UPDATE: I've once again switched up my websites (I'll be writing another post about it - it's brutal)! I changed the link to the new domain on my Zillowpress website.
I never thought I'd be writing this post. I've never had anything good to say about Zillow. But I wanted to create hyper-local blogs for my 2 main towns that I work and live in, so I checked out all the different website offerings.
EDIT: Check out my updated Websitebox review. They keep improving and their inidividual IDX results pages are full of information now. I tried Websitebox and I wanted to love it. I found a neat little template I loved and started working on it. It has some great things but I kept having trouble with the IDX search. One day it would work, one day it wouldn't. It wouldn't work for searches for $100,000 & under or $2 million & over. I sent in support tickets and some were taken care of immediately and others seemed to be floating around. The backend was clunky - that's the best way to describe it. I would sometimes have to log-in again to continue working on the site. I would have dealt with that if I liked the IDX, but the results page for each listing was lacking. After creating a bunch of blog posts and working on the site for the 1st month I had to call it quits. They refunded my money. The search was on.
And then I found Zillowpress
I'm not sure how I stumbled across this as I rarely do anything at Zillow but keep up my profile and listings. I saw the sites for $10.00/mo. with Diverse Solutions IDX and thought I'd give one a spin for Oak Lawn real estate, the smallest of the two villages I was creating hyper local sites for. Although IMO the templates are too few and I'm not loving any of them, I chose one that I could work with best. For ten bucks a month I feel I can't lose.
The title Zillowpress is a combination of Zillow and Wordpress. I have several Wordpress blogs on Bluehost so am familiar with how to use them. I really like Diverse Solutions IDX. The only downfall is that you can only search 1 town at a time, but I love the detailed results page for each listing.
Does it send links to Zillow?
I've educated agents in the past to stop using badges and widgets from sites like Zillow and Trulia because they just give a lot of backlinks to those sites, making them ever more powerful so they can beat us out in organic search and sell our leads back to us. However, you can control your links back to Zillow on these sites. You can remove the link from the footer and you don't have to use all of the widgets, some that do link back to Zillow. I'm searching for a different calculator for the sidebar that won't link back since that is one of the widgets that does, along with the Zillow mortgage rates widget. But I just wanted to use them temporarily until I find a replacement. That's the other downfall of Zillowpress sites, you'd have to find something that gives you html code to use in a Text widget because the sites don't support any Wordpress plug-ins.
Why don't I just create another Wordpress site?
I don't want a hyper local blog/site for area real estate and lifestyle without offering an IDX search. I already have a main website that I pay a monthly fee for and am now adding the 2 hyper local sites. The other new hyper-local site is a Wordpress blog/site using the AgentPress theme. After much searching I decided to go with iHomefinder for the IDX and am pretty happy with them. The bottom line is I'm offering 4 different websites with 4 IDX fees and I needed to cut the costs on the site focusing on the one of them, and I chose the Oak Lawn homes site.
It's still under construction and I'm learning how to add some special things to it using html and widgets. The only thing I'm not crazy about is that there is no css access to make custom changes. My other fear is if they decide to delete this offering I'll have to switch over to something else, but since it is Wordpress I'm hoping it can be done somewhat easily using the built-in Export function. All in all, I'll take that chance for $10.00 a month.