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Xtreme Website Contest Winners

January 22, 2010

Written by Meredith Oliver

We had nearly 100 entries for the contest! Amazing! I thoroughly enjoyed reviewing all the sites and was blown away by all of the creativity and hard work that obviously went into the sites. If you couldn’t attend the seminar today, you can purchase the audio recording from www.buildersshow.com. I will have my portion of the seminar available soon as a podcast.

My criteria for an extreme website is: 1) “Killer” eye candy, 2) “Shred or Die” Call to Action and 3) “Cowabunga” content. Of course there are many other factors but for the purposes of the contest and this seminar, I focused on these three criteria. My goal was to find the site that was the total package. And I did! More on that later…

As I explained in the seminar, killer eye candy refers to the graphic design element of the site. I firmly believe that a website is the homebuilder’s equivalent of a retail store. In the retail world, shop owners put the best “merchandise” in the window to get shoppers to walk in the front door. The website world is no different. You must offer compelling graphics, photography and video to encourage shoppers to stop and take note.

“Shred or Die” call to action means that your site must be more than a pretty face! It must compel visitors to call, click or come-by and ENGAGE with you. A pretty Website is worthless if it does not result in leads and eventually sales. You can read more on this topic in one of my other blog posts, http://creatingwow.wordpress.com/2009/10/21/your-website-looks-good-but-does-it-sell/.

Finally, cowabunga content means that a site offers enough information to answer a visitor’s questions. I am asked all the time how much information a Website should really offer and when is too much, too much. To that I say- you can never have enough information. Web shoppers want to know everything about you and when their curiosity is satisfied if you have the right product, at the right price, in the right location, you will sell a home!

Honorable Mentions:

>Killer Eye Candy

  • http://www.camberleyhomes.com/ — Great eye candy. Nice big flash visual. Graphics clearly speak to the target market. Good brand message that differeniates them from “the other guy.”
  • http://www.georgia-mountain-home.com/ — Beautiful graphic design and photography. This site makes me want to build a mountain home. I feel more peaceful already!
  • http://www.bowenfamilyhomes.com/home — The large flash area with the lifestyle driven photography is breathtaking. Also love the video element in the flash. The color palette is very pleasing and soft which is great for women buyers.

>Shred or Die Call to Action

  • http://mihomes.com/ — Great call to action promotional graphics utilizing the tax credit to create urgency. The quick map search, my favorites portfolio and online concierge offer the visitor many ways to interact with the builder.
  • http://livejones.com/ — This site takes call to action promotions to a whole new level. This builder is offering not just typical promotions, but solution oriented incentives that solve buying problems. And, they are doing a great job of showcasing those promotions right on the homepage. Also, the Find a Home navigation is terrific. Visitors have several options to select from. Great use of an online sales counselor, green building information and social media also makes this site terrific.

>Cowabunga Content

  • http://www.wausauhomes.com/ — Love the “love your builder” concept used in the text and graphics. Their brand message is 100% clear. This builder does an incredible job of telling their story and why they are better and different than the competition. With such a clear USP, the visitor can’t helped but be compelled to take action and call, click or come-by to learn more.
  • http://william-woodard.com/ — This is an individual sales agent’s site! It is a blog driven site so there is content galore. I love this site and wish all sales people were this technology driven and savvy.

AND THE OVERALL WINNER IS…(drumroll please) http://www.brookfieldsd.com/. Why?

  • Great graphics, color scheme. Awesome eye candy photography in flash. Layout is edge to edge with top navigation; the most current design style.
  • Find New Homes button is first button on the navigation bar and easy to access and use. Same for the Specials and Incentives button.
  • The quick search “Home Finder” feature area offers a second way for visitors to search either by drop down menu and/or map.
  • The 1% Internet incentive is brilliant. I’ve used that same offer with other builder clients and it get results. The placement of the incentive is excellent and the short form is easy to use.
  • The site has great content. It offers video tours, photo tours, detailed community, floor plan and inventory home information.
  • Love the concept of the “Online Sales Center” button! Awesome!
  • The site is thoroughly optimized for search engines.
  • The site is using social media properly and in a forward thinking manner.
  • The President writes a blog! Nice!

I’m sure there many other great Websites out there that were not submitted. Go ahead and leave a comment to the blog with your Website address and what makes it special. We would love to hear from you!

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