Selling homes in the Potomac Highlands
W. D. Orkoskey and Assoc. just finished up the redesign of highlandtrace.com which went from this:
The new website is fresh, functional, and usable. The old site was outdated, poorly focused, and not very user friendly. Plus the old site was not being maintained in-house meaning that they needed to rely on a designer at their web-host to make changes, add new listings and photos, take listings down, and to correct errors in listings. All of these things were taking time, sometimes days, as the obligations of the designer at their host were on a whole list of websites and not just Highland Trace’s site. If you’ve ever sold, bought, or even just looked for a home you know how important it is for the information to be correct and up-to-date.
What they really needed was a website they could maintain themselves or at least that they could add listings to and edit those listings.
WordPress to the rescue
We decided to go with a WordPress install because it’s robust, database backed, (and therefore organized), and is easy to learn. Plus we knew that we could make the site look fantastic and include a lot of the features that both the end user and the owner really demand from a real estate site such as:
- Searchability – the ability to enter one or a series of choices to narrow a search such as location, property type, etc.
- Structure – the redesign has a very structured look and feel allowing the user to quickly come to understand where to find specific information on each listing.
- Categorization – while this isn’t the most important thing for an end user it’s vital to keeping such a large website organized for the back-end editors.
- Pictures – all parties involved from the visitor to the site, to the agent, to the seller want to see lots of great photos – photos help visitors narrow down what properties they want to see and they help the seller and their agent get their property sold faster.
- Secondary Information – real estate listings often need to contain land management documents, community chartered rules, and/or other information that these days are typically stored in PDF form. These may be long documents and don’t fit easily as text on a listing. We chose to include these documents where they were needed in their PDF format so individual website visitors could access the data at any time but were not slowed down by information overload.
The basic needs of a real estate website are easily defined. However to design a successful site you’ve got to look at demographics. Highland Trace sells to local buyers looking to buy within a set geographic area which is large and not heavily populated as well as selling vacation or second homes to mainly affluent GLBT couples from the DC metro area. Both of these groups needed a website that was more functional that what Highland Trace had before and now they are able to offer an easy to use no-nonsense website that both their target demographics can use without frustration.
SEO and Analytics
As with all of our websites we provide training on how to best use the site to increase visits from the target demographics. The folks from Highland Trace can now work on building their visitorship through SEO and can track those increases via Google Analytics which they now will use during marketing and strategy meetings to make sure they are seeing the results they want.
Visit the Potomac Highlands!
We wish Highland Trace well and hope that the new website will bring them lots of customers. If you’ve never been to the Potomac Highlands where Highland Trace sells properties I urge you to visit. Hardy County, where Highland Trace is headquartered is as wild and wonderful as West Virginia gets. It’s home to the Lost River, loads of Civil War sites, amazing biking, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, and motorcycling. There are a collection of amazingly priced bed and breakfasts, small independently owned Inns, and cabins for rent, amazing crafts, mountaintop views that you can’t find anywhere else in the eastern US, and lots more waiting for you when you go.
Chances are really good that once you’re there you’ll start thinking of how to arrange your finances so you too can buy a vacation home in the Potomac Highlands!