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Has Your Web Site Done Anything Foolish Lately?

OK, we all make mistakes... I have a long list to prove it. The purpose of this article is to help you avoid the mistakes that other mortgage web sites have made.

"Mistakes are the usual bridge between inexperience and wisdom."
Phyllis Therous

Domain Name Change

Not only do small companies make big mistakes, but big companies can make the mistakes. Recently the package and overnight delivery company DHL bought their competitor Airborne Express. Not surprisingly, the domain for Airborne Express was airborneexpress.com. Whether by design or by mistake, DHL failed to renew the domain name airborneexpress.com and thus it was on the open market and bought by someone unrelated to either DHL or Airborne Express. The moral of this story is that if you ever buy a new domain name for your mortgage company, be sure to keep the original domain and forward that url to your new domain.

Don't Equate Good Web Design with Good Sex

Occasionally we find a mortgage web site that utilizes young females with plunging necklines, long blond hair and generally are not old enough to qualify for a home loan. The owners of these web sites failed to consider that many applicants are female or that male visitors are unlikely to be impressed with the twenty-something buxom spokesperson renting a $325/month studio.

Never Assume

Mortgage web site owners sometimes allow excess latitude for their Web designers. This leeway can include the overuse of software that has to be already installed on your visitorís computer. Examples of this include Adobe *.pdf files, Flash software and heavy JavaScript.

I Want a Loan, Not a Movie

Does your site makes a visitor watch some extended (or even short) animated show before they can enter your web site? If so, you're losing customers. Your visitors want loans, not dancing loan officers.

I Want a Loan, Not a Song

You don't see iTunes.com selling mortgages, so do not play, or offer to play, any music on your site. If your customer wants music, they will go to a music site.

What's The Password?

There are a few mortgage web sites that use the "assumptive close" technique in an effort to gain control over web site visitors. Their rationale is that if the person takes the time to register on the site and receive a user name and password that they may be more likely to apply for a loan. The fault with this logic is that most visitors are not going to take the time to register, and if some people are naive enough to register, is that really a customer that you want?

"A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof was to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools."
Douglas Adams - Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

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Pop, Pop Goes the Web Site

There was a time when utilizing pop-ups on a web site was a handy feature. These pop-up windows could contain useful information such as financial definitions or mortgage calculators so that the visitor could benefit. Currently you will find pop-up blockers on most user computers so when you're visitor wants to access the pop-up mortgage calculator the calculator doesn't pop. This leads to have your visitor think there something wrong with your site and they depart to go find a site that doesn't have any errors. Frequently when we should bring this to the attention of our clients they will say, "Well, everyone knows if you hold the control key down the pop-up will work."

At this point in time, we usually run an informal survey and ask for five to ten people in their office to tell us how to get around a pop-up locker. Rarely will more than 40% be able to adequately answer this question.

They Are Not Hits, They Are People - Treat Them As Such

Many mortgage web sites write their content in some sort of perceived corporate-speak where the site has to be dogmatic in its delivery and lacking in human touch. We find that sites that fully engage their visitors with professional yet friendly wording, tend to have a much higher average length of stay per visitor. In other words, be nice and write as you would speak to customer.

Say What You Mean; or Don't Get Ranked

The most frequent error we find on mortgage web sites is a failure to fully present keywords that will allow Google.com to properly index and thus rank the mortgage site. When Google.com spiders your site it searches for words that help tell its algorithm what your site is all about. If it sees words like Rolex, Timex, watch, Bulova, Seiko etc., Google might determine your site is about wristwatches.

Take this statement, found on a mortgage web site; "We promise to work hard for you and provide the best service that we can."

Now, if you look closely at the above statement you will see that there are no keywords which provide any indication that this web site is about home loans or mortgages or refinancing. That site could be about landscaping or car repair or just about anything else.

Now, take a look at this statement: "Our home loan officers promise to find the right mortgage, at the lowest interest rates, while providing the best service of any mortgage loan company."

If you compare statement one to statement two, you find that the second statement contains specific keywords directly related to the mortgage industry, and it would be far more likely that a Web page with the second statement would be ranked higher than the web site with the first statement.

Keep Your Eyes on the Prize

The primary function of your web site is not to entertain your visitor, it is not about the history of home loans, nor is it intended to be a mini ego statement about your CEO. The primary function of your site is to bring additional business and revenue to your company.

"Don't do anything foolish and no one will get hurt."
Al Capone

Web site:  www.mortgagepromote.com

 

 

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