How Websites Can Help or Hinder Marketing Efforts


Image by Christin Hume Via Unsplash

A well-designed website plays a crucial role for marketing professionals seeking new residents for their multi-family properties. Faster websites have a much better chance of keeping potential tenants on the site long enough to take the first step towards renting a new home.

Esther Bonardi, Vice President of Corporate Marketing and Head of REACH by RentCafewith Yardi, spoke in a webinar on April 14 about the importance of website performance. She offered tips for measuring how well a site is performing and suggestions on fixing and improving websites. “How does your website compare? was a pre-conference webinar for the Apartment Internet Marketing Conference, being held this year in Huntington Beach, California.

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Rebound rate

Customers visiting apartment websites will leave quickly if web pages load slowly. Bonardi noted that it’s called the bounce rate, which measures how many people came to a site but didn’t stick around long enough to do anything. She saw data showing that if the page load time goes from one second to three seconds, the bounce rate increases by 32%. If the page load time increases from one second to six seconds, the bounce rate increases by 106%.

“There’s another study that shows that if a site takes four seconds to load, 25% of customers will immediately leave,” Bonardi said.

She suggested that marketers who want to measure the performance of their websites should turn to Lighthouse, an open-source automated tool for improving the quality of web pages. It was created and supported by Google.

Lighthouse analyzes a website’s use of Google-designed guidelines, called Core Web Vitals, with real data gathered from millions and millions of website searches. CWV measures speed, responsiveness, and visual stability to gauge the performance of website pages.

The Lighthouse tool audits websites for performance and speed, whether it is accessible to people with visual impairments, whether the site is a progressive web application, whether basic SEO elements are in place and many other aspects.

Accessibility check

Bonardi said Lighthouse checks for accessibility issues such as contrast between background and foreground colors, or whether images and buttons have alt elements, which allow visually impaired users to read text or links with screen readers.

“How about a black site with dark text. It’s really hard to read. Imagine if you have a visual impairment? If you have trouble seeing, you won’t be able to read that text,” Bonardi pointed out.

One of the other major things Lighthouse checks is to see if a website is a PWA. She noted that it is a type of software delivered through the web that creates a user experience that resembles an app on a smartphone.

“When you have a structurally good website that works well, not only do you impress your customers because all the metrics they build to measure those things are based on customer behavior, but you impress also search engines,” Bonardi said.


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