How to Design a Website for Boomer Prospects

Did you know that 47% of adults over 60 years old spend more than 15 hours of their personal time online? According to an annual research study by Limelight, that percentage is second only to adults ages 46-60. Suffice it so say, your boomer prospects are living in a digital world — and they’re using it to research the products they’re interested in, including homes and communities. They aren’t just visiting sites at the beginning of their purchase journeys, either. They’re returning multiple times and searching for new content to guide them in their decision making. That means a content-rich website is no longer a "nice-to-have." It’s a "must-have." When developing or redesigning your site, there are three key aspects to plan for to ensure you’re giving your prospects the best digital experience possible: 1. User Experience and Content First, create a seamless user experience (sometimes referred to as UX) for site visitors. UX plays a key role in the layout of a website's architecture. As the digital welcome center, a website should be arranged as meticulously as a brick-and-mortar one. Think about the placement and the role that each pathway and interactive element will play in prompting your prospect to take the desired action — such as completing a form to schedule a tour. In addition, site content should be dynamic, organized logically, easy for readers to consume, and address users’ questions, concerns and objections. Copy should align with principles established in your brand communication strategy and should speak to the unique selling propositions that set your offerings apart from competitors. 2. Visual Design Provide cues for the user to take the desired next action. For example, if the goal of a landing page is to encourage site visitors to subscribe to a newsletter, a subtler approach may include having a picture of a person looking in the direction of the form. The direction in which the person’s eyes are focused will act as a visual cue to the user. A more direct approach would be placing an arrow on the page pointing to the form. Use professional photography. Your website should showcase your homes and amenities, as well as capture the type of lifestyle prospects will enjoy should they become home owners. If the visuals are low quality, or don’t capture your attention, your prospects are likely to leave the site … before ever reading any of the copy. Mobile design should be a primary consideration. Even beautiful photography can be compromised by poor UX. According to "Social, Silver Surfers," more than half of all participants said they access the web from their mobile devices. Avoid distorted images, navigation difficulties and other pitfalls of unresponsive site design by creating a seamless mobile experience. 3. Site Performance How long will you wait for a website to load before you decide to move on to something else? For most people, it’s five seconds or less. According to a Google study, sites that load within five seconds experience 70% longer sessions, 35% lower bounce rates and 25% higher ad viewability than sites taking 20 seconds or more to load. Several helpful tools are available to measure your site performance and reduce load times, such as Monitor your website daily to ensure there are no issues with site performance. Solid user experience, visual design and site performance comprise the foundation on which your website is built. With this groundwork in place, you can move forward to the next step: Developing a strategy to drive traffic to the site and associated landing pages. This post was adapted from an article in the Spring 2019 issue of 55+ Housing Online Magazine. Beth Mickey, CAPS, is the senior account director and Melissa Caravella is vice president of client services for Creating Results.

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