This month we’re highlighting Martin Millner, a client using our IDX in a site with the look and feel of a small-town real estate newspaper. Built with with help of developers at Online Marketing Strategies, Martin’s real estate web site BucksCountyPAtoday.com appeals to buyers and sellers in Bucks County with lots of IDX data integrated into a unique, homey design.
Here are some of the elements we love about Marty’s site along with tips for implementing any IDX features on your own real estate site…
Marty’s site looks like a town’s local newsletter. The site offers the same IDX tools, buying tips, and neighborhood info you’ll find on any decent real estate web site but it’s packaged as “Bucks County PA News” – a real estate newsletter for Bucks County. His site’s nameplate, large ‘front page’ area photos, headlines and articles arranged in neat columns with bold typefaces and paper-textured backgrounds lend the site the look of a community-based periodical.
The site has it’s share of “buy with us” calls to action, but the newsletter design makes the site feel more personal than most. Gimmick or not, it’s an effective way to let buyers know he’s a community-focused Realtor.
Stripped down search
The framed IDX search page on his site was customized to show just the most basic search fields: location and price. Limiting user input to just these two fields while tucking away beds, baths and other fields under the “Add Additional Criteria” section help idiot-proof his IDX map for visitors.
Customizing the fields on your IDX is an easy way to tailor your search to the interests of your users. To customize the fields in your search, go to the IDX Options page of your Control Panel and click the Search tab. Here you simply drag and drop to choose which fields show up at the top of your search, which ones are listed under “Additional Criteria” and which are disabled from your search page altogether.
Use of IDX widgets
These widgets give buyers lots of options for getting to the IDX listings: slideshow, mini map and a list of the latest homes. Some widgets simply help visitors engage with your site while others help with SEO, so it’s great to see sites that use a combination of IDX widgets on their pages.
You can setup IDX widgets to add anywhere on your site from the IDX modules page of your dsSearchAgent Control Panel, or from the Appearance page of your WordPress admin panel. We recently built several new IDX widgets, so be sure to take advantage of the new options we added.
Breakdown by neighborhood
For of the largest area he serves, Marty’s created a central page that branches out to separate custom pages for each neighborhood in the Lower Makefield Township. Each neighborhood page includes a note offering visitors email updates of new homes, links to other neighborhood pages, and a list of the top 15 MLS listings in the neighborhood via the shortcode feature of our IDX plugin.
These pages display regularly updated IDX data to help his site gain search engine ranking on a neighborhood level – and they are simple to setup. Read our earlier blog post for help using shortcode to show the latest IDX listings in an area.