3 helpful IDX solutions for WordPress

Property search and listings are the foundation of any real estate website

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WordPress has had a significant impact on the real estate industry. It’s a flexible platform that powers our blogs, websites, intranets and more. In my last column, "5 WordPress plug-ins to boost your blog," I discussed plug-ins that would enhance your blog posts.

A real estate website is home to various content such as market data, community information, multimedia and mapping. However, the foundation of any good real estate website is property search and listings.

There are many WordPress products and services available on the market today, including Web hosting, custom theme and plug-in development, and widgets. But finding the right solution for displaying Internet Data Exchange (IDX) listings on your website can be difficult and confusing to many real estate professionals.

IDX listings are pools of listing data in a given market that participating brokers have agreed to advertise on each others’ websites. IDX listings are maintained by multiple listing services for display on websites operated by their member brokers. In most markets, MLSs also permit agents to operate their own IDX websites.

MLSs draw up the rules governing the display of IDX listings, in most cases relying on policies developed by the National Association of Realtors. Those rules typically require an "all in" or "all out" policy — participating brokers and agents must display all of the IDX listings in their market. They can’t pick and chose which listings to display.   

That said, there are a number of techniques that can be incorporated into the integration of IDX listings. There are IDX plug-ins, iFrames, subdomains and fully integrated raw data solutions. These decisions can be daunting to a Realtor, and the approaches feature different modules and vary in price range.

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Here are three helpful IDX solutions for WordPress:

1. dsIDXpress:

Diverse Solutions offers a WordPress IDX search plug-in, dsIDXpress, that features a search widget, mapping, enhanced property details and many search engine optimization (SEO) tools.

The company describes dsIDXpress as "a simple one-click installation" that generates a new listing detail page on your site for every IDX listing, "creating instant content for search engine ranking and property search functionality for your visitors."

Diverse Solutions, which has been a popular service provider for the real estate industry for some time, was acquired by Zillow last year.

Zillow recently announced that it would offer free IDX websites to its "Premier Agent" subscribers, and charge nonsubscribers just $10 a month for the same service. The announcement caused quite a stir — and some confusion for existing Diverse Solution customers. InmanNext contributor Suzanne Roy explored some of the details of Zillow’s agent website offering in her recent post, "Zillow Agent Sites: The Facts."

2. IDX Broker:

Another IDX solution that offers a WordPress plug-in is IDX Inc.’s IDX Broker.

IDX Broker features lead capture forms, search and widgets. The application has substantial MLS coverage, and new data feeds can be configured within five to 10 business days. The service has three packages: Agent IDX, Team IDX and Office IDX.

IDX Inc. is offering what it’s calling "a powerful new IDX feature for advanced developers": automatic page wrappers. When users make design or layout changes to their blogs, this feature allows them to synchronize their page wrappers "with one click of the button."

3: Spot-on:

Another IDX WordPress plug-in I recently discovered is Spot-on. Chris Smith, chief evangelist for Inman News, recently spoke with Spot-on Connect founder Jeff La Croix. Although I don’t have much experience with the plug-in, it has an interesting angle. The plug-in is designed to work with any theme, design or Web hosting service.

Spot-on features an easy installation, advanced search and friendly URLs for SEO. The service is new and growing its MLS coverage.

There are many WordPress IDX solutions on the market and selecting the right product for your business is critical. I always recommend due diligence, and the proper research is required. Reach out to a helpful provider who understands the platform and can facilitate the integration.

Tom Flanagan is the director of information technology at Residential Properties Ltd. in Providence, R.I. You can contact him at tflanagan@residentialproperties.com or @tflan on Twitter.


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