If you are a custom builder, you should not underestimate the value of a good website; one that grabs attention, is informative, easy to navigate and current. It is a key sales and support tool that can be used as a referral point for prospective buyers who are seeking more information about you or your properties. Your website is also an excellent tool during and/or after a sales meeting to help the prospective client see and learn more about your work.
The first place an Internet search takes a surfer is to your home page. Here is where you need to hold the viewer’s interest with visually stimulating content but not overwhelm them with too much information. The home page needs to contain a clear, central theme that whets the viewer’s appetite for more information. Include easy-to-navigate buttons so your site is user-friendly. This will encourage a viewer to dive more deeply into the website and gain more information about your company.
The No. 1 reason the viewer is on your website is to get information, so keep it clear and concise. Too much description on any page will cause the viewer to lose interest. A short, concise paragraph on the opening of a new community is preferable vs. a long-winded description of all the amenities. It is important to provide “hot buttons” that viewers can click on to get more information.
For example, within the Homes for Sale section, provide information beyond just price and square footage. Provide buttons that take the viewer to photos of the home under construction, floor plans, alternate site plans, features of the home and directions to the site. Consider some of these main buttons/headings on the home page: Homes for Sale, Portfolio of Home Plans, Custom Build, Completed Home Photography, Seeking Land, About Us and Contact Us.
The home page should offer an array of buttons in an orderly, meaningful manner. Don’t cram too many buttons on one page. Keep the main buttons on the home page for important, broad headings. Use drop-down menus within each section so viewers can find more information.
For example, under the Completed Home Photography section, consider using a drop-down menu with buttons that reflect Completed Home Photography, Interior Photography, Exterior Photography, Virtual Tours and Custom Home Photos. In your home plans section, show a drop-down menu of all plans broken out by square footage so a viewer can easily focus in on his ideal home size.
Once the website is built, it is critical that all information be updated weekly to reflect any changes/additions such as price changes, change in features, what is new for sale and what has been sold. A website that is stale can cause unnecessary problems for a builder. A price increase which may not be reflected on a website can be quoted by a prospective buyer at the lower price.
Do not remove sold homes from the website. Showing that you are selling homes, moving inventory and what those homes looked like can promote future sales.
Did you receive any recent awards? Did you obtain any letters of recommendation from a client you would like to share? Is there any new photography available to post to the website? If so, keep it fresh! But do not be the lone ranger. Consider hiring a full- or part-time sales and marketing staffer who will be responsible for keeping the site current.
Grant Homes is a three-time winner of the Best Builder Website of the Year on the local and state levels. Check out our site at www.granthomesusa.com. (Contributing to this column is Lauren Kirstein Gluck, vice president of sales and marketing.)