How Does Your Real Estate Development Website Navigation Affect User Behavior? [Wild Dots Research]
In current realities, if your business doesn’t have a website, you don’t exist in the digital world. While offline promotion is important as well to the online (as we have already discussed in our article about multichannel marketing), having a user-friendly website increases by at least 2x your chances of getting leads and making your real estate development known to attract new visitors.
A user-friendly website is not only one with a wonderful design but also with an effective user experience. Now the approach in building websites may differ widely, but here is a simple truth: if people don’t easily find the information they are looking for, they leave and will forget about you.
Eminem captured well the importance of retaining your lead on your website in his hit song “Lose yourself” by saying: “You better lose yourself in (…) the moment, You own it, you better never let it go, You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow, This opportunity comes once in a lifetime…” In marketing terms, this can be translated as the user experience criteria called navigation efficiency – how quickly can you find the information you need.
Now, this is the general context, but what you should truly ask yourself is what is the most important data that people are looking for when first visiting a new real estate development website?
Our research, based on user sessions data, found that those are, in order of priority, (1) property availability and pricing, (2) project location, (3) neighborhood details, and (4) how the project and properties look like.
The context for our study
There were three main goals that we have pursued during our analysis:
- Find out which website pages are of the first interest to the visitors when we’re talking about new real estate development website
- Find out which type of menu can provide the best experience for the user and allow them to find necessary information fast
- Provide recommendations for our clients as well for ourselves on how to improve the overall website usability and convertibility by improving the navigation
Key findings: how do the homepage’s content and menu locations affect user behavior?
Different visitors pay attention to different parts of the website, but generally speaking, the majority of the visitors of a real estate development website are looking for information about the available properties up for purchase.
What pages were of most interest to the visitors?
All three research subjects showed the same pattern of users’ behavior. No matter the project type and size, website structure and the amount of pages visitors are tending to search for the same information in mostly the same order. Here are five main things that users are first looking for on any property website:
- 36% of visitors – What’s available to purchase?
- 25% – General info about the project on the homepage
- 12% – Where is this property located geographically?
- 7% – What’s around the neighborhood? (Schools, gyms, stores, nature, etc.)
- 5% – What does it look like? (Either photo/video gallery or a 360 virtual visit)
The other pages also get visits, but these 5 main pages/topics get 85% of the total attention. Make them a priority when planning the website navigation while working on it together with the agency.
What type of menu to choose?
Our research showed that for real estate property websites, flat menus with few items perform better than big and multilevel. They allow visitors to quickly find the required information.
What can increase conversions?
The fewer actions (scrolls, clicks) a user has to take on the page or the website in general, the higher is the chance they convert instead of leaving the website. Try to keep the page structure and its content as straightforward and simple as possible.
Having a website is critical because that’s how you can reach a large audience and help people navigate through your property online from the comfort of their own home. Having a website that would help your potential customers find out the information that interests them right away will add another bonus point to your digital marketing efforts.
Our study method
Several different real estate websites were chosen as research subjects. All projects differ in type (villas, apartment buildings) and size. We have compared the order of the menu items in the navigation menu and clickable elements on the first screen with those that were mostly clicked during the first user session.
|Order of menu and links on the screen||Most clickable elements|
Our research subjects
- Smarthill – a residential complex in Crissier, Switzerland, a Wild Dots’ client. (Read more about this project here.)
- Project 2 – a residential development project Wild Dots worked with, located in Bulle, Switzerland.
- Project 3 – a project that aims to change the entire neighborhood in Thônex, Switzerland.
The three project websites have different layouts for the homepage, menus, and the amount of content.
Smarthill (Project 1):
Smarthill is the project that has a more traditional approach in terms of a one-page website. It has several other pages, but because the homepage has a lot of information, most users interact with it the most.
The menu is located in two areas with the main items in the center of the page, such as the concept, location, floor plans, gallery, and blog. The other, smaller, menu shows the links to the home configurator and contacts.
Although the website menu has a few items, it reflects the order in which visitors are looking for the information. This reduces the time people are spending exploring the site (i.e. they find what they need faster) and, at the same time, increases the conversion rate.
The amount of information on Project 2’s homepage is similar to the previous one, but it’s designed differently. The fullscreen autoplaying video on the first screen and information somewhat hidden behind animated blocks, it requires the user to perform extra scrolls/clicks to interact with the content. They can’t simply scroll down to read it.
The menu is straightforward, without dropdowns, and is placed at the top of the page, easily accessible by the users, and the first thing people are interested in is the apartments for sale.
Fewer people are staying on the homepage of this project, preferring to navigate away to the dedicated pages. We believe that putting “Le quartier” and “Visite 360°” menu items right after the “Localisation” and “Appartements” would have increased website efficiency even more.
The last project in our research has the least information on the landing page and the most extensive website structure than our previous cases. The main goal of the homepage is to provide navigation – it has a multilevel menu with dropdown items as well as three clickable buttons in the center of the page (which, however, aren’t very visible due to low contrast with the background image.)
On one hand, such website structure and its goals increase the click-through rate, but at the same time, it can potentially spread the attention of the visitor too thin, resulting in a lot of clicks with no conversions.
Putting “Vente” and “Location” menu items first in the navigation bar, adding “Localisation”, “360 visite virtuelle” links to the menu, and moving the “Situation” menu item from the dropdown list to the first level of the menu, would have simplified visitors information search and increase their clickability.
Having a website for your business matters. Your website’s design also matters. Transform it to increase conversions by simplifying the user experience with navigation.
Are you looking for partners who will take care of your real estate’s digital marketing needs? The Wild Dots team is here to help you – we can assess the current state of the existing instruments as well as build a brand new ones from scratch.