Magazine article Mortgage Banking

How NOT to Make Your Mortgage Web Site Successful on the Internet

Magazine article Mortgage Banking

How NOT to Make Your Mortgage Web Site Successful on the Internet

Article excerpt

PART 2-Web Design and Development

ON THE THEORY THAT IT'S SOME-times easier to tell people what not to do rather than what to do, we offer this second in a series of articles on how not to make your mortgage Web site successful on the Internet. In last month's column, we covered the Web site planning phase. In this month's column, we'll go over Web design and development. In future columns, we will cover writing effective and compelling content; Web site marketing and promotion; and other Internet tips and hints.

These articles will help your mortgage company learn from the mistakes of other companies' Web sites. You will see what your online competitors have done well and not so well and learn what you can do to prevent the mistakes that others have made from happening to your company.

Don't take a crummy domain name

Keep in mind the old adage "A man's domain is his castle."

According to the latest statistics from Herndon, Virginia--based Network Solutions Inc., a domain name registration service provider, approximately 350,000 domain names are registered each and every month. So if you are just beginning your domain name search, you will be in for a bit of a surprise. The domain name you want has probably already been claimed by someone else.

How does your domain name sound? Do you have a name like ezloanz4u.com or get-dat-loan-here.com? If you have to explain it, spell it or repeat it, you don't want it. It is hard enough to drive traffic to your site, let alone requiring the Rosetta Stone to translate your domain name. An easy-to-remember, user-friendly domain name will draw much more traffic to your Web site than will a name that is hard to remember or too cute.

Don't think Web design alone will make you successful

There are many facets to Web design and development other than just haying pretty graphics. Unfortunately, most Web sites are designed by "Web design" firms versus "Web development" firms. Web design firms usually only ask, "What is your company logo and what colors do you want?" Web development firms ask, "What is your unique selling position compared with your online competition, and how are we going to develop a Web site to attract and compel these prospective customers to take action?"

Don't use a crummy e-mail name

Companies that are serious about presenting a quality image on the Internet don't use e-mail addresses from America Online (AOL) or any free e-mail services. A name like loanmkrl9@aol.com just isn't professional or persuasive. Sight is the only sense your viewers will use, so pay attention to how you portray yourself visually. If you have a domain name like mortgagepromote.com, use an e-mail address like robert@mortgagepromote.com. Using an e-mail address from AOL or any of the other free services (Juno, USA.net, Yahoo!, Hotmail, etc.) is like wearing a 6-inch-too-short clip-on tie with that lime-green leisure suit to meet the president of the United States. Don't do it.

Don't misname your files

When a potential customer searches for "California home loans" through a search engine, thousands and thousands of results are returned. While the higher-ranked sites will be selected more often, a Web page listing that is called farrismortgage.com/californiahome_loan.htm is more likely to be "clicked on" than a domain called farrismortgage.com/page1.htm. The same goes for domains--if you are looking for a home loan in California, CaliforniaHomeLoan.com is more likely to be clicked on than JohnsonBrothersLoans. …

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