Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works. – Steve Jobs
Let’s face it, first impressions matter. A foundation of good content is going to keep your readers engaged but you need to hook them first. You do that by having a good design. That design extends beyond more than just how it looks (graphics, colors, etc.). Layout and navigation (how it works) matters too.
- If I’m searching for homes, can I access your home search page with one-click?
- What if I’m looking for info on a specific neighborhood? Do you have a resource/landing page for that? Can I get to it easily?
- What if I need to contact you because I have a question, do you have a form readily available on your page? (Note: Every listing page should have a contact form).
Usability & Navigation:
When designing your site, remember, if a site visitor can’t quickly and easily find what they’re looking for, they’re going to get frustrated and leave. So think about what it is your site visitors need access to and ask yourself if that’s easily accessible with one click from your home page. Your navigation buttons should summarize the major content areas of your website. To me, that includes pages like:
- About – Who are you? Why should I work with you?
- Home Search – This one is obvious and one of the main reasons consumers are coming to your site…to search for homes.
- Featured Listings - (I’m 50/50 on this one but I can see where you’d want to bring attention to your own listings)
- Neighborhoods – Do you have landing pages for each of these items? Real Estate Agent Irina Netchaev for example built “Local City Guides” for varying neighborhoods in her area.
- Testimonials – Frankly, what others say about you matters more than what you can say about yourself. Have you collected testimonials from past clients to share? If not, you should. Here’s a great testimonials page from Real Estate Agent Cyndee Haydon.
- Contact – How easy are you making it to contact you? The more hoops you make people jump through just to get in touch, the less likely they are to do so.
Remember, think about WHY people are coming to your website. What are they looking for? Then, what can you trim, or re-arrange to make it easier for them to find those things?
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