31/05/2016 - Estate Agents - Web Design
Charters Estate Agency Website Design
I think the best feeling anyone can experience in our world of creativity is a phone call ‘out of the blue’ on the back of some projects, previously released.
In the case of ‘Charters Estate Agents’ their Marketing Director Tim Griffin called to talk about creating a new website after liking many styles and aspects of our creations.
After no more than 2-3 minutes of talking to Tim on the phone, I could see he was a visionary. The way he expressed a passion for design, innovation and forward thinking, he had me hooked. I simply had to arrange a meet up right away, as these are exactly the kind of projects we live for.
To express how keen I was to meet with both Tim and the Managing Director Robert Mott I endured a 2-hour trip whilst in recovery from a prolapsed disc. I didn’t care about the pain, I craved our meeting to express my ideas on where I believed we could develop the Charters website.
Anyone who knows me will know that I can talk forever when I get excited, and I found myself repeatedly apologising during our initial consultation. But that didn’t matter as both Robert and Tim both had the same vision I had and both brought some excellent ideas to the conversation.
With a market leading Estate Agent (such as Charters) and a varied demographic visiting their website every day it was never going to be a website that involved crazy animations and super high tech navigations and page layouts. We have to remember in cases like these that we cannot simply reinvent the wheel. We can however modify it, allowing it to perform the same basic functions. This is where Tim and I set to work on breaking down all the key functions of an estate agents website and looking for places to innovate and push the boundaries.
Step one is always the Home page on any new site. Once the tone of a Home page is crafted, the rest of the site can fall into place much easier. Home pages tend to fall into what we call a “T” formation. One large full or half page slider that rotates across the top of a website with different marketing messages on. Then as the user scrolls down the site the less essential content sits in the middle normally with lots of blank space to the left and right of the content. This is more noticeable on larger monitors and so the “T” shape if formed.
Our thought process was that we didn’t have to follow that format. Let’s break that tradition and try to build a site with full large screen visual as you scroll down. Create a site that showcases large marketing messages as you manoeuvre down through the home page. It was a groundbreaking idea in our eyes and it’s worked out perfectly.
For the next innovation, we had to give Tim 100% credit. He asked if it would be possible to place integrated marketing messages on the property pages. After a little consultation with my team, we deduced that it was completely possible and a stroke of genius on Tim’s part. In most cases estate agents place small adverts at the base of a site asking users to perform a valuation or to register but never have we seen them embed marketing incentives directly into property pages. So in the case of Charters we built a system that allows Tim to load in adverts using the CMS on the property listings page for both List View and Grid View and also within the Full Property Details page, amongst the images. Examples can be seen here:
That was just one of the many innovative and forward-thinking ideas we injected into this brand new Charters website. Recommendations offered by us, as web professionals, were fully embraced and to Charters credit and ultimate benefit they have explored and included many of the new initiatives presented.
I have to say it was an absolute pleasure working with Robert and Tim. I could go on for hours about all of the unique and bespoke parts of the site but I would much prefer it that you visit and find out for yourself.
Half of me is looking forward to the next ‘out of the blue’ phone call and the other half of me is wondering if the Charters site can ever be topped. Only time will tell.
Charters are now looking to further develop their SEO performance to attract more visitors to their brand new website