How to Build an Effective Website

August 8, 2017

By Lilia Abecassis

Having an effective and easy-to-navigate website is key in attracting clients and generating more business, especially in the title industry.

Dean Collura and Elliot Dill, co- founders of Title Tap, a firm specializing in marketing solutions for the title industry, shared some tips on creating a website that will focus on the needs of your clients and promote your company within your region. Collura is a Florida real estate agent with 10 years of experience in the title industry and Dill, an IT consultant for real estate attorneys and title companies.

Get Found on Google

The most important feature of a website is whether or not it can be found via a Google search. The easiest way to ensure that your website is listed as a search result is submitting your site to Google. This can be done by going to Google Search Consul and clicking “Add a Property.”

It is also important to make sure that your site is secure when customers visit. Having an “s” in the https:// of your web address denotes that the website is secure, and this can be done by acquiring an SSL certificate. “Having a secure website can boost your rankings in web traffic data,” Collura explained, “but will also protect both your business and customers against cyber fraud.

Lastly, remember that the customer is looking for information, not necessarily to make a purchase. For example, an effective Amazon listing for any product will have high-definition photos, a detailed product description, and will list features in the title. Companies will sell less, regardless of their product or service, without this kind of information.

 Information on your website should include an explanation of the benefits of title insurance, a resources page, answers to frequently asked questions, information about the closing process, videos or blogs answering common questions and tools for cost estimates. ALTA members can use content from ALTA’s Homebuyer Outreach Program as a source for this material. Try to use common English instead of industry terms and to focus your content on how your company and service best serves the needs of the customer.

Localizing Your Market

Make sure your website comes across professionally across all mediums, including mobile and desktop screens. Google searches conducted on mobile devices are automatically localized, so having a mobile-friendly website will provide potential customers accessing your site from their phones a pleasant, user-friendly experience. This is crucial because over half of Google’s traffic is coming from mobile device, and Google’s search ranking gives priority to mobile-friendly sites.

While your company’s name is the least important part of your website, localized and specific titles will determine traffic. Your page’s entire title is provided on a search engine listing, so it is important to maximize the information provided. Customers are more likely to click on a link when the title contains location and purpose of the company as the heading. For specific informational pages on your website, include a question or key words in the title before the company name. This will make your page stand out to customers with a specific inquiry. In summary, you can cater your website to your area by modifying your content, and adding in local keywords, tags and categories.

Other tips for effectively localizing your website are registering your company on directories and getting reviews on third-party sites like Yelp. Not only do registered, well-reviewed sites come up first on both mobile and desktop searches, but customers will feel more confident doing business with your company if there is affirmation that you do a good job. There are over a dozen reputable directories, most of which are free, and you can register your business easily online. Some companies will even mail you a window sticker to display. Collura and Dill recommend registering on four or five directories to start, and encouraging current customers to post comments. “At the end of a closing, if it’s been a great experience, you want to encourage your client to leave a good review,” Dill said. While testimonials on your website can be effective, good reviews and rankings on a directory come across as more trustworthy to potential customers. In addition, directory listings are often listed before your website on a search engine.

Make sure to read the reviews as well. Don’t be deterred by a negative review—as long as they aren’t frequent. Responding to negative reviews positively will reflect well on your company and show that you are active with your directory listing.

Localizing your photos on your website also will help drive local traffic to your site. Photos that feature your location and market will create a connection between your business and the customer. For example, if your company is based in St. Louis, a photo of the Gateway Arch is more effective and personal than a generic stock photo.

Getting the Traffic You Want

Having a clear focus on certain areas of your website can steer customers in the right direction and help them find what they need. Compare this to the “Add to Cart” button on a shopping website. Many title companies choose a rate calculator or a contact form as and their engaging feature. This also can be a “call to action” with a link to “like” a Facebook page. Collura and Dill recommend thinking about this in the context of “What do I want the client to do?” and making sure that the objective is clear. It should be easy for the client to navigate the page, and there shouldn’t be many other features or pop-ups that pose as a distraction.

You can also use targeted advertising to make sure that your ads on Facebook and other websites are reaching the maximum number of viewers. Facebook in particular allows you to target your ads based on liked interests, location radius, and job titles. Facebook will also provide you with data on how many people were reached and the effectiveness of the advertisement, and they offer affordable rates.

For more on how to build an effective website, check out this webinar recording.

Collura and Dill will be speaking at ALTA's Innovation Boot Camp (Aug. 23-24 in Baltimore) about new social medial platform, proven ways to utilize new features on existing platforms and how to stay safe in your social media practices.

Lilia Abecassis is a summer intern at the American Land Title Association. She is studying government and politics at the University of Maryland.

Contact ALTA at 202-296-3671 or