August 30, 2010
A successful real estate web design addresses two competing desires: the web visitor’s intent to quickly view property or homes for sale and the real estate agent’s desire to capture web visitor contact information. If superb search engine optimization and marketing steps have brought web visitors to your real estate website, too many navigation steps (or mouse clicks) can undermine your marketing.
In a good real estate web design, two mouse clicks to the information is generally the limit before visitors bounce off to another website or web search. IMCD Web Design, with the experience of creating web sites for real estate agents that consistently bring in sales leads, has found the balance between customer satisfaction and the agent’s high return on web design investment.
In online real estate marketing, clients often spend 75% of their time searching for property and real estate agents – so in a typical home buying cycle, six weeks are spent looking online and then two weeks with an agent with the clients highly refined search parameters. This means that the client may be using the real estate agent’s website for searches for five or six weeks before they contact the agent to go visit properties.
Successful contact gathering methods center on providing market updates and ongoing information, such as through a real estate blog, rather than forcing users to sign in before accessing properties. Part of this market adjustment is driven by an agent’s competition with real estate websites that are simply property review portals that do not offer real estate agent services, but exist only to collect online advertising revenue. They use property listings simply to drive traffic, not as their primary business purpose.
IMCD Web Design offers real estate website design packages that position Realtors to be very competitive in their local markets against national chain websites and home listing directories that offer no services. Our market-tested web designs have a “triple crown” track record of high search engine ranking, graphic design that attracts and keeps visitors attention and web content that leads to successful harvests of visitor contacts.
If your real estate agency is looking for that competitive edge in your market, contact IMCD Web Design for that professional real estate website that will put you on the Internet map and generate a consistent stream of sales leads for your business.
June 7, 2010
When searching for your next web design, keep in mind the cause and effect equation of an effective business website. Three elements are incorporated into your web design: the graphic design, the content and the search engine optimization. These three elements, while needing to stay in balance need to serve the primary cause of the web design: to generate sales leads.
One of the most common web design errors businesses can fall prey to is the graphic design masterpiece: a Flash website. These web designs are remarkable for the attractive graphics and moving imagery. However, they fail to fulfill the first cause of sales generation in that, due to the text content being incorporated into the picture, the search engines do not see any text, much less any keywords. Flash websites derive the majority of their traffic from people finding the web address on the business’ print material – wasting a business’ ability to leverage the tremendous marketing power of the Internet to reach new markets through high search engine ranking.
Balanced graphic web design uses Flash, videos and images to lead the visitors eye to the marketing text. Without the use of keywords in the web design, and not just in the image’s alternate text tag that notifies the search engines what an image is about, a web page is virtually invisible to the search engines.
For effective marketing web content the three prime rules are:
- Include keywords in your content and subheadings
- Market your products or services on the benefit customers receive and
- Always place a clear call to action.
You can test your marketing effectiveness by keeping close tabs on the ratio of web visitors visiting key pages to leads generated. Even though the Internet provides seemingly limitless quantities of free information, you can leverage your niche market experience and create an report with unique information based on your insight and experience and trade that information for contact information.
The third leg of the marketing stool is search engine optimization (SEO). One rule of thumb is that if the web design company offers SEO as an option, they do not realize what a key role SEO has in generating sales leads. SEO does not directly generate leads, however, without SEO your web design investment will have a paltry return because the search engines will not rank it high for the keywords in your market.
For your balanced professional web design needs, contact IMCD Web Design. We have the perfect blend of graphic design, web content and SEO so your online marketing investment starts returning sale leads to your business.
May 31, 2010
For business owners looking for their first or a new professional web design, semi-custom template sites are an effective and cost-effective bridge step to a totally custom web design. In any web design and website development process, four key steps take place: keyword/market research, web design creation, web content development and website launch. Starting with a semi-custom web design makes it possible to cost effectively move through these steps to launch a professional site in a short period of time.
How does a hybrid web design, utilizing the elements of graphic design found on custom sites and the ready web content of a template website, best meet a company’s online marketing needs in a very competitive online environment?
1. By investing in a semi-custom web design template, you benefit from adapting a ready, professionally designed layout with your personal logos, photos and graphic images. Your brand is supported and promoted, not overshadowed, by the web design’s graphic layout.
2. With a navigation and web content areas outlined, you aren’t forced to reinvent the wheel deciding what content is necessary to sell the sizzle. IMCD Web Design has years of experience working with business owners on the best way to market their company’s products and services. The essential pages of a business web design are included in the template. These two areas greatly reduce the cost and time needed to take your web design from inception to completion.
3. With the savings in resources gained by customizing a professional web design, business owners gain by a greater focus on the search engine optimization (SEO) and keyword research. Template designs that offer SEO as an option do a disservice to their customers. Since not all web designers understand the power of a solid SEO strategy, it is short-sighted to assume business owners maxed out tending to their business’ needs will learn, much less master, the level of SEO knowledge necessary for their website to be competitive in the search engine results.
4. Finally, by utilizing a web design company’s hosting option, the burden of being your own webmaster is shifted to the pros who know how to secure your site from hackers and defeat websites that would steal your bandwidth (and drive up your hosting costs) by accessing your images for their websites.
IMCD Web Designs semi-custom website design option allows business owners to improve their online sale lead generation or product sales effectiveness without going through the school of hard knocks. Contact our sales department to safely move your online marketing into an effective professional web design.
May 3, 2010
Is your business’ professional website design ready for the new web design standards…and how do web design standards affect your business? First, how do web designs affect your business – in the short run not much, it is the long term changes that may render parts of your web design invisible or not as you envisioned. Web design standards are used by web designers to develop web site designs and by browser creators for the next version of how their browser will show your website’s code.
The timeline for change is set by the adaptation of the newer browser versions. Newer browsers will not always stay backwards compatible to the older codes. Two of the biggest changes is the greater use of cascading style sheets (CSS) to remove all style directions – like font size and color – off the page and create stricter standards for how the code that creates the architecture is written. IMCD Web Designs has always kept its web designs current with the web design standards as well as keeping an eye on changes that are on the horizon. Our latest semi-custom website templates for small business and our real estate web designs are based on the latest standards, giving our customers peace of mind that their investments won’t be in need of overhauls in the future.
The latest ripple in the web design standard pond is how Adobe’s Flash slide shows and videos will fare in the new HTML 5 standard. Apple Computers created their latest iPads without adding Flash. The good news for businesses is that Flash is not the only slide show software on the market. Businesses can still use slide shows to parade their products without needing to utilize Flash, so while Adobe and the web design standards experts wrangle over issues, your professional web design can continue to be rendered correctly in the Explorer, Firefox, Chrome and Safari web browsers.
For the best of professional websites that are developed and validated to the latest web design standards – as well as visually pleasing, search engine optimized and targeted to your niche market – contact our expert designers at IMCD Web Design. Invest today in your professional web design that will market well tomorrow and for years to come.
April 14, 2010
Does your professional web design meet the needs for your type of business? IMCD Web Design offers several types of professional business web designs that can be matched to your specific business need. How to determine which web design is right for your business? There are three basic web designs that have many options in common, however the three design categories are custom websites, semi-custom templates and blog websites.
Custom websites have the advantage of creating a new image that is branded to your product or services and unique in your market. These are mid-range to high end priced sites that are the most labor-intensive. However, they offer years of service and are created to the latest standards. The graphic design is adaptable to your market and style. A high level of search engine optimization on custom websites is also a major benefit.
Semi-custom template business websites offer an array of color schemes, your choice of unique graphic images and your logo, and the ability to add your unique content to a an adaptable template. IMCD Web Designs popular semi-template designs are used by both small to mid-sized businesses to gain Internet marketing traction quickly with a professional website design.
The newest web design is a blog website. These have the ability to create static pages and dynamic blog entries. Blog websites, even with their dynamic nature, are capable of very good search engine optimization. Blog websites, by their nature are like an ongoing conversation reporting news or information on the industry, impact of recent legislation, market changes and business.. Though a successful blog web design is the most labor intensive (due to writing and posting articles on a weekly basis) it is well worth it if your market has changing dynamics or areas that your clients will benefit from updates.
Integrating a blog into an established professional web designs is an option. IMCD Web Design always offers its clients a blog upgrade (or a similar article manager product) as part of their clients’ future web design build-out strategy. Call your web design experts at IMCD Web Design to see which professional web design matches your market and budget – with the majority of buyers relying on the Internet to research products and services, having your professional website ranking in the search engine results is necessary for market penetration and expansion.
March 29, 2010
Does your Internet website pass the web design usability test? To see you user friendly your website is, check these factors that attract or repel your online visitors.
1. Is your navigation clear – can a visitor find any page on your website in two to three clicks? A website design that eliminates visitor frustration has intuitive navigation – a visitor arrives at your homepage from a search and can quickly find the information within a few clicks.
2. Is your navigation visible to the search engines? Website designers know that the search engines use the navigation to help index the content on your website. Website designs that use Flash, hide certain elements of the navigation so your site is not easily indexed. IMCD Web Design uses Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) navigation to maximize the search engine optimization capability of your web design’s navigation.
3. Is your domain name memorable and optimized for the search engines? Website domain names that focus on the keywords of your product or service meet the website design usability criteria. It may be a blow to your ego, but using your name is not the best domain name – you miss the vast Internet population that is searching for your business, but does not know your name.
4. Do your contact forms solicit more information than the 2010 census? People do not like their privacy invaded. Website design that succeeds the best demands the least amount of information necessary for you to contact them. IMCD Web Design uses time tested visitor information capture forms that balance ease of answering with drop down menus and minimal questions. A time-tested form is the key to improving your return on your website design investment.
5. A Flash intro page. A sure sign that an Internet site needs a new website design is the Flash intro page with the “Click to enter” button. A business website only has one home page to serve up to the search engines. When the home page is a Flash slide show, no matter how appealing to visitors, the search engines cannot decipher any of the information offered. IMCD Web Design knows the best places and ways to use Flash in a website design to capture online audiences. Those places are never the ones that search engines are using to index and catalog your business website.
Contact IMCD Web Design and connect your business with a web design that meets your business needs and passes your clients’ website usability tests.
February 1, 2010
There is having your own real estate blog to add content to your website, then there is supercharging your blog for maximum search engine optimization and security. Why have a real estate blog integrated into your IMCD Web Design (IMCD) website if you have other “free” options available? Simple, IMCD not only integrates your blog into your real estate web design, it supercharges your blog with proven plug-ins necessary for to field the most effective real blog.
Realtors that have an experienced real estate web design company, IMCD in particular, set up their blog realize several benefits. The first one, of course, is that by integrating the blog into your website you get all the SEO benefits of easily adding keyword-rich content and driving to your personal agent website. However, a supercharged real estate blog has more than just the integration benefits.
IMCD’s standard blog option includes all our supercharging steps to make your blog an effective and powerful online real estate marketing tool – not just drawing more traffic, but generating more sales leads.
A standard blog is set up for adding content and saving your posts under nondescript titles. IMCD’s supercharged real estate blog package includes the latest search engine optimization tweaks, the ability to add video and multiple images to your posts. As real estate agents know, when it comes to getting home buyers interested in a property – a picture is worth a thousand words and a professionally photographed house is worth a few thousand dollars more in the listing price.
The only missing ingredient from your IMCD real estate blog is your creative writing. Even with writing, IMCD prepares your blog to overcome any writer’s block. When your blog goes live, you already have enough categories set up to keep your creative juices pumping out the relevant real estate market information. Usually, agents find that the categories give them an outline that helps the creation of several blog entries at one writing session.
Whether you are a pro at creating blog entries or a novice, your real estate business will benefit from an IMCD real estate web design with the supercharged blog option. Contact our real estate web design team today to get your online marketing in the fast lane to higher return on investment.
January 25, 2010
At the recent National Association of Realtors conference, the topic of building your online market with your real estate website, blog and social media outlets was a hot topic. Driving the subject’s popularity is the fact that more agents are acquiring more than half of their clients and home sale lead generation from their online real estate marketing.
Spencer Rascoff, Zillow’s COO, gave online marketing advice to agents – important in that Zillow found that only 10% of their visitors left for a top brokerage site, most are attracted to an agent who made a posting. Instead of competition to agent sites, Zillow is proving to be part of an agent’s sales funnel to their personal real estate website.
In step with other real estate agents’ experiences, online marketing is planned and does consume some time, however the pay-off is proving to be worth the investment. Having a real estate blog is an essential part of the online sales funnel. Spencer’s advice is “Read [blogs, online forums, etc] twice as much as you comment and comment twice as much as you blog.” If you are blogging twice a week to keep your clients and search engines visiting your website, comment four times.
Each Realtor comment becomes a soft sell – establishing a real estate expert image by providing information and advice while presenting their email and a link as the portal to the real estate website.
Comments on blogs and forums are written much like your real estate blog entries – conversational. The audience is different, however their search for real estate information is the same. Spencer found that the key to building trust through your blog and your online comments is having transparency in acknowledging any bias and be consistent and thoughtful. Flippant advice repels potential clients since it is usually new home buyers or sellers that ask the “stupid” questions – potentially the same market you want to attract.
Reading before commenting is important since NAR presenters found that information that is provided as part of an online conversation is well received, whereas hard-sell comments are seen as out of place and often ignored or receive negative feedback. In the online market, hard sell in the comment section does not lead people to visit your website.
For real estate websites providing a solid foundation for your online social networking, IMCD provides semi-custom and custom websites with integrated blogs. Your real estate blog is user friendly, search engine optimized and ready to go – you do not need to set up anything, just add your content!
January 18, 2010
Having a successful real estate website presence may be the make it or break it strategy for new agents. With over 50% of current real estate agents only getting their licenses within the last three years, having an online presence can be critical to early success.
Getting your services seen on the main search engines in competition with the older established agents puts your website in a good position to be seen by 80% of your real estate market that is searching for property and agents online.
With your own agent website with an integrated blog, you have a real estate marketing platform that allows you to:
- Continually add content from anywhere there is an Internet connection that alerts the search engines to new content,
- Comment in real estate forums and link people to your resourceful articles on the subject,
- Add multimedia video or voice-over slide shows of your featured listings, and
- Target your blog entries to the hot market segments – foreclosure opportunities or home going on the market in neighborhoods that are popular regardless of the economy.
In today’s market where properties are on the market from 60 to 120 days, Internet marketing is the most cost-effective way to show the property. More expensive marketing avenues, such as posting adds in the next most popular media, the newspapers, are only seen by 14 – 20% of the market. For extended periods of time, the print media costs add up and are not as effective in reaching most of your market’s active buyers and sellers.
The Internet has been described as the great market leveler – a place where large companies with greater marketing budgets have little advantage over the new market entries. By following tried and true online marketing techniques, IMCD assists agents in getting their personal real estate websites operational and visible leading to greater profitability earlier in the game. Contact us about our sophisticated, yet entry-level priced, real estate agent websites and claim your place in the online market.