5 Features to Look for in a Real Estate Website Theme
By Colin Ryan
About Website Design
Finding the Perfect Real Estate Website Theme
An elegant, easy-to-use website is essential for marketing real estate listings and generating leads. While creating a unique website from scratch may sound nice, most real estate professionals don’t have the time or money to invest in such a huge undertaking.
With a website theme, you get a ready-made design you can set up quickly and cheaply, then customize to suit your needs. That said, there are thousands of website themes out there. How will you find the design that’s right for you? Here are five major features to look for when choosing a real estate website theme.
1. IDX Integration
Don’t let a flashy design keep you from looking under the hood: if your website theme does not feature IDX integration, you’re wasting your time. IDX is a protocol that allows you to import the most current property details from your Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and display it on your website. With IDX, there’s no need to manually edit each listing. Instead, your listings are updated automatically, ensuring that your website visitors can search and access the most accurate and up-to-the-minute data.
2. A Solid CMS
A great real estate website theme provides a great user experience not just for your customers, but also for you and/or your content manager. When you’re constantly updating your marketing website with fresh content and features, you need a terrific content management system (CMS) to make that process as easy as possible. There are plenty of solid CMSs out there, but WordPress is the undisputed leader. With WordPress, you can easily create and publish beautiful, search engine-optimized blog posts and pages without any coding or web design experience. Plus, WordPress supports thousands of fantastic themes, ensuring you’ll have plenty of choices.
3. Responsive Design
With 21 percent of all adult cellphone owners now doing most of their online browsing with their mobile phone, it’s crucial to have a real estate website theme that’s mobile friendly. To future-proof your website, make sure your theme features responsive design, which scales web content fluidly across devices with different screen and window sizes. A responsive website theme recognizes the device the viewer is using (smartphone, tablet, desktop, etc.), delivering the perfect reading and search experience for every individual.
4. Map Functionality
Real estate customers want map functionality that allows them to search for listings and see results on a map. Make sure your theme includes a map window that integrates with Google Maps and provides basic features like the ability to “pin” listings and search by distance to points of interest. Some themes also offer more advanced mapping features. With the Franklin theme from Placester (see above), you can create custom drawn areas that allow visitors to search by neighborhood.
5. Slideshows and Galleries
A real estate website is nothing without lots of beautiful images. A website theme with great slideshows and galleries is crucial for showing off photos of your listings. Whether it’s a featured collection of handpicked property photos on your homepage, or a standard gallery of images at a listing landing page, your slideshow should be front and center, with large high-quality images and an elegant navigation design that makes it easy for visitors to cycle through. Looks aren’t everything, either: the best themes optimize and compress your photos to ensure that slideshows load quickly.
Can you think of other features that are essential for a quality real estate website theme? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!
Published on November 13, 2013