Jake Marsh upgrade
I usually don't do this but I thought it might be fun to give
the members a glimpse into what I do on a daily basis when working
with client's websites.
Domain and history
The website I am working on tonight is http://www.jakemarsh.com - Jake and Greg have been clients of mine for over 2 years now and through a lot of hard work, we first page rankings in Google for their coveted search term "Denver Real Estate" and tons of other terms.
The traffic, leads and conversions have been great however the site design and content is quite dated. On top of that, Jake and Greg are still using their old iframed wolfnet IDX solution, which is ok for a third party solution but has some serious holes in it's game and we have had a lot of success increasing conversions by switching from Wolfnet to custom REW IDX solutions.
My plan is to completely upgrade this website in terms of design, content and IDX so that we improve the conversions even more, add a ton more useful content, and of course (As a newly appointed metrolist IDX vendor) we will be adding a custom IDX solution.
Ok so where do I start - featured areas! Currently we have a bunch of links on the left hand side of the site that lead to a short page of unique content about the area, and a call to action to search the MLS listings and then at the bottom of pages, their contact information.
Because of the original budget for this project, we did not have time to create a TON of content for these pages, or write supporting pages like relocation sections, market trends, stats etc, so it was enough content to rank and get people to click to the MLS and that's it. Also these pages could REALLY do with some design help in terms of graphical elements and more compelling calls to action.
So where to start with these pages? Now that we have the support of custom IDX, we can pull area specific listings right into the page, that will really add some depth to the content of the pages, and provide a lot more clickable eye candy for the visitors so that we can get them over to the IDX where the real lead capture happens. For an example of area specific listings being pulled into a page, check out http://www.previewnaples.com/olde-naples.php that page is also a good example of how a well placed image can improve the overall look of a page. I was also considering a slideshow or mouseover of multiple images and maybe go 2 column for the area pages. I was checking out Jason's site at http://www.marindreamhouse.com/maringuide/guide_marincounty.html and I really like that layout, although I am not sure how well it will convert, just an idea to bring to the design meeting.
Still on the area pages - Google mapping of properties specific to that area, to see an example of this see http://www.adealhome.com/kyle-real-estate.php users are constantly impress with this level of technology and provides yet another call to action for the page.
Finally, building out a nice display for property type, and price rank links directly to MLS search results. See the middle of this page http://www.destin-florida-real-estate.com/ for an example
Finally, I want to get rid of the slideshow for the area pages, it takes up a lot of space and really isn't necessary for making an impression especially with all of these new elements being added.
Does anyone else have suggestions on what to add to the area pages? I am going to estimate a total of 4-6 hours per page for this type of high end development on an area page including all programming, graphics, research and writing.
Slideshow - people love to look at pictures, but I am thinking (And have discussed with Jake) getting creative with this part of the site. I really want to use that top part of the sites "real estate" to draw visitors into the relocation sections and IDX. I am going to want a quicksearch for the IDX on all pages of this site, but might integrate it into the top part like we did at www.guidetolocalrealestate.com I do kind of like the way we have used their photos in that slideshow though (I usually don't like it, but because the domain is also Jake's name, for some reason it just works for me.) - I am not totally sure exactly what I want to do with that area, I am sure a mockup meeting with the design team should produce some great creative ideas.
Top navigation - Because of the volume of unique content going into this thing, I think we need to integrate some SEO friendly CSS drop downs for this site. (Note make IE 7 compliant)
Home page - We definitely I nice big "Google Map Search" button right up at the top of the site. Might consider a 3 column call to action graphic element. Google Map Search, Relocation Information and List your home (With the top ranked Realtor in Denver) or some other message. I will sell your house or I will buy it! Always made me curious when looking for realtors.
A much more intuitive access to areas navigation is in order. Not sure what I want to do here yet, but from an SEO perspective, I want to keep them straight html text links.
Ok where am I for hours? Shoot forgot to track each element, I am going to guess 10 hours more on the programming side, 20 on the graphics.
REW Blog installation: An absolute MUST of course I have to get these guys posting in it, but maybe we will assign someone to do that for them as well, they are to busy selling properties anyways :)
Ok - for one blog post, I think I have enough to work on - Thanks for giving me creative freedom (To a point) with this project Jake, I am really looking forward to suping this puppy up for you.
So my REW readers, did I miss anything? Do you have any suggestions, commetns, questions?