“To continue, you must login to your account or register for a new account.”
…to many users, that sentence may be the most frightening (not to mention annoying) screen they will see on your site.
That said, although capturing leads with your site may be your ultimate goal, forcing registration on your visitors can be an unwelcome alarm to some. However, your dsSearchAgent admin area has some pretty customizable options to help you encourage your IDX users to provide you their information, without the risk of scaring them off.
To begin, go to the “Options” area of your IDX admin. Towards the middle of this page you should see your “Visitor Options”; this is where you want to be to edit your registration requirements.
You have three choices for your “Registration Level”, and the option you choose will determine which of the next two boxes you will need to complete.
This option restricts the number of searches a user can perform before they are required to register. If you select this option, type how many searches you want to allow before registration in the “# of Searches Before Registration” box. If you type in “5”, users will be able see as many results as they want, but they can only do five searches; on their sixth search they will be required to register prior to viewing the results of their search. Additionally, a user will be required to register if a user clicks on any listing to see more details on that property. If you select this option but do not type in a number, the user will be required to register when they make their first search.
If you want to allow many searches but simply limit the number of listing pages they can view (ie property detail pages), use this option. Simply select this option from the list, then type in the number of listings you would like to allow the user to view in the “# of Listing Views Before Registration” box. Again, for example: if you type in “10”, the user can perform unlimited searches, but can only view ten listing detail pages. Once they have viewed ten they must register to view any more. Also, just as above, if you do not type in a number the user will be required to register as soon as they try to view any listing page.
Users can search and view listings as they please without registering. If they want to receive email updates, subscribe to an RSS feed, save a search, or other advanced features, they will need to create an account. However, regular searching and property viewing will not require any registration.
Ultimately, the decision is up to you, and determining at what point you want to require registration can be a tricky one. One school of thought says the requiring registration helps weed out those who are “not serious.” Others agents adhere to the principle of making their site so simple and non-intrusive that not only will visitors stay on their site, but they will return.
Clearly, finding a balance between these two attitudes can be a tricky one; but with dsSearchAgent, you can easily experiment with your options.