Since your website works for you 24/7 you want to be sure your home page brings people back over and over again.
Your goals for your website include:
Can you do this all from your home page? Yes, if you give it some thought. Take a look at our home page right now and see if it does each and every one of those four items.
Pretend you’ve never seen your site before and look at your home page with fresh eyes. Is it easy to run a home search? Can clients find local market information simply? Is there a way to find answers to urgent questions? Can the find out about you and a way to contact you with ease?
Now look at the design of your site. Is it pleasing? How does it look on your smartphone? On that small screen does it get harder to find things like property search and your contact information?
Make a list of improvements you think you need to make.
Ideally you can ask a few existing clients what they think. Listen carefully and help them understand you really want information, not just glossed over ‘oh it looks great’ comments. Make a list of those suggestions. Mull everything over for a few days and give yourself time to seek additional information.
Your goal is, of course, more listings and sales. The potential client looking at your home page wants an easy and direct way to search for properties. Putting your IDX or Multiple Listing listings front in center lets people look the way they want to.
Adding a link to your listings gives both buyers and sellers a chance to see some of your activity.
There are many who feel it only makes sense to make people register before you give them total access to a property search. And there are many who believe that’s absolutely the wrong way to go.
Registration, of course, generates a lead for you. How good it is is questionable. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve entered my phone number wrong, and even my name and email because I don’t want to be contacted.
There’s no single answer to this one. Use your best judgment about what will work for you.
Useful fresh content posted regularly is more likely to bring people back to your site than anything else. You can put the headline and the opening graphic and paragraph on your homepage with a link to the complete article. As you build content like this create an archive by subject and link to that from your home page as well.
Video can be useful content as well and more and more people like getting information this way. You can create a short video explaining something about real estate and have it on your home page – plus a link to archived videos you’ve made.
In addition to a link to your contact me page you may want a contact form right on the front page. You can also create a call to action if you give away a free report, newsletter, or ebook. Either or both can generate leads for you.
There’s little that will drive away a visitor to your site than music or videos or anything actually that starts playing automatically. Remember you have no idea where they may be looking at your site – and who may be looking over their shoulder.
Also, keep in mind that even if they are okay with the current melody, you want them to come back, and if they do and they hear or see the same music or video that they didn’t start, they may never visit again.
We’re seeing more and more popups on websites again. People hate them. Yes, some argue they get more signups for their newsletter than when they don’t use them. Still, my suggestion is don’t use them. You want your viewers to know they won’t be assaulted by noise, or popups when they visit your site.
Your site should be neat. Whitespace or empty space can be your friend. The screen, particularly mobile screens, are really not great for viewing. Make it easy for your visitors to know what’s on your site and how to get there.
If you remember the site is to help you get business, and you think about how a new and a returning client will respond you’ll probably do the right thing.
We’ll work to answer questions you have about home page design.
Before Anne Wayman became a writer she sold real estate in Southern California. She worked with her father who learned the business from his father. Not surprisingly she learned a few things along the way. Since then, she has been freelance writing for over 30 years – she is a grandmother, loves cats and writes about a wide variety of topics including real estate.