My name is Lori Ballen. I’m a Las Vegas Real Estate Agent and Digital marketer. I teach real estate agents how to generate leads online. My personal favorite strategy is ranking on the search engines. A strong IDX Website can convert both pay per click leads as well as organic leads that are generated by users searching on a search engine like Google.
While an IDX website can be a website that does only that, provides real estate listings, it can also be a full-blown lead generation system, which is how I prefer it.
**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on links on this website. [Affiliate Disclosure]
IDX Real Estate Websites
I use the blogs and pages on my website to create content that ranks on Google and I use IDX to provide buyers with MLS Listings. These MLS listings are what we are referring to when we say IDX. If you found this website through a search engine, I’m assuming you already understand that an IDX website is a real estate website with listings.
It’s important to note that not all websites are created equal. Not all IDX providers are created equal. Not all real estate website developers or designs or templates or platforms are created equal. It’s also worth noting that IDX alone is not going to bring in leads.
It’s what YOU do with the IDX website that brings in leads.
It once was true that the IDX itself could rank on the search engines. We don’t see that so much anymore. It’s much more likely that the content in the blog and on neighborhood pages you create will rank on Google and IDX will help capture leads.
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I have used and researched many IDX solutions, and certainly not all of them. There are more than one good solution and plenty of not so great solutions. I’ve tested IDX websites such as Point 2 Agent, Deltanet, and Market leader as well as Wolfnet and others. While they all had their pros and cons, I chose IDX Broker for my real estate websites and decided to build on a WordPress Platform.
The first thing I looked for in an IDX solution is the pass-through of the IP address or another qualifying “source” data. The IP address (internet protocol) essentially helps me track the visitor’s location, device, source, referring URL, pages viewed, actions taken, time on site and so forth. It’s essential for my decisions related to marketing. When the visitor uses an IDX form of any kind, that data or the IP address at least should be provided.
I choose IDX Broker for this reason among others.
I also chose IDX broker for the customization ability, the lead generation options, and the ability to embed a widget that produces a list of homes right on a blog post.
With IDX Broker, you can also set a buyer or seller up on a home search with very specific homes that match your MLS fields.
For example: in Vegas, if someone asked me for a list of homes that are zoned for horses, are on at least an acre, have horse stalls and an arena, an in-ground pool, and mother in law quarters, I could do that with IDX Broker.
IDX Broker is mobile responsive as any IDX should be.
IDX and WordPress
WordPress is a content management system or CMS. It’s a website platform that allows for growth, customization, and allows for 3rd party applications like plugins and themes. After using many “boxed” solutions, I decided on WordPress. I knew, with the way I build for lead generation, no real estate website would be as good as a WordPress platform would.
If you are reasonably tech-savvy. you can actually use the steps on this blog post to build your own WordPress real estate website with IDX solution.
How to Build An IDX Website
Register a Domain Name:
Register a Domain Name: I use Godaddy. I always suggest purchasing a domain name ending in .com. Avoid dashes and symbols. The domain name itself probably won’t do much for your rankings today even if it’s an exact match keyword.
Find something easy to use, easy to remember easy to print on a business card. You may want to consider brand awareness as well as how well that domain scales if your business grows.
Choose a Web Host and Plan
Choose a web host. This will be where your website “lives” so to speak. A web host is responsible for the servers that make your website “live” on the web. If you are building your IDX website on WordPress, this will often be the place you begin with by accessing the WordPress platform. They will often provide you with the basic WordPress platform (no theme, no plugins, no design) and then you begin adding layers to build it out.
Check out managed WordPress from WP Engine. With any of these packages, you’ll get Agent Press Pro, a specific theme for real estate and many more great choices of customizable themes. Most will be fine with the lower package to start. You can upgrade later as you grow.
In some of my videos, I also talk about Site Rubix and Wealthy Affiliate which offer hosting, WordPress platforms, WordPress themes, and training on becoming an affiliate marketer. If you have been following these videos and blogs, you can also set your website up using their tools.
In addition, Godaddy offers managed WordPress in all in one solution as well. You can get a domain, email, WordPress hosting and platform and more. Keep in mind that if your website becomes slow or experiences "downtime", you'll need to increase your hosting fees as you expand.
I wouldn't go for less than the ultimate package because you want the SSL certificate that provides security to the visitor. This security certificate changes your website from a HTTP:// address to an https:// address which Google wants to see on its search engine results pages. It's important.
I enjoy the quick glance dashboard, the ability to see which content is performing best, spy on active visitors, watch the journey of the visitor, browse referring links and so much more. While it does come with a cost, it's relatively cheap compared to other analytic tools. Google Analytics is free and I also suggest adding your GA code. That being said, Clicky, to me is easier.
Clicky also allows me to take an IP address that comes with a lead registration to view details about that specific user. This allows me to measure their actions, time on site pages visited, the source that brought them in, geographic information and much more.
I can't imagine not using a great tool like Clicky or I'd be "driving blind".
Create Neighborhood Pages with IDX Widgets
Build out neighborhood Pages with IDX Widgets. Rather than using the "saved links" IDX Broker allows us to build, I create a new page on my WordPress Website, write about the neighborhood and then drop a widget of homes onto the page itself.
This way, I'm optimizing my main domain and website for the search engines rather than a link I would lose if I ever changed IDX providers.
Create a Monthly Real Estate Market Report
Create a monthly real estate market report. This is very popular with sellers. I get seller leads through my website by creating informative blog posts and offering an instant home valuation on that page.
The report should contain market stats for the area and possibly average home prices by neighborhood, zip code, school district (zone) and so forth. The better the data is for the consumer, the more likely it is to rank on Google.
You can plus this by making it a video as well. Go one step further and put it on a PDF or in an email template and sending it out to subscribers. I use optinmonster to make the offers and Constant Contact to send the emails. You can automate this using lists and tags. Other platforms like KEAP by infusionsoft are also great choices if you need a more robust CRM.
Use an Instant Home Value Calculator
Offer an instant home valuation directly from your webpage. I use Listings to Leads for both a free-standing home valuation page. Then, I use WordPress Gutenberg buttons to link to the home valuation page.
This generates leads as long as there is traffic to the blog and good information on the blog.
My most popular blog covers closings costs when someone is selling a house.
Create blog posts (articles) that answer questions and solve problems for your potential real estate client. You can also hire a ghostwriter from sources such as Crowd Content. You may be able to find a college intern or someone in the real estate industry that is also a writer (this is a great solution).
If you hire a writer, expect to pay somewhere between 3 cents and 10 cents per word. If you are hiring a marketing agency, you may pay anywhere from $100 to $500 for a great piece of content which is well worth if used properly to generate leads that become sales.
Generate Leads through Offers
Make offers using pop-up, slide-in and banner style forms. I use optinmonster to make offers on particular pages for a real estate newsletter, list of "just listed" homes, home values and so forth. These leads can be set to directly funnel into your real estate CRM or you can collect the data from optinmonster's leads dashboard.
I then use an email platform called constant contact to send regular newsletters, guides, listings, and other value-focused items to cultivate the lead.
Become the Local Expert
Become the local expert and include hyperlocal information. This is optional and can increase brand awareness, customer trust, and search engine rankings. Hyperlocal information can include articles about the neighborhood or community, schools, politics, new constructions, parks, sports, holidays, things to do info and anything else related to the neighborhood.
I use optinmonster to create pop-up offers for events such as pumpkin patches, holiday lights, Santa visits, Easter egg hunts and more.
Buy an IDX Website
This means, if you build SEO, brand recognition, social links and so forth, they belong to you. If you "rent" or "lease" your website, you are at the mercy of the website company if it closes, changes its rates suffers from hosting downtime, changes ownership or direction and more.
When you are shopping around, ask who owns the domain, who owns the database, and can you leave with your content and data in check at any time? Feel free to call 702-917-0755 and talk to Ballen Brands about what all that means if it's not familiar to you.
Ballen Brands can help set you up with integrations for your real estate website such as:
- Clicky Analytics
- Listings To Leads
- IDX Broker
- Optin Monster
- a CRM such as Infusionsoft
- Email autoresponder such as Constant Contact
- A web host such as WP Engine and Flywheel
- Text Dialers
- Email and Text campaigns and more.