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Four ways to get more business while you sleep
Reading Time: 5 min read
Published: April 3, 2018 by Siteloft
A website isn’t something you can set up and forget about – like an unkillable houseplant. It’s more like a kid or a puppy, in need of constant attention and care.
Humans are fickle creatures. We make snap judgements – it takes only one tenth of a second for us to form a first impression about a person, and (unfortunately) websites are no different.
Within 50 milliseconds of landing on your website, visitors will have formed an opinion about whether or not they like it, and whether they’ll stay or leave.
Here’s how you can make a good first impression and get more business:
1. Beautiful – on all devices
Your website is basically your digital shopfront, so it needs to stay true to your brand.
Take a moment to think about everything that has changed for you and your business in the last couple of years. There’s more staff, you’ve got new service offerings, you even refurbed the reception area – all of these things have an impact on the way people perceive you.
The question is: does your website look like you, now? If it doesn’t, it’s time for a change.
Updating your website design is also about staying current – if you’re not staying up to date with the social expectations of what a modern business looks like, your agency’s credibility may be being undermined. A fresh, modern website is almost a competitive requirement.
This is where it pays off to choose flexible platforms like WordPress, on which most things can be easily tweaked by any reasonably tech-savvy member of your team. Or, if a total revamp is in order, you can choose from loads of pre-built themes or templates that you can customise to your business.
Lastly, if your website isn’t built or optimised for different devices, you’re not only losing potential searches (Google penalises sites that aren’t mobile friendly), you’re driving away users who’re understandably frustrated by having to pinch around a desktop site while on their mobile or tablet. It’s a given now – you must be doing it.
Bottom line, if you look at your site and it looks or feels wrong – either your brand has outgrown it or it’s out of date.
Your website might be beautifully designed, but if visitors can’t find their what they’re looking for – what’s the point?
The key thing to remember here is that most web users, even first-time visitors, have a goal in mind when they visit your site. They’re looking for the fastest way to obtain specific information. This means your key information must be obvious from the main navigation.
Your contact details and current listings should be prominent and easily accessible from your homepage – as well as anything else you can offer a visitor that’s of benefit. If you’ve recently written a checklist for preparing a house for sale, or a quarterly market report, link it to your homepage. This is the information your visitors want, but if it’s buried ten clicks deep they’re likely to abandon ship and seek it elsewhere.
The level of effort involved in navigating your website directly affects the way the user will feel about your brand. Don’t make it more difficult than it needs to be. Simple, straightforward and easy to use – much like your business, we imagine.
Google tells us that faster sites lead to happier visitors who spend more time browsing – and that’s the ultimate goal, right?
Overhauling your website isn’t just about aesthetics – it’s also about fixing any problems. When it comes to your website, there are few things more problematic than a slow load speed. The nostalgia-tinged days of the the 56K modem, with it’s unbearably long connection time and sing-song dial-up tone, is well and truly over. We’re in the ‘now’ generation; patience is a thing of the past.
A staggering 47% of people expect a webpage to load in two seconds or less, and 40% abandon a website that takes longer than 3 seconds to load. If your website is taking a while to load, you could be driving visitors to a competitor’s homepage.
Luckily, if your website isn’t up to speed, there are a couple of things you can do – change your hosting plan, make your images web-friendly, and use plug-ins sparingly for a start. But to really make a difference, get yourself an SSL certificate and upgrade to HTTP2. Have a read of this if you need a refresher on the lingo.
4. A reason to come back
The actual content on your website is also critical to making a good first impression. A website with obviously outdated material sends a very clear message to visitors – and it’s not positive. Old statistics might be seen as a reflection of the quality of an agency’s services. A dishevelled blog could be giving visitors outdated information on the market. You get the gist.
Start by updating anything that’s way out out of date – like your agent’s bios. These go stale over time. Why not share a recent accomplishment, or highlight a great experience you’ve had closing a deal?
You’re probably already pushing new listings to your website frequently, but there are more ways to keep your website’s content looking fresh. Consistently publishing blog posts, and updating your FAQ page with new questions, gives visitors a new reason to come back to your site, often.
Think of your website as the face of your business – after all, it’s where most people will interact with your agency for the first time. If your website isn’t doing the things we’ve listed, it’s probably not making a great first impression – and costing you business.