It's been a super busy year, but as is typical things have slowed down a little bit, allowing me to go over marketing, systems and website clean-up and updating. I've written about several of my website ventures in the past and this is a deal that is hard to pass up.
I have a Zillowpress website for an area that I'm gravitating away from, but still do a lot of business in. I moved out of the area about 4 years ago and it was the first domain I ever purchased. It used to be #1 for keywords in the search engines but we all know that's an almost impossible feat today. I don't think I'll ever give the domain/site up but I didn't want to invest too much money into it. I don't want a site without IDX so I was trying to find something affordable and Zillowpress fit the bill. You can read all about it here.
I also use Websitebox for another hyper-local village that I have to pay $100.00 each year for my local additional MLS fee. Read my Websitebox review.
Saying good-bye to my Wordpress blog
I have a main website that focuses on my area of expertise. I created a Wordpress site for my main town of Orland Park. But since I insist on offering IDX on all of my websites, I was paying about $40.00/mo. for i-Homefinder IDX. Because I don't promote the site with the exception of having special biz cards for Orland Park clients and sharing the few posts I make via social media, it receives very little traffic.
I had a decision to make - transfer over my domain to my new Placester site or start over with a new one. There were a couple issues - I couldn't easily transfer my original site's posts over to the new site meaning a lot of time and effort wasted and a bunch of 404 pages down the road. Since I don't have decent serps for the domain (plus it's an old spammy hyphenated one), I decided to use my other short domain. I'm keeping the original site up but turning off the IDX and will attempt to redirect visitors (if there are any) to the new site via a message and my last blog post on that site.
My new Placester site
Above is a screenshot of the new Orland Park homes website. I just switched to the Fremont theme and I'm trying out different templates, so next time you check it might look different than the photo above.
I had tried Placester before (when they charged more) and to me it wasn't ready for prime time. They're a great company and I really wanted it to work, but it wasn't worth what they were charging at the time for a lackluster IDX.
There seems to be less options per site but for five bucks a month for a website with IDX I don't think anyone can complain.
- $5.00 a month for a hosted real estate website with IDX!
- Sites are mobile responsive.
- My MLS charges an additional fee to utilize their IDX. It is usually $100.00 through other vendors but I was only charged $60.00 through Placester.
- Multiple template choices - you can switch them up whenever you want.
- Different templates have color options.
- Slideshow header that you can customize and link to the photos.
- Built-in blog
- You can add pages.
- You can edit the menu.
- You can set-up links to pre-made searches that you create.
- Visitors can register and save listings.
- You can set how you want to capture leads (if you want registration).
- You can show featured listings using your custom criteria.
- Although the templates have slight customization features, I would prefer to be able to set-up my homepage differently on all of the themes.
- Because of lack of customization features, if you want some blog posts to appear on the home page you need to choose a theme that already has it set-up that way.
- The blog/page editor is extremely basic and although you can add photos, I don't see where you can align them. No html feature either.
- I don't see a feature where you can switch your content to a self-hosted Wordpress site down the road in case they stop their offerings or the price starts to increase too much.
- I would like the IDX to offer more customizations such as status. Although you can create some filters, you're limited to their selections.
- There are no blog categories or a way to search for blog content. This isn't a blog for the avid poster because of the lack of post organization.
I wouldn't think of using one of these for my main sites as there are too many limitations. The templates are modern looking but without the customization I like. The blog seems like a "throw-on" vs. an "add-on" as there is so little functionality and organization. This is not for someone that loves to blog as your posts can't be sorted. What do you want for five bucks a month?! Perfect for an affordable hyper-local website with IDX. Not a site I'd pay for promotion (seo, ppc or any other type of paid advertising). Fine for social media sharing or any type of free advertising.
Get your site here!