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#410711 - 07/29/12 11:34 AM IDX integration importance
Realtor Al Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/20/12
Posts: 6
Loc: Philadelphia, PA
A subject that comes to mind as I consider what kind of a website to buy/build is IDX integration. The monthly nut between the charges from your MLS and the IDX provider can easily be $80 - $100/month plus an initial setup charge. I understand that in business you must spend money to make money but at the same time you don't want to throw good money after bad. The question I have is how much benefit do you derive from IDX integration given the rise of the large search sites such as Zillow, Realtor.com, etc. where many people conduct their searches? I understand that you lose the ability for people to save searches or result sets on your site or to be notified automtically as new properties matching their criteria come on the market. This seems like an important way to make prospects into customers.

I lean towards including the IDX integration in a site and I've seen at least one survey to the effect that the number one feature sought after by users of a Real Estate website is the ability to search for properties. You can still have links to search sites but it's not the same. I'm interested in what others think.

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#410736 - 07/30/12 10:23 AM Re: IDX integration importance [Re: Realtor Al]
Mike Bouma Offline
Member

Registered: 04/18/08
Posts: 76
Loc: Oshawa, Ontario, Canada
I wouldn't bother much with a website if I didn't have as many listings as possible on it. The majority of buyers couldn't care less about you, they want to view listings. If you're worried about competing with the big boys then find a niche and go after it and offer unique content regarding your niche.

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#410742 - 07/30/12 12:13 PM Re: IDX integration importance [Re: Mike Bouma]
Willy Offline
Member

Registered: 07/23/12
Posts: 11
Loc: FL
This.

If you're serious about your only presence, the cost of the IDX will offset itself with 1-2 converting leads in a given year. IDX is important, especially when you start thinking about the "flow" of your visitors and how you'll make their searching experience easier.

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#410951 - 08/07/12 06:40 AM Re: IDX integration importance [Re: Realtor Al]
ggl Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/07/12
Posts: 6
Loc: new jersey
I have just spent 6 months researching websites and idx integration and I hope you can benefit from some of my time. Basically you do need idx, for many reasons. The first reason is you need to provide a reason why visitors come to your website. There is a huge amount of people simply placing an mls number or an address into google and looking for a home. If you do not have the listings on your website , you will not even show up in the results. So you essentially do not even have the possibility of landing any of these prospects. another words the idx if implemented correctly should help raise the amount of pages on google and thus the amount of opportunities you have for a prospect to search on the web and find you. The next issue which will come up is how to rank on google , but for this question is idx necessary - yes it is if you want to make any real money on the web - it is necessary - and you do not want a framed idx-
Best of Luck to you,

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#414202 - 10/10/12 01:55 PM Re: IDX integration importance [Re: Realtor Al]
Oakland Homes Offline
Member

Registered: 10/10/12
Posts: 30
Loc: Oakland, Ca US
I feel that IDX is essential...most people want to search for homes and if you dont offer that they will leave.

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#414661 - 10/21/12 12:14 AM Re: IDX integration importance [Re: Realtor Al]
JasonMb Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/19/12
Posts: 9
Loc: Myrtle Beach, SC
I think it depends on your site. Ive built small niche sites offering something that seemed very exclusive if the visitor filled out a contact form. Ive got tons of inquiries this was. I think the more niche your site is, the easier it is to do things like this. but most sites and agents need an idx search

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#415551 - 11/11/12 07:35 AM Re: IDX integration importance [Re: Realtor Al]
Jack Liebsch II Offline
Member

Registered: 11/11/12
Posts: 35
Loc: Jupiter, Florida
If you can afford it, definitely add some form of IDX on your website. It will eventually pay for itself in the long run. Not only will it generate leads in the future, but you can use it to track user interest to provide better information to your existing clients. Why risk losing business to your competition by encouraging them to utilize other MLS search sites?

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#415933 - 11/20/12 01:27 PM Re: IDX integration importance [Re: Realtor Al]
doug Offline

Admin
Veteran Member

Registered: 12/31/69
Posts: 1096
Loc: Canada
IDX listings can be placed on a website in a couple of different ways and both would qualify and being integrated into a website.

The first is the easiest and cheapest way and that is having the IDX listings embedded on the site using iframes. Often a low cost or even free IDX solution is available and can be used to integrate using iframes.

The seconds method is paying often thousands of dollars to integrate IDX listings by having a custom solution built into your site.

You will often hear that the second method is better because it is more "search engine friendly" and will allow these pages to show up in search engine results for MLS number searches and keyword searches.

A nice theory but reality is different. How do you think Google handles these listings pages that are all similar content? They don't display or list them all despite being "search engine friendly". In most cases there is no realized benefit to having spent a lot more money on a custom solution.

You can check this out for yourself. For example, I just searched for "atlanta real estate" and the first agent result is a site using a framed solution for their IDX. The second agent site uses a custom "search engine friendly" solution from the widely recommended Real Estate Webmasters. The IDX may be search engine friendly but the listings I checked are not actually listed in Google.

So neither site has their IDX listings included in Google but both achieved great rankings. One site however would have paid a lot more for their IDX.

The reason these sites rank well in one of the most competitive areas in the US has nothing to do with their IDX listings. If you check you find that it has everything to do with the links pointing at their websites.

Don't think that you need to spend a lot of money on an IDX system in order to enjoy success. You don't.
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#416094 - 11/26/12 03:26 PM Re: IDX integration importance [Re: doug]
Jack Liebsch II Offline
Member

Registered: 11/11/12
Posts: 35
Loc: Jupiter, Florida
A high percentage of traffic to my site from search engines come from users who searched for a specific property address or MLS#. Those clicks would have never have occurred if it wasn't for my search engine friendly IDX listings. I figure as long as one of those clicks leads to an actual sale, the cost of the IDX listings pays for itself.

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#416096 - 11/26/12 04:36 PM Re: IDX integration importance [Re: Jack Liebsch II]
doug Offline

Admin
Veteran Member

Registered: 12/31/69
Posts: 1096
Loc: Canada
I am glad you are getting good results from your IDX Jack. Is the site you are talking about pbagent.com or do you have another?

I ask because the IDX listings on that site are not what most reading this would consider "search engine friendly" because they are presented in an iframe rather than actually being pages of your website.
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#416098 - 11/26/12 06:06 PM Re: IDX integration importance [Re: doug]
Jack Liebsch II Offline
Member

Registered: 11/11/12
Posts: 35
Loc: Jupiter, Florida
Doug, the map search on the root page is framed. The majority of the unframed IDX content can be found when browsing communities under "MLS Search" and numerous other posts within the site. I try to steer users through the map search since it a better tool and I use the unframed IDX content to get noticed through search engines.

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#416117 - 11/27/12 08:06 AM Re: IDX integration importance [Re: Realtor Al]
doug Offline

Admin
Veteran Member

Registered: 12/31/69
Posts: 1096
Loc: Canada
That is a great use of your IDX system Jack and just highlights the fact that one need not spend several thousand dollars on a custom IDX in order to enjoy success.
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Proven effective Branded Content Marketing For Realtors - Exclusive Areas Available.

18 years as a practitioner of SEO.

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#416192 - 11/28/12 05:40 AM Re: IDX integration importance [Re: doug]
Jack Liebsch II Offline
Member

Registered: 11/11/12
Posts: 35
Loc: Jupiter, Florida
Thanks! My site may not be as pretty as the expensive custom designed sites, but it is as functional. I still have much more work to improve upon it. Ideally, I would like to distribute more related content around the IDX listings to differentiate it from other sites with the same listings and to hopefully improve the overall user experience.

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#420049 - 02/11/13 10:23 PM Re: IDX integration importance [Re: Realtor Al]
yourwebguru Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/11/13
Posts: 1
Loc: United States
It's best to use an IDX that actually integrates into your site with an API or plugin rather than use an iFrame. iFrames are not read by search engines, while API or plugins are, and counted as dynamic content since it's always being updated by your MLS board.

There are two that are very easy to use with Wordpress (Which I HIGHLY recommend). One is Wolfnet, the other is iHomefinder. You can Google those names and find their website. Wolfnet is less expensive, but iHomefinder is much more comprehensive.

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#422527 - 04/10/13 02:46 PM Re: IDX integration importance [Re: Realtor Al]
Joe Hayden Offline
Member

Registered: 03/10/13
Posts: 52
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky
IDX is one part of the puzzle. I would offer it if nothing more than for the added level of professionalism and user experience at your website. You don't want a potential client checking you out on the internet and being disappointed with your website.

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#425188 - 06/20/13 01:29 PM Re: IDX integration importance [Re: Joe Hayden]
Tom_Tiger Offline
Member

Registered: 12/06/09
Posts: 18
Loc: Virginia
Well reading this forum, its easy to pick out the heavy hitters from those who piddle in real estate. Anyone making big money in real estate has an idx and most of the big boys have the full blown Platform.. not just IDX.. IDX is for beginners.. platforms are for those getting 50 to 100+ leads a day. Without a platform there is just no way to keep track.. Some platforms that I work with and I work with many building automation for them. The drip programs are getting so sophisticated it makes your head hurt.
Its very common now to have 150,000+ pages indexed on sites now. And you just cannot do that without indexing every single mls number as they come out. A huge amount of traffic comes from Just the MLS number indexing. And the first one to get indexed usually gets the worm.. in many cases when you index as soon as the listing comes out you can beat out Zillow and all the other big boys. Zillow does not play fair, as they index every single property in the tax data base.. so sometimes they appear to have indexed the property and its not even on the market yet. I recently did an experiment just to see what the effect of a nothing webiste right out of the box could do when nothing but MLS number wer e indexed... so I rented one of those 10 dollar Zillow sites that gives you a full blown idx and hooked it to a domain right out of hte box. Each day as the new MLS numbers come out, I would auto blog 10 of them each day posting one each two hours around the clock. I indexed over 8,000 pages in two weeks and average 40 to 50 visitors per day with on the average 1 form or phone call per day with one sale in 63 days.. not bad for a 10 dollar a day investment.. and the nice thing is the indexing is growing at about 300 pages indexing per day...with a very slow traffic climb each day. IF the rate continues I will be at 500 uniques per day in 6 months. Again not bad for no work and 10 bucks per monthy.
But the real money is in a platform.. with adwords, SEO, Crags list, daily blogging and social and the whoole bag of wax. Believe me I have years of experience trakcing the idx and platforms and the platform will always pay for itself 10x over... but then so will a good IDX.. but most basic IDX do not help you track all the stuff which is ok if you have the time to do it yourself. Heck I am running a ton of free adwords site here htt://52payperclick.com and most of my consulting is free.. I am retired and do it as a hobby. Oh by the way.. looks like idxbroker is finally coming around.. with a lot of new bells and whistles called Platinum... looks like they might pass Diverse Solutions now... course they do have about a thousand to 1 sites deployed.... some thing close to 1.7 million of those babies when I last checked..
And the platinum is selling like hot cakes.. up to $59 per month up from $39 but does have a lot of new stuff...



Edited by Tom_Tiger (06/20/13 01:35 PM)

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#428297 - 09/13/13 08:36 AM Re: IDX integration importance [Re: Tom_Tiger]
Realtor Al Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/20/12
Posts: 6
Loc: Philadelphia, PA
I enjoyed your post, Tom. I have a few questions:


[list]
[*] What do you mean by 'platform?' Do you refer to CRM capabilities such as drip email capability integrated with other capabilities such as built-in blogging and idx?

[*] What do you mean by indexing each listing? I have a site I purchased from a vendor that has an integrated IDX with a feed from my MLS. I assume my vendor loads the entries it receives from the MLS into its local database which is what gets queried when a user searches on the site. It sounds like you're talking about creating a separate web page for each property in the MLS as it becomes available. Is that so? My MLS, and I would say most others would be the same, includes many more towns than I would be interested in. Wouldn't I just want pages for properties in towns I am covering?

[*] I would think that I could integrate drip email, etc. capabilities with my website with a CRM application. I know there are plenty out there. What do you think of that strategy?

[*]

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#434439 - 03/21/14 06:53 PM Re: IDX integration importance [Re: Mike Bouma]
PropertyVentures Offline
Member

Registered: 03/21/14
Posts: 30
Loc: Vagabonding
[quote=Mike Bouma]I wouldn't bother much with a website if I didn't have as many listings as possible on it. The majority of buyers couldn't care less about you, they want to view listings. If you're worried about competing with the big boys then find a niche and go after it and offer unique content regarding your niche. [/quote]

+1

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#449262 - 12/07/15 08:20 AM Re: IDX integration importance [Re: ggl]
Adam Benedict Offline
Member

Registered: 10/13/10
Posts: 200
Loc: St. Paul, MN, USA
I have been using Wolfnet but have not been satisfied with it. The maps sometimes don't work and they won't zoom in on neighborhoods in my area like it's supposed to. I have wordpress.

Do you have any suggestions on which IDX to use?
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