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New Home Builder Website Checklist
Here's a list of the essentials you'll need to create your new home builder website. It's a list of all of the building blocks you'll need to make your site a success.
1. Come up with a cool, memorable name
Perhaps you have already been offering your services as a home builder without a website and you already have a name. Then you have this step completed. If you are thinking about a name for a new business here's some advice. Your name needs to be an effective reflection of who you are. Home builders often choose their personal name as their business name because every home you build is a obviously a masterpiece signed by you. Customers like to be able boast about who has built their home, they like to be seen as experts in their own right, who have made the smart choice of picking you. So names are nice if you have a great name to start with. A great name is defined by how memorable it is and how pleasant it sounds. A nickname with a last name can be very effective and memorable. For example If your name is John Jones (yes that is very common - and forgettable - you could add Hunter to it (say if you were a hunter) Hunter Jones Homes. You could go on to add something to modify homes - like Custom, Prestige, Elite, Luxury, Estate. Now you could have Hunter Jones Custom Homes - Hunter Jones Luxury Custom Homes - Hunter Jones Prestige Homes - there are lots of potential choices for Mr. Jones - and for you if you want to use your name. Using initials for your name - like J J Homes does not work. No one will remember your name. The key to an effective name is creating one that makes the person reading it remember it. It has been proven that is you can get someone to repeat in their brain a brand name three times it is imprinted and will be unforgettable to them. Odd combinations of words in names is especially effective in this regard. If you were building homes in Dallas and wanted Dallas in your name you could call yourself Dallas Hero Homes. When someone reads that they automatically try to understand what Dallas and Hero have to do with each other. Presto - it's imprinted. You want to avoid names that sound commonplace or boring - names that are forgettable. Once you have your name it's not easy to change it, mistakes made at the beginning are hard to correct later. Make it memorable, make it interesting, make it unforgettable! Once you have your name you will need a logo and a marketing message. That's covered below.
2. What's your geography, where will you build?
You will want to determine what cities, communities, neighborhoods, sub division you want to cover in your website. The site will need to demonstrate that you understand what it means to live - and build - in your selected geography. You will want to find images for your website that convey local roots and community involvement. Many home builder websites have individual pages on local cities, school districts and local attractions. These can be very attractive to relocations.
3. Define what makes you different, how you stand apart from your competition
You might think that people have gotten tired of seeing words like experienced, committed, leader, and etc. in home builder websites. This is not true. These are words that people want to believe are a part of your brand. You will need to find creative ways to use them and make them work for you. Your website will need to tell the story of your brand, quickly, clearly and boldly. You will only have their attention for a less than a minute on your website before you will loose them. ENGAGEMENT is the key - it's what will make your website a success in getting you new jobs. What experience that you have that makes you unique or valued as a home builder? Everyone is unique in one way or another. Find a unique story and tell it. It may seem like bragging but your customers WANT to work with a confident, strong builder who's a leader -with a positive attitude. Why should someone pick you? Ask yourself that question. Is it price point, the finishes and appliances you install? Is it your ability to get the most square footage at the best price for your customer? Are you committed to customer service? Are you a master home builder who values craftsmanship over everything else? You will also want to define your price point in some way so people understand what your homes might cost. You can do this by actually telling people what you build - "homes from $500,000" - or something like that. Do you work with architects? Can a customer bring you a plans that you will build on selected lots? Do you build spec homes or plan to do so?
4. Who will your target market be?
I have just mentioned price point - you will also need to let your customers know who you build for and you understand their needs and objectives in building a new home. Families, young professional couples, seniors, second home buyers. The website will need to quickly and effectively convey your target markets with images and marketing messages directed at them.
5. What kind of homes will you build? Do you do remodels?
Your new website will need to convey the kinds and styles of homes you build. Having a portfolio of images for a gallery of homes is the best way to do this. You must have at least one project to start with. You can expand your gallery of homes over time as you get new projects. Include floor plans of homes you have built - or plan to build. You will also want to define what times of projects you will take on, including remodels if you do them
6. Register your domain
You will be surprised to find that many domain names are still available and you will (most likely) be able to find something similar to the one you want. Domain names should be as close to your brand name as possible. Only get .com - all other extensions are useless. Buying multiple years is a good idea. Google likes websites that have registered and purchased their domain names for long periods of time in advance. It is said to be a factor that makes you look like an established and serious business and could help with search engine optimization
7. Sign-up for your hosting
Hosting is really cheap and it will cost you around $20.00 per month for a new website like this. We recommend and use GoDaddy and Hostgator. Watch out their automated systems to sell your hosting to you are designed to get you to spend money on things you don't need.
8. Get pictures to help tell your story
As mentioned earlier in this blog you will need to get pictures of your projects. Start taking pictures of everything you do, how you meet with clients to plan new homes and select finishes and budget planning, how you supervise construction, the building process and finally record the final steps to deliver the home to the customer. Make cool drone videos. It is possible to use stock photography to illustrate some of these steps. It's not expensive and can used to illustrate the styles you build in and different finishes. You can do your own project photography if you want. Digital cameras are so cheap and easy to use. Professional photography is best but it can be very expensive. You can learn Photoshop to add your own cool and spectacular effects to your own photography and do it yourself. Want some drone footage of a house you've built? Why not try buying a drone and do it yourself.
9. Do you have any testimonials or customer success stories?
Testimonials are not essential for the success of your website and you can add them later as you get them. I don't like the word testimonial and prefer Customer Success Stories. Potential customers like to see reports from your past clients. They have to be very short and absolutely clear and compelling. Keywords that convey your brand are critical. Videos are very effective and easy to do yourself. Don't do anything that distracts or confuses your website visitors "I love them, they are great and I recommend them" - every testimonial needs to convey they same message in different ways. If you do videos be sure to get releases from the people you film. You can find examples of these online.
10. What sections in your website - what will its architecture be?
You will need to do a basic layout of your website, the pages and the navigation. Look at other successful home builder websites for ideas. Keep your navigation simple. Try and use it to convey keywords that describe your brand.
11. Should you hire a professional or DIY?
The first question to ask is how much money do you have to invest in your new website. If you don't have a budget for a professional designer you will have to see what you can do on your own. It's not impossible, but difficult. Could someone build a new home with no experience? That too is based on how much you can afford. The main things to avoid are; one, don't hire someone from overseas - they don't understand the American market, two don't hire a company that charges by the hour - you will get stuck with a huge bill in the end; three, if they don't have references there's a reason. Cost-wise it is possible to find someone in Austin - probably a freelancer - who could build you a new home builder website without many bells and whistles for around $2,500. You could spend anything you want for a professional web design company anything from $5,000 - to $20,000 for a home builder website. They best thing to is to shop your project around and see what quotes you get. The personality of people that you will be working with is very important, happy, positive and confident matters with web designers too. Web designers and programmers. So, make sure you get a fixed bid, check their references (have they built a Home Builder website before?), make sure the website they build can easily be changed by you.; and look at their portfolio. Ask them what programming language they build their websites it. Freelance designers often use WordPress because they aren't programmers. Read this article before deciding on WordPress.
12. What about "free "websites? Are they for real?
As every smart business person knows from experience they is no such thing as a free website. "Create Your Own Site for Free" is frequently a trick that ends up being very expensive. Before you know it that free website can cost you $600 month and you never can leave them once you've signed on the dotted line. You've been hooked. Enough said on that.
13. How long will it take to build a new home builder website?
Our new home builder websites take 3-4 weeks to build and we don't use contractors. Anyone who tells you a simple new home builder website takes months to build has never built one.
I hope you have found this helpful. Please feel free to contact us to talk about your own website - 512 469-7454. you can also feel out the quote request - which you can find all over our website.