Full credit for planting the seed for this idea goes to Robbie at the Rain City Guide for his posts on Virtual Earth mashups. When I read the original I thought to myself, “Neat toy” But when he wrote the second post about adding pushpins to the map … well, that had me intrigued.
On the front page of Dalton’s Arizona Homes I have my current listings running down the right side in a series of feature boxes. I also have these and other listings on my featured listings pages. Format limitations may keep me from replacing the side boxes on the front page with a map. But what if I were able to create a map of the Valley with pushpins at the locations of all of my listings. (Check out the Beta here.) What better way to display the scope of my business than with an interactive map such as this.
(Time of idea, incidentally — 11:47 p.m. Saturday night, long after I started trying to sleep.)
But what if I took it one step further and added mouse-over functionality – mouse-over one of the pushpins and the listing information comes up. Or maybe a thumbnail photo with a link to the individual property page.
These last items still are in development, at least for the Dalton’s Homes site.
Even better … what if I could provide interactive maps for my two neighborhood websites, Arrowhead Ranch Living and Westbrook Village Real Estate. And these maps could not only show the depth of my market share in a given area (or even that of my company) but also serve as a useful community map.
Here’s the initial result of that effort. I’ve added one home for sale and a couple of sold listings for now and soon will add icons for restaurants, schools and the like. (Here’s your chance for feedback … do I keep this on the Featured Listing page and link to the general map elsewhere or move this map elsewhere on the site?)
The key to retaining web visitors is to provide visual stimulus and information of value. With the addition of this initial map and the others soon to follow, I believe I’ll be able to provide both simultaneously.
And even if it doesn’t turn into a site retention tool, at least it looks really, really cool.