Except for some minor cosmetic differences and engine upgrades, the cars were virtually indistinguishable.
They lacked identity. Spirit. Individuality. They marked the nadir of American auto design. Two decades later they were replaced by a different type of car with designs that reflected the personality of their owners. Hummers. Beetles. Scions.
Individuality. We aspire to it on the road, in the clubs, and in the business world.
But … behold the preponderance of agent and broker websites in existence today. Except for a few cosmetic differences, they are identical, built on platforms that have remained largely unchanged since 1997. They are the J Cars of our industry, of our time.
These J Car websites, tens of thousands of them, rust away on shared servers, severing their owners from their marketplace much in the same way J Cars disconnected the big auto brands from the American consumer in the 1970’s and 80’s.
Forget the fact the some of these sites allow you to customize them. Or that you can pop in a little Java to display one "hot property" on the home page. That’s really no different that replacing the factory stereo with Satellite radio.
Consider the times. Consider the needs of your target customer. Consider your need to connect with that target customer. Can you afford to continue paying for and using a site where search is buried, where the home page is filled with promises the site can’t keep, and by which your brand is tarnished?
Whatever a real estate website was once upon a time, these clunkers should have been junked and sold for scrap long ago.
Let’s face it, the end user doesn’t need to see a picture of the practitioner.
The end user doesn’t need FREE REPORTS, RELOCATION INFORMATION, or a MISSION STATEMENT.
The end user doesn’t need links to other crappy websites.
The end user doesn’t need to read 500 words on the home page describing what they can do on the website.
The end user doesn’t need a link to boilerplate monthly newsletters.
The end user doesn’t need jpegs of area maps that are not clickable.
The end user doesn’t need links to empty pages that contain no content.
The end user doesn’t need links to pages that promises information but offer nothing like the page below.
None of these things matter to the end user. And they strip the practitioner of their own voice, their own personality, their own brand, their own vibe, their own ability to deliver their promise to the consumer.
What should a website be today?
It should be exquisitely tuned to the end user’s desires — and deliver on them the second the user arrives at the site. On the home page.
What does the end user want?
They want to search for homes — all of them — right there on the home page.
They want to see an interactive map.
They want to see pictures of actual homes for sale
They want to have a multitude of contact options. Phone number. Live chat.
They want to know exactly what the site is and does in 25 words or less.
They want to learn and they want to read original content â€“ your voice.
Continue building or using a site built for you and you will likely be the only one to use it. Build a site for them, your target customers, and ” they will come.
Vendors, feel free to post, comment and supply a link to your product. I know there are some Scions and Beetles out there.