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Back to Basics: Is Your Website a Billboard or a Resource?

December 10 2013

This is the first in a four-part series from WebsiteBox on the basics of creating and managing a real estate website that generates sales leads that result in commissions.

webbox basics 1 billboardHow many photos of yourself are on your website? How prominent are they? How many statements are there about your production or "top producer" status? Where are these statements and self-portraits, on your home page and in other places?

This article is about the difference between a billboard and a site that generates business. Self-portraits and top producer statements have a place, but they're billboard items. They will do their job on your About page or Contact Me page, because the visitor that visits those pages are wanting more information about you.

However, up until that point, the vast majority of them are not interested in what you look like, if you love your pets, or if you do a lot of business. They've arrived at your site with a need for information, and they simply want to satisfy that need. They may stay and read more, and they may return often for more information. However, until they want to DO something, they are still just satisfying their desire for information.

How much screen space or screen real estate is there on a desktop monitor? It can be a lot of space in square inches, but no matter what the resolution, the visitor is still only going to see a limited amount of your content on the screen. It just gets bigger when the screen does.

Now take a look at the content available without scrolling on a tablet and then on a smart phone. What are you placing in that highly valuable "above the fold" screen real estate? Newspapers call the information printed above where the paper folds "above the fold," and it's important because the reader can view it without taking other action, like turning it over or changing pages. Headlines and important text go above the fold.

How are you using your valuable "above the fold" screen area? That's the area they can see on immediate display without having to scroll downward. If you're placing large photos of you and your pets and selling statements and text about how much business you do, you're wasting the most valuable space on your site. Yes, they will want to know these things, but only when they're ready. You need to use the space above the fold for information your visitors want, not billboard items.

Your website likely has a main area and a sidebar. You want your most valuable information above the fold in both areas. If it's an IDX search page, you want as much of the search input area visible without scrolling as possible. You'll have a navigation button and links here and there to take them to your About information, so they'll go there when they want to.

You should place titles, sub-titles and answers to their questions in this valuable area. If you have lead generation forms, make sure they're in the main or sidebar areas near the top; no scrolling. Another crucial element is prominent navigation that is clear and takes them to more relevant content with as few clicks as possible.

Adding specific links to articles about easements and encumbrances in the content on an article about title insurance is an example of being a resource and not a billboard. Never forget that you'll eventually get to show them your photos and sales pitch when the time is right, but that isn't when they first arrive with a need for information.

To view the original article, visit the WebsiteBox blogWebsiteBox blog.