Website Renovation - Inspired by Kathy

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Real Estate Sales Representative with Windermere Real Estate / Whatcom Inc.

I would like to thank Kathy McGraw for inspiring me to renovate my website. If you have not read Kathy's post How did Your Website go from Great to Pitiful you should check it out. My updating project was one of the first websites that I built. It was in desperate need of renovation. The website had become so shameful that I had not only stopped promoting it, but I was trying to hide it. It is a little embarrassing to show you what the website looked like, but hopefully it will inspire others to do the same. The website is http://whatcomhomefinder.com/

whatcomhomefinder.com

Not only did I focus on the design of the website, but I really needed to add better content. I decided to write a few paragraphs of unique content about each city on separate webpages of the site. This helps build a more robust website with better Google juice. I took all of the photos on the website myself and I still have a few photographs to add.

Ryan Martin, e-Pro®, Realtor® - 360-319-0040

Windermere Whatcom Real Estate

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Rainmaker
299,243
Kathy McGraw
CELLing Realty - White Water, CA
Riverside County CA Real Estate

Ryan.....Inspired by Kathy, so now I am Inspired by Ryan.......don't ya just love how we can inspire each other?  Good job on getting the updates done......:) :)

 On a side note I want to Thank You  for what you are binging to the e-PRO Group, and to all of us......:) :)

Nov 17, 2007 06:35 AM #1
Rainer
113,497
Ryan Martin
Windermere Real Estate / Whatcom Inc. - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham Commercial RE Broker

Kathy - You did inspire me. I have been procrastinating on this website for months.

Regarding your Thank you, you are always welcome. I like to help people when I have the time and energy. Thank you for jump starting the e-Pro group.

Nov 17, 2007 06:40 AM #2
Rainer
85,869
Bobby Carroll
Jaclyn Smith Properties - Clayton, NC
Clayton NC New Home Happiness Coordinator
Hi Ryan - Nice site. Just curious why each time I click on the top navigation buttons I notice a new window opens in my browser. Users will find this type of navigation confusing. Also, when you underline copy and the words do not link, your sending a confusing message again. Plus there are words that act as a link, and the site visitor doesn't know this unless they happen to accidently "mouseover" the copy. Just one more question, how is the site going to generate leads. I recommend you dangle some high-value information or assessments (compelling offers) to encourage site interactions from your site visitors. You might also consider tweaking your title tags for the area information to include the keyword "real estate". Here is an example Birch Bay Real Estate or Birch Bay Homes For Sale. That's a few observations based on a quick click through the site. You got the makings of a good site.
Nov 17, 2007 06:58 AM #3
Rainer
113,497
Ryan Martin
Windermere Real Estate / Whatcom Inc. - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham Commercial RE Broker

Bobby - Thank you, I really appreciate the feedback. The Navigation buttons open a new window because I left the target="_blank" tag in. This was a mistake. Thank you for catching it. I will do something about the  underlined content in the copy that is not linked. Maybe I will change the color of the text to distinguish the header as opposed to underlining it. As for getting leads, I am going to put a property search image at the top of right Navigation Side Bar. I will try to ad some other "catching" items there. Do you have any suggestions? In regard to the real estate keyword phrases, do you feel that the site might look overly optimized by using this tactic?

Nov 17, 2007 07:12 AM #4
Rainer
85,869
Bobby Carroll
Jaclyn Smith Properties - Clayton, NC
Clayton NC New Home Happiness Coordinator

One common element that works best to capture leads is via a "Mini-contact". All Dakno sites include this tool to allow site visitors to quickly leave a message or ask a question. Our Dakno website generates about one solid lead a day via this tool alone. We hardly ever get any bogus leads. We get our usual amount of spam crude, otherwise all the leads are legit. Our client's compelling offers include:

  • CMA (a typical call the action)
  • Relo Guide request (a typical call the action)
  • Home buyers guide (a typical call the action)
  • Home improvement consultation
  • Client for life signup
  • Home Sellers Guide (a typical call the action)
  • Pre-listing Guide
  • Home Sellers Assessment (MOVA-Maximization of Value Assessment)
  • Buyers Concierge Signup
  • Sellers Concierge Signup
  • Use My FREE Moving Van (a typical call the action)
  • FREE Moving Boxes signup
  • FREE New Born Stork Sign
  • FREE REMAX Balloon ride signup

Those are a few of the offers we integrate into our clients websites. We always consult with the client to conceive uniquely branded offers to entice the site visitor to engage with the site owner. (Example: The Rustic to Refined Home Buyers Guide - for our clients in Wyoming)

Bobby

Nov 17, 2007 08:05 AM #5
Ambassador
1,553,831
Karen Kruschka
RE/MAX Executives - Woodbridge, VA
- "My Experience Isn't Expensive - It's PRICELESS"
Ryan, I'm no authority on web design, but I think you have done an excellent job on your new site.  I do recommend you choose only some the offers to include otherwise the site will look like a car dealer's ad, Karen
Nov 17, 2007 08:15 AM #6
Rainer
113,497
Ryan Martin
Windermere Real Estate / Whatcom Inc. - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham Commercial RE Broker

Bobby - Thank you again. I am going to continue to work on this website for a bit. I really appreciate your input on this.

Karen- Thank you. Like anything there is always room for improvement, but things can also be taken too far. I respect your opinion on this.

Nov 17, 2007 08:27 AM #7
Rainmaker
539,908
Sandy Nelson
Riley Jackson Real Estate Inc. - Olympia, WA
your Olympia area Realtor

Ryan, I checked out your website and I like it. Good job.

Sandy

Nov 17, 2007 08:31 AM #8
Rainmaker
299,243
Kathy McGraw
CELLing Realty - White Water, CA
Riverside County CA Real Estate

Ryan, As I said in my Post (which by the way isn't linked here but my Profile....don't know your intent) Bobby and DAKNO had some great info in my EVAL.....I would agree with Karen above, that of course you couldn't nor shouldn't incorporate all.....or it will indeed look too confusing, and cluttered. 

Figure out what works best with your Brand also (logo)  that is one of the best tips I got, and that is the one I will concentrate on the most.....oh, and one of Bobby's older Posts was on Families, and what to offer on your site....maybe he can give a link as it is what originally got me thinking :) :)

Nov 17, 2007 08:31 AM #9
Rainer
113,497
Ryan Martin
Windermere Real Estate / Whatcom Inc. - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham Commercial RE Broker

Sandy - Thank you. The website still needs work, but it is light years ahead of the older version.

Kathy- I fixed that glitch. You post is now properly identified. I spent some time looking at DAKNO's work and they have built some great websites. It is a process and I am working through it. Keep in mind that I only spent about 3 days renovating the website. Thanks for your support.

Nov 17, 2007 08:56 AM #10
Rainer
85,869
Bobby Carroll
Jaclyn Smith Properties - Clayton, NC
Clayton NC New Home Happiness Coordinator

I guess I should have worded my sentence differently. The offers above are from "various" sites and clients. It's matter of who you target and how you effectively "call-out" the features on a site. We have conducted significant "heat-map" and recorded "actual mouse habits" to determine what works and where it should be positioned. If you generate zero business from the relocation niche, don't use the relo guide as an offer. Of course many FREE offers don't appeal to the high-end buyer/seller, so offering those generally don't work. Their more information driven, therefore a high-value piece of information (unique market report) offer works better. Just remember, most of the so-called "FREE-REPORTS" typically seldom generate much legit business. The reports must be unique and convey high-value to be enticing. 

Nov 17, 2007 09:21 AM #11
Rainer
113,497
Ryan Martin
Windermere Real Estate / Whatcom Inc. - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham Commercial RE Broker
Bobby - That is more valuable advise. Thank you again. Since this is one of 6 real estate websites that I own and operate, it can be very narrow in scope. The target audience is home buyers in Whatcom County. I have other websites that specifically cater to commercial real estate and buyers & sellers in other areas. My intent was to make a website that provided local information to the area, as well as display the current inventory. Of course I would like to website to rank well in the search engines for these general terms. I would also like to push the company that I work for. Windermere is the dominant brokerage in our area and I would like to use that to my advantage.
Nov 17, 2007 09:34 AM #12
Rainmaker
299,243
Kathy McGraw
CELLing Realty - White Water, CA
Riverside County CA Real Estate
Ryan- I am very proud of you....3 daysand you updated the site :) :)  Heck with 6 sites, that is a great first step, and I like the look of it :) I'll let you know when I get even this far....I have to wait a tich, as apparently I have to redo the whole thing, and the other sites well....I'm gettin' there :)
Nov 17, 2007 12:41 PM #13
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Ryan Martin

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