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Website Re-Design Project 11/2010

For this recent client project, the goal was to take their website into the 21st century. The original design was fairly clean, yet simple, narrow, and not well positioned to grow.

website redesign before

So, for us the goal was cleaner layout, wider layout, and incorporating interactive tools to spice-up the user experience – in brief: to build a better mousetrap. I had already worked with the client on a fairly extensive SEO campaign, initially and mainly building for them niche, SEO-friendly informational content relating to all the nooks and crannies of their local real estate market. We have to date added over 150 tarted SEO pages into the website files. Indeed, the website is mostly composed of this originally written information describing the local real estate areas in hopes that the search engines will take notice. The strategy is working; the client has started to own or rank well for a variety of these local areas.

Of course, search engine awareness is not the only goal, and alone is insufficient in impressing real people to fill out contact forms and call. Complicating the project/goal to make the site a kick-ass resource is that in real estate, the most important thing people are often looking for is access to the MLS, or Multiple Listings Service, which shows all the current listing in the market. In Pittsburgh, access to the MLS is very difficult, with only brokers being allowed to carry it on their websites. Plan B was to utilize third-party real estate research and information that, wrapped up with an attractive homepage interactive map, will serve as a great research wetting the appetites of the local real estate marketplace. Another important component of this client’s sales pitch to the local market is her fairly developed (for real estate) presence on the top social media platforms. We in turn made these options more tangible with custom buttons on all pages of the site.

Obviously Google Analytics analysis is going to be the true judge and jury for this project, though I look forward to an increase in time on site and a decrease in bounce rate in the coming weeks. This project is also not complete in my opinion, as we intend to develop out the SEO pages with local pictures and specific calls-to-action. Hopefully the pesky MLS solution will be remedied one of these days as well. The website is pittsburghhomesite.com and I would be remiss without giving props to Andrew Bowen at abowmedia.com, who helped take my design sketches and overall concept to life.

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