There’s no question that a builder’s Web site is his top marketing tool for reaching today’s home buyer. Here are three tips to boost your Web presence:
Optimize your site. People don’t search for a builder’s name; they search for “new homes Atlanta.” Your goal is to have your site come up at least on the first page of search results, says Carol Flammer, managing partner of mRelevance, an Atlanta-based online and social media marketing firm. The best way to do that is to keep your site fresh and relevant, “not just updating listings,” Flammer says. Check your site’s tracking report to see what search terms people use to find your site, and make sure the content on your site incorporates those terms. You also want plenty of external links to relevant Web sites. The good news is that if you don’t have the skill set to do this yourself, there are plenty of companies that do.
Lose the flash intros. For Internet users without high-speed access, flash intros can take a significant amount of time to load—and we all know how impatient Web surfers are. “Nobody cares,” says Brian Flook, president of Hagerstown, Md.–based Power Marketing and Advertising, which specializes in online marketing for home builders. “They were cute five years ago. If you have to have a button that says, ‘Skip this,’ just skip it.”
Plus, Flash applications repel spiders that crawl through Web sites and fetch pages for search engines. Lose ’em.
Give buyers the info they want. Flook says his default position on what information to put on a Web site is “if you have a piece of information, put it on there. ... Give them the square footage and the cost.” One thing buyers definitely want, Flook says, is photos of your houses. “Pictures need to be the best they can be. If you have crappy pictures, they think you’re a crappy builder. And make them big. And make it so the floor plans are readable.” Include addresses for your available homes, “because everyone has GPS now,” he notes.
Finally, include an About Us section. “It lets you build credibility for yourself,” Flook says. “People need to know you’re going to be in business by the time they close.”
Learn more about markets featured in this article: Atlanta, GA.