Too Many Pop Up Windows - While there are proper uses of pop-up windows (those that open in addition to the main window displaying your web site) they are few and far between.
Pop-up windows have come to be associated with unwanted advertisements. They can confuse those with limited Internet experience and also consume an additional amount of system resources on the computer being used to view your site.
When you feel that you must use a pop-up window to convey information, make sure that this is only in response to a user choice or action - as opposed to implementing an automatically loading pop-up window that cannot be avoided.
Additionally, it is often best to warn the viewer that a new window will open if they select a hyperlink, so as not to take them by surprise.
The ultimate misuse of pop-up windows are those that load automatically when the visitor views your homepage. This action can be immediately annoying and may potentially drive the visitor off of your site.
Even if the visitor continues on, you'll likely lose them at some point because every time they reload your home page (often as a result of clicking on the "home" button or menu) the same pop-up window will re-deploy forcing them to close this same window again and again.
Forcing a visitor to close the same unwanted pop-up window several times during just one visit to your site will almost guarantee the absence of a second visit.
Forced Forms - Another highly valued benefit of the Internet, from the visitor's perspective, is the ability to remain anonymous until they are ready to share personal information with web site operators.
While the use of web-based forms for collecting prospect information can be implemented successfully, too many real estate web sites try to ask for too much personal information, and too soon.
It's important to understand that visitors to your site will typically provide personally identifying information only when they have perceived your web site as highly useful, have had their basic expectations met and only in exchange for information that is not readily available elsewhere.
Thus, if you provide a great deal of useful content and are offering something "extra" in exchange for the visitor completing a form, then you'll likely be quite successful in gathering useful prospect information.
However, when you present a comprehensive form to a prospective buyer and insist that it be completed just so they can search your site for homes, you're missing more leads than you can imagine.
Searching for listings on a real estate web site is no longer perceived as a valuable extra service, but instead as a core function that is to be expected. And, since so many other sites will provide listing information while allowing visitors to remain anonymous, most buyers will likely go elsewhere or provide information that is less than accurate if you force them to complete a web-based form before allowing them access to such basic features.
Asking for too much information, too soon, explains why the single most common entry into web-generated databases is Mickey Mouse.
However, when it is appropriate to use a web-based form to collect information about the visitor, you should ask for as little information from them as possible. Rather than asking for too much, and risk turning them off, ask for just what you really need at that moment.
Realize that a web-based form is only the very beginning of the relationship with this person, and that there will be plenty of time and opportunity to collect more information as the online dialog progresses.
Just as you wouldn't use an Open House registry with 20 questions (refusing entry to the property until every line was completed) you shouldn't ask for too much information this early in the conversation.
In this case, asking for a little, and for good reason, will generate much more successful results than asking for too much, too soon.