Make a statement with your home page
An appraiser’s website should be informative and educational. We’re
happy to keep our customers from reinventing the wheel when it comes to things like
an appraiser glossary, what different designations may mean, a home buyer checklist,
etc. Our pre-built content is one of things customers tell us they like the
most about XSites. Sometimes people start with our pages and customize
them a little, and other times, what we’ve provided works just fine.
But one place you should COMPLETELY customize the content is on your home page.
It’s easy to do in XSites, will only take a moment, and is vital. Here
are just a few reasons why:
- You only get a brief opportunity to impress a site visitor and tell them why you’re the appraiser for them.
- It may be the only page someone sees on your site.
- Search engines like Google rank unique content higher.
- You don’t want your homepage to look the same as your competition.
A personalized home page is a good thing. Now let’s discuss tips for making a good one.
What’s your message?
Start with at least three things you want your clients to know. In marketing
terms, this is called “branding”. You don’t have to be as
good at this as Mac computers or car manufacturers, but you should attempt to define
- Do you have the experience of 1000’s of jobs under your belt? Say it!
- Do you specialize in any types of properties or jobs? What are they?
- Can you guarantee a turn time? State it!
- Are you easy to work with? Tell ‘em why!
- Do you understand the needs of non-traditional clients like attorneys or consumers? Let them know!
“If you don’t tell them, they won’t know.”
- Unknown marketing genius
Make the customer the subject of your home page
Most people’s favorite subject is themselves. Try not to start every
sentence with “I” or “We”. Make them the subject.
Talk about their problems and how you can solve them.
Don’t beat around the bush
As we mentioned before, you’ve only got a brief opportunity to get someone’s
attention and prove you’re different. While something like, “Welcome
to our website. This is the online home of XYZ Appraisal Services…”
sounds pleasant and welcoming, it’s not very helpful and wastes precious real
estate that should be used to talk about your customers needs. Something such
as, “With 15 years of real estate experience and quick turn times, XYZ Appraisals
is the logical choice for accurate home valuations in Anytown, OK.” would
be more to the point.
Weave keywords into your body copy
For people wanting better search engine rankings, this is even more important than
getting people to link to your site. (See this
previous article on inbound links.) Put yourself in a potential client’s
shoes. If they were going to use a search engine to find your company, what
do you think they’d type in? Now, are those phrases on the content of
your home page? If you can’t work them into the body copy, at least
put them in your page’s Keywords.
Use bullet points instead of long paragraphs
Bullet points don’t really have to flow so much or be as conversational.
Similarly, you can make a list of items to keep readers engaged. (Think about
it. When you see practically any list, don’t you just have to know what
comes in at number one?)
Use an image or a graphic
People are always drawn to pictures, and it cuts down on the amount of text you
have to write. If you can capture an interesting image of something that relates
to your business, include it in the body of your home page text. Use an application
Microsoft’s free image optimizer to reduce the resolution so it loads
quickly and fits neatly on the page.
Get a someone to review your home page
It could be your spouse or anyone else you trust to give an honest, critical, opinion.
They don’t have to know anything about real estate, either. Put your
ego aside for a moment and listen to what their general impressions were.
In fact, having multiple people review your site is a good idea.
Don’t just “set it and forget it”
Customizing your homepage isn’t a one-time exercise. Come back to it
often and re-evaluate its relevance and appeal. You don’t have to change
it every week, or even every month. But don’t assume that because you’ve
worked on it once, that’s it. Web traffic and search engine optimization
is like anything. You get out what you put in. Don’t just “set
it and forget it.”
And it’s all even easier when you have an XSite
Like most modern website tools, the XSite web page editor works like a simple word
processor. Our tools are all online, so you don’t have to install any
programs on your PC to create a web page. To start editing your home page,
do the following:
- Log into your XSite.
- Click the XSite button at the top of the screen, then click Wizard.
- From there, click My Content from the options along the left.
Then, you’ll see all the available pages for your site.
The page titles are hyperlinks, so just click the word “Home” and you’ll
be in our content editor ready to implement the tips you’ve gathered here.
The XSite page editor also has some other options to make your site interesting.
For example below the main page editor window is an item labeled Dynamic Content.
Click “Customize” and you’ll options for including an Inman news
feed, mortgage rates and more in a sidebar to the right of your content. Likewise
you can include a handy client data capture form so people can contact you right
from the page.
If you get stuck, we’ve got a very comprehensive
manual for the XSites, and our tech staff is always standing by 24/7 to
get you back on track.