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    How Functional Is Your Website?

    January 22, 2019

    Puzzle pieces with man standing on top of them

    Today’s website is yesterday’s business card. And that’s a good thing. Because when it comes to the home building industry, there is so much information you want to share with potential clients beyond your name and phone number. Content (copy, images, links, and multimedia), a WOW design, and solid navigation all make for a website people will want to visit again and again. Which is why ensuring your website remains functional is vital—yet something so many home building companies let slip through the cracks.

    The 411 On Functionality

    Functionality refers to the technical performance of the website. Visitors have little patience for slow downloads, broken links, and error messages. Every button, link, and multimedia tool should be working properly if your site is to maintain functionality. You’ll also want to test your website in different browsers. The top five most common browsers used are Safari, Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Android. And just because your website appears to be working fine in one of these does not mean it’s working perfectly in the others.

    A tip: You can check your Google Analytics report for the top browsers accessing your website and test accordingly.

    When Functionality Fails

    You should complete a functionality review of your website at least once a month. This means you need to click through every button, link, and multimedia tool on every page in multiple browsers to confirm everything is working properly. If you find a problem, report it as quickly as possible to your webmaster. Take a screenshot of the problem and include in your email which browser the issue appears in. To do this, press the Print Screen button on your keyboard and paste the image into your email.

    Put Functionality At The Forefront

    One of the biggest functionality issues home builders face is not on the front-end of the website (the part that potential home buyers see), but on the back-end (where changes are made to keep the website up-to-date). Unfortunately, many older websites do not have a user-friendly back-end CMS (Content Management System) that allows for in-house editing of the website by a non-technical person.

    If this is the case, you should redesign your website with newer technology that allows for real-time, in-house editing. It is so important that your content is timely, that you can’t afford to wait for a web designer to make the changes. CMS technology has vastly improved and even the most inexpensive website use a simple CMS for easy editing. Of course, the more you want to edit your website yourself, the larger investment you will need to make in the CMS. However, the cost is worth every penny if you have the staff support ready, willing, and able to make changes. You will save thousands of dollars in change fees and, most importantly, save time on critical updates that might make or break a sale.

    Having a website with fresh content and a great design is important. But if your site isn’t functional for users, you could be missing out on some excellent leads. Don’t forget, Meredith Communications offer website design and development services for a variety of business types. We specialize in websites for home builders and senior living communities. Contact us for more information.

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