Do Your Visitors Leave Before They Arrive?

Services for Real Estate Pros with Marte Cliff Copywriting

This morning I was once again reminded of how well-meaning web designers sometimes destroy their client's chances of Internet success.

They put together beautiful websites, bring in good writers and hire people to make sure the SEO is just right. But then... they get just a bit too "artsy." One of the mistakes they make is using a black background. Studies have shown that people don't like to read white on black, except in very small doses. It's simply too hard on the eyes. But that's not the biggest problem.

Those designers probably have superior high-speed Internet service, and they forget that not everyone has the same service.

The truth is, for those of us with satellite or dial-up service, it takes so long forhourglass those pages to load that we leave before we even see them. So, even though the content is informative and well-written, even though the SEO puts the sites at the top of page one on a Google search, the site owner gets no benefit.

I've found that a dark red background has the same effect - pages take so long to load that it appears that they aren't going to load at all. So, even if I'm pretty sure the page is one I want to visit, after a minute or so, I click away. If I'm following a Google search and I'm not sure I even want to be there, I click away after a few seconds.

Excessive flash and too many graphics can have the same detrimental effect. And... as much as most people don't want to hear it, so can adding Google+. Sometimes when I'm sitting here waiting I notice the memos at the bottom of the page. They say "waiting for ..." and quite often it's Google + that's holding things up.

We all have to weigh the benefits against the drawbacks. But in my opinion, anything that makes a page load slowly is probably worth eliminating.

You can't sell your visitors a darned thing if they never arrive!

Comments (35)

Regina P. Brown
MBA Broker Consultants - Carlsbad, CA
M.B.A., Broker, Instructor

Yes, you're definitely right!  I'm glad you shared this article as a reminder.

Aug 03, 2012 12:58 PM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Corinne - Perhaps they do test - with their high speed connections.

Anna - You're welcome to do that. I'll let you know how fast your page loads.

Joan - Thanks, and you're welcome!

Sandy - Only in the cities. Those of us who choose country life make do with dial up or satellite.

California Coast - It does pay to think about ALL the people you hope to attract.

Aug 03, 2012 01:04 PM
Teri Clardy
Colorado Premier Staging, LLC - Littleton, CO
APSD Certified Home Stager Pro

Great article.  We spend time in a rural area where we have satelitte internet and boy what a difference form our service in the city.  Those who help us design our websites should definitely keep those services in mind.

Aug 03, 2012 01:11 PM
Melissa Marro
Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team - Orange Park, FL
Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging

I agree and I have a website with a black background and white text. I haven't been able to figure out where to change it yet. I keep looking for the WP setting, otherwise I love the site layout. I'm hoping to get it figured out this weekend. 

Aug 03, 2012 01:58 PM
Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging
Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR - Portland, OR
"Staging Consultations that Sell Portland Homes"

Marte what an excellent post ... the mechanics of a website are as important as the content.  It's so true that most of us just won't wait for slow pages to load ... thanks for some great reminders!

Aug 03, 2012 02:05 PM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Teri - Yes, they should. Maybe designers should have a dial up in their offices so they can test load time on a slow system.

Melissa - I wish you luck with that. Trying to figure out Wordpress can be a major challenge!

Maureen - Right. We've become an impatient bunch. And when you think it's not that many years ago that we had to send a letter in the mail...

Aug 03, 2012 02:27 PM
Sharon Alters
Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308 - Fleming Island, FL
Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL

Marte, there are even some blogs here on ActiveRain that are super slow to load and I have a pretty fast connection. Thanks so much for the tip on g+ - I was just lamenting that it isn't on one of my sites. Now I will reconsider.


Aug 03, 2012 02:59 PM
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Marte, yes, there has been a major transformation in website design approach. In fact, to best of my knowledge, one of the factors to get Google Juice is how quick the site is in loading the contents...(of course, that's being translated by customers - who leave before they arrive!) 

Aug 03, 2012 03:16 PM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Sharon - It may not be the case for everyone, but I notice it a lot on my computer.

Praful - I've heard that also. But I hear so much about what Google does that I don't know WHAT to believe. I do know that in spite of all the changes, I'm still getting link farms sometimes when I'm searching.

Aug 03, 2012 03:54 PM
Hella Mitschke Rothwell
(831) 626-4000 - Honolulu, HI
Hawaii & California Real Estate Broker

Marte: I love my RED but everything else loads pretty fast. I'll be making major changes to my websites later this year and will definitely heed your advice.

Aug 03, 2012 06:52 PM
Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

You are so right, Marte.  Unfortunately, I realized this after I selected my background as purple, but I loved the purple so much and it was so right for the equity I was trying to communicate.  Instead, I made the font larger to help.  I don't have flash or widgets, and I had my web designer upgrade something (I forget) to help w/ this issue.  I now need to rereview to see if it's improved. 

Oh and I also noticed that w/ G+.  But, at least the rest of the page loads.

Aug 03, 2012 10:05 PM
Mike Jaquish
Realty Arts - Cary, NC
919-880-2769 Cary, NC, Real Estate


I pay for broadband service, and I want broadband-fast loads.  That some pages load slowly for me probably means they don't work at all for people with slower connections.

Great fundamental site design message here!

Aug 03, 2012 11:11 PM
John McCormack, CRS
Albuquerque Homes Realty - Albuquerque, NM
Honesty, Integrity, Results, Experienced. HIRE Me!

Great Point Marte, I had not really thought about it but oh so true.  I have a Flash map search on my homepage that may need to find it's way out.  It wont work on Ipad,Pod and phone either.  Thanks for the reminder.

Aug 04, 2012 12:43 AM
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

Here is an electronic $5.00 bill for your most worthy post....Keep the change if any...thank you Marte...

Aug 04, 2012 12:50 AM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Hella - I love red too, but might be afraid to use it. I wonder if the shade and intensity matters. Probably.

Debbie - that must be a new site? I went to the one linked from your profile and it's brown (and loaded fine)

Mike - that would be a good indication that someone like me wouldn't get there at all. If high speed is ever available where I live I'll be first in line to order. (But that's not likely - not enough population out here.)

John - That's probably a good idea.

Richie - Why thank you!


Aug 04, 2012 01:01 AM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Erica - Absolutely. If we slow them down or make anything difficult, they're gone...

Aug 04, 2012 02:09 AM
Amada Slade
Island Realty of the Lowcountry - Beaufort, SC
Who knew. Thank you for the great advice.
Aug 05, 2012 10:01 PM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Amada - If you have "true" high speed, you wouldn't know.

Aug 06, 2012 05:30 AM
Gary Frimann, CRS, GRI, SRES
Eagle Ridge Realty / Signature Homes & Estates - Gilroy, CA
REALTOR and Broker

Amanda, I didn't know that about Google +...  I was aware that Google does include into the page rank how fast the page loads, correct?  I am guilty of getting off a page that loads too slowly.

Aug 06, 2012 05:42 AM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Gary _ I first noticed it when I added Google + to my own pages. It was just one more thing to load so slowed them down.

I think we're all guilty of leaving if the page doesn't appear within a few seconds. Especially if we aren't SURE that the page is going to offer what we're searching for.

Aug 06, 2012 08:13 AM