I am not an expert on website design. But I am a person who spends a lot of time on agents' sites and I am similar to many of the consumers who also make their way to those sites. During my travels through hundreds of these websites, I've kept a list of things that make me crazy and probably make others crazy too.
Since many of your potential clients get their first impressions from the home page of your website, I was thinking you might want to know what some of the more common mistakes are that leave the rest of us shaking our heads and moving on - oftentimes without making a call.
Make your site EASY for those coming to it.
First, before anything else, make sure your contact information is on your homepage and easy to find. This mean a telephone number and a link to your email. Don't make it a challenge for consumers to contact you. In fact, make it as easy as possible. Save the hide and seek games for at home with the kids.
Also, make the site easy to read. That means having font large enough that everyone, not just those under 30, can read it without resorting to a magnifying glass. And, at least when it comes to the text on your pages, believe in contrast. Please don't put white text on a light blue page or blue text on a black page.
Keep your site SIMPLE and USEFUL.
Limit the amount of text on your homepage. Yes, put some personal information on your site, but tell us what you can do for us, not what your favorite sport is. Let us know how long you have been an agent, what special designations you have earned, the areas you know inside and out. Tell us what your brokerage does others do not, perhaps even share special designations that can help us in what we are hoping to accomplish. If you have to go there at all, save the detail about your hobbies and pets for an About Me page
Keep it CORECT.
Did you notice the above goof? Well, just that quickly others will notice the misspellings on your site. Use the spellchecker. Check the grammar. If you are careless about the details on your site, why shouldn't we wonder if you are careless about other things - like the small print on those closing documents, for example.
Don't get CARRIED AWAY with bells, whistles and color.
Yes, a rainbow is a beautiful thing. But a rainbow colored background probably isn't a good idea. Just saying ... Also tread carefully with Flash, large graphics and other gizmos that can slow the progress in opening your site. Remember, not everyone has a new IMac to view your site. If it takes someone two minutes for your site to load, the odds are pretty good they will be gone by the time it does.
Don't have an OLD, OUTDATED site.
If information you are posting on your site is timely, then there comes a time when it is old. Move it on. Don't make us feel like we are the first to visit your site in three weeks. Most of the time, we don't care what has happened, but we may care about what is going to happen. If your site is stale and outdated, that is the feeling you will leave people with who view it.
So, please, for all of us heading your direction, take another look at your site. Is it user friendly? Is it cluttered or organized? Does it send the message to consumers you hope to send?
Grant Sasek works for Real Estate Pipeline, an on-line lead generation service.