In this internet age, real estate professionals should spend more time working on the web appeal of their listings instead of focusing on the actual curb appeal.
A professor from Old Dominion University discovered some interesting observations of consumers in a study titled “Toward An Understanding of Real Estate Home Buyer Internet Search Behavior.”
Prof. John Seiler study used a device called “ocular tracking technology” to find out what buyers looked at when they viewed a real estate page on the internet. He also cited the importance of “eye-tracking” in getting to the true behavior of subjects in the study, as opposed to conducting surveys or focus groups.
Bottom line: eyes don’t lie.
Seiler reported that the main photograph for a home listing, the curb appeal shot, was viewed TWO TIMES LONGER than any other photograph in the mix. Consumers spent on average, more than 20 seconds staring at that main photograph.
Their eyes wandered all over the photo, checking out every aspect of the property. It’s as if the subject tried to absorb as much information as they could while waiting for some sort of emotional lever to click to see if they liked the home.
Some people might scoff at 20 seconds. Think it’s not much time. But understand, on the web, if you get anybody to look at anything for more than 3 seconds, you’ve hit a digital home run.
An agent might think, well, I did work with the seller on making their home look nice and tidy.
But what about the photograph? Who shot the photograph? Did they get the right lighting? Did they pick the best angle? Is it composed properly? Does the photo “pop” on the page?
And then this is key, you can help a homeowner get their house ready as best as possible. You can shoot or arrange for spectacular photographs of the property.
But if your website is not maximized for displaying those photographs, then all that effort will be for naught.
Today’s home buyer looks for web appeal as much as for curb appeal. As we know, the majority of home searches start on a couch, not driving around in a car as once was the case.
Those listing photos on a website have to sing. They have to jump off the page. Grab someone’s attention.
Not only do web visitors spend time looking the main photo, but Prof. Seiler’s study shows more than 60% of their time was spent just looking at photos. Not the text.
Sorry to report this. But he said more than 41% of visitors in the study never bothered to read the agent’s comments.
Real estate WordPress themes provide more photo options
This begs the question. What sort of web platform as your using to display those photos?
Are you using an old and clunky internet website where the photos are small and don’t jump off the page and grab the visitor? Are you using a website theme designed specifically for real estate?
Are you using a web platform where you have to ask a developer to load your photographs for you?
If you can load the photographs yourself, does it take forever? Is it easy to add captions?
Can you maximize those photos for the search engines by adding target keywords? Is it easy to add a link from that photo to another page? Can the photograph be resized easily?
When was the last time you revised or upgraded your website? How do you go about giving your real estate website a fresh, exciting new look?
What’s the best answer to all those questions?
That’s the answer. This easy to use content management software is used by nearly 30% of website owners today and it continues to grow as people abandon outdated and awkward platforms. (The second leading web platform is used by only 6% of web owners).
User-friendly WordPress content management software is used by nearly 30% of website owners today and it continues to grow as people abandon outdated and awkward platforms. (The second leading web platform is used by only 6% of web owners).
The usage is so intense that there are reportedly 88,888 blogs posted every hour (which as you know, includes a bunch of images) and more than 2.13 million per day. How’s that for an endorsement?
WordPress was first designed by developers at Automattic to provide a simple platform for novice bloggers. It was also designed to be easily scanned by Google and Bing robots to determine relevance and rankings.
It became so popular, that eventually a full website version was created. Companies such as Home Junction now use this efficient software to build custom WordPress real estate websites for brokers and agents.
Sure, WordPress is incredible when it comes to adding textual content. There’s a simple box in the middle of the screen where you can type or paste text. There are WYSWIG commands so that a person can easily make the text “bold” or “italic” or even a different color.
It’s easy to insert a link. Add tags. Create sub-heads.
As you can imagine, WordPress applies the same simple controls to add images as well.
A broker or agent can easily insert a photograph into a blog or onto a page.
There are controls to resize the photograph, add a caption, add a link or add some tags.
What’s even better, is that WordPress is an open-source platform, which means developers have been busy for years created thousands of useful plugins for web owners.
There are dozens upon dozens of plugins for photographs. Use these plugins to create brilliant Photo Galleries. Or to make photographs leap off the screen.
A WordPress real estate website company such as Home Junction can help you build a website that enhances how your listing photos will appear on a page.
Web appeal is the new curb appeal. Get the best tool to display photographs out there.
Seriously consider switching to a WordPress real estate website, your buyers will spend more time there and your sellers will certainly be impressed.