Joomla! - let's start some discussion.

By
Real Estate Agent with Not Currently Active

Over the past three months I have had an absolute BALL putting together a website for myself on a budget.  Check it out at:

www.deannorman.com  EDIT:  Now www.mendocinoreal-estate.com

I decided to use a Content Management System (CMS) called Joomla! and it made the whole experience quite enjoyable.  Not to mention - it's free. 

What I DID pay for:

Domain:  Probably could've been smarter, but I payed something like $30 for two years through Yahoo.com.  I did buy the "upgraded" security as well.

 

Hosting:  $7.99/mo.  I decided to have my website hosted with rochen.com.  They've done an EXCELLENT job and they make installing Joomla! (which goes on their servers) very easy - literally a few clicks.  For some, Joomla's installation can kill the process before it even starts.  It can be daunting.

 

Joomla! template:  $34.99, one time.  I bought a Joomla! template from Joomlashack.com.  Couldn't be happier with it, really.  It dictates the layout and most colors of my site.  This is not a necessary expense - there are many, many modifiable, free templates for Joomla!, but in my opinion, it was worth the money.  Joomlashack, btw, also has an excellent forum!

 

That's it.  No other recurring or hidden charges and it is all easily updated and taken care of by - ME!  

So stop by and check out my new site, tell me what you think, and then ask some questions about Joomla!  Get as specific as you want.  I think this is a HUGELY overlooked tool for Realtors® or anyone, really, who wants a highly functional, ridiculously customizable website that works.  

--Dean 

Comments (13)

Anonymous
Scott

Hey Dean,

 

Where you been man? Haven't seen the DeanNorman.Com mobile outside Mendo Realty!

 

Since you told me about Joomla, I've really been checking it out. WAY COOL! Stuff that used to take 5,000,000 hours now takes 4 minutes!

I've even set up my own Joomla server! What are you using for the "listings" section of your site? I've been checking out a few real estate modules, but one is pretty "Euro-Centric" and the other one isn't free! Also looking for a good shopping cart setup? Looks like Virtue Mart is the "industry standard" but not sure...? Hmmm..

 

Jul 16, 2007 04:26 PM
#1
Dean Norman
Not Currently Active - Fort Bragg, CA

Scott!

When we sat down, I thought the conversation was having some effect on you!  I'm glad to see that you've taken a more rounded look at Joomla!  I've started designing sites for people using Joomla! and it has been so, so much fun.

The "Listings" section on my site uses a "bridge" component for Joomla called CMSRealty ( cmsrealty.org ) and actually requires the use of another open source CMS called Open Realty.  It's great! 

I'll shoot back more info later,

 

--Dean

Jul 18, 2007 09:39 AM
Mary Kay Hopkins
Mary Kay Hopkins, LLC e-PRO, GRI, CRS, CRB - Lake Charles, LA
e-PRO,GRI,CRS

Dean,

Is the Joomla group still active?  I've been a Joomla fanatic for about 2 years so would love to compare notes.  

I agree about  Joomlashack templates as well as Rocket Theme. There are so many...free and low cost.

Have you converted to 1.5? For now, I've made a decision to hold off but I'm anxious to talk to others for their insights. 

Mar 16, 2008 04:19 PM
Dean Norman
Not Currently Active - Fort Bragg, CA

Mary,

I guess "active" is relative ;)  It never really took off, as you can see, but I still love the idea and I'll be on here regularly to chat about it.  I've designed my personal site using Joomla as well as my professional site mentioned above ( www.mendocinoreal-estate.com ).  

 You mentioned 1.5.  I haven't converted yet.  The option to upgrade for me is strictly via fantastico and Rochen (my host) has not made 1.5 available via fantastico yet, so I wait.  I am excited to check it out!  If the Joomla community says it is stable I would believe them - they are already on to 1.51 - but I do understand your hesitation.  To answer your question, no, I haven't upgraded yet.  

 Mary, so glad to see you on here!  Tell all your friends and let's get a real community going for REALTORS®!  This'll be fun!

 

--Dean 

Mar 17, 2008 10:02 AM
Mary Kay Hopkins
Mary Kay Hopkins, LLC e-PRO, GRI, CRS, CRB - Lake Charles, LA
e-PRO,GRI,CRS

I've not converted to 1.5 yet. While I'm anxious to do so, I admit that I am perfectly comfortable with the latest version.  

I checked out your great site.  I especially like the market statistics section. It reminded me of a key ingredient of one of my first sites, that included market stats for over 400 subdivisions.  We are awaiting the stats from the client now in order to update with 2007's stats. The site is AcadianaNeighborhoods.com.

If you have time, I'd love your feedback on some other Joomla sites I've built:    

SWLAShowcase.com  (great read from the front page on this top producer's internet strategy)

ReddProperties.com

BeaumontCorporateHousing.com (This is not a real estate site, but I liked the template..it's a RocketTheme) 

1000Michael.com is an entire website dedicated to one house complete with community and region information. If you know anyone moving this way...

HoboHotelforCats.com is for a non-profit I'm involved with..a no-kill shelter for cats and kittens.  Talk about fun and rewarding! 

My own (deprived) site, mkh.com was my very first Joomla experience. JoomlArt  template. 

We built and manage our local association site, SWLAR.com. The ability to search for an agent/firm option is being released 4/1.  Our part is done, we're just giving the agents time to update their profiles and upload photos.  (note, the navigation icons at the top are temporary, pending completion of a new logo).

Would love and appreciate feedback. 

Mar 18, 2008 11:02 AM
Marjorie (Susan) Hoffman
Pinnacle Realty Associates - Sparta, NJ

I'm absolutely thrilled to find this group. I'm relatively new to Joomla - got sucked into helping my brother with his class reunion website back in February 2008. One thing led to another and now I'm running 2 real estate sites with Joomla...so far I've managed to blow my sites up a few times, but I'm learning at a fast pace and love the freedom of developing the sites myself, not to mention all the money it saves me :)

Susan

Jan 14, 2009 01:57 AM
Anonymous
Anonymous

Susan, I so agree.  Post your URLs so we can check them out.  Need more people to understand the power of Joomla. As they do, they'll realize the benefits you  mentioned.  I'm currently working on a major real estate project wherein "the freedome of developing the sites myself" has saved my client money while netting me web building income in additon to real estate fees.  A major win-win that I will blog about when I find some time...

Jan 14, 2009 02:40 AM
#7
Mary Kay Hopkins
Mary Kay Hopkins, LLC e-PRO, GRI, CRS, CRB - Lake Charles, LA
e-PRO,GRI,CRS

Susan, I just realized that I wasnt' logged in when I submitted my comments.

Jan 14, 2009 02:43 AM
Marjorie (Susan) Hoffman
Pinnacle Realty Associates - Sparta, NJ

Hi Mary Kay,

I was hoping I'd hear from you! It seems you have a lot of experience with Joomla. I'm loving every minute of it. But I have to confess, I am nowhere near your league...I am still learning how to change appearances etc. so please don't be too tough on me.

My first site, which I began in August 2008 is www.lakemohawksales.com. For starters, not sure I'm thrilled with the template, seems very dark and am looking for something else. Using EZ Realty which I love, but it doesn't love Rocket Theme templates - they tend to conflict with each other.

My second site is www.spartahomesales.com - I had it with Top Producer for several years and when the market tanked I decided I might as well learn how to develop the site myself with Joomla and save myself some money. So I transitioned that site over in November 2008.

What I'm trying to achieve is a community site as well, so that people searching for info about these areas will come to us/me first. Are you familiar with Connecting Neighbors? About 1 1/2 years I contracted for 2 sites with them, kind of like being "the neighborhood expert". I liked the idea of having other info besides real estate to keep people coming back, but each site cost $500 a piece to set up, and another $59.95/month, EACH. It got to be more than I could handle financially, even before the market really started to turn.

So, that's my story. I have a list a mile long of things "still in the works" for both sites, but would love to get your feedback.

Susan

Jan 14, 2009 04:11 AM
Mary Kay Hopkins
Mary Kay Hopkins, LLC e-PRO, GRI, CRS, CRB - Lake Charles, LA
e-PRO,GRI,CRS

Susan,

Based on my cursory glance at both sites....and I wish I had more time to explore as both sites looks well worth exploring.... you are doing GREAT!!!!  Terrific application.

You are using the  same calendar and forum component that I used for our board of REALTORS site, neighborhood site, and several non-profits. 

Your use of the various module positions is terrific, and you overall application, especially for the neighborhood template is to die for. 

Your site is well organized and has "clean lines" with great content and features.

Totally agree with you re the community sites. While they have their place, I did a signficant investigation a while back and came up withe the same conclusion.  I suspect that if I could find my old spreadsheet comparing the various features, you'd be right there with them.  I recognize the amount of work that went into both sites. Now that you have "cracked the code" you know that there are practically no limits.

My suggestions are minor, with the most significant one to replace the image in the header  of LakeMohawkSales with something local.

On my new sites, I've migrated to 1.5.  I didn't take the time to check the version on yours. If you have not, you will LOVE the enhancements. 

Congratulations! 

Jan 14, 2009 04:48 AM
Mary Kay Hopkins
Mary Kay Hopkins, LLC e-PRO, GRI, CRS, CRB - Lake Charles, LA
e-PRO,GRI,CRS

I'm pretty sure this was my first 1.5 site....CastleRE.com. It is one of the few non-RocketTheme templates I've used.

For certain,  TonyCornner.com and the BarbeProperty.com (live, but a work in progress) were built using 1.5.

Jan 14, 2009 04:54 AM
Marjorie (Susan) Hoffman
Pinnacle Realty Associates - Sparta, NJ

MK-

Thank you so much...yes, changing the logo on the one site is absolutely on my list, along with many other things.

Running Joomla 1.59 - after my brothers class site got hacked by not updating quickly enough, I learned my lesson - all mine started at 1.5...

When I have more time I'm going to go back and look at all your sites - I love getting ideas and seeing the creativity of others.

Susan

Jan 14, 2009 09:21 AM
Damian Henry
Galtlinedesign - Yorba Linda, CA

Hey Dean we build custom IDX Solutions In Joomla and Wordpress. Our core IDX is run Joomla and all of our blogging is done in Wordpress. 

 

Check it out: Custom IDX solutions

Mar 15, 2012 02:12 PM