By Roberta Maynard. For builders who wonder whether their Web sites are keeping pace with consumer preferences, here's a chance to find out. The Boston-based Web Marketing Association (WMA) just completed its sixth annual Web site competition. Its long list of winners in 78 industry categories include a handful of sites related to home building. Chosen from a record 1,300 entries are sites developed for Pardee Homes, Centex Homes, Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, Moen, and Glidden.
What makes them standouts? Meat-and-potatoes content, for one thing. Flash and splash are giving way to ease of navigation, according to William Rice, WMA's president. Technology may have gone a bit too far, he says, yielding sites that are fancy but not very user friendly. Forget the dramatic opening page, he says, noting that 95 percent of those are usually skipped.
The very best are successful at creating a memorable experience, such as the contest's "best in show," Navy.com, which lets visitors try out a Navy career. The same can be done when attracting buyers to the experience of owning a new home, says Rice.
Published in BIG BUILDER Magazine, December 2002