Three Keys to a Killer Website

When it comes to a website for your building or remodeling company, there’s only one measure of success: Whether that site makes you money.

Myers Barnes, president, and Chip Johnson, CEO, of Builder Designs talked about how to build a successful website at an NAHB International Builders’ Show “Techbytes” session last week.

“I don’t care about analytics, I care about sales. Does the website turn into cash for you? That’s the only thing that matters. If it’s not, you’re wasting your time,” Barnes said.

When studies show that a whopping 96% of buyers start shopping for their new home on the web, and that fully 75% of them start about a year before they make the actual purchase, by the time they walk through the door of your model home, “they aren’t ‘just looking,’ they are buying. They spend more time digitally than physically with your brand.”

That means that clever posts on Instagram and constant attention to your Facebook page will only go so far. “Without a website, digital marketing doesn’t exist.”

That website has three components — and each one is vital, Barnes said.

Mobility. Seventy percent of your buyers begin their searches on their cellphones. “Mobile trumps desktop,” Barnes said. Most buyers won’t sit down to peruse your site on their desktops or laptops unless they are “doing a super deep dive,” he said. That means that savvy home builders won’t bother with a desktop-based website design that’s developed to transition seamlessly to a smaller mobile version, or what’s known as responsive design in the trade. Instead, the website must be designed with the mobile user in mind, without complicated menu bars, sliding graphics or other distractions. “We prefer a mobile-first site. From the phone, we build it up” rather than the other way around, Barnes said.

Images. Today’s buyer is extremely visual. That means that home builders must invest in dynamic, well-lit and professional photography if they expect to attract and then capture potential buyers’ interest. “They don’t care about your “About” page,” he said. Buyers don’t want to waste time navigating your site to get an idea of what your homes look like. Pictures of homes on websites that have been taken by professional photographers have a 47% higher asking price, “and take you to the promised land of profitability,” Barnes said.

Speed. If your website takes more than five seconds to load, you’ve just lost 90% of your potential buyers, because they simply won’t wait that long anymore, Barnes said. Rather than rely on a traditional website framework, which forces users to reload the page every time they boot it up again, Barnes and Johnson prefer JavaScript-based programs like Vue and React. It’s all about speed, and these programs “will diminish wait time dramatically,” Johnson said.

Attendees with a paid full registration to IBS also get a complimentary 1-year subscription to IBS Education on Demand and can download recording and handouts to Building Killer Websites that Actually Attract Buyers and other sessions. Visit BuildersShow.com/ondemand to learn more.

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  1. Testimonials are a must have on a website as well. Most people decide to do business with you based on information gained from your own website. That’s why having other people who sing your praise is so important.

  2. Jeff Augello says:

    Another very important “key” to a “killer web site” is for your site to be accessible to persons with disabilities. Although the jury is still out on what level of accessibility is required pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), website accessibility is absolutely something to consider when designing a site for your building or remodeling company. Don’t let your site become a business “killer!”

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