Last updated on December 23rd, 2017 at 04:42 pm
While most of the real estate builders & property developers rely heavily on popular real estate listing websites or web portals like 99acres, Magicbricks, Makaan, CommonFloor, etc., they all know the importance of having their own website and full-proof marketing strategy in order to create brand awareness, build a targeted audience, engage them on a regular basis and then finally convert them into buyers.
This industry is one of the top spenders from both ends i.e. real estate developers as well as buyers but at the same time, scattered and multi-layered with the involvement of a lot of people from different levels.
That’s the reason, you need to be aggressive and develop a solid digital marketing plan where creating your own website is the first part of it.
Whether you are a real estate developer, broker or an agency dealing with lands & properties, having a website to showcase your listings will have a ton of benefits to you.
Today, most of the people search homes & real estate properties online. In the future, an internet will significantly influence the real estate buying decisions.
It means not having an optimized website for your business could cost you a ton of potential customers and a big chunk of revenue.
If you have decided to create one, you might know that how much difficult to build and manage a real estate website. Multiple listings of properties, agent profiles, adding features and seamless integration with payment services as well as IDX, etc. is not everyone’s cup of tea.
However, you need not worry about all this stuff because I’m going to show you how to create a full-featured real estate listing website within just a few minutes.
Here, we’ll be using WordPress to create our site because WordPress is the most popular CMS and it’s extremely flexible.
But it does not have built-in features needed for creating a professional real estate website. That’s why we are going to use the plugin called WP Real Estate Pro to add required functionalities.
While you can’t build and host your site 100% free, I’m sure that following this tutorial can save your hundreds of bucks on web development and the best thing is that you don’t need to be a tech-savvy.
A person with a little to no coding experience can create a stunning website within a few minutes and start adding the different listings.
In this guide, I’m going to show you how to setup everything right from picking a domain name to creating eye-catching layouts and incorporate the functionalities that a professional real estate sites have to them.
- Step-By-Step Tutorial to Create a Real Estate Listing Website
- Market Research
- Picking a Domain name
- Choosing a web hosting
- Installing SSL
- Installing WordPress
- Essential WP setup
- Installing Theme
- Installing Required Plugins+WP Real Estate Pro
- Working with WP Real Estate Pro (WRE Pro)
- What’s Special About WP Real Estate Pro
- Website Promotion & Monetization
- The Bottom Line
Step-By-Step Tutorial to Create a Real Estate Listing Website
As I said earlier, we’ll be creating the WordPress based site with WP Real Estate Pro plugin.
I have divided this tutorial into 11 parts so that it’ll be easier for you to understand the whole process of development and take immediate action.
If you really want to create a real estate listing website, you can go through every section and follow the exact steps mentioned there to create one without hiring a web developer.
Here are the different steps:
You don’t have to dig deep for finding out a niche because you already have chosen to work with the real estate but market research could be extremely beneficial to you.
Finding out your potential customers and more information about them like their geolocation, age group/gender, job title, monthly income, etc. can help you turn them into paying customers.
Apart from that, spying your competitors and keeping eyes on industry trends can bring significant change in your ROI.
Before building a website, gathering all data and utilize it in your project will definitely help you to dominate the market.
Picking a Domain name
Whether you are an owner of a real estate firm or an agent, you’ll need a domain name for your website.
Visitors will land on your page either by typing your website name i.e. domain name or clicking through one of the inbound links pointing to your web pages.
Though you can select any name as your domain name, I’d like to suggest that you should buy one which will bring more clicks to your website or landing page.
Suppose, you have two different domains, xyz.com and realestateking.com, then which one will get more clicks?
Adding the real estate related keywords in your domain name could be a great decision as people will know that your website is built around that particular niche.
Though EMD (Exact Match Domains) don’t make a significant positive difference unless you have really a good website and there are many other factors influencing your CTR, adding relevant keywords in your domain name may be a great move.
However, keeping it simple & short can help people to avoid typos as well as easy to remember.
If your desired domain name is already taken, then you can negotiate with its owner and buy from him/her for a reasonable price or choose an alternative high-quality domain for your website.
For domain extension, always prefer buying a .COM which is the most popular today. Choosing other extensions may have a risk of losing the potential customers as people mostly go with .COM.
The real estate business has extremely high average lifetime cost for a single customer so that you can’t afford doing such silly mistakes.
When you’ll finalize your domain name, you can buy it from any of the reputed domain registrars like GoDaddy, Bigrock, NameCheap but I suggest to choose NameSilo.
Because many domain registrars offer heavily discounted plans for the initial term but their renewal rates are too high compared to NameSilo.
Free Privacy for the lifetime, free domain defender, no hidden fees and no upsells are some of the other benefits of going with NameSilo.
For the readers of www.websitetipstricks.com, NameSilo offers extra $1 off for domain registration.
To avail this benefit, just head over to NameSilo.com and create an account with all required details.
Type your desired domain name in a search box and check availability.
At the checkout page, tick mark to WHOIS Privacy if you want to add (it’s free) and add coupon code SaveMy1Buck to get extra $1 discount on your cart price.
Choose any suitable payment option and that’s it. You’ll receive a domain ownership notification email once you complete purchase & email verification.
Now, you can use that domain to create a new website.
Choosing a web hosting
You’ll also need web hosting service to host your site and all its data to give your users on request.
As we are using WordPress based website, you need to buy hosting service for it.
You have thousands of options available for hosting a WordPress site but I’ll suggest you go with SiteGround’s GrowBig or GoGeek plan initially that you can upgrade later according to your requirement.
Main benefits of using SiteGround are SSD storage, free SSL, CloudFlare CDN, and technologies like HTTP/2, PHP 7, NGINX servers, and SuperCaching to provide cutting-edge performance & blazing speed.
You may ask, “But what’s about the customer support if I get stuck somewhere?”
And, I must say, SiteGround has one of the best team of true WordPress experts on board. I have interacted with them for several times as a customer on behalf of my clients, and they solved every issue with priority.
Yes, it’s true that they respond within a couple of minutes.
Then why not to chose them? Am I right?
You must read the SiteGround Review I’ve written on this blog so that you’ll get why it’s my #1 recommended web hosting.
Once, you purchase web hosting, the most preferably SiteGround, it’ll send you an email with your cPanel login details and nameservers.
Now, head back to your domain registration page (NameSilo account) and add those nameservers at the place of custom nameservers and click update.
Meanwhile, you can log in to your cPanel and proceed to create your site and other complementary tasks like creating professional email, mail forwarding, setting up autoresponders, domain redirects, and installing SSL, etc.
SSL certificates help to build trust in the site users and give them secure browsing experience.
Since you might be thinking about processing sensitive data on your site, it’s no brainer to have HTTPS before your domain name.
If you have purchased your web hosting from SiteGround, you’ll get free Let’s Encrypt SSL with every plan.
However, buying GrowBig or GoGeek plan will give you a free year of WildCard SSL which will help you to protect the sensitive data on your site.
In case, you haven’t purchased hosting from SiteGround or the web host that offer one-click free SSL, then you need to purchase and set it up by yourself. You can ask your hosting support to help you.
Remember, some hosting companies may charge you for this service and that sucks a lot.
Till here, you have done with a basic technical setup for domain+hosting+SSL.
The next step is installing WordPress on your server. Currently, almost every shared hosting provides cPanel and script auto-installers.
SiteGround also offers one-click installation for WordPress through the Softaculous.
Once you have logged in to your cPanel, use Softaculous to install WordPress. Sometimes, WordPress is shown on the top of the console as it’s the most popular CMS and widely used for website creation.
Installing WP is not so difficult, choose the preferred protocol and your domain name in the first section. Leave the directory field empty.
Select the name of your site and tagline that you want to show in SERP. Replace the default admin details with custom words of a strong combination of alphanumerics & special characters to be safe from hackers as well as choose an admin email where you want to receive the notifications about your WordPress installation.
It’ll not take more than a minute to install WP and after that, you’ll get URL for your new site and your WordPress admin dashboard.
By using the username & password, you can log in your WP admin panel and do necessary customization and settings.
Essential WP setup
The next step after successful WordPress installation is tweaking some essential settings.
Here are a few things you should never ignore.
- Whenever you first log in to your WP admin panel, delete the default comments, sample post/page and Hello Dolly plugin. These are the most useless things out there.
- Set permalink structure by Post name. It makes your site URLs user-friendly and easy to remember.
- Make sure you have proper settings for User Registration & Comment moderation.
Once the basic setup has completed, install a theme on your site.
Go to WP admin panel >> Appearance >> Themes >> Add New and select any theme suitable for your website.
Always prefer a premium theme from a reputed theme developer or a free theme from the WordPress theme library.
Never install a theme offered by someone whom you don’t trust or any nulled template. These actions may lead you to a big risk where your site may get hacked.
You may choose any free or premium theme. However, for performance and speed, I always prefer MyThemeShop. Apart from that, these themes are extremely lightweight, clean coded and SEO friendly.
In this tutorial, I’m going to use MTS Builders WordPress theme from MyThemeShop which is specially crafted for the real estate websites.
Just purchase MTS Builders by signing up through the following link.
Download the theme files to your computer and upload to your site. Activate the theme and connect to MyThemeShop to receive automatic updates and premium support.
Installing Required Plugins+WP Real Estate Pro
As I said earlier, the theme itself will not sufficient to build a pro real estate website. You need to install some plugins to it along with the master plugin, WP Real Estate Pro.
Whenever you create a WordPress website, install the following 5 plugins to your site.
- W3 Total Cache
- WP Security
- Yoast SEO
Once you have installed all these plugins or any extra plugin, you need to install WP Real Estate Pro to your site.
It’s a premium plugin in MyThemeShop repository specially designed for building the real estate websites.
Go to your MyThemeShop account that you have recently created to buy MTS Builders theme and search for WP Real Estate Pro in the Plugin section.
Once you’ve purchased, download it to your computer. Upload this plugin to your site and activate it.
Working with WP Real Estate Pro (WRE Pro)
User-friendly dashboard and easier navigation are a couple of features make WRE Pro a great product.
After activating the plugin, you can find the Listings option in your WP admin panel where you can manage most of your work regarding the property listings, users, and subscriptions.
First of all, head over to WRE setting and tweak setting as per your preference.
Applying appropriate settings can save a lot of headaches afterward.
You’ll find different tabs under WRE settings including General, Listings, Agents, Agencies, Contact Form, IDX, My Listings, My Account and Advanced.
Go to every tab and make changes that suit your requirements.
The next step is adding the Listing Types. Add different types (a.k.a. listing categories) depending on the listings you have whether it’s land or a developed property like house, office or a commercial space.
Similarly, you can add different agencies and agents to your site as well as various subscription plans to monetize your site.
On another hand, you can import IDX listings but you’ll need an API key for that with subscription at IDX Broker.
For a small project, you can skip IDX listings but for a commercial project, it’ll be a great time saver along with added functionalities.
Now, it’s time to add your real estate listings. You have complete control over this page.
For a single listing, you can add its image gallery, location, features & amenities, price and offer status, etc.
While you already have set up different membership packages before, it’s also possible to set the premium listings within a one-click from the Add New Listing page.
What’s Special About WP Real Estate Pro
While WRE Pro dashboard is extremely flexible, its front-end reflection is similarly intuitive.
All listings, agents, and agency profiles are beautifully displayed with a ton of features.
Front-end submission, Custom Agent Page and membership plans for agents with PayPal & Stripe integration, etc. are the great features worth mentioning.
For users, multi-grid layouts, option to shortlist properties & compare listings, nearby as well as related listings, and a mortgage calculator etc. features can help a lot while browsing the site whereas the Google Map integrated advanced search is truly unbeatable that takes your site to the pro level.
You can set following pages to your site.
- Agencies Archive
- Agents Archive
- Compare Listings
- Membership Packages
- Submit Listing
- Single Listing
- Single Agent
- Single Agency
Website Promotion & Monetization
Creating a website will not bring you the revenue alone, you need to work on its promotion in a smart way to get visitors and clients.
Whether you’re going to offer paid listings (membership packages) or any other monetization model including ads, affiliate marketing or sponsored contents, website promotion is a part of the whole business.
Haven’t you seen many popular real estate websites fighting for a prominent position in Google Search and promoting themselves through AdWords.
By this way, you could get a boost to your site for better visibility and greater ROI with optimized campaigns.
Social Media, especially Facebook, and the native ad networks may also bring you amazing results in traffic, leads and sales.
Creating a blog section and updating it regularly with valuable contents including different guides related to real estate and investment can help you build a large audience and subscribers list which you can monetize in a lot of different ways.
Integrating email marketing and push notification with custom settings are great ways to support your blog section in website promotion.
Make sure you are using proper targeting and segmentation to reduce your marketing cost and driving only the loyal visitors whom you can convert on one or another day.
The Bottom Line
There’s a plenty more to do with WordPress and it depends on what you expect from your online venture.
As I said you can easily create a real estate website with minimal efforts using WP Real Estate Pro and monetize it in any ways you want.
But, there’s a need to take action.
And, I’m sure that you’re an action taker more than a thinker, am I right?
Here are the tools you need:
Domain name: NameSilo (Use Coupon Code: SaveMy1Buck)
Web Hosting: SiteGround (Massive 60% Off)
WordPress Theme: MTS Builder
Real Estate Plugin: WP Real Estate Pro
Email Marketing Service: MailChimp or any other service according to your budget