A builder’s website today is your dynamic, modern-day calling card. An intricate mix of technology and design that represents your brand and is often the first impression for home shoppers.
But just when you think you’ve updated and optimized your site, new trends emerge.
At BDX, we’ve built hundreds of websites for builders. It’s our job to stay on top of the latest design trends and technology. Our resident website guru and Senior Manager of Retail Products, Rebecca Coyne, lives, eats, and breaths websites and we decided there was no one better to help us understand what builders should be focused on for 2021.
- What “type”ography is your website?
Every home shopper that lands on your website is unconsciously judging its visual appearance. We’ve all done it. And one thing that is often overlooked and not given enough emphasis is the typography. Beyond images or graphics, typography brings more style and personality to your website than anything else.
Typography refers to the design of letterforms that are organized into words or sentences and is comprised of typefaces and fonts. Typeface examples include Arial and Times New Roman. Font is combining the typeface with the width, size, and spacing – 16pt Arial Bold.
Typography can serve your website in two ways – functionality and design. Is the typography easy to read? What does it look like on mobile? Is it ADA compliant?
And does it project the “tone” in the design that you are going for? From who’s perspective is it targeting? Is it a quote from a person? Are you emphasizing words to make them stand out?
“Typography is a small thing that can have big impact on your website,” said Mrs. Coyne “Just a few changes can improve homebuyer engagement.”
- Are you leading a home buyer to the next step?
Given today’s buying climate, you can be sure that buyers will spend more time online building their dream home. As they scroll through your website, you’ll want to think purposely about the path that you lead a home buyer down. Does your lot selection page dead end or do you direct people to pick out a floor plan next? Can they then move on to design options and pricing scenarios? How about a CTA to a finance page once they “build” their dream home? All of these move home shoppers along the buying process and help you generate quality leads.
“BDX’s Dreamweaver is an amazing tool that allows home shoppers to save every element of their dream home,” said Mrs. Coyne. “Shoppers create an account and can save every choice at every stage – from the lot down to the color scheme of their kitchen – and reference these as different “scenarios” representing the different dream home designs possible.”
- Rethink your mobile marketing strategy
80% of home shoppers say that they are more likely to do business with a company that offers personalized experiences. There’s no better device to optimize this for than mobile. When home shoppers are on a mobile device, they are a captive audience, and personalizing a message on your website increases lead generation exponentially.
Examples of personalized triggers that builders could use include:
- Creating a time-sensitive pop-up for when your model is closed offering visitors the option of scheduling an appointment
- Offering a special promotion to home shoppers who are within a certain geographical mile radius
- Delivering specific content for repeat visitors who have shown a greater depth of interest vs. a first-time visitor
- Keep an eye on Google’s Core Web Vitals
We’re getting a little technical here but it’s important. Core Web Vitals are the way that Google measures your website’s user experience (UX). Why is this important? Because Google is going to make this an official Google ranking factor which will influence where you show up on search results.
The three metrics that determine your Core Web Vitals are:
- Loading time – how fast your website appears on the screen
- Interactivity – how fast your site reacts to the input of the user
- Visual Stability – how much things are moving on the screen while your website is loading
“Many builders are not aware of Google’s Core Web Vitals or how to measure them,” said Mrs. Coyne. “My team works with our SEO team to ensure that our website client’s UX does not negatively impact their rankings.”
- Showcase monthly mortgage prices
In car advertising, you often see dealers advertise the monthly payment. This helps buyers determine if it's affordable and also removes the sticker shock for the total price.
Lumber prices have been trending up, and as a result, so are home prices. Mortgage rates, however, are at historic lows making homes more affordable than ever. But if you let home shoppers decide based on the home’s total price then they may walk away without ever considering you.
Instead, take a page from car advertisers. Show a general range of payments to demonstrate how attainable a new home could be. See the example below.
- Update and optimize your gallery pages
Gallery pages allow builders to show off their best work! And while how you organize your galleries is important, it’s the image details that impact them the most. Make sure you are using high-resolution images that have been optimized for the web because low-quality images or giant file sizes can detract and cause home shoppers to abandon your gallery – the last thing you want!
Also, be intentful about the images you choose vs. dumping any and all images into your galleries. Is it your latest work? Does the image communicate the value or emotion you want associated with your brand? Do your images resonate with your demographic/buyer/price range audience?
- Make your hero image the hero of your home page
The hero image – the full-width banner image at the top of your home page – is critical to capturing attention, drawing the eye, and intriguing a buyer to continue exploring. To that end, hero images can’t be afterthoughts. Here are our top tips for optimizing hero images:
- Run tests on your hero images
- Compress and resize the image so that it does not slow loading your home page
- Balance image and typography so that the eye is drawn to your CTA – and include a CTA!
- Try video – just make sure it is compressed
- Consider device types – should you have a different hero image for mobile vs. desktop?
- Don’t let it get stale! Swap out with the seasons, promotions, videos/sliders, single images – keep it interesting to returning visitors!
“We oftentimes see a builder’s hero image crammed with large graphics or award logos,” said Mrs. Coyne. “Your hero image is the best opportunity to feature your homes or community so just be sure not to deter from utilizing your hero image to sell and generate leads.”
- Engage & follow-up with website visitors
Buying a home is a complex process. Don’t let a home shopper leave your website without first giving them the opportunity to chat and ask questions. Technology like BuilderBot powered by AtlasRTX engages shoppers by asking and answering questions about the shopper’s needs, builder, communities, and home plans. The best part? BuilderBot works alongside your sales team, focusing on gathering lead information, collecting new home shopper preferences, and driving visits to the community.
- Sold-out inventory? Don’t stop the marketing!
We get it. Selling out of your 2021 inventory in the first quarter is a dream problem for any builder. But this does not mean you should ignore or stop improving your website. It’s a great opportunity to do a deep dive into your website and fill in the gaps that may be overlooked. Start beefing up portfolios in anticipation of new communities but also keep sold-out communities on the website to show the breadth of work. Update images and galleries. Gather meaningful testimonials. There are so many areas that tend to not “feel the love” so now is the time to help them shine!
We know that websites require constant time and attention – something many builders do not have. Contact the BDX Website team or your BDX consultant to explore how we can help you create and maintain a website that represents your brand generates leads throughout 2021.
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