Is Your Website Content Working For You?

By
Real Estate Agent with Leo Lawrence Real Estate

Here's a comment I posted on George Tallabas' blog post: What Are Consumers Looking for in a Realtor Website. He said I should post it as a separate item, so here it is:

Before I was a Realtor, I was a web and print designer for years. One thing that MANY sites have in common that makes them less usable is the header that is so prominent that it takes up half of the visible page. By visible page, I mean what the user sees when the page loads.

For example, Thesa, I looked at your site. It's very attractive and seems to have good information. There are a couple of things that strike me about it off the bat, though. One is that your 'Call To Action' is 'below the fold', that is, the user must scroll down to find it. I am talking about your links to Search For Homes, Contact Me, etc. I bet you would get greater results from your site simply by moving that to the top of the text area. The average user decides in the first few seconds of a visit to a site whether they want to stay or not. That means if your site loads slowly or isn't IMMEDIATELY RELEVANT, they will look somewhere else.

A note on content:

  • Put your most relevant info at the TOP of the page. Start with your conclusion, then work your way down. This is counter to the way most of us are used to writing. Writing for the web is different.
  • If you want a user to DO something- search for home, fill out a form, click a link- put it at the TOP of the page. Don't make the user scroll down to do something!
  • Use lots of bullet points and emphasize with BOLD and italics. Research shows that web users scan for relevant information rather than reading complete sentences. If your site is too wordy or the text is too small, you will lose many visitors right off the bat.
  • Try to distill down to the basics,(be concise!) especially on your home page. Elaborate on other pages, when you've already got the user somewhat interested.
  • Try searching for articles on web writing- there are plenty of good ones out there. Better content is the first step toward a more productive website!

Hope this is helpful- I'm fairly new to real estate, but I know something about web design.

Anyone else have tips about what makes a site usable?

 

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Rainer
132,474
Randal Keberlein
Weichert Realtors, Precision - Kenosha, WI
Very informative. I would not object at al if you visited my site and gave me constructive criticism!
Apr 14, 2007 06:26 AM #1
Anonymous
Michael Thompson

Thanks Jennifer for this post. I have had a website for several months with no serious contacts about real estate. I have read a great deal about SEO and made some changes. Sill no success.

Your post has given me something else to consider.

Apr 14, 2007 06:41 AM #2
Rainmaker
720,487
Teri Eckholm
Boardman Realty - White Bear Lake, MN
REALTOR Serving Mpls/St Paul North & East Metro

Good Post!

Remember to have a call to action on the page...My site is working better with easy to locate buttons. Before it was just an "email me" and kind of buried. But I know now I wasn't getting contacts because I didn't make it easy and visible for them to leave information.

Apr 14, 2007 06:56 AM #3
Rainer
9,074
Jennifer Wilton
Leo Lawrence Real Estate - Saint Louis, MO

Randal, I'll try to check it out.

 

Michael, SEO and user retention are very different concepts. The same thing that brings someone to your site is not necessarily what will keep them there. Good for you for being open to change!

 

Teri- thanks- good suggestions!

Apr 14, 2007 07:12 AM #4
Rainer
40,415
Cindy Richter
Interior Motiv Home Staging - Flower Mound, TX
IRIS Dallas, TX Home Stager
Fabulous info!  Thanks, I love the comment on bold and italics regarding relevant information.  I will tell my hubby.  He did my website.  I would love some constructive critisism from others about mine! www.interiormotiv.com .  Thanks again!
Apr 14, 2007 07:25 AM #5
Rainer
9,074
Jennifer Wilton
Leo Lawrence Real Estate - Saint Louis, MO

Randal, I had a quick look at your site, and preliminarily, I have a couple of suggestions:

  • You have your contact info at the top and bottom of the page. I would get rid of the contact info at the top of the page and move your header up (along with the rest of your content). Your info to buyers and sellers is 'below the fold'- I had to scroll down to find it.
  • Add some bolding to important words or phrases- it draws the eye of your reader, and helps improve your SEO in some instances
  • I would also highly recommend using more text links in your text. This has the effect of making your important text stand out and be useful, too. For example, here's part of your home page text, and how I would change it:

   "Here you will find a wide variety of useful information and resources designed to help you buy or sell a home more effectively in the Kenosha, Pleasant Prairie areas. From information on the local community, to advice about finding a mortgage or preparing your home to sell, it's all available here on my web site.

You can also search for your ideal home by viewing current listings with detailed descriptions and photos. Or you can get help determining the value of your home by requesting a report that includes the prices of similar homes that recently sold or are currently for sale in the Kenosha, Pleasant Prairie areas.

So whether you're buying or selling, feel free to contact me and I will be happy to help you with all your real estate needs."

Give people as many opportunities and ways as possible to find stuff on your site!

Hope this is helpful!

Apr 14, 2007 07:38 AM #6
Rainmaker
337,464
Thesa Chambers
Fred Real Estate Group - Bend, OR
Principal Broker - Licensed in Oregon

Jennifer - I feel like an idiot - you posted this a week ago and I just now found it.  I am subscribing to your blog and hope you will do the same for me - I agree with your comments about my website and thank you more than you will ever know - I have been asking for a year what I can do and you nailed it on the head.  Thanks again

Apr 21, 2007 03:01 PM #7
Rainer
9,074
Jennifer Wilton
Leo Lawrence Real Estate - Saint Louis, MO
Thesa, thanks for your kind comments. I hope it helps you- good luck!
Apr 26, 2007 01:09 PM #8
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