A lot of people like to search for homes whenever it is convenient, which may mean they are standing in line at the store, riding the bus, or sitting on their couch. Depending on where they are they may not be viewing listings from a computer, but instead they are looking on their smartphone or tablet. If your website or listing isn’t optimized for these users, chances are they won’t look at your listing for very long. Pages that haven’t been optimized are make it difficult to see pictures, read descriptions, click on links to other homes, or navigate menus. Majority of people prefer something that works simply and smoothly, and if it doesn’t, they aren’t going to bother with it. If you make sure that the listings on your site are viewable for mobile users, you will in turn get more people viewing your listings.
Mobile Optimized Sites
Of course, if you post your listings on other sites like Trulia, you know that your listing can be seen on either their site or app using a mobile device since they keep everything optimized for you. However, if you have your own site or your company has a site, you should consider making your site viewable on several different devices. When you are creating the mobile version of your site, there are a couple things you can do. You or your web developer may want to include some coding to your site that will recognize if a user is on a smartphone or tablet. Once the code determines the device they are using, it will redirect them to the mobile version of your site. This will make it much easier for potential buyers to navigate your site and listings. Of course, there is always a chance that your site may glitch which is why you should always include a way for the user to go to the desktop version of the site. Add a link to the full desktop version of the site on the mobile page so users can easily get to it and you should add a link to the mobile version of your site on the desktop page in case the redirect code doesn’t work. This will give your viewers several options to see your site.
A photo is worth 1,000 words, especially when you are trying to sell a house. If your visitors aren’t able to view your photos, or other media you have for your listing, chances are they will not be calling you about that property. Changing the size of your photos and how they are displayed on your site will let them be seen on different mobile devices without a problem. Images that are still the original size are normally large files that can slow down how fast a page downloads on a mobile device. Try to keep images that will be seen on phones or tablets to 500×500 pixels or smaller. Another thing that can affect the download time is the image’s file type and quality. When you upload a picture, you should save them as both a PNG and a JPG or GIF then you can use which ever file is the smallest. Something else to worry about is if you use flash to display any of your photos, or even your contact forms. Devices like iPhones and iPads can’t display flash pages. Instead, you can use HTML5 which is supported on devices like iPads, iPhones, or even Android phones.
Cursors vs. Fingers
While some tablets and phones can use a stylus, others simply use a person’s finger to navigate the screen. This is a big change from small cursors that new ultrabooks and computers use. Since a finger is much larger than a cursor you need to take that into consideration when setting up the mobile version of your site. Make text and picture links a little larger than they would be on a desktop so there are easier to select. You should also add in more white or empty space between links to prevent the user from clicking on multiple links at one time or the wrong link all together. If a user is unable to navigate through your listing, or keeps accidentally clicking a link they don’t want, they will move on to something easier to use.
After all of the work that you put into getting your listing together, you want to make sure it actually works. Testing your page on different devices lets you know that someone on an iPhone is seeing the same thing as someone on a Samsung Galaxy. With all of the different types of devices that are on the market, you want to make sure they can see your listing no matter the display size or operating system. You can simulate the different views and operating systems by using sites like CrossBrowserTesting.com. Of course, the best way to test it out is to try out different devices.
These few things will help make sure the people will be able to view your listings no matter what device they use. Whether you show your listings on different housing websites and/or your own personal realtor site, you want people to be able to see pictures of the house, read details about it, and request information quickly and easily. If your site isn’t optimized for mobile devices, most users won’t mess with it for very long before moving on to something else.