Websitebox Review

By
Real Estate Agent with HomeSmart Realty Group

I learned about Websitebox here on Active Rain and joined the contest to win a free website.  I didn't win and purchased a website for $99.00 and the blog module for an additional $99.00.  I used it for 29 days and ended up canceling on the 30th.  They promptly returned my money.

Why Did I Cancel?

I felt the backend was a bit clunky.  It wasn't as smooth doing things like my other sites.  I'd write a blog post and when I went to hit Publish I was timed out and everything was lost.  It seemed like I was timed out a lot and many times would have to keep logging back in to get things done.

The searches weren't working properly.  I'd get no search results at all for some of the price parameters.  I noticed this on other Websitebox sites.  The listing data was lacking - not much information for each listing.

Turning in a support ticket was hit or miss.  Sometimes I'd get a reply the same day and sometimes the support ticket wasn't acknowledged.

Why Did I Go Back?

I've been shuffling some sites around and decided to create 2 hyper-local niche village sites.  My choice was to try Websitebox again or pay a monthly fee for yet another IDX solution (I have multiple blog/sites - 4 which have IDX).  The good news is, things have changed for the better in the short time between my last membership and this one.

Here is my new Websitebox site for Homer Glen real estate:

Homer Glen real estate website

I chose a very distinctive template as I found it colorful, fun & unique.  This is the oddest template they have.  It is out-of-the-box and I just set-up the page modules how I wanted them.  I did not change the background or colors.  I enlarged the font on most modules.

Pros

  • The price can't be beat, even if you purchase the site and blog at $198.00.  That's it - no hosting fees, nothing to pay again!  This includes IDX folks!
  • The template choices are endless.  Not only are there many different templates to choose from, but you can make additional changes to each template such as background, font and page set-up.  You can change templates whenever you desire.
  • They now have a support forum which seems to get answered quickly.
  • This can be both a pro and con.  They come with a lot of canned content.  You can change it up however you want and make it more original or delete it completely.  It's good stuff but if you leave it as-is it will be considered duplicate content and won't help your rankings, but might be useful to buyers and sellers.
  • It is supposedly search engine friendly.  My Websitebox is new and already at the top of page 2 of Google for some main keywords.
  • My past IDX listing results were lacking - not enough listing information.  Since our MLS changed to a RETS feed, I have better listing data than on my expensive website.  I did have to pay an additional $100.00 for this but this is happening with other IDX providers with our new feed, it is an MLS fee.
  • They have a large collection of very nice clip-art you can use on the home page and in your pages/posts, but most photos are homes - exteriors and interiors.
  • Although I haven't used it yet, there is a CRM with Contacts, e-mail and task functions.  There is a calendar and pre-made drip campaigns.
  • You can create pre-made searches in price ranges, number of bedrooms, etc.  You have different selections as how you want the results to show up.
  • You can include search results in blog posts, and although you have some choices as to how they show up, you cannot set order (I always set ascending and can do this with other searches on the site but not in blog posts).

Cons

  • I had trouble fitting in my logo.  It fit better on some templates than others, so you might have to do some tweaking depending on your logo and the template used.
  • You are hosted on their site.  If they go down or close their doors what happens to your website?
  • I cannot find a back-up function.  I can easily and quickly back-up my Wordpress sites, but not this one.  If you decide to leave down the road, you will have to cut & paste all of your work as there is no quick back-up system like Wordpress has.  This is the same with many websites that you would host with so it's not just a Websitebox issue.  There are back-up programs out there but most require a fee.
  • Although you can edit almost everything, there are some things you can't.  For instance, the main blog page does not allow edits and doesn't have the Categories in the sidebar.  It only appears in individual blog posts.  That's weird!
  • There aren't enough step-by-step instructions.  I think they're trying to improve that, but there is a learning curve that I had to do the trial and error way.
  • For some reason, the IDX search has still shown problems.  It would work fine then one day I would notice it wasn't working properly on a specific search or multiple searches.  They fixed it but I'm not sure why it suddenly breaks.  That can happen with other IDX's but I've personally never had problems with others once it was set-up and running.  Websitebox fixed it on their end but then I had to go back and redo my pre-done searches.
  • I cannot find a way to force registration on the IDX searches.
  • As mentioned in Pros, I cannot set an order for search results in my blog posts - it is set to highest price first.  I prefer lowest price first.  Not a deal breaker.  

I'll come back and add pros and cons if I find any but I think this is a great value.  If you're like me and like to change things up on your websites and have multiple sites and don't want yet another monthly IDX fee, then this is a solution you should check into.  If you're new or lack funds to pay for a website with IDX then this would be great.  Consider this, paying an IDX fee of $40.00/mo for 5 years = $2,400.00.  That doesn't include hosting.  As long as Websitebox remains in business and keeps things running well, your cash outlay would be $198.00 for a website with blog.  If you don't want the blog then it's only $99.00.  There are other upgrades you can select if you want, all one-time fees.

Disclaimer:  I am not receiving any compensation from Websitebox. 

Posted by
Judy Orr
HomeSmart Realty Group
18305 Distinctive Dr.
Orland Park, IL, 60467
US
Work: 708-536-8200
Fax: 708-249-0074
 
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Rainmaker
399,143
Marnie Matarese
DWELL REAL ESTATE - Sarasota, FL
Showing you the best of Sarasota!

Thanks.  I am actively searching for a new website and this one looks like it could work.  I appreciate how much time you put into carefully reviewing this one.

Sep 25, 2013 03:27 AM #1
Ambassador
2,355,204
Fred Griffin, on leave of absence from ActiveRain
Fred Griffin Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker

Judy, serious thanks for posting this!  I have considered "WebsiteBox" - your testimonial is a big help in reaching my decision.

Sep 25, 2013 03:35 AM #2
Rainmaker
219,095
Judy Orr
HomeSmart Realty Group - Orland Park, IL
SW & Near West Chicago suburbs

Marnie & Fred, I truly believe it's a great value.  I think when I first signed on they were too new - maybe went live too quickly.  They are making constant improvements and the support forum is a huge improvement.  

Sep 25, 2013 04:08 AM #3
Rainer
177,005
Cheryl Dukes . . . . . Intown Atlanta
Solid Source Realty, Inc. - Atlanta, GA

I'm considering a website upgrade and appreciate your presentation of the pros and cons. Second time is the charm (or is that the third time?).

Jan 29, 2014 11:46 AM #4
Rainmaker
219,095
Judy Orr
HomeSmart Realty Group - Orland Park, IL
SW & Near West Chicago suburbs

Cheryl, again, not sure I'd use this for my main site.  Wordpress is much easier and there are some great designers that use Wordpress themes.  Problem with WP is that you need to be sure it's on a good, fast host.  My niche, self-hosted WP site is slow and I'm not sure why.  I need to start turning off plug-ins to see if that's the problem.  If I decide it's my host (I have other sites on it that load much more quickly, so I don't think it's a host problem), to get a faster host is as expensive as using some pro sites.

Jan 30, 2014 01:21 AM #5
Rainmaker
103,096
Jim Sinnott
Bedard Realty - North Attleboro, MA
Realtor, GRI Licensed in MA and RI

I am also shopping around for a new website. Your post waqs extremely helpful.

 

Thanks

Feb 17, 2014 04:18 AM #6
Rainmaker
219,095
Judy Orr
HomeSmart Realty Group - Orland Park, IL
SW & Near West Chicago suburbs

Jim, I am using several different website and IDX providers.  I have one main site via IDX Central using IDX Broker (that one's confusing), a niche site using Zillowpress and another self hosted Wordpress niche site using iHomefinder besides the niche site mentioned here using Websitebox. I would dump the Zillowpress site and switch that one to Websitebox but it is a long established Wordpress blog and transferring it would be a nightmare. 

Feb 17, 2014 11:51 PM #7
Anonymous
Jerry Carroll

Judy what are you paying for your current site as it shows today?

Jul 30, 2015 12:59 PM #8
Rainmaker
111,691
Anthony Saunchez
Campa Properties - San Bernardino, CA
How can we be of service

I am considering a website. This an point2 agent seems like good options. 

Sep 24, 2015 08:52 AM #9
Rainmaker
532,544
Robert May
Robert W May - Lethbridge Real Estate - Lethbridge, AB
Real estate consulting

Hey Judy, this is a great review of website box.  Your site looks fantastic.

 

I am just testing them out right now on a new Lethbridge Real Estate website and will see how it turns out.  So far the set up was easy, had only 1 small technical glitch, and the price was sure low.

 

My biggest concern was some seo flaws that i noted in the site and I didnt buy the seo add-on because I really couldnt see that it added any improvement to what is already there.  I launched my new site on Oct 1, 2015 and will measure its success by how it ranks after 4 months of me hitting it with some solid offsite seo.  Impressive that you got yours up to page 2 so far, how long did that take to rank?

Jan 01, 2016 03:14 PM #10
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Rainmaker
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Judy Orr

SW & Near West Chicago suburbs
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