I had the pleasure of attending a Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association Sales & Marketing Council roundtable today held in conjunction with the Southern Building Show. The Internet portion of the round table was led by Meredith Oliver of Meredith Communications and proved quite insightful. Meredith defined 6 tactical areas that define a successful Web site. Here they are with brief descriptions.

  1. Content – does the site have enough? too much? is the content valuable? Online shoppers typically visit a Web site 11 times in the course of making a purchasing decision. Once a decision has been reached, they visit another 15 times to confirm their decision. This said, it is important to keep the site fresh with new content. Adding editorial content keeps visitors returning.
  2. Design – the design should be appealing to your target market and segment. Researchers have identified 17 different types of clickers. We typically design Web sites for the way we like to click (navigate). Keep in mind that others navigate differently than you.
  3. Navigation – follow the 3 click rule, visitors should be able to find a home, know how much it is and what it looks likes within 3 clicks or less. Finding a home within 1 click is even better.
  4. Technical – does the site work and do the links work? Nothing is worse than clicking on an inactive link or a virtual tour that doesn’t load properly.
  5. Features – if your Web site has a basic presence, it is time to step it up. Web 2.0 is here. The Web is changing, online content is being driven by individuals not corporations. Social media and blogs are powerful tools being used to build SEO. Builders should consider joining an existing blog or launching their own. Blogs should be allow interaction in a moderated format. Other features include interactive site plans, floor plans and design studios and customer testimonials. The “My Style” quiz on the Ryland Web site www.ryland.com is an excellent example.
  6. Sales – how well does your site compell visitors to take the next step? Office Depot does a great job with this with their “Call, Click or Come By” campaign. You should have your 1-800 number plastered ALL over the site.

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