Have you heard about the “Responsive Revolution” in real estate websites?
According to a report commissioned by Morgan Stanley, Mobile website usage is set in 2014 to overtake traditional desktop/laptop usage for the first time ever… and it will leave desktop forever in the dust.
What does “responsive” mean for real estate agents like you?
- It means is that you need to make sure that your mobile website experience “works” or your site will be passed over in favor of one of your competitors.
- It means that your mobile site is not a little teeny tiny version of your regular site where enlarging with your thumbs doesn’t really work, and is really frustrating.
- It means that the text on your mobile site is the correct size to easily read on all of your pages automatically.
- It means that all the forms on your site work easily for people who are used to texting.
- It means that nobody needs to download an app.
Already, your prospects are searching for real estate on their Smartphones in large numbers. Is your site providing the experience they’re looking for? If not, instead of watching your prospective clients switch over to your competitor, how about overhauling your site with a “Responsive” web design?
We’ve gathered the following list of the 9 specific “must-haves” to look for in a responsive real estate website. You could use this as a guide to help you select a website solution that does responsive the right way.
So, what is “Responsive” and how do I know this won’t go the way of the dinosaur and MySpace next year?
As you know, Mobile devices are “touch-based” which means there is no cursor to have to point and click with. So, unlike with a desktop browser, mobile users can interact directly with the information on screen. This new interface requires new tools and techniques. That is where responsive design excels since it covers all the bases. Let’s cover those now:
The 9 Must Haves for a Responsive Real Estate Website
1. PORTRAIT & LANDSCAPE VIEWING
Users are visiting your site on a plethora of different devices, all with all different sizes and proportions. They’re also turning them sideways for a landscape effect or upright when portrait view is more effective for their needs. Your new real estate website should react automatically to the orientation of the device – not just to fill up their screen, but also to provide visitors with easy access to important information about you and your listings.
2. MAKING THE BEST USE OF THE VISIBLE AREA
“Real Estate” is also a term used for how much of the screen you’re looking at is being used. You want to make sure your screen real estate is offering visitors all the main options without searching for them. A user searching for homes using his mobile device has less screen area to work with than someone using a iPad, Kindle Fire or other tablet. Great responsive sites adapt instantly to your users’ needs based on the available screen size and viewing orientation when they’re browsing.
3. BIGGER IMAGES EQUAL A BETTER EXPERIENCE
Today’s smartphones offer a full video and visual experience, and consumers expect it now. You need to deliver a media-rich experience. Make sure the images in your responsive real estate website are designed to “scale” to be as large as their mobile device will support. Large images draw in casual browsers and provide an easy way to link directly into the listing pages where they will get hooked.
4. RESPONSIVE PROPERTY DETAIL PAGES
On a mobile device, your listing detail pages should show the addresses with photos up front to make it intuitive for prospective home buyers to click through easily and request more info from you. When displaying in a tablet, the home listing details pages should make it easy and fun to browse through all the photos, sideshows and galleries.
5. DYNAMIC HEADERS THAT LOOK GREAT AT ANY SIZE
Your new responsive real estate website should have a header graphic that adjusts to the size of the device its on automatically. With smaller devices, you want to make sure that the most important parts of the page are still prominent when the rest of the page is reduced. No matter what kind of device you are on, make sure your branding looks great! Whether its being looked at on a desktop, a laptop or a smartphone, your brand and logo should still be up front and making its permanent mark in everyone’s subconscious database.
6. NAVIGATION THAT IS EASY TO FIND/EASY TO USE
No matter what kind of device your site is being viewed on, easy navigation is vital! Responsive designs must follow the same guidelines. Your design must provide access to the most visited areas of your website and at the same time keep the emphasis on your content.
7. DON’T SACRIFICE FUNCTION FOR FORM
We’ve outlined how important the visual aspect of your site on any device is important for today’s conditioned consumer, but let’s not forget how important keeping the desktop functionality is. A responsive site should still allow easy registration so that your prospects can save their specific searches and favorite listings, with the ability to come back later and jump back in the same spot. This is how you become the invaluable homes for sale resource.
8. CONTENT IS STILL KING MORE THAN EVER
Part of your Unique Selling Proposition that makes you special has to be your intimate knowledge of what makes your area tick. This just can’t be replaced with links to local websites where they have crime stats and poverty rates, etc., which don’t give your users a warm fuzzy feeling. Your “voice” is what makes you stand out, and it is what Google is also looking for. You want to ensure that your responsive website makes your Blog posts look great and are prominently displayed. And the more your prospects get to know, like and trust you, the person, the easier it will be for them to make those “Come List Me” phone calls.
9. CAPTURING LEADS
With almost 50% of the public doing their real estate searches on a smartphone, you need to make sure that capturing those leads is as easy as on a desktop or laptop. And the easier that your forms, drop-down menus and buttons are to work with, the less likely the user will leave before sending you their contact information.
At HoopJumper, we have been focusing on the Responsive Revolution and want to make sure you are excelling in the important SoLoMo arena (Social/Local/Mobile) where your online presence now must be focused on.
If we can help you move into the present and get ready for 2014 now, contact us for a no-obligation consulting session where we will review your current Internet presence, assess your needs, and make a recommendation for a course of action that will take you boldly into the future.
We look forward to hearing back from you.
Brett Miller, HoopJumper
Email me for a free consultation