POINTS ARCHITECTS SHOULD CONSIDER WHEN GETTING THEIR WEBSITE DESIGNED.
If you are an existing architectural firm and have decided that your current site, whilst it may have looked great in the 90’s is now in need of a serious revamp, then you should consider the following points:
– ask your web designer if they are able to design a site that is just a bit different to the same old web format that has been done to death for the past 15 years. See if they can think outside the box a bit and design your firm a site that is reflective of your architectural style, image and brand. Don’t settle for ‘same as’ design style. Try to push them just that bit more to get something exciting created for you.
– Most architects in the past have relied heavily on their previous work and reputation to drive business. This is something that should be addressed. As times get tougher and clients become more scares, you should be looking at getting a website that is designed to drive new business inquiries and traffic. There are simple ways and techniques to do this and this should be brought up with your web design team.
– If you only get 2 things done for your website then make sure that you get professional photography done as well as have a professional copy writer look at your content or web copy. You property images will do the selling and the copy will compliment this. Awesome looking photos your work will make all the difference. Poorly taken photos will reflect badly on you and your firm. Going that extra mile will be rewarded when all those new business leads start coming in. Plus, well worded copy will help your landing web pages rank better on the search engines. Both are easy to do and it’s a huge win win for the client and for your architecture firm.
– Make sure that your new site is mobile phone and tablet friendly. You certainly do not want to be missing out on this huge new emerging market. The technology known as responsive web design; to automatically resize your website to the various screen sizes is now easier to implement and is something to consider for your new web site.
– Just because you might be a well known architect, users searching for services online, if they cannot find your website, will most likely not approach you. Don’t be fooled by the power and effectiveness of the online search market and your website should be seriously geared towards this. If the phone is not ringing and new business leads are drying up, then there is a simple solution and its called SEO.
If you are a new architectural firm starting out and looking to get an online presence BUT do not have a strong portfolio then you need to:
– get a website that really has ‘wow factor’ – let the design of the website and perhaps your new branding show the online world that whilst you are a new start up, you are cutting edge, pro active and perhaps just that bit different. Consumers are always looking for that next thing and I see no reason why this cannot be the same in the architecture space.
– If you havn’t got many case studies perhaps focus on the staff and play on their past experience, work history and enthusiasm for the job. People might just give you a go if they can see that you are keen and want the work.
– Be honest and open in your online positioning. Sure, try and make your website look as though it is punching above its weight but be sincere in your content and truthful about your experience. Clients will appreciate your honesty and you will feel more confident in the sales pitch.
TRY TO WORK WITH A WEB SITE DEISGN COMPANY THAT HAS WORKED WITH ARCHITECTURE FIRMS IN THE PAST.
A good idea is to work with a web company that has an understanding of the architectural industry and has worked on some industry specific websites in the past. Go online and look at their portfolio before making any decisions. If you feel that it’s the right fit, then it’s always a good idea to meet with them to go over a full design brief.
Also, a bad idea is to use the services of web company that is offering cheap packages. I completely understand the temptation to go with a firm that is prepared to cut costs, but you really need to ask yourself what are they sacrificing to meet the price. A cheap site now may seem like a great idea but may end up costing you more money in the future. Due to the sheer volume of web designers, prices have been dramatically cut. Yes, look for a good deal, but never ever go with web studios that are basically giving their services away.
After all, making the right impression online is what counts and I’m 100 % sure that only web design Sydney companies like Hopping Mad Designs will be able to help your architecture firm achieve this.
tells us that Adaptive web design (AWD) promotes the creation of multiple versions of a web page to better fit the user’s device, as opposed to a single static page that loads (and looks) the same on all devices or a single page which reorders and resizes content responsively based on the device/screen size/browser of the user.
Nowadays, if your website is not adaptive then you are going to lose customers. Essentially, having an adaptive design helps with conversion rates.
What does this tell us about the adaptive web market?
The answer is simple. If websites that have been customised for normal browsing on tablets have not been made easily viewable on mobile phones by implementing adaptive design, then basically, these sites are not catering to what the users now want and now expect. If you do not pander to these growing mobile consumer ‘must haves’ and are unwilling to accept the fact that adaptive design can increase mobile web traffic by enhancing user engagement, then you and your company will be left behind. Oberlo tells us that the latest figures show an increasing number of smartphone users year after year. In 2021, the number of global smartphone users is estimated at 6.4 billion, marking a 5.3 per cent annual increase. It is also 73.9 per cent more than the number of smartphone users there were in 2016, just half a decade ago. What this means for the mobile audience is that if you’re not helping them find what they are looking for then they will not use your website.
Evolution in this market is happening now at such a rapid pace that it is your responsibility as a business owner to ensure an adaptive web strategy is employed.
If you really want to see the way forward, just look at the banking and aviation sector. They have all jumped on board the adaptive web design train and have made their mobile sites as user friendly as possible. Minimal content with super fast access to only the most critical bits of information means that they are now catering to what all mobile consumers are looking for. That is a no-nonsense approach to delivering content.
And now for Tablets.
Tablets such as ipads are clearly for swiping. The consumer market is now highly trained in the art of swiping ( from ibook, magazines, blogs, kindles, the list goes on and on) and are happy to look at horizontal swiping as opposed to the traditional forms of web desktop engagement that make users perform vertical scrolling with the mouse, finger and arrow key. The tablet market is booming and like with the mobile phone trend, consumers now demand that they view content and engage with this content in a certain fashion. If you go against the grain and are unwilling to satisfy these demands, then you can expect user bounce rates to increase which can and will lead to lost sales, revenue and customers. Basically, you have to give the general public what they want or else they are not going to buy from you. The online market is that competitive and users are now that web-savvy ( I have seen kids as young as 5 years of age who are absolutely professional tablet browsers), that adaptive web development should now be a part of your marketing strategy.
Make sure you ask your web developer about this as it is a lot easier to do this from the ground up at the planning stage than done retrospectively.
If you are reading this article and are worried about implementing adaptive web design then don’t be. In some cases, it is only a matter of reducing some of the white areas on the site and reducing the number of words. Take away some of the complexity that some websites may have like newsletter sign up areas and keep the tabs to only what is necessary. In point of fact, most people want a simple, clean looking design interface for a website and if you go down this path, then the whole adaptive design process for mobiles and tablets just became that much easier for you and your web developer.
Advantages and disadvantages of adaptive design
One of the best advantages of adaptive design is that the content is fully customized for the screen. It will match the content precisely for that device you use. It gives you the freedom to create a separate design interface for the mobile phone so you can really grab clients attention with customised design features for that mobile or tablet. I’ve often gone through the design on a mobile phone that had responsive design and made many fine-tune adjustments to make it more conversion-focused. Yes, there is a bit more work involved but adaptive design pays off in the long run as you can really customise the design and content for each device.
The only disadvantage is the extra work involved. You have to go on each device and make amends separately. But, for the customer experience, it’s well worth the time and effort. So if you’re asking if adaptive design work for mobile and tablets, the answer is definitely yes. It’s a winner!
Remember, try to go with a web design agency that knows what they are doing in terms of design and development. It’s your business and if you want to succeed online then this is the best way forward.
With the whole world now turning to this new type of web experience it is vital for winning new customers that you design your website that caters for all these markets through touch friendly design. This is called adaptive web design and is very user friendly when is comes to the touch market. If you follow a few of these simple rules your chances of online success will be much greater.
Design Large Buttons and Do Not Be Afraid of Colour – fingers get in the way
Most adults have large fingers and the older you get the less control you will have over them so in order to overcome this, the button height should be at least 35pixels and the width should be 55 pixels. Anything less may cause problems for those seniors wanting a better touch experience on their screen.
No One Hovers Anymore.
Hovers have been phased out of touch devices so why even have them there. Look at alternatives such as links to other pages within the site that will display this information. Adding more relevant pages to your website will add value to your site and have very positive ranking ramification for the search engines as well. Its a huge win win.
The Larger The Font And Text Size The Better
The text that users read should be at least 12 point in size. If you have links in the site make certain that they are a different size than normal and to make them easier to read, look at introducing another separate colour. Size can vary for this but a great yardstick is 22 pixels and a 14 point type. If you are serious about your website and have engaged a company to work on this for you then they should know all about this especially if they have a graphic design slant to their work.
Give the site some space.
Ensure that there is enough room between all navigational points. Don’t over crown the top of the page with too many prime headings as this may make it difficult to get around the site. Spacing is vital especially if you want to have quite a bit of content on the home page. If users are find that they have to minimise too much to exact a point they will most likely leave the page. I know from my experience how frustrating this can be. All main content boxes should be visible with heaps of white space. It’s all about the UX and if you get it right from the get go, then you will be rewarded.
Make Field Spaces A Pleasure.
How many times have you tried to complete a form online only to find that the field spaces are tiny. If you need to join. sign up or become a member or buy a product, these field spaces need to be at least 35 pixels high, so that the average user will not become angry or skip necessary information fields. The adult finger needs this space for a touch friendly website. Missed opportunities are happening all the time by users not being able to easily touch a number or letter.
These are just a few simple points that any web developer should know to make the touch experience a pleasure. If you are unclear about any of these points it would be good to speak with your web designer or developer before progressing further.
Just a point to note, I was at a train station this week and I counted about 30 users on their iphones and mobile phones whilst waiting for the train. All up there were about 50 people waiting. What this means is that over 50% of people are searching for products, services, make bookings or looking up information whist on their mobile phone. Of course, users are SMSing or talking, but from these kind of statistics you should get the idea of where I am coming from.
WHAT ALL THIS MEANS FOR THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY
Nearly all website design in Australia, have not been optimised for these mobile iphone hand sets. Websites traditionally have been specifically designed for desktops without any thought put into the mobile web design and development aspect of the site.
Moving forward, businesses and companies are going to need to take a good long hard look at their marketing and online strategy that now MUST incorporate and integrate mobile web design.
IS THIS A DIFFICULT PROCESS?
A question that is commonly asked, and the answer is simple: NO. If you look at most of the larger mobile websites online, you will notice that the interface ( basically the way the user interacts with the site), is very simple. Normally, there are only four or five navigation points on these websites meaning the user; who is often on the go and wanting to get information quickly, can get what they want fast. This maeans that converting your web design into a compatible mobile design is not a huge project and in some cases can be done in a couple of days.
SIMPLICITY IS BEST FOR MOBILE IPHONE WEBSITE DESIGN
Keep the design and navigation paths as easy to use as possible and users will keep coming back.
Note that most banking, travel and insurance mobile websites as great examples of simplicity and ease of functionality. If you have a product based website then a one step process to purchase the products is best. When they land on the mobile website home page there should be a large ' call to action' button saying buy products that should lead them to 1 page that has all these products. If it is an information or professional services based mobile web design, then all users need to see is a brief bio on you or your business, services you offer( keep this simple) and then a contact button.
INTERESTED IN MOBILE WEB DESIGN ? CALL 02 9360 8514
If you are running a competition, or trying to promote a brand then make the landing page very visual, keep the graphics strong, with key statements that are large enough to read. Again, you want to funnel them through the mobile website design as seamlessly as possible without any speed humps or road block. If you want them to register or leave their details then this should be on this homepage.
CHOOSE WISELY WHEN LOOKING FOR YOUR MOBILE PHONE WEB DESIGN COMPANY?
Hopping Mad Designs has is focused on designing and development of mobile and iphone optimised web sites that have high level of intuitive usability. We get it. We totally understand this market and are very much on top of they ways people like to browse on their mobile phones.
We have a team of top notch user interface designers that are able to integrate current web design style into your mobile site to ensure brand consistency. We are fast, very friendly, mature in our approach to all web projects and like to think that we can give you that little bit more of a website design edge needed to give users that wow factor. Any web company can design a site, but nowadays you really need a company with a strong graphic design background that is able to bring your site to like & engage your market.
iPhones have generated a huge amount of excitement and buzz in the mobile web world. So many more multimedia, graphically rich add- ons and applications are now available that web companies like hopping mad are able to design and develop more dynamic and interactive solutions for your business or company.
We are at the tipping point here. Mobile screens are now capable of handling so much more data, meaning that businesses can deliver to their market, visual streams of information in much shorter periods of time.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I HAVE A CURRENT WEBSITE AND NOW NEED IT FOR A MOBILE PHONE?
Our technical expertise means that we are able to deconstruct your current website and reconfigure it into a mobile format without ever compromising brand integrity. We can do all this very quickly plus you will be amazed by the speed and price point at which this can happen. All you need to do is email your website address to email@example.com and we will be able to give you an idea of costs and timings. The process is just so easy.
HOW TO GET PEOPLE TO FIND MY WEBSITE?
You will need to speak with your web developers to see if they can optimise the site for the search engines so that users will find it online. This is quite a complicated task but is totally achievable but you need to speak with a web company that has a strong SEO team. You may also want to look at certain social media sites to promote your mobile website as these are quite often a quicker and cheaper solution.
Overall you will need to speak to someone who is able to guide you through this process and it is very easy to make decisions that can affect your marketing campaign or web presence.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON HOW TO GET A MOBILE FRIENDLY WEBSITE – CALL FOR AN OBLIGATION FREE QUOTE ON 02 9360 8514
The very best way to utilise your blog is to make frequent updates or a regular basis. The only issue with this is how to find inspiration or blog topics to write about. I know personally that I may have to do hours of research about relevant topics before I even begin to write an article for my company blog. The reason why these topics are so hard to come across is that they have to be fresh, unique and highly engaging otherwise online users will just bounce off the page exiting your blog and look elsewhere.
Ways for Creating Your Ideal Article Topic
The most important task when composing an SEO article piece for your blog is to search for a well searched for topic and write about this. Short, snappy, heading with well thought out personal articles are sure to keep your readers interested. Think of eye catching headlines like:
– 10 ways to improve your…. – How to find the best way…… – Case studies that will…… etc etc –
as you can see these are headings that are going to get peoples attention and leave lead them down the path to be just that bit more inquisitive. If they click on the article in the blog and like what they read then chances are, they will share this and pass it onto other people. It’s such a great and very powerful medium that businesses that don’t write blog articles are really doing themselves a disservice. Whilst writing your blog article there are some important do’s and don’ts. If you keep these in mind when you start blogging, the whole process will be just that bit easier.
5 DO’S for Your SEO Blog Article
1. Offer Free Advice for your Visitors?The main aim of your blog articles should be to dispense free advice. By blogging you become an authority on your chosen field or area of expertise and by offering free information you are gaining a following of people who look to your blog for information. If you update this regularly and engage users then you are building a database of people that may decide to use your services in the future.
2. Ensure that your Article Message is Compact?Keep the message short and sweet – over complicated, long winded articles will just bore people and you may end up loosing them. Ideally keep all blog articles to around 500 to 1000 words.
3.Stay on Topic?Use short paragraphs with high lighted headings and try not to drift off topic. There may be a temptation to write more than necessary, but most people will get the idea if you can keep things brief.
4.Make things easy to read.?Utilise bullet points with strong headings. Breaking up the article content makes it easy to read and allows people to skim over the article and focus on points that interests them. If they find a pont relevant then they will stay on the page. This saves them time and in turn will keep them coming back for more nest time you post a blog.
5. Internal LinksThroughout Your Article?If this article is going to help with your SEO then its good to highlight a few relevant keywords in the blog piece and link them to a relevant page within your website. This internal linking structure is looked favourable upon by the search engines and if implemented correctly will give your website a huge SEO boost. This can get confusing to the non web savvy person so it’s probably best to get some advice about this. Talking to website designers like hopping mad designs is a great start and will get you pointed in the right direction.
3 DON’TS to follow for Your Blog Article
1.Plagiarise Content is a huge NO NO.?If you copy content do not expect to be rewarded by the search engines. They will pick up on this and it will not get ranked. Also you may end up getting in trouble for intellectual property copyrightt.
2. Oversell Yourself or blatant promotion?. People are coming to your article to get information. If they want to be sold to they can go to your website. You may have an author ownership at the bottom of the blog article, but thats about it. People will tune out after the first paragraph if they feel like they are being pitched to.
3.Exit readers From Your Website?Any links that drive users away from your website or blog is considered bad business. Why on earth would you go to the trouble of writing a blog if you just send readers elsewhere through a link. Keep online readers engaged in your content and make 100% certain that if you have any links then they are diverted through to web pages within your site.
If you are part of a company or small business owner and are interested in writing blog articles to help improve your SEO then i s also a great idea to get some staff members to write a few blogs as well as clients writing a few guest posts. This helps you out by:
– having a different style of content – sort of vary and mix it up a bit – keeps staff on their toes and forces them to become a bit more involved in your business. – frees you up a bit more to focus on your business. – you may even like to try using a copy writer if all else fails. They can give you a new perspective on how blog articles should be professionally written.
As a general member of the public, I can honestly say that I am getting fed up with traditional forms of marketing.
I am over those TV ads popping up during my movies and I absolutely hate it when you hear words to the effect: ‘ we will be right back after a short ad break’. I am so over getting hammered with ads and information that I’m just not interested in and in fact, these types of ads are actually turning me off the product.
And this brings us to the very powerful marketing tool known as content marketing in the digital space.
If you are a small business owner, or in the marketing field you may be unaware of content marketing. But, one this is for certain, it is here to stay and the uptake of this medium will only grow over the next 24 months.
So I hear you ask, what precisely is content marketing?
Content marketing is basically using online channels and mediums to create, share for free ( in some cases) and promote your content. It is all about providing online users with information that they actually want to read rather than it being thrust down their throats. Forbes has a great article worth reading called What Is Content Marketing?
In a way, it’s a very passive marketing technique but one that will grow in popularity as more business owners and marketing professionals look to extend their reach and sales base. This is a long term strategy and should really be handled by a team of content marketing and SEO experts that fully understand this.
Because content marketing is really a ‘soft sell’ approach you will be engaging and exciting consumers and clients that want to know about you and your product as opposed to a scattergun ‘ hard sell’ approach which is often the playground of traditional marketing approaches like newspapers, radio, magazines and TV ads. Yes, it may have worked in the past, but with the internet close at hand, including the entire mobile and handheld device market, consumers will tend to go with brands that they find online and trust.
If for example, an article has been written about a certain brand and users online have reviewed it positively, then this will engender a whole lot more trust and brand value than a 3- second ad on TV. This is especially true if this article has been liked, retweeted or endorsed by friends or family. It is just so easy to create that I feel that this will play a huge part in how businesses, organisations and companies get their name out there in the years to come.
Content marketing can take a number of different forms:
: basically if you are reading this article on the hopping mad blog then you are experiencing first-hand the wonders of content marketing. Your company website should have a blog and you should be able taught how to use it and post content. If you are unsure about this, speak with your web developer.
Videos: get a professionally taken video, post it on your website and watch the number of viewers click on it. If it is creative and fun or even informative, users will certainly share it. There are even explainer videos that have a powerful cut through rate with your audience and are well worth looking into.
We have just created an animated explained video for NSW education, which can be viewed here.
Infographics: If you want to try to communicate something in a fun, quirky way then why not get a professional graphic design studio to draw up a clever infographic that sits with your content and post it on your blog or website.
Email Newsletters: Keep your clients up to speed with your company’s latest news with creative content, that they will actually look forward to.
The basic aim of content marketing is to engage with an online audience that wants to be part of what you have to say and ultimately turn these readers into paying customers. Why do you think many companies now have dedicated content marketers whose job is to just write and market content and manage this content on social media platforms and sites.
And how does content marketing integrate and have a huge impact on all SEO campaigns?
The playing field over the last 12-24 months has significantly changed when it comes to SEO. Google has made it a hell of a lot tougher to rank websites and all the techniques that were used in the past to rank sites have basically been thrown out the window. Google has cottoned on to what SEO companies were doing in the past; spammy content with keyword stuffing, maximisation of back-links and over optimised websites and has become almost human-like when it comes to determining what sites will rank and what sites won’t. Prior to the last couple of algorithm updates, SEO was aimed at the search engines and satisfying what they want to see. This is no longer applicable and will have no bearing on your ranking. What will work, is if your website has been designed and worded for the consumer not for the engines. To dumb it down, basically, if you are marketing for the end-user and not the search engines then you will be rewarded. Putting the end-user in front of the mind of your online marketing is now what it’s all about. This makes, for now, content marketing the big flavour of the month and I see this continuing now for at least the next couple of years.
If you put aside the point that placing the customer first is highly rewarded by the search engines content marketing will also benefit your SEO in a number of other ways by:
a. Making you be on top of your game by always looking for new, fresh and exciting content.
If you want to be perceived as an industry leader and a source of authority in your area of expertise then you need to be constantly looking for new content to give to users. Sure you may be ranking well for your main keywords from an SEO standpoint, but if users come to your site, visit your blog and see that it was last updated in 2011, this won’t be a good look. You may have done all the right on-page SEO must-haves to get a ranking, like H1 headers and tags, but if the content is stale, old and outdated, you will not be doing yourself any favours. Think of say a medical company that last updated its blog in 2010. They may claim that they are at the cutting edge of technologies and treatments, but if their latest news section was last updated with new content in 2009, this will be a huge turn off for site visitors.
b. Creating more pages on your website.
The more page that you have on your website, the better you will be perceived in the eyes of the search engines. Basically each and every time you add a page or content to your site, the more you will be indexed and the more your content will be ranked. I have said this so many times to clients that I meet when they come in for a meeting that I am able to write an article and post it on my blog and have it ranked within 3-4 days. When I actually show this to them and prove what I say they are literally blown away. People do not fully understand this concept yet but I guess it is up to companies like us to educate them and show them what’s actually achievable online through content creation and content marketing. I even think that it will be the smart business owners of the future that will keep a content marketing company on a permanent contract to just facilitate this function. This would be a good move and the benefits will far outweigh the costs.
c. Ensure that you write relevant content based on keywords
This is a difficult point to convey so best I give you an example. Say for instance you are a lawyer and you want to create a page about your conveyancing services. This is easy enough to do but the point to note here is that you have to write quality new original content that is all about conveyancing. It will not work for you if you write about commercial law on this topic. The rick here when writing the content is to write as informative an article as you possibly can. It is hard to do at first but if you have the time and the patience then I promise you the whole process will become a lot easier.
d. Posting content creates and excites all those social signals.
As the old saying goes; t is so much better to be spoken about than not’. With respect to content marketing and SEO, this is very much the case. If your articles or blogs or videos are retweeted, liked, +1’d shared or re-pinned then this will send very strong social signals to the search engines which will in turn really help with the rankings. The more social signals, the better the rankings and in turn, you become perceived as an authority in your industry.
e. Write Lengthy Articles
Short posts or blogs with little or no content are not likely to engage readers. Content marketing needs to be in my opinion at least 1000 words if you are going to say anything important. Again, if they are read and shared due to the great content then this will have a positive effect on your SEO. I have met clients who gasp when I mention this word count, but unfortunately, this is the way it has to be. If you don’t think you have the skill or passion to do this, then there are always content marketing agencies happy to help you out. Check out what Yoast has to say on this topic here at Word count and SEO: how long should a blog post or page be?
Content marketing has become a huge growth area. I find it exciting as well as fascinating. Once you see the results it can produce it becomes a bit addictive. By this I mean the more you see your content rank, the more you want to do. Trust me, this does happen– all you require is a bit of quiet writing time, a tiny bit of research online and a small ounce of inspiration and creativity, which we all have! If you get stuck give me a call and I will be more than happy to talk you through it.
GET YOURSELF A DOMAIN NAME
As part of your marketing strategy you have to get yourself a domain name. If you name is John Smith, and you work in the Bondi area for example, then you need to get a URL or domain name like: www.johnsmithrealestateagentbondi.com.au.
You might think that this sounds too long but if people are searching on Google for real estate estate agents in Bondi then because this suburb is in the URL then it will byt the very nature of the way search engines work, rank higher. In fact, you should be looking at as many suburbs as you can get with your name and register them all. This way you will come up when people are searching for Bondi, Double Bay or even Edgecliff. This is a nifty trick and may mean that you are able to dominate these suburbs online when vendors are looking for an agent in that area. Of course you will need to speak with a company like Hopping Mad Designs to help you build some authority into these domain names ( called search engine optimisation or SEO), but this can be fully explained when we meet. Buying a domain name is very inexpensive, you can pick one up for around $10, so don’t be shy when it comes to getting as many names as you can. Even if you do not use them you can at least stop some one else from getting them. A point to note. If you can register a domain name that is very clean and to the point, like www.realestateagentsbondi.com.au OR www.realestateagentdoublebay.com.au then my advice is to grab them asap!
NOW GET A PROPER WEB DESIGN STUDIO TO DESIGN YOU A WEBSITE
This step is vital to the success or failure of your online digital marketing strategy. Try to find a web design company that can at least design you a half decent looking site. Try not to be tempted by cheaper web studios offering $399 template design packages as you will end up looking like every other site out there. Remember, vendors are selling their most precious asset and if your site stands out and has as they say that ‘wow factor’ then the chances are there that you will get the invite to inspect their property once they land on your site. Again, I have to stress here, align yourself with a web agency that has an all round design experience, with a very strong and varied design portfolio. Don’t just look go with an agency that specialises in real estate sites as the aim here is to have a strong point of difference. Most web studios or marketing agencies will be happy to show you their portfolio of work and will have this on their website. Do your homework. Google the words/phrases: ‘ web design’ or ‘marketing strategies for real estate agents’ and see if you can find and web companies you like the look of. Once you have narrowed it down to a few, go and meet with them and try to get a vibe to see if you can work with them or not. A VERY IMPORTANT point to take on board here, is that you should see if the agency has a strong SEO team on board. yes they may be able to design you a site, but will they be able to rank it for you? If they don’t have this combination then you need to continue your search.
If you go online and look for say ‘web designers sydney’, you will note that there are paid ads ( on the right hand side of the screen and at the very top 3 listing on the page – with a slight yellow shaded background), avoid these. Only look at companies that are organically ranked. That is, the other 10 listings on the page. The rationale behind this is that you want to use a web company that has been able to rank it’s own website and not rely on paid ads. This is because that if they can rank their own site through SEO ( in an extremely competitive area), then they will be able to get your website high up on the rankings.
To get a good idea of what a credible website deisgn companies portfolio looks like, have a look at the Hopping mad web portfolio.
As you are reading this I can hear you say that our company already has a website and we place our listings on there. WRONG!. Yes the real estate agency you work for might have a website BUT YOU DO NOT PERSONALLY HAVE ONE. The point here is that you need to build an individual online presence that will promote you and not your agency. What happens if you leave this agency and move elsewhere? If you have your own website with your past track record you can easily amend a few details and move on. Basically, you own the intellectual property of your website and no one can take this away from you.
IF YOU ARE THE OWNER OF A REAL ESTATE AGENCY AND WHAT TO GET MORE EXPOSURE, then you also need to look at all the points above and have your website designed and optimised by a web company that’s done this all before. If sales are down and listings are few and far between then you really need to look at other new avenues to start pushing your business and the best way to do this is now online. Vendors are now going online in increasing numbers to search for their real estate agent and if you are not there then you will loose that listing.The smarter more cutting edge and progressive real estate agent are starting to get on board with this and if you think that you can just bury you head if the sand then you might as well lock up shop. This is here to stay, and as a marketing medium and tool will only become more common place. If you are reading this article and you are even remotely interested I cannot urge you enough to pick up that phone and call us at Hopping Mad Designs. We can show you how easy, simple, and quick this can be, all at rates that are going to make the exercise very worthwhile for you.
The bigger players ( and I cant mention names) are already looking at their online marketing strategies and the last thing you want to be doing is scratching your head and wondering why these real estate agents are always at the forefront of innovation. I am telling you WHAT THEY DO and I can show you how they are doing it and how this will be one of your most powerful marketing tools. Please note I am not trying to sell you something here. All I am trying to do is to illuminate to you what’s going to happen in the online world and help your real estate business be part of this. The choice is ultimately up to you.
I can say this with authority because I used to work in the real estate industry about 25 years ago and found that getting a listing was very difficult. As one of the directors of a web design studio now some 25 years later, I can show you that tactics I use to generate leads for my business. Yes we are in 2 separate industries, BUT THE FUNDAMENTALS REMAIN THE SAME and will only get closer as the internet becomes more intertwined with our daily lives. Please give me a call on 02 9360 8514 or email me firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be more than happy to explain this whole process to you.
FALL IN LOVE WITH SOCIAL MEDIA
Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+, should be your best friend. If you think they are just for your kids or only used by teenagers, then you better get those kind of thoughts out of your head. As a real estate agent, you need to be on these platforms and start generating followers. Once you have a few hundred of them, you will need to start communicating with them about who you are and what listings you have. People are interested in these kind of things and if you are actively engaging with people on these platforms then you are going to be doing the right things by your business.
This is a very new area and its probably best that I do not overwhelm you with too much information here, but needless to say, YOU SHOULD CREATE ( and I mean immediately) at least a Facebook page, Twitter account and LinkedIn profile. Once all this has been done ( if it’s too hard to do don’t worry we will do this for you), come on in and we can go over a social media marketing strategy and campaign for your agency.
Most old school real estate agents have never even thought of these social media platforms so if you want to stay one step ahead of the game then the opportunities are very much available for you. If you are in your 20/30/40’s you might already be active on Facebook or LinkedIn etc etc but the point here is are you using this effectively to actively market yourself. You might have been engaging in these social media environments on a social level, and while that is a great start, you need to look at how you are doing this and what you are saying. It’s basically time to step up and now that if you are serious about your real estate career then you need a professional company working with you to manage your social media profile.
MAKE IT EASY FOR MOBILE PHONE USERS TO BE ABLE TO FIND YOU
This is a no brainer. The world has gone mobile and you need to ( once you have had your personal or agency website designed) get your head around the differences between mobile phone websites. There are basically 2 styles of mobile sites:
you main website that is viewable on a mobile site – difficult to navigate and users well as hard to find listings that you have.
A fully customised mobile phone website that is totally user friendly for the iphone, ipad and android market – this can just be a very basic site with your name, a single button that takes you to your listings and a contact icon. Overall this is a 3 page website that will give mobile phone users easy access to your details, your properties and a call to action button to contact you. This is the preferred option and should really be considered as a vital component of your marketing strategy in the next 12 months. Again, ignoring this will just give your competition the edge it needs to push you and your real estate agency that much more to the sidelines into obscurity.
Mobile phone website are easy to do and really quite inexpensive, so before you roll your eyes and think about those costs, please give us a call so we can show you just how simple and easy this whole process can be.
CREATE KILLER COPY OR CONTENT AND YOU WILLBE REWARDED
What ever you are going to publish or write online from this day forward needs to be inspiring, entertaining, interesting, informative and to the point. This means you may ned to engage the services of a copy writer who can write 2 or 3 killer articles for you to publish online ( on your blog, Facebook page or newsletter), that will keep your online visitors and followers wanting more and just that bit more curious about you or your real estate agency. If the articles are interesting enough, they will be forwarded on to other people, generating real interest in what you have to say. As a real estate agent, YOU WANT this kind of exposure and you want people to be interested in what you have to say. The more they read and the more they like your articles the more chance you have of getting that phone call to sell a property. It’s a simple as that. You should note that like with everything, online success does not happen over night. It is a gradual process and takes time. You have to be very consistent in your marketing approach and strategy, but I can swear to you the payback will be huge as you grow your online digital footprint.
DO YOU REALLY KNOW WHAT A BLOG IS?
You have probably heard the word blog and are more than likely to have read a few in your life, but are you fully aware of the power that blogging can have and how it can really increase your exposure online. If you are reading this blog article then what I have done is written an informative piece about marketing strategies and help for real estate agents which will lead to real estate agents inquiring about our services and how we are able to help them. This is what blogging can do for you. It’s a huge weapon in your real estate marketing arsenal and should be used weekly. Once you start blogging about everything relevant in the real estate world, online users who stumble across your article, if well written, will more than likely use your services or recommend you when wanting an agent. As stated previously, the content has to be professionally written if it is going to work for you. At Hopping Mad Mad Designs we have a team of very experienced copy writers that will be able to give your blog that professional edge and make you look like a superstar online.
OK, if you have read this blog and are excited and motivated about all these new marketing possibilities mentioned then you are making very positive steps to becoming an online leader in the real estate industry. Even by implementing just one of the points mentioned above, will see your name and agency getting heaps more exposure to new markets and therefore more potential new clients.
A little bit of planning, strategy, forward thinking, will give your site the edge it needs to convert the user into a customer. If you want to stay ahead of your competition you will need to pay close attention to the site during the initial design phase and work very closely with your web/graphic design team. Even when the site is completed and as time moves on, you will need to be constantly looking at the site for ways of improving it’s look, site conversion rate and as new technologies become available, any new add-ons that will be beneficial to it’s performance. One of the most common web mistakes is to have a set and forget approach.
Many business owners will have a site designed but will never look at making amends or upgrades for many years. They tend to ignore that fact that their site is a powerful marketing tool and prefer to focus their energies on other more traditional marketing streams that they are used to such as print and radio. It is not because they do not want to work on their site, but it just that business owners are not willing to invest the time and money necessary to make their website an online success. In many circumstances, they are afraid of emerging technologies and are fearful of the costs involved with the implementation of these platforms, which is a grave mistake. Often the case, these new site amends and additions are very easy to do and can be a very cost effective way of getting your brand to market.
b) Going with the wrong design team.
This is a huge area and I am often approached by companies and businesses who have gone down this path and are looking for us to help them out. Basically, what has happened is that they have: – used a friend of a friend who just bought a Mac, who is now overseas and can not be contacted. – gone with a company that can design them a website for $399 and the site looks nothing like they thought it would. – tried to do it themselves because they read about it online and thought that it would be real easy to do. – saw somewhere that if they downloaded a free template then that is all that was required. A big mistake for those businesses that want to use their website as a sales tool
I have heard and seen all of the above and can only say that to avoid these common web design mistakes is simple and easy. All you need to do is call a company like Hopping Mad Designs as we can take care of everything. We are able to help you avoid all those design traps and produce a site for you that you can be sure will work.
c) As designers we are trained professionals and know what’s best for your business.
We do this all the time and we figure that we have a better idea of what will work for your business online than you might have. So a big mistake is when you tell us about the exact design direction that you would like us to go in. Ideally, you should be able to let go and allow us, the web experts the creative freedom to come up with designs that we feel are more in line with your business and target audience. By restricting us and confining our design talents you re not doing yourselves any favours. Whats best, is for you to come in for an initial discussion about your business, and then leave us to do our job. More often that not, most clients we design for are very impressed by what we can come up with. Remember, you are paying us for this and its best to give us the brief and then leave us to what we do best; and that is design! Sure you can let us know about color likes/dislikes, typography preferences, some sites you have seen in the past that you think are nice, but that should be the level of your involvement during the initial design stages.
d) Don’t expect a website that will be designed purely on what you think is good and what it should look like.
If you are a business owner or have an ecommerce site you need a web presence that is functional and will sell to the consumers at large. Unless you are a artist, the site is NOT about you or your portfolio of work. It is about what the end user, that is the consumer, expects to see of you and the information they want to get off the site. Your website needs to clearly convey your businesses story very quickly, and if it doesn’t users will exit your page. This should not be about ego or all about you. A very common mistake is to forget about this and ignore what is important and that is the actual product or service provided.
e) A HUGE area of neglect is web promotion.
People come to us and get their site designed and expect the sales to start streaming in through the front door. Well this is not going to happen and you will find that the uphill road to online success littered with businesses who have gone bust because they are unwilling to part with marketing dollars to get their site ranked on the search engines. I am always amazed when clients come in and tell me that they have just invested a huge amount of money in a new piece of machinery and roll their eyes when I tell them the cost of online marketing. They have bought the equipment and want the new website to showcase it but are unwilling to pay so that the website gets traffic. Websites need promotion and the best way of doing this is through SEO – make sure you speak to us about how we can implement a SEO campaign to push your web rankings on Google much higher.
f) Responsive web design – Mobile Friendly Website
Is your website viewable on all screen sizes? Is it responsive as thi9s will have a massive impacy on the user experince and eventually if they end up buying from you. A big mistake for many companies is to ignore this and not cater to the mobile market.
Web Design Psychology: what the public expects to see. The internet is so crowded and with the public are becoming more and more overwhelmed with information it is a good idea to know what they want to see and the psychology behind this before you go to that first meeting with your designer.
It is probably wise to get an idea about how colours and what are going to be the best for your audience. For example, if you are a law firm, bright pinks and oranges are not going to work. Conversely, if you are an art gallery you may like to think about brighter colours. The same can also apply to the use of typography. You should know how different fonts can elicit varying emotions in people and trigger buying decisions. Strong use of colour combined with large font size are more likely to appear on ecommerce site, whilst softer, more subtle tones with, lower case fonts are used within the corporate world.
Too many fingers in the pie I have been at meetings throughout my time and seen a design by committee approach. This is a recipe for disaster as each person brings their own bit of advice and opinion to the design table. Even worse, I have seen company bosses bring a newly hired young gun to web briefing meeting, who, keen to make an impression, will stamp their thoughts on what the site should look like. Just because they have thousands of friends on Facebook and are on Twitter all the time, does not mean they know what they are talking about when it comes to web design. Leave them back at the office and DO NOT involve them at all during the design phase. The project should be headed up by one person, who will be the point of contact. Too many chiefs and not enough Indians will lead to the site looking very mismatched and off brief. On top of this the site will end up costing you more, with budget blow outs due to all the design iterations, meetings and changes.
Analysis Paralysis. This is a common mistake when a person is afraid to commit to making a design decision. They need to get the advice of friends, family, work colleagues and even then they are unable to give the green light to go ahead. Websites can take any months to get design approval and in some cases just don’t go ahead. People get scared and do t have sufficient faith and trust in their designer to give the go ahead. Believe it or not, this is a very common web design mistake and happens all the time. What you need to do is take a step back and take that leap of faith that you are in fact doing the right thing and making the correct decision. Stop deliberating and get the website live. Once there you can see what is working and what isn’t and from that point onwards you can make amends to the site that are going to bring in more business. The point here is stop thinking about it and just do it. What ever happens to your website, can be fixed, amended or updated. Over analysis of the site will result in delays, giving your competitors the time needed to secure more clients.
The trend for this mobile explosion is set to continue and if the statistic I read over the weekend are right then mobile phone usage will increase by roughly 33% per year. On top of this the amount of time that users spend on their mobile phone scanning for information will also increase at an alarming rate of 45% per year. This means that in the coming years, a bewildering 47% of 17-28 yr olds will spend the majority of their search time using their phones.
M-COMMERCE SALES ARE SET TO EXPLODE OVER THE NEXT 3 YEARS – THE TIME IS NOW – ARE YOU READY?
With these figures in mind, businesses and companies that are web savvy and are at the cutting edge of technology are ensuring that mobile phones are m-commerce friendly by allowing users to make online purchases with the slide of a finger. It boggles the mind to think about the emerging power of m-commerce as a sales tool considering the uptake in phones. More and more users will be be making online purchases through an m-commerce gateway with the simple swipe of an index finger. This is great news for retailers, ecommerce sites, companies looking to break out and establish a new market base as well as traditional household names wanting to make the buying process more simple via m-commerce technology. The reputable eMarketer has forecasted that m-commerce growth through mobile phone payments to grow by well over 1000% by the year 2017 in the US alone.
WHO DOES THIS EFFECT?
– all businesses selling a product -businesses looking to tap into emerging markets -online retailers wanting to cash in on this growth -businesses with sluggish sales -multi national/national brands looking for a larger slice of the pie.
Basically, this is awesome news for anyone wanting to break into an untapped market and generate more revenue and sales for their business.
For the more adventurous business person this is an ideal way to expand your market without risking too much. M-commerce is a lot easier to implement than you think so those marketing professionals who might be baulking at the idea should perhaps give us a call here at Hopping Mad Designs to show you what is really achievable. More often tan not you will be totally surprised at how simple, quick and economical an m-commerce platform is to integrate into your marketing mix.