A company’s website is a 24/7 virtual sales person regularly providing information and solutions to perspective customers. The decision of redesigning a website can be a difficult one that will require a lot of time, energy and input from both the client team and design agency. Real estate focused websites can especially be development heavy as these sites need to showcase available properties, host high resolution photos and contain the latest updated specifications and costs. Before deciding to redesign your website, ask the following questions:
How Do I Know It is Time to Redesign My Home Builder Website?
Websites, on average, are redesigned every 1.5 to 2 years. There are many factors that determine if it is time to redesign a home builder website. Here are a few:
- The home builder website is stale, stagnant and no longer providing a good customer experience.
- The back-end functionality of the site has become more difficult to manage.
- The cost of getting IT involved is increasing because the older website is requiring more updates.
- The current home builder website is not mobile responsive. Customers cannot access or read information on their mobile devices.
What Platform Should I use?
A key question to ask your design agency is what platform is the best for your website. Two popular website platforms are Hubspot and WordPress. There are benefits to using either platform.
Hubspot is marketing automation software you can use from the creation of your website through marketing operations. The platform offers reporting analytics, email marketing and can track a customer through the buying funnel. A HubSpot website is securely hosted through Hubspot, which eliminates server maintenance issues and hosting fees. From a marketing point of view, you can see what the customer is doing online from clicking on links in emails to filling out forms on landing pages. CRMs like Salesforce can be integrated with Hubspot.
WordPress websites use themes and can be customized to contain a variety of functionilities. WordPress is open source making it a lower cost option in building your website. If you're looking to track a buyer's journey through Wordpress you'll need to depend on a variety of plugins. Hubspot forms and landing pages can also be integrated into a WordPress site.
How Long Does a Custom Home Builder Website Redesign Project Take?
The length of time for any website design project will vary depending on the client and the scope, size and functionality of their current website. The process will start out with discovery, business strategy identification and multiple discussions with the client. After this, simple designs and the overall flow of the website are created. Once designs are approved by the client, development can begin. In development, the components and functionality of website are built out. Once development concludes, content population and migration can occur. Once the new website has been updated with content, it is ready for testing. During testing the site is viewed in multiple browsers and through multiple devices to assure there are no changes in functionality and user experience. From start to finish a website redesign can take from 3 to 6 months.
What is the Best Way to Showcase Properties and Floorplans?
A crucial aspect of showcasing content for potential buyers on a home builder website is to determine the flow and intent of the website. Ideally, what does the home builder want their potential customers to do on the website? Do they want them to call a salesperson, look at a floorplan or look at a specific location? Once that is determined, the flow of the website can be developed. For most home builder websites a potential buyer should be able to click on a design they like (one story vs. two story for example) and then go to a more detailed information page. It is vital to have as much information about the floorplans, locations and pricing on the home builder website. Properties can be added to MLS, Zillow and other realty sites, but those sites can limit the amount of content, images and information posted on them. You have complete control of content, images and information you provide on your own homebuilder website.
What are Best Practices and Tips for Home Builder or Real Estate Website Design?
There are many best practices that should be considered during a design process to further enhance the experience for the client and their customers.
- A home builder or real estate website should be segmented properly to different buying groups like young families, senior living residents or handicapped accessible residents, for example.
- A home builder or real estate site should contain a blog, newsletter sign-up up options, special online offers, and online chat functionality.
- Add custom internal search functionality so your customers can find the content that they are looking for quickly and easily.
- Images used for properties should be consistent in size. Different image sizes accross your website can affect the user experience.
- Do not include prices on the images. Have the prices as a separate text that can be updated as needed.
- Add video walk-thrus or 360 views of the properties to the website, so your potential customers can fully see the home they are interested in.
How Will the Website Be Maintained After Launch?
A website is a living breathing sales tool for your company. It is like a garden that needs to be cleaned up, cultivated and nurtured to keep it looking good and producing flowers and vegetables, (or in this case, new customers and conversions). Websites need to be constantly updated with new content, forms, landing pages and offers. You can choose to maintain the website yourself if you have in-house technical staff that is familiar with the website or you can utilize an external web development agency.
When deciding to redesign a home builder or real estate website, there are many things to consider before the process even begins - which website design platform I should use, how long is the process going to take, can I show all of my properties, floorplans and locations correctly on the page. Understand the full scope of all your website decisions before beginning your project.