When Good Web Sites Go Bad
isn't breaking news, but there are a substantial number of web
sites that while they look great, the sites just don't generate
much income for mortgage companies. Sometimes the owner will say,
"This Internet thing, it just doesn't work." Generally the owner
is wrong in their assumption.
We have been
online since 1996. We have made our share of mistakes and most
certainly we have marveled at mistakes that occur on other sites.
Here is a list of mistakes "good" web sites can make.
seemingly good web sites want to concentrate on getting a "Yes"
out of the customer. Great web sites utilize a technique where
the goal is learning how to get the customer to say "No."
As you are
aware, a successful loan is a long series of steps, each of which
must be completed perfectly, or the loan doesn't close.
Prequalify the Customer, Why Not Prequalify the Visitor
web site really work for you. Make your web site screen out
potential inquiries that you can't service. In example, maybe you
can only provide loans in California. Unless you have a mechanism
for servicing loans from other states, do you really want your
staff spending time on the phone with someone only to ultimately
learn they are outside your service area? If you don't provide
loans for land, co-ops or retail shopping centers, you should have
a list of the loans you can provide, followed by a list that you
Your goal is
that if you are going to have a customer say "No," you want that
to occur before you expend energy in processing. You want to find
out if you are going to have problems up front, not 3 weeks into
the adventure. You can word your web site to tactfully allow
people who don't qualify, not to contact you. This allows you to
receive inquiries from customers that you can help.
I Want! I
Want! I Want!
One of the
secrets to a successful business is often overlooked when having a
web site: Give the customer what they want, and you will get what
simple, but so often we only look at our own site, through our own
eyes, and not the customers. In example, if you are a provider of
"sub prime loans" that term may accurately describe your business,
but your customers are NOT typing in that term, because they don't
know what that is and so they type "bad credit loan."
you could have a good looking web site, that doesn't perform.
Here are a
few common mistakes with regards to web sites:
good? Always view your site on another machine. You will be
surprised at how different your site looks on a machine with a
bigger monitor or with an older version of Internet Explorer or
with AOL or with an alternative browser such as Opera or Mozilla
Firefox will make your site look.
* A picture
may be worth a thousand words, but a thousand pictures is not
worth a million words. Some sites seems to add too many graphics
in order to look nice, but they can be a hindrance to your site.
Graphics should be like perfume; it should augment, not overpower.
the hardest test on your site. Have your mother-in-law go to your
site and listen to her feedback. You will discover how many
obvious features to you, are not obvious to her.
attention to the little stuff. Does your site still say
"Copyright 2005" (or earlier)?
customer wants to know how they can benefit and save money by
using your company instead of one of the thousands of other
* Is your
site consistent and easy to navigate?
most important information on every page, at the TOP of the
screen shot your customer sees? You have to keep your eyes on
the prize. If you are trying to sell mortgages, then that
information needs to be at the top of every page. Don't provide
extraneous information in prime real estate areas of your web
page. We have seen sites that show how a mortgage company
softball team is doing or a long rambling message from the owner
on how it was to do mortgages in the 1980's. You can have that
info, if you need to, but just don't let it get in the way on
your primary objective of providing loans to customers.
Think About Time
think your time is important. The customer is not really
concerned with your time... they are very concerned with theirs.
If you waste their time, you will not get their business. Keep
these factors in mind when writing your content, and then
displaying it on your web site.
Here are a
few more tips to help keep your good site good.
Quality You Only Pay Once
winners. Just like in real life, you usually get what you pay
for. If you constructed your web site by offering your
neighbors kid a $100 bill, you may end up with a site that looks
nice, but fails to have the proper HTML coding or meta tags that
could actually cause your site to be banned by the search
* Use real
email. If the name of your company is MortgagePromote.com, have
each employee use an email address with MortgagePromote.com in
it, ie, Robert@MortgagePromote.com. Don't use a hotmail.com or
aol.com or yahoo.com or gmail.com or your-ISP-provider.com
email. Your email may get tagged as spam and if it gets through,
you will appear to be amateurish or unprofessional by using an
email other than your own domain name.
quality software. If you are having difficulty managing
contacts, use a PIM software such as ACT or Goldmine. If your
email program isn't as productive as you want, try using Eudora.
If your site is difficult to upkeep, try a program like
Clicks Are Going To Walk All Over You
* Don't be
fooled by numbers. Not all website traffic is created equal.
Just because you are receiving a substantial amount of traffic,
doesn't mean that they are all relevant to your site. I know of
a Nevada mortgage site, that bought hundreds and hundreds of pay
per click (PPC) words, including the singular word "Las Vegas."
They had substantial traffic for the term "Las Vegas" but these
visitors weren't looking for loans. The result was an expensive
lesson in PPC costs and untargeted audiences.
* Poor PPC
Conversions. If you are getting traffic, but not sales, then one
of two things is wrong. Either you have high interest rates or
you there is something wrong with your site such as bad content
or it is difficult to contact you via your site.
news is that truly good sites are hard to find. The good news is
that there are mostly bad sites on the Internet. If you can
improve your mortgage site just a bit, you can make a good site
into a great site.
Rod Aries and Robert Farris are co-founders of MortgagePromote.com, a leading Internet marketing provider to corporate mortgage clients.
Web site: www.mortgagepromote.com