I am designing and creating a real estate website with WordPress, and I’m going to be writing a few articles that detail how it’s done. This article will get you started — please leave feedback with any questions or topic requests for the next installment. Real estate using WordPress Part 2 is now available!
A little background — why use WordPress?
I’m working with a Denver company on a real estate website. Their goal is to showcase their listings in an easy-to-update CMS.
I’ve worked with Open-Realty, and — to say it bluntly — it’s a huge pain in the ass. When you scratch the surface of OR, you begin to realize how cobbled together it is. Customizing the code to work as it should requires a steep learning curve. The templates are relatively simple to work with, but the administration section is horrible. The Open Realty user experience is just awful.
WordPress is my CMS of choice currently, and it’s so easy to develop for that I recommend it to many of my clients.
Starting off in WordPress real estate websites
So the obvious first step is this: real estate websites have a LOT of information on them.
Real Estate websites have this basic content:
- Basement type
- Basement finished %
- 1/2 Bathrooms
- Brochure (PDF)
- Car Storage Type
- # of Car Storage
- Construction Type
- Lot Size
- MLS #
- Neighborhood Name & Website
- HOA Fees
- HOA Includes
- Roofing Materials
- High School Name & Website
- Middle School Name & Website
- Elementary School Name & Website
- Status of Listing (Sold/Under Construction/Pending/Active)
- Square Feet
- Utilities (Avg.)
- Year Built
- Zip Code
It would be tough to ask your client to create Custom Fields manually for each listing for each one of those items.
Using Custom Fields for Real Estate in WordPress
More Fields is essentially a WordPress plugin that allows you to define custom sets of Custom Fields to be included in a post.
By using More Fields, it’s simple to create an administration template for creating a new listing. Just set up the fields above, and then use More Fields’ super-simple code (ex:
meta('zip code'); to insert that information into your template.
Planning your Real Estate website in WordPress
Once you’ve got the capabilities provided by FreshPost, a WordPress real estate website is more realistic, and less daunting.
The next phase is planning. Realty websites are an interesting challenge because users are going to be interested in finding a listing many different ways — and your client will want to be SEO friendly for searches about the neighborhoods they work in.
Structuring the website: flexibility is key
It’s important that the website will be able to handle listings in different counties, zip codes, cities, and potentially states. As such, create a category structure that mirrors real life.
For example, let’s have the following sample listings:
- In Denver, Colorado’s Cherry Creek neighborhood – Zip code: 80023
- In Littleton, Colorado (a suburb of Denver, CO) – Zip code: 80211
- In Albuquerque, NM’s Sandia Heights neighborhood – Zip code: 87101
- Cherry Creek
- New Mexico
- Sandia Heights
- ZIP Codes
There are many ways of setting up the categories; you could have a Neighborhoods parent, rather than having the city as the parent. The point is that once you set up categories, you can properly sort the listings.
Once basic capabilities are set up…
Now that you can have tons of Custom Fields with More Fields, and have set up hierarchal category structure, you’re able to set up a basic Real Estate website.
Some possible next steps:
- Use the Category Description to create SEO-friendly Neighborhood and City pages
- Download and install a plugin that lets you search Custom Fields, allowing users to actually search all your listing data
- Further optimize your site for search — write articles for each of your neighborhoods and have the articles displayed above your Multiple Listings (archives) view; write about events, local restaurants, etc. to build up a large amount of relevant information. (On a Single listing page, you could dynamically add those articles about the neighborhood)
So, as you can see, using WordPress as a Real Estate CMS makes a lot of sense, and has fewer barriers than you might expect.
As my project continues, I will write another article detailing the process of creating the WordPress real estate website.
Please let me know if you have questions or requests!
If you’re having trouble making WordPress work for your RE website, please let me know in the comments — I’ll try to answer your questions.
What topics do you want the next WordPress Real Estate article to cover?
Real estate using WordPress Part 2 is now available!