Last week we announced that we were going to do periodic analyses of real estate brokerage home pages here on the blog. We received a ton of submissions. And, unfortunately, we can’t go through them all in detail.
But we picked one: longandfoster.com.
Long and Foster is a huge company – #3 on the Real Trends 500 in fact. Managing a web site for an organization this large is not a small undertaking. And there are many things done well here. Our focus, however, is on the things that could, in our opinion, stand a little adjustment.
We’ve used a cool app called Notableto present our critique. If you click on the “View interactive screenshot” link below you’ll be able to see our notes and the specific location on the page to which they refer.
Stay tuned for more home page breakdowns. We’ll try to do one every week or two. If you’re interested in having your home page critiqued here on 1000watt Blog, please shoot an email to email@example.com with a link to the page.
Long & Foster (longandfoster.com)
- What is “My Planner?” Turns out this feature allows users to get email listing alerts, save properties and store documents in a personal account – all great stuff that’s good for the company and the user. But I, the user, would never know that. This should be labeled in a more descriptive fashion or perhaps removed from the home page entirely and placed where users are more likely to use these tools (e.g., search results page, property detail page). What does need to be here (and is currently missing) is a simple “account login” link – If I am a user with an account signing-in is an action I may very well take from the home page.
- There’s a lot of great video behind this element. But the user should be told what’s here – or, more pointedly, why they should click. Better titles/calls to action might be: “Video real estate tips” “Video channel: advice for buyers and sellers” “Watch consumer video guides”
- It’s no longer enough to just add social media icons to your site – you must tell the user why they my want to engage in this manner. The call to action for Twitter, for example, might be something like: “Get daily mortgage rate averages” or “Follow the latest real estate headlines” For Facebook, depending on the strategy, the call to action might be: “Get market updates for your area” or “Receive our Real Esate Tip of the Day”
- This should be removed. Calls to action are a critical part of any web page, but they should be used with discipline. Throw in too many for non-essential actions and you distract from what you really want to user to do – or what you determine, through research, what they will want to do.
- This is far too long. The first two sentences should be cut. And questions (here, “Ready to get started?”) should be avoided. Sentences starting with strong verbs are better. Lastly, the call to action here is too weak and does not flow logically with the text preceding it.
- What do “owning” and “living” mean? Most users will have to think about that – and thinking = game over.
- This should be removed. Does anyone really “Look for a real estate office” today? Even if I am it does not merit placement next to property search – better to put it on the “contact us” page. Adding text, elements, or features that do not absolutely belong somewhere only serves to distract from those that do (and, as a result, negatively impacts conversion).
- This field should simply be labeled “Location” and possible search parameters should be cued in the field in light grey text.
- This should be collapsed into “Location” field.
- This button – the most important on the page – is WAY too small. As touch screen tablets become more and more common this is even more important.
- Things should be called what they are – in this case, “Property Search.” “Quick Search” raises questions.
- This is almost never worthy of placement in the top nav. Adding nav items, calls to action, features and elements is not a cost-free action. It’s now fighting for attention with much more important things. It belongs in the footer.
- It’s a good idea to give selected interior pages some SEO love with well-worded links. But the image here distracts and pulls the user’s eye downward away from – again – the things that really drive conversion.
- It’s not a bad idea – particularly for a company of this size – to visually represent your market area. But the large blank space here for the rest of the country should be removed – no matter what the relocation arrangement. It makes what’s important too small. “National home search” can be added as a link underneath a larger market area display.