A Step by Step Guide on how I created A world class real estate theme for under $1000 dollars in less than 4 weeks.
Full transparency NORMALLY I outline each and every step detail by detail. But Active Rain has been tricky in terms of understanding how much TIME rainers are willing to invest in tutorials. If I get enough comments I'll come back and either EDIT this post with all of my steps outlined OR create a more detailed case study on my website and link it here.
STEP ONE: BUY AN EXPIRED DOMAIN NAME + SIGN UP FOR IDX
EXPLANATION: Google DOES NOT RANK new website domain names for SIX MONTHS AFTER LAUNCH. No matter what you do. You can find OLD domain names that website owners have let expire. If they have a handful of back links pointing to them chances are strong Google will RECOGNIZE THE OLD DOMAIN. Thus eliminating SIX months of waiting for ranking.
My client is a luxury real estate broker in Maryland. The keyword terms she wants to target even though they are low volume have the word "luxury" in them.
Using https://www.domcop.com/ I went and researched EXPIRED domain keywords that had "Maryland" and "Luxury" . In about TWO hours I found and purchased the following:
http://marylandluxuryhomesguide.com/ The domain had 24 backlinks pointing at it and had been expired less than 6 months.
IDX BROKER paperwork needs to be filled out and submitted including a broker signature AS FAST AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE.
IDX BROKER EXPENSE: $59.99
EXPENSE: The domain cost $12 dollars.
Step Two: Deciding what the website should look like.
My client had ALOT of thoughts about what a real estate luxury website should look like. I agreed to do this website for free in exchange for a 12-month commitment to SEO and COMPLETE 100% control over the entire process. I know many wouldn't ever cede this control just as I would normally NEVER agree to build a website for free. But this client had spent SEVEN THOUSAND dollars on a custom website and literally never received anything. Bupkis. Nothing. Nadda. So she gave up control over the following elements and in exchange, I got to handle everything without client delays over decision making. Here is a bullet pointed list of what areas would NORMALLY require client input.
- Domain selection
- Social integration
- IDX integration
- Conversion Optimization
- Email response content
So while my client presented me with 5-6 examples of luxury websites I settled on one design who's elements I thought might work with my development plans.
STEP THREE: DECIDING HOW TO BUILD THE WEBSITE.
Custom WordPress theme design is a VERY time-consuming process. I knew from the start that I wanted to use an https://www.agentevolution.com/ theme. The reason I wanted to use them is they are owned by IDX broker which is HANDS DOWN the best IDX for a content marketing strategy. They had a theme EXAMPLE http://timeless.turnkeysites.co/ that was close to what I wanted.
STEP FOUR: FINDING AN WORDPRESS DEVELOPER TO CUSTOMIZE THE THEME
I do almost of my contractor hiring from up work. Here is a link to a job description I just posted.
I look for the following:
- Phillipino - or South Eastern European resources
- $10-30 per hour as their preferred rate(I ALWAYS offer flat rate on projects it's just good to understand what a contractor wants to make per hours)
- REAL ESTATE SPECIFIC experience with many examples to look at. I make sure SOME of those examples are US based clients.
- WORDPRESS specific experience
- IDX BROKER EXPERIENCE. THis can be hard to find in a single available resource. So if the contractor has some experience with US IDX providers that will work.
- Speaks PERFECT english
- Willing to work US hours
- Has billed over 100 hours on upwork with a 90%+ satisfaction rating from clients
- I read ALL reviews.
It took me three days | FOUR skype interviews and about 25 reviewed profiles. I actually went out and found the resource I wanted to hire and invited him to my job. He has recently lost a web resources company and is trying to build a reputation on upwork. His advertised rate was $20.00 per hour.
EXPENSE: I got him for $375.00 as a flat rate.
STEP FIVE: HAVING THE DEVELOPER BUILD THE WEBSITE
I provided the developer my sitemap and the website example. We spent about 20-30 minutes reviewing actual project details.
He had a staging website ready for review in THREE days. So fast the IDX paperwork wasn't even approved.
Since I had a few extra days I went to the client and asked for her input. We edited the following over the span of ONE WEEK:
- About page
- Client image
- Colors (Site was originally purple)
- Blog content
I ended up collecting 5-8 pages of content from the client.
The IDX paperwork got approved 10 days after I hired my contractor right around July 2nd. I was off for the July the 4th holiday and we got back to work July 5th about THREE weeks after I agreed to take on the project.
We had one more round of edits: I wanted a customized layout for property results pages.
I wanted to customize content pages.
I wanted JUST LISTED properties from Bethesda or Potomac in the homepage properties feed.
We also needed to transfer the website from HIS server to MY server.
In TOTAL these edits and transfers took one more week. This resource was so good I used him on 5 other projects and negotiated with him for a volume discount. I've actually paid him $1900.00 in under a month and he has been worth every penny finishing four small template jobs and one HUGE custom job.
I started this project MAY 14th. Including time off during a major holiday, we launched a finished website with a full set of plugins AND SEO work(which I did not cover as part of this case study) in under one month. Any real estate professional could follow this template and have themselves a WORLD CLASS lead generation ready website in under a month THAT THEY OWNED for under $1000.00.
TOTAL SPENT(to build the website): $801.98
Let me know if any of you find this information valuable or useful in the comments below!