Nothing happens without site visitors. They’re the grease that keeps the website machinery moving. But, most company websites make it hard to interact with the company. If you run a small business, here’s how to optimize your site for every visitor.
Start With Your Site Design
Make it easy for people when they land on your site. Check out RussellRes.com. See how easy it is to navigate the page? This is how you want your website designed. It should be responsive so that it looks great on any device – even small 4” screens. Now that Apple is introducing a smaller phone, you’ll want to pay attention to customers who are moving back to “the good old days.”
Also, keep your design simple and straightforward. No need for fancy whiz-bang graphics or tricky flash coding. Minimalism usually wins the day, and it won’t confuse clients.
Fix Your Navigation
If your navigation doesn’t use commonly-used words, then you need to fix it. Most professionals want to appear sophisticated by using links that say something other than what users are used to seeing. So, instead of using the anchor text “your spaces,” use “Homes” or “Home Listings” or something that’s unambiguous.
Use “home” to designate the home page, “about” to designate the about page, and “contact” to designate the contact page.
Use Facebook Integration
Facebook integration is helpful if your site is a membership site, but you can also integrate the Facebook comments app into your site so that users can leave comments linked to their Facebook profiles. Why do this? Because their comments will also show up on Facebook, where their friends will see them. And, when they do, their friends may mosey on over to your site to check it out.
That’s free referral traffic, especially if the comments are positive (and sometimes, even if they’re negative). If you can get your clients and customers raving about your service, then you’re going to generate interest from off-site.
Facebook integration may require you to hire a developer who knows how to implement the code necessary for this. But, it shouldn’t be too difficult for someone with basic development experience.
Get A Better Photo Gallery
Most real estate sites rely on a photo gallery to show stills of homes. Here’s how to punch it up a notch: use your categories. Here’s how this works. Basically, you take your categories and, instead of using them as links, you turn them into images. What this does is make your site much more visually appealing.
Don’t forget that the whole purpose of your site is to engage users so that they will become part of your audience.
You could also include virtual tours on your site, which are becoming more and more popular. Either use still images strung together so that users can virtually “walk” through your listings, or provide enough images that it’s almost like being in the home. The more pictures, the better. Most real estate companies and agencies put between 5 and 10 images on their site. Aim for 20 to 30 and make them all high resolution and very detailed.
How To Move People From Browsers To Email
Part of being an audience means that you have their attention. And, the only way to really do that is to get them on your email list. This gives you personal time with them in an intimate setting. Email is still a very personal thing for most people, and it probably always will be.
Email is, more or less, distraction-free. You aren’t competing with other browser tabs (usually), and you don’t have to fight ads on the page. It’s a simple message from you to your prospect.
Since more and more people read their email on their phone, you’re probably going to be with them all the time, too. People check their emails in bed, at work, and even in the bathroom. This might seem like a weird time to deliver a sales pitch or tell someone about a home, but it’s not. Remember, when someone gives you their email, they’re allowing you into their personal space.
Respect it. And, don’t forget to follow up with them relentlessly with useful and meaningful information. Whether that’s stories about how you helped someone find the home or how you messed up and learned a valuable lesson (and this lesson is the reason you’re a better person for it).
At the end of the day, you’re there to help prospects find a home they can be proud of. By emailing them often, and moving them from your website to email, you’re engaging with them in a space that facilitates the sale. Your website is the vehicle that gets them there.
Domingo Santiago is a freelance web designer/coder who also turn his hand to social media management. He mostly works with small, independent retail businesses.