A strong structure, the right design, features, and a steady stream of valuable content all draw traffic, increase your search engine authority, and generate more leads. But creating your own real estate website on WordPress is a big chunk to bite off.
There are a lot of layers to establishing your online presence. Here’s how to build a real estate agent website with WordPress.
For the real estate agent who doubles as a DIY digital marketer, setting up your website is the most essential and fundamental element of your marketing efforts. All things lead back to your website.
How Do I Build a Real Estate Agent Website with WordPress?
Here’s a quick overview of the steps you’ll follow to get your website up and running.
- Set up web hosting [Try Flywheel or Wp Engine].
- Install Genesis Framework software (if using WP Engine).
- Select a Studiopress theme like Essence Pro, AgentPress Pro, or Winning Agent.
- Create your website’s menu.
- Write or outsource the content for your menu pages.
- Install IDX Broker.
- Install plugins.
- Design landing pages for lead capture.
- Publish valuable content in your blog.
You might also like: 15 Things to do after installing WordPress.
What are Web Hosting and Web Servers?
A web server is a place where your website lives to be accessible to the public. It’s a computer that houses your WordPress website.
A web host is a business that provides that computer software, like renting space at a web address for a monthly fee.
Your first step in setting up your website is establishing an account with a web host, such as Flywheel, that provides access to a web server and gives you access to WordPress to start building.
Flywheel Web Hosting
There are several web hosting companies online, many of which run neck and neck regarding pricing and services.
They each come with monthly visits, disc space, and bandwidth. Most offer various plans from small starter packages with room to grow into larger subscriptions that have more features and benefits as your business grows.
Their Tiny Plan, perfect for beginners, is billed by the year at $150, or monthly at a slightly higher but completely manageable rate of $15 per month. Start small, then grow big!
WP Engine Web Hosting
WP Engine is web hosting dedicated solely to WordPress websites. It’s a complete suite of tools to help you tailor your website to your taste.
Slightly more expensive than Flywheel, WP Engine is $25 a month if billed annually at $300, or $30 for a monthly subscription.
WP Engine also comes with several themes to get you started. But before you dive into WP Engine, you’ve first got to buy into the Genesis Framework, a one-time $59.95 investment with plenty of upgrades available.
When you get your WordPress platform, it’s a clean slate. Aside from the sample text, it’s completely blank. If you’re a DIYer, you add every single feature yourself, so take your time and be patient with yourself.
What is the Genesis Framework?
Before you can install a theme into your new website, if you’re using WP Engine, you’ve first got to have the Genesis Framework.
Considered the parent theme, it’s required to install any other themes, which are called child themes.
Related: How to write a real estate agent bio
What Are WordPress Themes?
WordPress themes either come with your platform or are digital downloads that you buy and install as zip files into your WordPress that govern your website’s entire design. They dictate the layout, colors, fonts, menus, headers and footers, and other site features.
Some themes may come with your web hosting plan, but you’re not confined to those options. There are hundreds of themes available for purchase from various developers.
Choose a theme that is mobile responsive. Mobile responsive means the design and functionality work as well on a mobile device or tablet as well as it does on a desktop or laptop.
Although your theme comes with default settings, you can still customize it by changing the design elements. You can also choose layouts with a single sidebar, two sidebars, or no sidebar.
Regardless of where you buy it, each theme comes with a detailed, step-by-step guide for installing and implementing its features. Save that to refer back to when needed.
To install a theme, go to your WordPress Dashboard. Next, click “Appearance,” and then click on the tab that says, “Install Themes.”
How Do I Set Up My WordPress Website Menu?
To create navigation links on your website’s menu, go to your WordPress dashboard, and scroll down in the left navigation bar to click on “Appearance.”
Here, you’ll find “Add Menu Items” on the screen’s left side and “Menu Structure” on the right side.
On the right side, under “Menu Structure,” you’ll name your menu, then click “Create Menu.”
To see your site’s pages, click “View All.” You can select any of your pages for a navigation link in your menu, link to a blog post, a custom link, or to your categories.
Your website menu should be simple so that it doesn’t confuse or overwhelm your users. User experience (UX) should be at the top of your priority list. Here are some basic menu ideas for your real estate website to get you started:
Your template comes with sample pages and navigation, which you can easily edit, add to, rearrange, or delete.
Your blog is the area that will contain most of your content, but there’s no need to create a navigation link in your menu to each blog post.
When writing the content for your menu pages, take your time. Know what message you’re trying to get across. Although it’s exciting to see progress on your developing website, it’s not a job you want to rush.
What is IDX Broker?
IDX stands for Internet Data Display, an agreement between brokers to share their property information with one another. This makes listings available to all agents signed up for an IDX service like IDX Broker.
IDX Broker is a preferred choice for its array of services, such as displaying properties, customizable boxes, social sign-in, forced registration, and access to viewers’ IP address.
An IP address doesn’t share any user information other than the device’s internet location in use. It doesn’t share names, physical addresses, phone numbers, or any other data about the user.
To get IDX Broker approved, you’ll need to get approval from your MLS, as you would with any IDX provider, by filling out a form, having your broker sign it, and get approval.
What is a Plugin?
A plugin is a third-party service that you install that add functionality and value to your WordPress website. With a plugin, you can:
- Add forms
- Add calculators
- Add weather
- Add slideshows
- Add galleries
- Add recipes
- speed up your website
- Reduce spam
- Supply analytics
- Check your spelling
- Get word counts and more.
Be careful with plugins, though. They can weigh your site down and reduce page load speed, which increases your bounce rate, and decreases your search engine authority.
How Do I Add Lead Capture to My Real Estate Website?
ListingsToLeads is one of many services that allow you to create landing pages for your website. It’s a customizable call to action with one purpose: get leads. I use this tool primarily for home valuations.
A landing page is a stand-alone web page, separate from the rest of your website, designed to capture your viewers’ email addresses.
You can also generate leads by creating an offer that the viewer can download.
Examples of offers include eBooks, ultimate guides, checklists, toolkits, contest entries, and free giveaways.
In addition to landing pages, ListingsToLeads also provides an instant home value calculator, the ability to create seller ads, Facebook Ads, virtual tour templates, single property websites, chatbots, and more.
What Content Should Be on My Real Estate Website?
Here’s a quick list of content ideas for your website and blog:
Real Estate Market Reports
Real estate market reports are an excellent way to provide valuable information to your prospects and leads who may be waiting for the opportune time to buy or sell a house.
Community pages focus on specific counties, cities, zip codes, and other demographics that feature information like schools, public transportation, the climate, median home values, median income, and amenities.
Buyer blogs are an ideal method of publishing valuable information that answers frequent questions buyers ask. Examples of buyer blogs include the steps to buying a house, the basics of a home mortgage, closing costs for buyers, etc.
Like buyer blogs, seller blogs are designed to nudge along sellers who have yet to move forward with their plans to sell their homes. Examples of articles for sellers include the steps to selling, staging your house for sale, closing costs for sellers, how to find the right real estate agent, etc.
Hyperlocal blogs hone in on local activities, events, and things to do, such as the best restaurants, best bars, best nightlife, best sushi, things to do for Valentine’s Day, where to view Christmas lights, etc.
The key to creating a successful website is publishing information your viewers can use on a consistent basis.
Publishing regularly, weekly for optimal results, monthly at the least, you’re raising brand awareness, building trust with your viewers, and establishing search engine authority. To accomplish this, you need a content strategy and a content marketing plan.
What are Content Strategies and Content Marketing Plans?
A content strategy is a clear plan of what you’re going to publish. It’s a list of topics that you’ll post articles about.
A content marketing plan is your trajectory for when you’re going to publish and how you’re going to promote the content you’ve published.
For example, you might decide that you are willing to create 4 blog posts per month which would be 1 per week.
You could create:
- Week 1: Buyer Article (Informational)
- Week 2: Seller Article (Informational)
- Week 3: Hyperlocal (something about the neighborhood, community, county, city)
- Week 4: Real Estate Market Report
You could complement these activities with Youtube videos, Live Streams, Buyer and Seller Seminars or Webinars, and social media posts.
What is Search Engine Optimization?
Your entire website and all of your blog posts need to be optimized for search engines; otherwise, your website gets lost in the internet abyss, no matter how well it’s designed or how good your content is.
Each page on your website has back-end SEO that includes metadata descriptions and keywords. And your posts have on-page SEO that implements keyword strategies.
And it’s much more than that.
You’ll want to create content that is valuable for your audience, which should be a specific targeted audience. The content you create should be based on questions they ask or things they should know.
Your content should be optimized for search engines. This includes the copyrighting format which will include heading tags and strategically placed internal and external links.
You can learn more about Real Estate SEO here.
Know When to Ask for Help
Your website doesn’t have to be all or nothing. You can pick and choose your favorite parts and outsource the rest. If you enjoy writing but hate posting on social media, you can hire a content marketer.
Suppose you like playing with the design elements like colors and fonts but aren’t too keen on SEO. In that case, you can call in the help of a digital marketing company specializing in search engine optimization.
You can even outsource the set-up of your IDX Broker or landing pages to a company like Ballen Brands, my brothers’ company.
Don’t overwhelm yourself trying to take on the whole kit-and-kaboodle of website creation. Do the parts you enjoy, that bring you pleasure, that you’re passionate about, and offload the uncomfortable aspects
Building your own real estate website is a labor of love. It takes dedication and patience. Establish yourself with a web host such as Flywheel or WP Engine to get your WordPress platform. Install your theme.
Play with plugins. Create your website’s menu. Enhance your website and your success by installing IDX Broker. Capture leads by creating landing pages with listings to leads.
And then power up your internet presence by pumping out a steady supply of content that solves a problem your viewers are having.
Have fun with the parts of the job that you enjoy and know when to reach out to experts in their field to outsource the elements that bring up resistance or tension.
And remember, laying out the structure, design, and functionality of your website is just the beginning. To keep your website performing, schedule regular maintenance, track and measure results, and upgrade your systems as you grow.