@StartupStockPhotos, 2015. pixabay.com

Giving Prospects Information They Can Use

Anita Clark

Anita Clark

By Anita Clark

People visit your website for one of two reasons:

1. They might be looking for an agent. If that is the case, they are already half sold. As long as your website looks professional, shows you as credible, and makes it easy to contact you, you have a new client.

2. They might be coming to your website for information. They might want to learn about things like:

  • buying tips
  • selling tips
  • neighborhoods
  • real estate trends
  • what they can afford
  • home searches

How you present that information will make a big difference in whether they will contact you when they are ready to buy or sell. The information has to be both credible and accessible. If your visitors do not feel like they received what they need, you will not convert them to clients, even if you published all the right information.

Here are 5 metrics for information content, and how they are applicable and important for real estate websites:

@StartupStockPhotos, 2015. pixabay.com

@StartupStockPhotos, 2015. pixabay.com

  • readability
  • scanability
  • clarity
  • accuracy
  • findability

Readability

Of these, readability is the easiest to measure. “Readability” is an algorithm that measures how much effort a reader has to put into reading your text. Although there are several scales, Flesch-Kincaid is the most well-known.

Write to a Grade 6-8 level. Why so low? Most of your clients have at least a high school education, right? They can read much better than that. True, they can read beyond Grade 8, but studies show that they will not.

Yes, if I have to read a medical journal, I can. But if I do not have to, I will not make the effort. Studies show that I will do a subconscious cost-benefit analysis, and probably leave a page that feels tough to read.  I will look somewhere else, like on one of your competitors websites.

Bottom line: the easier your page is to read, the better it will convert.

How can you improve readability?

  • shorter sentences
  • shorter paragraphs
  • simpler words (buy a house, not purchase a domicile)
  • active voice rather than passive voice (subject – verb – object)

Feed your visitors easy info, and you will keep them on your pages until they are ready to seek an agent.

Scanability

This is a simpler concept even than readability. People look at your web page, and before even trying to read, they do that subconscious cost-benefit analysis. Your page looks either easy and inviting, or tough and challenging.

A page with many large paragraphs, called “blocks of text”, actually repels readers. Many will just hit the back button before even trying to read.

In general, people do not read web pages. They scan. They might stop at parts they want to read if they seek specific information, but the pages need to be easy to scan. This becomes even more important on mobile devices with small screens.

How can you improve scanability?

  • sub-headings
  • shorter sentences
  • shorter paragraphs
  • bullet lists wherever possible
  • break up text with images

Make it easy for people to quickly do that subconscious cost-benefit analysis and decide to read.

Clarity

Once people start reading, you want them to nod their heads. “I understand.” You do not want them scratching their heads, wondering what you mean. Test your text on a friend who is unfamiliar with the topic (not another agent). Ask if there is anything not clear.

If your text is confusing, the reader is likely to leave without hiring you. All you have to sell is your credibility. If the impression you leave is that you confuse people, that will not sell you well.

How can you improve clarity?

  • common words
  • shorter sentences
  • shorter paragraphs
  • bullet lists wherever possible
  • specific words to describe things
  • active voice rather than passive voice (subject – verb – object)

Accuracy

This is a tricky one. Of course, you want to make sure that you do not say something incorrect. But once you start talking about complex things, such as amortization rates or liens, you can actually confuse people by being completely accurate.

How can you improve accuracy?

  • Provide more detail for specialists, like lawyers and bankers.
  • Remove details that will confuse clients, when writing for the public.

Incredibly, accuracy and clarity depend on the audience. What is more accurate to a banker or lawyer might be less accurate to a client. What is more accurate to your readers might be less accurate to a banker or lawyer. Write for your audience.

Findability

Least important or most important, depending on your viewpoint, is findability. When people search for information online, will they find you?

It is worth thinking about what words people will use to find your information. Front load these as much as possible in your headings and in your paragraphs. Do not stilt your writing so that it sounds unnatural, but include these terms when it sounds right.

How can you improve findability?

  • Use words people use.
  • Think of what terms people would use when searching for your information.
  • Put those words in headings.
  • Use those words in the text where it makes sense.
  • Front load those words when possible in headings and paragraphs.

In addition to improving your search engine rankings, these words on your pages will give readers a sense of continuity. They searched for “spring staging tips”, they clicked on a link, and they see the words “spring staging tips” a few times on the page. That gives them confidence that they have landed on the right page, that they will find what they want on your website.

How you write counts. Write content that is easy to find, easy to view, easy to read and easy to understand. Make people feel like they received what they came for, and they will be much more likely to hire you to buy or sell their home.

Anita Clark is a residential real estate agent with Coldwell Banker SSK, REALTORS®, in Houston County, Ga. She is from Coventry, England, is a retired military spouse, and has been assisting buyers, investors, and sellers in middle Georgia since 2007. Connect with Anita on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, or on her Warner Robins Real Estate Blog.

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Comments
  1. You’re singing my song Anita – every one of those points is important. If you miss just one, you’re going to miss out.

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