Real Estate Web Site Design, Lead Generation, Search Engine Popularity & More
Real Estate Web Site Design. While you should
design your website to be aesthetically pleasing, beautiful graphics and clever
little details are no substitute for a good navigation system. No matter how
great your website looks, it will be useless if your visitor can't find their
way around your site.
Traditionally the navigation menu is placed just
below the header area or on the left hand side of the web page. Usability
studies have shown that web site visitors instinctively look in these areas
Wherever you decide to place your navigation menu, remember that
consistency is important. The most important thing is to place your navigation
menu in the same spot on every one of your web pages. If you use an image to
represent a navigational button, use the same image and the same color for that
image on each page of your website. For example, if you use an image of a green
house in the left hand corner of your web page as your "Home" navigational link,
use the same green house image in the left hand corner of every one of your web
pages to designate the "Home" link.
Your visitor should be able to find
what they are looking for within 3 clicks of your home page. This is usually not
a problem for small sites. However, if you have a large site with many pages,
you will need to design a navigation menu that provides access to all areas of
your website without getting your visitor lost or confused.
You may want
to use a bread crumb trail type of navigation system for large sites (Homepage
> Category > Subcategory > Content). Another option is to use a dynamic
menu that changes according to the page your visitor is, but be aware that
search engines may not be able to spider sites using dynamic menus.
Usability studies have shown that a navigation menu should contain no
more than 8 links. The more choices a user is given, the more difficult it will
be for them to make a decision. Also, if you have many links, your visitor may
get the impression that your site is complicated and difficult to navigate.
If you have only a few links, use mouse rollovers to visually enhance
images and then add "onMouseover" events to your image links. Alternatively, use
CSS for text rollovers that change the link color when the mouse cursor hovers
over a link.
Navigation links should be considered the most important
part of your website for two reasons:
1) They are used by your visitor
to find content on your site.
2) They are used by search engines to
spider your site.
The reason users visit your site is to get
information. If visitors can't find the information they are searching for, they
will click away, perhaps never to return again.
While different search
engines have different rules on how they spider and rank a site, basically a
"bot" or "spider" will visit a site, search for a "HREF" link and follow the
links to other pages, indexing the pages as it goes along. If the "bot" or
"spider" doesn't find a "HREF" tag on a page, it is blocked from going any
deeper into the site. As you can see, you need to design your navigational
system so that a search engine can spider all pages of your website.
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