How to create an optimized IDX real estate website with WordPress in 5 easy steps
Nowadays, real estate professionals need to offer not only property listings on their websites but complete maps, and other useful information for users who need to find the property of their dreams quickly.
Integrating MLS listings into your website is the solution to share such information from your real estate website.
Here’s how to do it efficiently and make sure you have checked all the required points.
1. Get Hosting, a domain and Install WordPress
You may think you need to hire someone to help you create a real estate website, but it’s not true.
You can do this easily yourself, even if you have limited technical knowledge.
WordPress is a fast and modern CRM that is available to you for free.
Interesting fact: WordPress’ market share is 34% of all websites. It’s accessible and easy to manage.
Get your domain, then choose a hosting package for WordPress and install WordPress on it (or let your hosting do this for you). This step takes maximum of 30 minutes to be ready if you know your domain and you get the right hosting company.
From here on, your options are extensive, and you can finish your real estate website in 4 more steps.
2. Install a WordPress theme for Real Estate
There are hundreds of real estate WordPress themes to choose from, and picking one is confusing for most people. Too many demos, too many options to choose from.
We’ve put together a useful article about how to make this choice fast and what are your best options for a Real Estate theme.
3. Integrate and organize MLS listings
There are different tools to integrate MLS listings in your WordPress theme.
The most basic solution is the IDX Search box provided by the Multiple Listing Service (or MLS). These are generally generic and come with limited search and customization capabilities. In this case, you have no power to build a strong SEO and get your leads coming to you.
The 2nd option is to use an IDX plugin. But these plugins store data on their servers and do not allow you to customize the property details or the search of the properties. You have to use the plugin options and design as they are.
The 3rd option is to get access to your properties and integrate them in your real estate website seamlessly, gaining full control over property information, search, design, and other necessary lead capture tools to run your business. Such a solution would require custom development if you were to build an import tool between your MLS and your real estate website. But there is a new automatic plugin that can do this job for you at a minimal cost as well. This plugin name is MLS Import.
How does MLS Import work?
Since we already explained how IDX plugins work in another article, we’ll focus this post on how to use the MLS Import plugin as an alternative to IDX plugins.
MLS Import helps you publish your MLS properties in WpResidence as if they were added manually. With this kind of freedom to access data, you organize data for better leads as you wish. You control SEO and overall get more clients your way.
MLS Import is a tool designed especially for real estate brokers that integrates seamlessly Multiple Listing Service property listings into your website. The import process happens through the RESO API, which unifies all MLS data using a standard dictionary. RESO API allows realtors to get access from 650+ MLS companies from the USA and Canada.
MLS Import quickly became very popular among real estate brokers simply because the tool itself is user-friendly, and the real estate themes it is compatible with are highly customizable.
How do you integrate MLS listings with MLS Import?
MLS Import is the most straightforward plugin to use when it comes to connecting your MLS data to your real estate website. These are just a few of the reasons why:
- It connects directly to your MLS and allows you to set by yourself what property information to publish and which to keep private
- The MLS Import staff gives you full support to manage properties initial import and data synchronization
- The plugin serves the MLS listings images from the MLS CDN, which means your site will be fast.
- MLS Import is based on RESO API, the latest technology for managing MLS data (RETS feed is not going to be supported in the future)
Here are some screenshots from MLS Plugin management interface:
To complete step 3 quickly and integrate the MLS Import into your website seamlessly, this is the easiest solution available.
From your end, all you need is to signup to Multiple Listing Service for real estate brokers and make sure you pick one that’s local or regional, and it’s RESO ready. Then get your favorite real estate theme from the list of supported themes and MLS Import, and you’ve solved these 3 important stages very fast. WpResidence and Wpestate are on the supported list.
4. Optimize your website SEO
As you know, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) must be an essential part of your real estate website. There are a few necessary steps you need to do for clients to find your business online quickly.
Follow our Ultimate Guide tips for Real Estate SEO, and you will have all the details you need to cover this part.
5. Keep your website secure and updated
When you created your website with WordPress, you need to plan to do regular WordPress, plugins, and theme updates, but also to have a monthly full backup available. You also need to be sure you install one security plugin to monitor and block hack attempts.
Go through the below list, and you will have all you need to keep your site secure.
You can set WordPress to auto-update using this article. This way you’re sure you’re always up to date with the latest security enhancements WordPress releases, and the risk to have your site hacked is limited.
Plugins will have to be updated manually, but you can do that from the wp-admin dashboard with one click and doesn’t take more than a few seconds.
The real estate theme can be easily updated as well if you use our real estate themes for your site.
As Backup, you can use plugins such as Updraft Plus, or perhaps your hosting does regular backups via Cpanel.
For Security, we recommend two plugins from our experience. Either Sucuri or iThemes Security plugins can do this job.
With these five checks handled, your real estate website can be ready quickly and by yourself, without having to pay thousands of dollars to a 3rd party company.
And even if you do want to hire such a development team, their job becomes more straightforward and affordable when all these tools are already available and ready to be used.