Whats Up With Placester Real Estate Websites With IDX?
If you are in Real Estate chances are you have heard about Placester Real Estate Websites with IDX. I saw them first on a Webinar and was impressed by what they had to offer. I decided to take a closer look and I spoke to the director of Sales Seth Price.
After our conversation I thought it might be a good fit for some of my clients, and decided that would use this platform as an option to build some of my clients real estate websites.
08/04/14 Update: I have completed a host of Placester Real Estate Website Samples
- PJ Gold Homes
- NewDoor Realty
- Team Blair Tahoe
- Real Estate Rocks
- Your Colorado Springs House
- Goodkind Properties
- Noel Fleig Team
- Seattle’s Best Agents
- ERide Properties
You can see my complete WordPress Website Gallery here.
What I have found is that while I am definitely going to keep Placester as part of my web development arsenal, it probably is not going to be ideal for all Real Estate Professionals, but hey what is?
What Is A Placester Real Estate Website?
In a nutshell it is a very well thought out Real Estate Website building system that comprises of what they call the “Pro Tools” built on the extremely popular WordPress Platform.
Below are a sampling of 4 of their 11 themes:
Placester has since released The Franklin, Fremont, and Toronto Themes:
Placester Real Estate Websites has released the Phoenix Theme and the Sedona Theme:
More specifically you can get a WordPress website that once it is set up you do not have to worry about or do anything other than, blog and pay your monthly bill. What Placester takes care of:
- Updating your MLS Data
- Theme Updates
- Plugin Updates
- WordPress Updates
- And Maintenance
All of which can be a real burden for the average real estate professional. Or average webmaster for that matter.
Placester real estate websites are WordPress Websites that offer a backend CRM system, themes, IDX, and plugins that were built to work together seamlessly.
With integration to some of our favorite Web Applications, Like Follow Up Boss, MailChimp, and Social Media.
The engineers and designers have done their homework because they have thought of pretty much everything. Usually when I look into these types of solutions, I will not name names, they are lacking in the most current, and critical features. That is not the case with Placester.
- They offer Responsive Design and Mobile Ready Themes
- The sites are SEO Optimized with the same WordPress SEO plugin I recommend
- The sites are Cached for maximum loading speed with one of the plugins I recommend
- The sites have floating bar social share
- The themes are designed for Lead Capture
- The IDX tools are user-friendly and attractive
- Widgets for maps, slide shows, social, video, testimonials, and more
- It is built to utilize Neighborhood, City and Community information
- Backed CRM System that Syncs With Google
Each listing that is on the MLS will get its own “Landing Page” with built-in lead capture and SEO Goodness on Placester.
While the IDX features are a bit limited in the Version 1 release… It is attractive, user friendly, and full of lead capture.
Placester also offers a CRM type system that stores all your leads, contacts, and real estate deals, along with any details you would like to record to remember the transaction. In addition the CRM database syncs up with your Google account.
For an out of the box type product it is pretty impressive!
Setting Up Your WordPress Website
You don’t have to worry about hosting, setting up WordPress, uploading themes or plugins and that is cool. However, on their home page they boast you can have an IDX website up in 5 minutes. It is true you can have an IDX website setup in 5 minutes… If you want any kind of customization at all it is not simple.
I have used WordPress for years and am quite familiar with all of its functionality and it took me a couple of days to get my Demo set up.
That includes writing a page of Custom CSS. Meaning the code that is needed to change colors, layouts, fonts, and other customizations that many agents would want. This of course did take the bulk of the time.
If all you did was plug the name of your business in, upload your logo, and enter your pictures, phone number and email address you would have a lame website.
02/19/14 Update: Placester Offers a WordPress Plugin For Self Hosting
One of the cons of using Placester for many agents is the limitations put on your site by Placester when they host your website. If you are the type that would like more control over what you can do to your website you may find it more advantageous to use the Placester IDX WordPress Plugin.
The plugin will you give you the same IDX Integration and access to all the beautiful themes and you can run the same WordPress System on the hosting provider of your choice.
I would recommend that you host your WordPress site with a hosting company that works specifically on WordPress Websites. The 2 hosting companies I am currently recommending are:
WPEngine is the Best WordPress Hosting company in my humble opinion. It is a little bit more expensive, so Siteground is a good cheaper alternative.
Placester Pro’s and Con’s
Pro: Placester does not charge you a setup fee.
Con: You are required to set up the site on your own. Or hire someone to set it up for you. Requiring some extensive knowledge of both WordPress PHP, IDX, and CSS
I am a Placester Developer and offer a Set-Up Service that includes:
1. Set-up your placester account
2. Assist in setting up your IDX feed
3. Create your WordPress Website
4. Point your custom domain to your Placester Website
5. Incorporate your Logo (or chosen colors into the website) using the available custom CSS sheet
6. Integrate the IDX or MLS information into your website
7. Create 4 pages: About, Testimonials, Contact, and Blog
8. Add and Customize available Widgets for best User Experience
9. Add all Business Information to website
10. Add custom Real Estate or Geographical Images (provided by you) to the website
11. Add Favicon to Website
12. SEO Optimize the Home Page
13. Link Social Media Networks provided
Pro: Placester only charges $45 month for the IDX feed, hosting, and maintenance. If you did it on your own it would cost the same, but you would be required to keep up the hosting, updating WordPress, Themes, and Plugins.
Con: Your site is hosted by Placester.
Pro: The theme’s, IDX, and Plugins were designed for the best user experience, and lead capture ability.
Con: You have limited choices for Themes, Plugins, and IDX.
Pro: Detail Orientated backend CRM system.
Con: Does not offer an autoresponder or “drip” email campaign ability.
Pro: Your IDX feed is not seperate and does not require a bunch of development to get it to match your site and offer a positive user experience.
Con: The IDX feed does not have as much customization and features as some of the other providers.
Placester Real Estate Websites with IDX are an affordable and low maintenance way to get started collecting leads, publishing content, building SEO, and increasing your web presence at just $45 monthly.
Although Placester does not charge a set up fee, I would recommend hiring somebody to set the site up initially, as it is not simple. After it has been set-up once, it will need little to no maintenance. This will cost approximately $500-600.
07/02/14 Update: I spoke with VP of Sales, Seth Price, and was informed that Version 2 should be coming out soon. I was told that many of the “Limiting Issues” that are mentioned in this page would be corrected.
In addition a bold new Real Estate Search functionality would be released!
New themes would be released and added functionality and integrations would be added.
There was also talk of the product becoming less expensive.
If you would like to hire me to set up your Placester Real Estate Website please contact me.