Approximately 50 percent of all real estate searches are taking place on mobile devices. The question you must answer for your business is whether you need an entirely new mobile website in addition to your traditional website or do you try to create a website that meets the needs of both traditional website and mobile app users?
As mobile websites continue to evolve, agents and brokers alike are wondering what type of mobile site will work best. There seem to be two primary options.
1. One site with multiple links
The first option is to provide as much information as possible on the small screen. For example, Clikbrix.com packs the property address and sale details, a gallery of pictures, video tours, the seller’s story, a neighborhood insider, what’s nearby, driving directions, plus open house information all into its mobile home page. It takes only a single click to obtain the desired information.
2. Super simple a la stealth and single-property websites
While a substantial number of agents lack their own personal site, a number of forward-thinking agents have been marketing their businesses using “stealth” and single-property websites. These sites may provide an excellent model for meeting the needs of today’s mobile consumer.
The philosophy is quite different from the “one website must have it all” approach. Unlike many traditional websites chock-full of information, stealth and single-property websites are simple and clear. They typically focus on a single market niche and may consist of a single landing page.
These sites are popular with consumers because they provide the exact information the consumer is seeking. Furthermore, Web visitors can pop in, get what they need, and then continue searching.
Differences between single-property and stealth websites
Single-property websites use the property address as the URL for the site and are devoted exclusively to the details related to just one property.
Stealth sites share this singular focus, albeit in a different way. Most have a single landing page with a single call to action. For example, “Provide your email address to automatically receive this week’s hot new listings list or a complimentary report such as “How to Lower Your Property Taxes.” If the person doesn’t provide a correct email address, he won’t receive the information.
“Stealth sites” have come under fire in the past for ethical reasons. Some agents were using these sites without labeling them as being hosted by a Realtor. A number of Realtor associations have cracked down on this practice by requiring agents to identify themselves as being licensed on their sites.
Applying the single-property and stealth website models to your mobile website
If you’re planning on setting up a separate mobile site in addition to your traditional site, here are some important guidelines:
1. Simplify your mobile home page
Limit the links on your home page to four or five main links. Remember, people want three primary things when they visit a real estate website: what’s for sale, how much their house is worth, and community information. Moreover, every additional click that users must make results in users dropping off.
2. Additional home page links
You could add a fourth or fifth link to your main mobile home page, but adding more than that can create scrolling and readability issues. Additional links could be “client reviews,” “mortgage,” “open houses” or “videos.”
3. Think squeeze, please
On the other hand, a better choice for an additional link on your mobile home page may be what is known as a “squeeze page.” This is a landing page that requires people to register to receive your short-sale list, foreclosure list or even the “25 best buys” in your ZIP code.
Consequently, you could add a “free reports” link on your home page navigation bar and then have a page that lists the various reports that you provide. This allows you to create a lead capture function because you need an email address to send the report.
This Google initiative gives you a quick check on how well your website or blog displays on mobile devices. It also provides suggestions about how to improve your site’s appearance and to provide a more mobile-friendly presence.
Use this tool as you create your new mobile website. Important points to evaluate include determining whether your page is visible without zooming or scrolling; are the links and buttons big enough that they can be clicked with a thumb; and is your site searchable?
Feeling confused? So is just about everyone else. Nevertheless, it’s time to move your picture off your home page and dump your old clunky website with the Flash applications in favor of a new look that is crisp, clean and mobile-friendly.
Bernice Ross, CEO of RealEstateCoach.com, is a national speaker, trainer and author of the National Association of Realtors’ No. 1 best-seller, “Real Estate Dough: Your Recipe for Real Estate Success.” Hear Bernice’s five-minute daily real estate show, just named “new and notable” by iTunes, at www.RealEstateCoachRadio.com.