Many of their recommendations could be applied to a website re-design:
- Consider the curb appeal. You want to make sure your house looks great from the outside. First impressions count. Yard should be mowed, trees trimmed and sidewalks washed. No need to invest in expensive trees, shrubbery, etc.
Designer's view: Your homepage needs to be clean and inviting. I wouldn't invest in any Flash intros, or fancy animations. People will just walk buy, or ignore them.
- Get rid of the clutter and de-personalize. Your house should show like a new home builder's model home. Promote negative space and keep the decorating neutral. Less is more. You want the buyer to focus on the home, not the furniture.
Designer's view: Whitespace is good and you shouldn't feel compelled to fill all 960 pixels. Most websites have too many distractions and it's hard to simply find a phone number, price, or information about the products or services.
- Watch where the eyes go. Walk around your house with a friend or family member and watch where their eyes go. Chances are, they are either going towards something they like, or a flaw they've found.
Designer's view: Look at your statistics and find out where people are going. If you find they spend a lot of time on the site looking at a lot of pages, chances are—they didn't find what they were looking for. If a lot of your visitors are clicking a conversion button, but not converting—you might have something wrong with your conversion page.
- Hire a professional. You're personally invested in your home and it will be very hard to step away and follow simple staging guidelines. You'll also probably spend too much money because you don't know where the deals are and what will get you the most bang for your buck.
Designer's view: If you are considering building a new website, or are re-designing one, hire a professional. Define your budget up front and find someone to work with who can work within a pre-defined budget. Remember, websites take ongoing maintenance so make sure you budget for that to. Nowadays, a Content Management System, or a Blogging Platform can be implemented so you can do most the maintenance yourself.
Now here's a hint for all the Realtor's out there:
Go look at your website. Is it staged properly? Most Realtor websites I go to are cluttered, unorganized and look like they were designed by SEO Specialists, not Web Designers.
My advise to Realtors is to eat your own dog food. Follow your own advise on staging to get your websites to look and function better.
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