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The Internet is catching up with the real estate industry. In fact, I think it’s blown past it.
There was a time when you get could get by with a very minimal Web presence.
Before Zillow and Trulia changed the game forever, realtor.com and Craigslist combined to serve as an adequate online presence for listings.
The former emerged at first to welcoming marketing budgets everywhere. Why invest in our own site when we have the major portals to carry the burden?
Then they started using your data against you. And everyone has just kind of been staring at each other since, mouth agape, wondering where it all went wrong.
Even in the midst of current upheaval, there’s no collective industry standard on how agents should tackle online marketing. The dust remains airborne, maliciously swirling.
Granted, other than the folks who wrote “Wall-E,” no one saw coming the face-in-your-device revolution. We are Web-everywhere. A billion websites are loaded and thumb-scrolled every minute. To catch even a flash of that attention, you need to commit to getting it right.
In short, now it’s up to you to make tough, expensive marketing technology decisions. Buy a template? Get a tech-savvy intern? Didn’t your daughter’s friend do Web design?
You could also try Agent Evolution.
Agent Evolution sells five WordPress templates to real estate agents for $49.99. If that’s all you want.
You can buy one of their real estate-ready templates and do the rest yourself. Domain transfer. Hosting. Installation. IDX (Internet data exchange) connection.
Each of the templates is based on the Equity Platform developed by IDX.
The Equity Platform is a foundation of code developed to power real estate websites. I’ve been trying to avoid car analogies, but here goes: It’s like a car company using the same structural underpinnings for different cars. The Dodge Durango is the same underneath as the Jeep Grand Cherokee, for example.
The themes all look good and have every contemporary design trend represented. In each Agent Evolution website you’ll find large upfront visuals, iconography, short codes, and responsive video windows, among other features.
For $399, the Website package includes Agent Evolution building your site with one of their five templates. They’ll connect your IDX account, too. You take on hosting and support is accessed through user forums.
Account holders also get a handful of plugins germane to an agent’s needs, like a tool to build individual page listings called WP Listings, as well as WordPress’ native SEO tool.
The last iteration of the Agent Evolution service is called Turnkey. You pay $299 to get in the game and $99 per month to keep playing. For that amount, they handle everything but content: hosting, site build, and IDX integration.
Value at this solution level is provided primarily through the IDX Platinum account.
This is a nice tool for an individual broker or small team to have on a website, because there’s nothing more irksome than a convoluted home search interface.
Rest assured, Agent Evolution builds in robust search functionality and a coherent look so tire kickers won’t do the same to their iPads.
The Plugin Suite (at both Website and Turnkey levels) is simply a curated list of common, albeit useful, plug-ins available to any WordPress user in the world.
Still, it’s helpful to have them installed and functioning for you upon launch. Ultimately though, it’s not unlike the bro at Foot Locker “throwing in the laces for free.” Laces, too? Steal.
Keep in mind that in all iterations of Agent Evolution’s service, content remains in your hands. Strong copy and click-grabbing content remain crucial. You’re going to want to stay consistent on a blog, as they represent one of the few ways an agent can keep a site current.
Listings obviously bolster that, too.
Agent Evolution will appeal to agents solely on it being owned and marketed by IDX. They say all the right industry things and broadcast the right industry message.
As a website company though, nothing here blows me away. I can scroll Sortfolio.com and find five more impressive solutions in two swipes.
It’s affordable, of course. So there’s that. The sites look good on browsers and mobile devices, but that’s not what’s hampering Agent Evolution’s services, or any other agent website tool I’ve reviewed.
The primary issue is lack of innovation. Listings. Mobile-responsiveness. IDX. Map searches. People holding keys. Rinse. Repeat.
I guess we’ll settle on evolution for now. Because I don’t see a revolution on the horizon.
Do you use Agent Evolution? What do you think? Leave a comment and let us know!
Do you have a product for our tech expert to review? Email Craig Rowe.