slows down, or becomes suddenly less secure, you need someone who can help.
Regardless of how good the real estate website hosting is, it’s practically inevitable that you will either (1) have general questions about making customizations to your website or (2) experience unexpected problems which you don’t know how to fix.
When that happens, you need reliable experts just a phone call away.
Our world-class support team at Carrot is adamant about helping our customers. Just last quarter, they had over 7,000 conversations and nearly 300 one-on-one strategy calls.
If your website host doesn’t have a remarkable support team, then find one that does.
The real estate website host that you choose has a massive impact on four things.
Before you decide which real estate website host to use, make sure that you consider these four factors. At Carrot, we keep our customer’s website fast, secure, and scalable, while also providing world-class support.
What do you think is the most important thing to consider when choosing a website host?