At some point in your real estate career you have questioned the effectiveness of having a website, but know you have to have one. If your website is NOT producing leads, it’s time to seriously consider jumping ship to another website provider. Not all websites are equal and before you dive into a new website endeavor, it’s important to know what to look for and how to evaluate the best IDX website for your real estate marketing.
I know what you’re thinking, “I have a site through my brokerage and it’s cheap and it matches my brand.” I would say, the old adage is true: “you get what you pay for.” So many brokerage sites are outdated and ineffective. Before reading on, be open to paying more for a higher converting site. Itt will pay off in the end!
7 questions to ask yourself when evaluating your current website:
- Is my site mobile responsive?
- Does my site have an IDX search that is branded and shareable?
- Does my site have my contact information at the top and bottom of every page?
- Is my site SEO friendly optimized?
- Does my site look modern and is it user friendly?
- Blog / blog posting capability
*** The number one question is… does my site bring in leads? Does it help you convert visitors into leads and leads into clients?
If you have answered no to any of these questions, it’s time to switch, and pronto!
What are the best options for a new real estate website?
There are a variety of ways for you to launch a real estate website: 1) use your brokerage website; 2) have one custom developed (by scratch or via WordPress templates); or 3) the most popular way is go “on demand.” Some pros and cons to consider for each option are;
- Brokerage site – Like I mentioned previously, brokerage sites are design and marketing outdated not to mention very inflexible. I remember one of my clients couldn’t put a pixel on her brokerage site for analytics tracking or remarketing pixel for marketing. She was dead in the water for effective marketing!
- Custom developed – While the thought of this sounds sexy, this initial development can get very expensive and the maintenance can be very expensive too — in addition to the longer time to launch. Also, the developer can move on and you can be stuck with a custom coded site that someone else has to figure out, costing even more money or you have to throw it out and start all over with a new developer. This happened to one of my clients and it set her back thousands of dollars and even more in opportunity costs.
- On demand – Cloud based solutions are the new norm. It’s easy and convenient, but over the life of your career can cost a pretty penny due to the monthly charges. However, if you look at it as a cost of doing business and if you select well, the ROI is worth it. It’s the website company’s business to make sure you are successful and therefore, they are constantly improving and keeping up with technology trends — such as search engine optimization, IDX searches and new designs. The time to launch is much shorter and likely they have people on staff to help you get set up.
Because you are probably not a technology expert, and you just want to sell real estate professional, we have evaluated three top real estate on demand website providers for your consideration. We have done the bulk of the research so you don’t have to! Keep in mind that there are little pluses that each site has but you have to identify what is the most important to your clients.
All of the real estate website providers below have the following requirements met:
__XX__ Mobile responsive
__XX__ IDX (your IDX service via your MLS will have a separate monthly charge in addition to the website monthly charge)
__XX__ SEO friendly
__XX__ Lead capture
__XX__ Modern designs
__XX__ Contact at top and bottom of each page
__XX__ Team versions
__XX__ Built in blog
__XX__ Content management system
- $10 / mo just for IDX website
- $75 – $300 / mo for all inclusive lead management, drip emails, map results, advanced lead capture, and pay per click (PPC) automation.
- Extra charge for single property website
Ease of implementation (1 easiest – 5 hardest) – 2 and depends on your technological skill level.
Time to launch – Can get set up in a ½ day if dedicated but it would be a simple business card website. Give it a ½ a week to get up and running with area pages, etc. The IDX connection takes time.
Best suited for – Newbie real estate brokers who don’t have a lot of money to invest in up front marketing expenses.
The site is designed from the WordPress platform so if you know WordPress, then you’re already one step ahead in the learning curve. The designs are clean and modern. The all inclusive nature of the lead management, lead nurture (drip campaigns) and PPC campaigns is a nice to have feature. It cuts down on cost of having multiple systems. It has a built in mortgage calculator and school information on maps which is nice. Love the mapping on each page. And, their Placester Academy does a great job of adding tons of value via their marketing tips. If you’re a NAR member, you can get Placester for $5 / mo just for the IDX website. https://placester.com/websites-for-realtor-benefits-program/
While their site designs are clean, they also come off feeling generic. They haven’t built a new design in a while., I am not a fan of the back end administrative user interface. It’s basic and easy enough to use. I’m also not a huge fan of the front end site navigation. The lead management is basic and again, you get what you pay for. For the price point, Placester is a great option if you’re a brand new agent just getting started. It’s got a couple of nice-to-haves, but there isn’t any real hard lead capture tools that drive people to sign up and get on your nurture list. No integrations with other sites or Zapier.
Unfortunately, the reviews at this time are only at a 2.9 star rating. Many people have complained about a variety of issues – the most compelling being support.
Check out Placester today.
- 1-2 users: ($169/month + $500 sign-up)
- 3-9 users: ($199/month + $500 sign-up)
- 10+ users: ($239/month + $500 sign-up)
Ease of implementation (1 easiest – 5 hardest) – 3 and depends on your technological skill level.
Time to launch – Can get set up in a week if dedicated ½ time to it. The less time you dedicate to it each day, the more time it takes. The IDX connection takes time.
Best suited for – Real estate brokers who have building their business for 2+ years or very aggressive new agents who want to start their real estate career off right.
The site is designed via the owner — 20 year veteran real estate broker. So, it was made for agents by agents. The RealGeeks site is completely custom developed and is not a WordPress based platform. Their front end designs are modern. Like Placester, it has an all-in-one front-end IDX and backend lead management system which is easy to use. It has two features that really draw people to opt-in and that is the automated property valuation tool and when you view X amount of listings, the system pops to ask the user to create an account to save searches, etc. It is the next tier up from Placester and in my experience, has higher converting power. My client had 25 leads in the first two weeks (only two weeks old). It has a great map searching tool, area pages, and area market trends reports that are excellent tools for promotion. 30% of her site traffic is from organic search and the site is very sticky with an average 32% bounce rate and 4.69 pages per session. They integrate with Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com for leads as well as Zapier and have autoresponders that are customizable. The CRM tool is easy but effective. Last but not least, it has a Craigslist Ad generating auto-posting tool!
They also have PPC support for additional cost. Besides building a solid system (front and back end), they JUST launched their integrated Facebook Ad builder. I haven’t had the chance to play around with it yet because it’s so new. But that functionality alone is a game changer. It’s an additional $100 / month, which arguably could go towards the actual ads themselves. However, it’s time or money. If you don’t know how to best create compelling / converting Facebook ads, then this new integrated Facebook Ad tool could be very beneficial.
The back end interface takes some getting used to and it’s not completely intuitive. It took some back and forth with support and diving through support docs to get really proficient. There are some limitations with the content management system, but overall, it builds a very solid site.
RealGeeks overall has very good and high volume of reviews from multiple sources. The support team was very responsive and frequently the owner, Jeff Manson, replies very quickly. I love their marketing videos of agents who talk about their success. It’s a very supportive environment for overall agent growth.
Check out RealGeeks today.
- $2,750 per month
- $1,250 per month is for required PPC campaigns
Ease of implementation (1 easiest – 5 hardest) – 4 and depends on your technological skill level.
Time to launch – Can get set up in 2 weeks if dedicated ½ time to it. The less time you dedicate to it each day, the more time it takes. The IDX connection takes time.
Best suited for – Seasoned real estate brokers who are in teams and have support to manage site content, system and leads.
Boomtown ROI Pros
This IDX sales and marketing website provider is hands the cadillac of systems including everything from lead capture, home valuation, mortgage calculator, school info, map searches, and beautifully designed websites. It’s robust, fully integrated with SMS and emails so you can see every detail of communication with a prospect and what they have searched for on your site. The lead management system is very slick and the price really shows the amount of work they have put into developing the site to its fullest potential. If you are a geek, you will geek out on the robustness of the functionality. See a full list of features here: http://boomtownroi.com/features/consumer-website
Their library is full of helpful videos for the real estate professional that wants to learn and grow their business.
Boomtown ROI Cons
Like with any system, it’s only as good as the people who use it. I’ve implemented many CRM systems and the users always like to complain about the system, but in reality most sales people don’t want to document their every interaction nor do they want to share their tribal knowledge for possible poaching by other team members. The lack of use and reliance upon such a feature rich system is what ultimately makes it fail. The system is great and the ROI worth it if the people commit to using it religiously.
As with the other IDX website providers, they offer a PPC system, but they require that you use have a monthly budget. This drives up costs and I’ve heard from some that there are so many leads that you can’t actually follow up with them all. And, relying on an automated only response system is a recipe for disaster.
Boomtown ROI Reviews
Boomtown overall has relatively few reviews from multiple sources. However, the ones I did find were positive. One person cites that they had 82 transactions a year before Boomtown ROI and 242 a year after Boomtown. I don’t doubt that it is true.
Check out Boomtown ROI today.
I hope that this article helps you look at the features and what IDX websites are available with all inclusive features. Depending on where you are in your career and growth goals will likely help you determine what features and functionality you are able to live without.
Let us know what IDX website you’re using and how it’s working for you!