7 ways website design can make or break your real estate business

The average businessperson might be inclined to think that the success of their website is solely dependent on the basic aesthetic of their online space. The reality is that there are so many other factors that play a part in this success. 

Sure, the visual appeal of your website is important, but a nice display of content can be accomplished with the purchasing of a template, a worthwhile investment for any business. Still, Improving the overall functionality and usability of your web design is one of the first steps you want to take in keeping your audience around, once you’ve nailed your sites look. 

Below are 7 ways your website design can make or break your real estate business.

1. SEO Audit

Strengthen you SEO! This first one goes for any website, not just real estate sites. Now you might not think that search engine optimisation has much to do with the design of websites yet it is intrinsically linked with the structure and content of your site. This should be one of the first things you do when you launch your website as it has a significant influence on traffic, rankings and search results. 

Moreover, with real estate agencies, you will be able to localise your SEO relative to your area and boost your ranking for local keywords. The last thing you want is to have a beautifully designed website with an expensive template in the mix just to fail because you haven’t properly implemented SEO tactics.

2. Map Function  

Real estate, it’s all about location, and what better way to have your clientele find their new home than through a map interface. You don’t have to get rid of your standard filter search, but it is good to have the option there. And if you are using WordPress, you will be able to download a plugin and easily integrate your website with google maps. By doing this you are allowing your buyer to interactively choose their desired location and examine satellite and street views through an application many are familiar with.

3. Highlight your Focus

Let your audience see what they want to see. Inevitably, real estate websites use a lot of images, buyers want to see what they are buying. Make this the main focus. Streamlining your website layout is a productive way of making your content easier to consume as well as more visually pleasing. Using an appropriate combination of white/negative space and content not only conveys your focus better but also improves user experience by being easier on the eye. Unclutter your websites look and improve your conversion rates simultaneously.

4. Navigability

Make your website simple and easy to navigate. It is not surprising to find out that many web developers looking to stand out and increase traffic to their sites attempt to do so through unique web layouts. This might work for some, but it can be risky as there’s a chance of losing buyers that get lost or confused with an unfamiliar display of content.  An example of a more typical yet successful layout is one that follows the ‘F’ design. This layout is preferred by many as it follows the normal pattern of eyesight and is easy to consume. The reality is that most people who access a real estate website just want to scroll through and search for listings. Don’t make this any harder than it needs to be

5. Mobile Friendly

This is another make or break design element that goes for any sort of website. Considering that 48% of real estate searches are conducted from mobile, it would go without saying that a mobile friendly site is an imperative. Thankfully for WordPress plugins, (if your website is powered by WordPress) you will be able to capture this other half of the market with an easy conversion to mobile friendliness.  These plugins still allow for customisations to be made for your preference and help you maintain a modern, up to date website.

6. Agent Profiles

It is important, especially in the real estate industry, that you establish and maintain connections with prospective buyers and existing clientele. With this in mind, it is a good idea – if you haven’t already- to create a page on your website dedicated to agent profiles. For example, a basic start would be to use pictures of the agents and give personalised or first-person descriptions beneath. If you wanted to move past the basic you could begin to add videos or other media/content that familiarizes your audience with the agents. This personal touch promotes a sense of reliability and in turn encourages a trust between your agents and client base.

7. Testimonials

This last one mightn’t necessarily break you but it could definitely assist in making you. Testimonials from happy customers can show your audience that your team are good to work with. What they also do is boost the confidence of potential clients and push them further towards working with your agency. 

Avoid testimonials that seem generic or as if they may have been written by the agency itself and instead opt for more personal comments and possibly even add a picture of the client if they are willing!

Well, there it is! 7 ways that your website design can either make or break your real estate business. If you can effectively implement each of these suggestions within your website design you’ll be on track for success in the future. We’d love to be able to help you with this so let us know if you need help in any website and brand related issues – our email is studio@madeagency.com or call us 1300 877 503

Best Layouts for WordPress SEO and reader conversions 

Navigation menu designed by Made for Blainey North

By the internet’s very nature it may not be a surprise that a user will usually stay on a website for less than 20 seconds. For this reason you need to make sure that your blog can make a quick impact, and a good place to start is with blog layout. A good blog layout will also help with your search engine optimization.

Considering you have a very limited time to make an impression, you’re going to want to keep it simple. Simplicity allows you to display the focus of your blog. For example, If you have too many headers or a sidebar loaded with links, you run the risk of cluttering your webpage and confusing the user. The focus of your blog is ultimately the content you are writing about, so in order to increase your reader conversions, you need to let the user read. Symmetry and order keep your site goal oriented and help your audience find what they are after with better success.

It is not surprising to find out that many web developers looking to stand out and increase traffic to their sites attempt to do so through unique and different web layouts. Whilst this might work for some, it can be risky as there’s a chance of losing readers getting lost or confused with an unfamiliar display of content.  

An example of a more typical yet successful layout is one that follows the ‘F’ design. This layout is preferred by many as it follows the normal pattern of eyesight and is easy to consume. You won’t lose any points from search engines for sticking to a safe site layout, and in fact it might do you some favours.

Streamlining your website layout is another productive way of making your content easier to consume as well as more visually pleasing. Using an appropriate combination of white/negative space and positive space not only conveys the focus of your website better but it also improves user experience by being easier on the eye. Apple is a company that exemplifies how this space can be used effectively.

Part of the visual uncluttering of your blog that can be done by a lot of blogs is to get rid of ads. Up until a certain point of success with your blog, ads might not be doing you any favours. In fact, in the early stages of your blogging career, they may be doing you a disservice. Unless you are already generating a decent amount of traffic to your blog, you most likely are not making enough from ad revenue to warrant the unattractiveness they bring with them. Getting rid of these eye-sores will not only clean up the look of your blog, but also retain the focus of your site on your written content.

Another recommend element of your blog layout that will both improve usability and search engine optimization is a ‘Search Bar’. Whilst this might seem simple, it is an effective tool that will allow your visitors to find what they are looking for easily and in turn keep them on your page. If they don’t find what they are looking for this feature can still prove beneficial as you’ll be able to study any search queries and target keywords for your search engine optimization. Through this, you’ll be better informed for what keywords you can add to your future blog posts and hopefully increase your reader conversions.

The best website layouts out there are ones that put an emphasis on the user experience. Whilst the basic aesthetic of your website is important for establishing a positive first impression, the layout is paramount in ensuring content consumption and in turn reader conversions.

How to prepare your website SEO friendly pre-launch

The first step any web developer should take before launching their website is to establish a strong implementation of search engine optimization (SEO) tactics. This can be achieved through careful research into your audience, determining the highest quality keywords and monitoring search engine behaviour.

There are many tools that can help with this process like Yoast SEO for example. Having a greater understanding of your audiences searching patterns gives you the edge over those who don’t, allowing you to create a more engaging and optimized website. Once you have figured out your target keywords it’s time to add them into the build of your site.

For the best effect, these words should be added to places such as:

·      Title Tags

·      URL Structure

·      Headers

·      Meta Descriptions

·      Alt Text

Preparing your website before launch for Search Engines increases the overall visibility of your brand

Website Structure

Establishing a compelling WordPress blog relies on strong foundations. Website structure is one of these foundations that can be refined to provide an impactful and SEO friendly interface. A crucial component of designing an effective site structure is in employing a hierarchy of content. This hierarchy can be divided into groups such as categories, sub-categories, post/product page/service page etc. Search engines like well structured sites, so for the best results your website should display this hierarchy in its URLs.

Mobile Friendly

Mobile browsing has recently overtaken desktop browsing as the primary source of searches on the web. With this in mind, it is imperative that any website owner make their site mobile friendly if they wish to stay up to date and keep their audience happy. Because of WordPress’ plugin friendly functionality, there are an assortment of plugins that can help make your website mobile friendly. In terms of SEO, search engine powerhouses like Google now look at “mobile friendliness” when ranking websites, so ensuring your site enables this function is a good start for effective SEO.

Preparing to launch 🚀
SEO friendly websites

Internal Links

Another important factor to consider when trying to shoot your website up the search rankings is to manage your internal and external links. Internal links are links on your website that direct a user to other content within your website. It is important to create relationships between the content on your site as rankings system will use this information to list your site most suitably on the results page. A simple way of increasing your number of internal links is through adding things such as ‘Contact’ or ‘FAQ’  pages.

External Links

On the other hand, external links are those that link users from other websites to yours. In contrast to internal links, ranking systems are more concerned with the quality of the links rather than the quantity. These links are important as they redirect traffic to your website that otherwise may not have been gained. In order to inflate the number of these external links across the web you will need to get your brand out there. Emailing content creators, posting on social media and reposting another author’s content are all ways you can try and obtain more of these desired external links. Most of this will need to be done post launch, but it is valuable to know and imperative to boosting your websites search ranking!

WordPress has great SEO tools as it is, but Yoast SEO is a top rated plugin that can maximise the effectiveness of your search engine optimization. A little more on Yoast…

Yoast SEO Plugin

As far as search engine optimization tools go, Yoast SEO is one of the best all-in-one plugins on the internet. Compared to other plugins on the market, which typically offer simple features like meta-tag additions, Yoast goes above and beyond in offering web developers the opportunity to boost their website rankings via effective SEO. Targeting keywords is one of the most important things you can do for your website to improve traffic and Yoast does this effectively. Moreover, with Yoast you will be able to optimize and keep track of these words in key places on your site.  

Amongst all this, Yoast also helps you create and maintain XML sitemaps. If you allow Yoast to run XML sitemap functionality it will develop a sitemap automatically and update it when you add new content. You can create sitemaps that support images and you can remove certain elements from your sitemap with ease. Whenever you make changes to a sitemap, Yoast will update and publish this information and notify search engines in the process.  

There are so many other tools that Yoast SEO is useful for; breadcrumbs, permalinks and RSS just to scratch the surface. This plugin is free however they do offer a premium version. All the necessary SEO tools come with the free version, but if your an experienced web developer after some extra functionality the premium version is your tool.

4 quick tips to a great website for your business

We already know that your website is your business card on a different platform, in our previous post, we spoke about the reasons why a website designer is essential for your business. Your site needs to advertise your services or products and should be a 24-hour relationship and sales channel with your customers.

But what makes a good website?

Here are some tips for making the best use of this platform:  

Less is More

That does not mean having less content or removing every website. Having this mentality literally will force you to polish your message and finetune your business purpose. What is the purpose of the website? Also it will convey your USP in a much better way. Less clutter also means better conversions.

Stickability

If the website does not show the right kind of information to engross the visitor in a period of 15 to 30 seconds, it results in cancelling loading the page and goes to another website.

Think about it and make your website load as fast as possible. What usually makes pages slow, among other factors, are many codes and scripts being uploaded, heavy images and flash animations – which are not even read by Google.

Intuitive UX to generate interest

The user experience should always be taken into consideration when creating the map of your site, it is a fundamental aspect, this is part of the invitation for the individual to dive into your web page and discover all the content you make available.

Nobody wants to get lost inside a website.

Responsive Design

Today, a lot of the searches are done directly on the smartphone and there is nothing more annoying than clicking open a website and finding that  it is not optimised for mobile platforms.

The content is harder to read and find, the texts are too small to read and it is difficult to click on the links. This causes your visitor to leave your site quickly, generating disinterest.

We would love to help you with yours!

Contact us here: studio@madeagency.com and follow us for daily updates at Made Studio on Instagram @madeagencysydney.

 

5 reasons why your business needs a website designer

When it comes to your website; whether you should design it on your own or hire a web designer is a question that is always on the agenda.

Your website is the foundation of your business. It showcases your products, services and your brand.

A web designer is specialised in different kinds of areas such as Typography, Colour Theory, Diagramming, Gestalt, among others to build websites that can convey business communication objectives of the clients and that easily facilitate business transactions.

In 2019, it has never been easier to put together your own website, with many tools now easily available online.

However, here are some points of why you should hire a web designer:

1. Save Time

No matter how big or small your business is, you will always have a lot to think about, to plan, do and make happen. Let’s face it: there’s no one more time poor than a business owner, especially one who is juggling the demands of multiple clients and also trying to get their business to grow.

Creating a website requires time, research, an understanding of your audience and how each website construction tool works. Leaving this in the hands of a web designer will leave you free to solve things that really only you can solve and that matter for the growth of your business.

2. Look professional from the very beginning

With a talented web designer helping you create your website and also with any design updates and marketing collateral you may need, your website will look much more professional from the outset.

Although this may generate a higher cost in the beginning, in the long run it will help in the sales and profit of the company. No one trusts a badly designed website.

3. SEO compliance

Nowadays, it’s just not enough to have a well designed and good looking website, it’s also important to be search engine aka Google optimised. A great website is all about being the right combination of quality content, responsive design and marketing.

 

This means the site structure, image optimisation, speed optimisation and having a mobile friendly design work together as moving parts of the same entity.

4. Custom design

The worst thing to do for your business is to create a website for the sake of creating one.

A good web designer will always have a process that involves aligning the website to your business, products and services. What are your business aims and objectives? What do you want to generate? How do you want to influence your audience and make a mark?

With a DIY approach, you will end up using a design that has already been created and that probably looks great, but doesn’t really function well as a business tool.

It should be the goal of every web designer to have a great knowledge of both design elements and the key SEO elements that need to be researched and put together before, during and after a website design project.

If you need a new website created for your business, we would love to chat with you!

Email us on studio@madeagency.com or call us here: 1300 877 503

 

What is a Brand Persona and why your brand needs one

 Branding Design Service
Image by Dmitri Popov

What is a Brand Persona?

 A brand persona is the personification of the values of a brand. A character who will dictate the tone of a brand, the language and style of it. It’s an avatar that you have in mind while shaping the way your business and brand is presented to the world. Having a persona in mind is a great tool and helps a lot in establishing a connection with your target market. 

What’s the use of considering a brand persona? 

 

A brand persona helps ensure that the same tone is used in all campaigns, postings and interactions with the public, always keeping the  company values, aesthetics and purpose in mind. In addition, you will be able to communicate in a more human and natural way, bringing more authenticity and proximity to those you’re serving. 

How to create a Brand Persona for your brand: 

The best way to start creating a brand persona is by asking yourself this question, “If my brand was a person, what would it look like?, Who would he/she be?” This involves thinking about feelings, emotions, styles and ideas. To make this idea easier, here are some thoughts that will help you create a persona around your brand and bring it more ‘to life’!

1) Brand pillars – What are your company and business values? What are the things that matter most?

2)   Essence of the brand – Describe the personality of your business and products. What feelings do you come up with? What does the service make your audience feel?

3).  Brand Promise – Reasons that someone prefers your brand over the competition. What promise does your brand make that others don’t or cannot?

4)   Mission – Why does your business exist? Who do you serve? Of course profit is always the primary consideration of any business, but the real impact of your business lies in the way you serve your customers and clientele. 

In order for your brand to be seen as you really want it, you need a communication and marketing strategy that is consistent with your values, purpose and identity. 

These values need to be expressed in every way possible. 

This includes the way you interact with your customers and the entire consumer journey including how your brand is presented visually across different mediums. 

The modern day client wants to be heard and also wants to be able to talk to producers and business owners. Having that instant connection and access is crucial. Today a customer is no longer satisfied in solving his problems in an impersonal way.  In this way, it is essential that customers identify with their brand, and that’s why having a brand persona strategy becomes so important.

If you have any queries about creating a rad brand for your business, or updating your already existing one, contact us on 1300 877 503, or email studio@madeagency.com. We would love to discuss how we can help you! 

Remember these 5 things when creating a new website

Creative Web Design Agency
Image from Adam Birkett

Your business website is the gateway to the closure of new contracts, services and product sales. It’s your digital visit card. How will you create a visual invitation, something that will create a lasting impression?
Space between elements, effective internal search tools, and creative ways of inviting the user to interact with your website are some of the things we discuss in this post.
Although each client project will each have their own unique requirements, there are some steps that we have to follow to build a good website. The main point to remember when creating this design is the harmony between beauty and functionality.

We’ve put together our thoughts about some elements that together define the user experience:

1. Less is more

Clear intention is key. Know your why. Always keep it clean and uncluttered. This is the overarching philosophy here at Made Agency. We rarely read all the words on a website. Taking this into account, it is better to appeal to emotion and not to the amount of words. We also suggest using images as alternative ways to communicate your message.

 

2. Site hierarchy is everything 

You have a few seconds to get people’s attention and tell them what your site is about. If you establish a clear hierarchy for your information, readers can easily follow the visual information cues you have left. Then add colour, contrast, size and spacing to give more emphasis, and always be aware of what attracts attention on your page and make sure that it is always intentional.

3. Legibility as principle

The main purpose of a website is to showcase your mad skills, project yourself as an expert, pass on information and most importantly, make a sale, and this can only be done if people can read easily! Good legibility makes all the difference in a website. And for this is not very difficult:
– Contrast is the key. It is very important to have sufficient contrast between the background and the text so that it is very clear.
– You can not read what you do not see. The rule in general is that fonts less than 16pts are not used. But of course that number depends on which font you are using. The point here is that the text is large enough so that people can easily read your content.

 

4. Navigability to come across as a pro

Solid navigation helps search engines crawl your content, as well as improve the user experience. Your logo should have a link to the homepage for example. This is a common practice that your visitors are already accustomed to and that will save them some valuable clicks.
5. Responsive design is a must 
This is not anything new and it’s certainly not the latest innovation,  because being mobile is the new normal, but a couple of things to remember: make sure to put yourself in the user’s position and test all the pages, buttons and all actions that the user should take. With the new technological developments, modifying a site for its mobile version is becoming easier. But there are important differences between the big screen web and the mobile web that require special and delicate attention where a web designer can help!
Hope this helps when you’re creating a new website for your brand. We’d love to help you with anything you might want to create for your business. Email us at studio@madeagency.com, we would love to hear from you!

5 Reasons to work with a Graphic Design Agency

Graphic Design Agency
With online tools for design easily accessible, one might question the necessity of actually engaging a graphic design studio.
Why does one really need to hire a professional graphic design or an agency with a real understanding of design and commerce? The answer is simply this. With a graphic designer you will be able to create a recognised brand
in your market.
With it you will pique the interest of people who could be future consumers.
In addition to creating an identity for your brand; in the midst of massive competition, you need something that stands out and will differentiate you from competitors.
Here are some ways a graphic design agency can positively progress your brand or product:

1) Visual identity 

Having a visual identity is all about maintaining consistency – of colours and fonts, so that they are always associated with the company.
One can create brand recognition with prospective clients with a good visual identity, because from their point of view, a strong identity generates a sense of belonging and reliability.

2) Differentiation from competitors 

With an extremely competitive market and many brands selling products similar to yours, you can differentiate yourself with the help of a graphic design agency. Thoughtful design will make you stand out in the middle of competition. With consistent advice on evolving and transforming your brand, you will not only learn how to create a great brand but how to stay on brand in everything that you release in the market. Treat your agency as a partner in building your brand, it’s a great opportunity to build your brand and business!

3) First impressions are what matter 

Before a customer can make a purchase from your brand, he must be attracted to it.
With a good graphic design, the first impression will be a good one,  and will boost your brand and / or product.

4) Brand value 

With a consistent visual identity, you have brand value.
Brand value goes far beyond profit (although that is the consequence). It’s because of a value brand with a good visual identity, people pay $50 in a white shirt with a known logo and $15 for a totally white shirt.
With a good design, your brand will begin to have value, not only your product.

5) Clarity in communication 

Well done design can bring greater ease in communication.
Culturally, we associate some colours and shapes with certain products and experiences. Focusing on the consumer and how he reacts to certain sensory interactions makes it possible for us to have a clearer communication with them and thus easier for them to consume the brand.
In this way, having a visual identity, differentiating yourself from your competitors, creating great first impressions, increasing your brand value and having clarity all round in your communication are the top reasons why you need a graphic design agency asap!

Do you want to create a well-recognised brand?

Give us a call on 1300 877 503, or email studio@madeagency.com to find out how we can help you. We’d love to hear from you!

6 Reasons Why you Should Hire a Web Developer

Your website is the face of your brand on the internet because it provides a touch point for customers to gain information about the brand and see what your business is about. A good website should be interactive, aesthetic and easy to understand. You can read about what makes interactive and interesting web design here.

Having a good website is essential to reach and appeal to customers effectively, which is why it is important to hire a professional.

Thinking about that, we go through six reasons why you should hire a web developer rather than doing it yourself.

1. Save time

Attempting to DIY your website can be stressful and time consuming, with the end result often poorer quality. Enlisting the help of a professional can save the stress and let you focus on running your business – rather than learning code!

2. Search engine optimisation

Ensuring that your website is optimised to search engines is important in getting noticed. Web developers can make sure your website is coded in a way that helps your website rank better on search engines. This means that potential customers will see your website before competitors.

3. Device compatible

Websites should be compatible with all devices, including mobile, tablet and computer. Developers can make sure that your website works and looks great on all devices, which will help your brand reach more people and maintain credibility.

4. Custom designs

Using ‘cookie-cutter’ website templates available when designing your own website can look cheap and ineffective. Using a web developer allows you to customise the website to how you want it to look and can better match your branding and stand out from competitors.

5. User friendly

Having designed numerous websites, web developers have experience in making sure that websites are user-friendly. It is important to keep it simple and easy to use, to make sure users have a good website experience. Therefore, developers can design your website keeping in mind the user experience and website aesthetic, which will ensure your website looks good and is usable.

6. Greater credibility

A professionally designed website not only stands out from competitors, but adds credibility to your business. Web developers can ensure that the design aligns with your branding, integrates content well and is interactive for users. A website that looks professional will reflect on your brand and will add to your credibility as a business.

Using a professional web developer can add so much to your brand. Check out some of our web designs in our portfolio, or a few of websites we’ve designed in action here, here and here.

Has this post inspired you to use a professional for your website design? Give us a call on 1300 877 503, or email studio@madeagency.com to find out how we can help you.

3 Do’s and 3 Don’ts of Portfolios in Website Design

website design agency sydney

The portfolio of a website can be a great way to showcase your work. It provides a first impression of who you are as an individual or company. The way your portfolio is set out can impact how you are viewed as a creative and whether or not you gain clients.

We go through what to do and what not to do in your website portfolio.

Do’s:

1. Make it engaging

A portfolio should capture the attention of the viewer and make them want to delve further into your work. In order to do this, your portfolio should be engaging and exciting to look at. Finding creative ways to showcase your work, such as transitions and a mix of videos, photos and typography.

2. Have a range of content

Your portfolio should offer something for everyone to look at. By showcasing different categories and styles of your work, your portfolio will appeal to a wider range of viewers. In our portfolio, we include work from website design and stationary, to logo design and total rebranding. This not only makes it more interesting, but shows the variety of work we do!

3. Be the brand

One of the most important things to do is make sure that your portfolio reflects your brand as a whole. This includes your brand personality, design and values. Make sure that everything on your portfolio matches with your brand – from typography and content, to the overall design layout.

Don’ts:

1. Make transitions too long

We say this a lot, but make sure your website transitions aren’t too long! If elements of the website take too long to load, users will get bored and frustrated, which will take away from your work. Keep it short and simple.

2. Make it hard to use

Like the transitions, the interface should also be simple and easy to use. Keeping the portfolio user friendly will ensure that they get the most out of your portfolio and enjoy the experience while they are there.

3. Avoid updating it

Users want to see what you’ve been working on; the latest and the greatest of your work! Make sure that your portfolio is kept current with new work so that you give a good range of content. This will keep it interesting and exciting for users.

Check out how we’ve put these tips into action in our portfolio.