What is the Best IDX Plugin for a WordPress Real Estate Website?
There are 8 options for the best IDX plugin for your WordPress real estate Website. Each one has its pro’s and con’s.
In this article I will try to help you decide which one is best for you. Along the way I will also try to give you a better understanding of what IDX is and why you may want to use it.
The What and Why Of IDX
In order for me to explain why I think each plugin is the best, I think I should first explain IDX.
IDX stands for Internet Data Exchange and is a real estate property search enabled site that allows the public to conduct searches of approved Multiple Listing Service (MLS) properties in a certain area. It is the exchange of the MLS Data to the IDX customer giving the IDX customer the ability to display all listings that are on the MLS. Just like Redfin, Zillow or Trulia.
Having the MLS data on your website can be quite helpful (see aforementioned, Trulia, Zillow, Redfin, business models for proof).
You see when people begin their new home search they want to find a website that will show them all the homes that match a certain set of parameters, that is easy to use, that is easily accessible, and that makes sense. And often times they will use an IDX enabled Real Estate Website to do this research. Better it is your Real Estate Website that they use to start their new home search.
Often times the first place consumer’s will go to find this is Google, Bing or Yahoo, the search engines.
They will type in the Keywords that match their particular search criteria, such as:
- Downtown Miami New Construction
- San Diego Waterfront Condos
- Chicago Homes With a View
- Homes on Arizona Country Club
- Homes for sale in Salt Lake City
Many times the results they find will be Realtor.com, Trulia, the big local brokerages, or Zillow, but often times the results they find are IDX Powered Real Estate WordPress Websites.
Once the consumer finds what they are looking for on the Search Engine, the site that provides that data, and its owner, has instant Legitimacy.
When you get a referral from a friend what is the first thing you do? GOOGLE THEM…
When potential clients Google you it is important that you can be found (Make sure your Local SEO game is tight). If they do find your website, and they should, there are a few things that people expect to see on a real estate agents website:
- Pictures and Videos
- Neighborhood Info
- Informative Blogs
- Expert Advice
- Market Information
The best IDX plugin gives you pictures, videos, neighborhood info, market information and choices. In addition it gives your site G.L.A.M.R.
Best IDX Plugins
IDX BROKER PLATINUM
THE GRAND DADDY
IDX Broker is the most used IDX service in the US and has been one of my go to’s for the last 8 years.
Previously I was not a huge fan of their plugin, but they released a newer version they call IDX Broker Platinum.
That new release has since been updated many times, to correct bugs and work smoother. They also released page templates that are completely “Mobile-First” Responsive design. So no more switching to a Mobile Version of the site.
The new plugin has better out of the box styling, is Mobile Friendly, and integrates more efficiently into your WordPress Website.
“Clean and Simple”
Do you use FLEX MLS when you login to the MLS? Then you can use FLEX MLS IDX Plugin.
This plugin is clean, simple and reliable offering data directly from your MLS database.
iHome Finder has been a player for many years in IDX and had one of the best solutions a few years back. But, their interface started to look dated. They fixed it and introduced a WordPress Plugin.
The plugin is easy to install and set-up. The design is clean and attractive. It is responsive design, or mobile friendly. The plugin offer all the features that you have come to expect. Widgets, searches, lead capture, back end management, and communities pages. (at the Optima Express “Power Agent” level, which is also required if you want the map search option.)
“Up and Comer”
Looking for a good-looking IDX with a ton of Lead Management features? Showcase IDX is a super simple plugin that is designed to look beautiful with no set up.
They boast a 10-Minute MLS Refresh the fastest that I have heard of. They also allow multiple MLS feeds at no extra cost. This plugin is mobile friendly, has a clean design, map search, email alerts, and a lead management dashboard available from your WordPress website.
Wovax Hosts the MLS Data Locally, this means that this IDX service will download your entire MLS right into your website database (your MLS will need to have a RETS feed available). Pretty awesome.
From an SEO perspective this type of service is optimal. It will seem like each listing is a blog post on your website.
These guys offer all the goodness of IDX but with a killer map page that revels Redfin. They also manually tag every listing that comes on the market with natural language tags so you can search for “Updated Kitchens” “Fixer Uppers” or “Near the Sounder” (a train line in Seattle).
Send awesome listing alerts, track clients buying signals in the backend, and easily integrate your popular CRM product.
If you want the full functionality of Diverse Solutions, including map search, opt for the dsIDXpress Pro.
The pro option offers a more stylized look out of the box, more lead capture, and better search functionality.
FYI: (“Whistleblower alleges Zillow is stealing listing data from agent websites” ~ Inman News)
“Baller On A Budget”
I loved what Placester was doing, initially. They created both the IDX Plugin and the WordPress Themes that integrated with one another.
They are priced well and the IDX functionality looks beautiful out of the box.
They no longer offer a WordPress Plugin.
They have since, EXTREMELY limited what you can customize. Read, almost nothing. For this reason I am no longer able to offer any assistance with Placester websites.
Placester is good if you want an inexpensive website that requires very little maintanence, with IDX.
Other IDX Providers Available:
Those are some of the biggest providers of IDX in the country and provide a phenomenal product.
Here is a list of other brands provide an IDX plugin for WordPress as well.
- Spatial Match — Offers a ton of “lifestyle” information that some may like
- IDXNW — Seems to be going out of business
- Displet — I don’t really know anything about this product
- Wolfnet — You may know this one as the iFramed product that KW agents get at no charge
- rewIDX — This plugin is intriguing and would likely make my favorite list if it was not iFramed.
- MyRealPages (Canada) — Great looking IDX, feature rich and geared for the Canadian market.
BEST IDX PLUGIN PROS AND CONS
|IDX Plugin||IDX Broker Platinum||Showcase IDX||Placester||SpotOn Connect||Diverse Solutions dsIDXespress Pro||FLEX MLS||Real Scout|
|PRO’s||Extremely Customizable||Simple Set Up||Easy Theme and IDX Integration||Amazing Map Search Functionality||Good Combination of Easy Integration & Customizeability||Data Straight From Your MLS||Natural Language Search|
|Approved for most MLS’s||Beautifully Styled “Out of the Box”||Beautifully Styled “Out of the Box”||Beautifully Styled “Out of the Box”||Beautifully Styled “Out of the Box”||Easy to Install||Amazing Map Search Functionality|
|Runs on its own server (speed)||Google Indexed Pages||Google Indexed Pages||Google Indexed Pages||Map Search||Clean and Simple User Interface||Natural Language Follow Up Emails|
|Mobile Friendly||Mobile Friendly||Mobile Friendly||Mobile Friendly||Mobile Friendly||Price||Search By Real Estate Features|
|Lead Tracking||Robust Lead Management||Complimentary User Friendly Themes||Easy Site Integration||SEO Optimized||Mobile Friendly||Mobile Friendly|
|Listing Syndication||10-Minute MLS Refresh||Automatic Neighborhood Pages||Offers a Complimentary Framework Theme||Indexed Pages||iPhone App||Full School Information Integration|
|Built in Lead Capture||Built in Lead Capture||Built in Lead Capture||Built in Lead Capture||Built in Lead Capture||Listing Syndication||Built in Lead Capture|
|Map Search||Map Search||SEO Optimized||SEO Optimized||Listing Syndication||Localized Market Statistics|
|SEO Optimized||SEO Optimized||Approved For Many MLS’s||Good Combination of Easy Integration & Customizeability||Sold Listing Data||SEO Optimized|
|Reliable Data||Chat Support||Most MLS’s Approved|
|CON’s||Requires More Development||Limited Customization||Limited Customization||Can Be a Little Buggy||Owned by Zillow||Limited Customization||Only Available in CA & WA|
|Cost||Limited MLS Coverage||Data Can Be a Little Off||Requires A Powerful Server to Load Quickly||Cost||Limited to FLEX MLS||New Product – Not Much Known|
|Second Application to Manage||No Listing Carousel Display||No Map Search||Limited MLS Approval||Requires a Powerful Server to Load Quickly||Requires a Powerful Server to Load Quickly|
|SEO is Provided From IDX Broker Server||Customization Options Are Not Intuitive||Requires Pro Version For the Good Features||Map Search is a Bit Clunky|
|Not as Beautiful “out of the box” as some||Required to Use Complimentary Themes||Not As Beautiful “Out Of The Box”|
|Requires a Powerful Server To Load Quickly|
The Best WordPress IDX Plugin is: IDX Broker Platinum
Before IDX Broker launched their new Platinum IDX I did not like their IDX Plugin. It was clunky and almost felt like it was more work than just building in the HTML of IDX Broker.
The reason I think it is the Best IDX Plugin is because, with the new Platinum Plugin version of IDX Broker it just seems to work. It has massive Power, Customization, and Features.
Here are a few real estate websites I have built using the IDX Broker Platinum Plugin and hosted on WP Engine:
More About The IDX Plugins
This IDX Plugin that was designed Specifically to be a WordPress Plugin.
Boasting the Coolest Lead Management Dashboard.
- MLS updates every 10 minutes
- Very Simple Set Up
- Easy Customization
- It is Not Expensive
- $59.9 month / No Set Up Fee
- *additional MLS fees may apply
- It is also designed to work well with the popular WordPress Theme – Genesis Framework
- It creates More SEO Friendly links back to your Website, each Hotsheet Search that you create generates an SEO Friendly Indexable Links back to your Website.
- Map Search has a Polygon Search Functionality
Other Showcase Features:
- 10 Minute MLS Refresh
- Easy Customization
- Advanced Search
- Mobile Friendly
- Facebook Integration
- Lead Insight
- No Set Up Fees
- Email Alerts
- Export Your Leads
- Google Analytics
- Search Area Tool
- No iframes
- Combined MLS Feeds
- Polygon Search Tool
- Friendly URL’s
- Registration Options
- Quick Search Widgets
- Control Your Results
- Personalized Widgets
(Disclaimer: I am an affiliate for this product and make a small commission if you buy it)
*This plugin has limited MLS Coverage but is working hard on growing the MLS Coverage List.
Wovax IDX brings MLS listings into the Realtor’s website as a custom post type in WordPress.
For the non-developers out there, that means that MLS listings are brought into your website just like any other page (as discussed above).
WordPress has Posts and Pages built in. Wovax adds a third category, Properties, that is automatically populated via the RETS feed – a raw data feed – from your MLS board.
The key benefits to this are:
1) customization flexibility
Wovax IDX hosts all the MLS data on your website.
Most IDX solutions that claim to index properties create a URL for each property, but the images (and often the text) are not hosted locally on the website.
While this may help with SEO, search engines know where the content is actually hosted.
Wovax brings the MLS listings into the websites as posts, so all the content is hosted locally.
*Note: Yes, this makes the sites incredibly large, which is why Wovax also offers hosting to their clients (see below).
Wovax IDX makes it easy to add content and media to your featured listings.
IDX brings all of the MLS listings into the agent’s site, but most Realtors choose to specially promote their own properties.
They’ll add a
- Drone video
- Higher resolution photos
- Perhaps a 3D tour
- Local or neighborhood specific content
- Custom or more in depth description of the listing
However, unless the MLS listings are hosted on the website as editable pages, the Realtor has to manually create a page for each property they want to promote.
Wovax IDX enables you to choose an existing property that is already fed in from the MLS and edit the description, change out photos, and add videos, just as you would with any standard WordPress page or post.
This also allows you to retain a showcase of your sold listings on the site.
Wovax IDX allows you to customize listing pages.
Some Realtors prefer to keep their property detail pages simple, featuring only the data that is of most interest to their clients; others choose to display every possible MLS field.
Wovax allows you to easily customize the listing pages as much and as often as you’d like using a drag-and-drop template editor in the WordPress dashboard.
Wovax IDX makes it easy for you to customize the search filters.
Many Realtors prefer to have a single keyword search bar on their home page with a link to a more detailed advanced search page.
Wovax enables you to easily customize the search filters from your WordPress dashboard. If you’re in horse country, your main search filter can include acreage – but you’ll likely leave that field hidden if your market is downtown Chicago.
Wovax was built as a mobile solution and offers a Personal Mobile APP. (Standard or Pro Package)
When your clients and potential clients visit a Wovax IDX website, a banner prompts them to download your custom real estate app. This is important for a couple reasons.
> We know that more time is spent on mobile devices than desktop devices. We know that more time is spent on Apps than on browsers.
>> This will build Authority with your clients.
>> This will send categorized push notifications, or Alerts like Facebook or Google, to buyers that match their interests.
If you have additional questions about What is IDX? How IDX Works, which one of the best IDX plugins is the best solution for you and your Real Estate Business, or you need help getting it all set up, Please Contact Me.