Turn Your WordPress Blog into a Fully Functional Real Estate Web Site
Being in a real estate industry myself, I noticed that a lot of agents are using WordPress for their real estate blogs and, some, even for web sites. Even though I'm a huge fan of Drupal, which I don't think will change in the near future, WordPress is one of the most popular and user friendly blogging platforms today. Since I developed at least half of a dozen themes for WordPress, I thought I would try to create something for the real estate community. Who knows, may be you guys will find it useful.
Simple Realty - WordPress Theme for Real Estate
Simple Realty Theme is a basic 3-column, fixed width theme with 13 widget-ready areas that allows you to turn a simple blog into a fully functional real estate web site. Simple Realty is a subtheme of the Thematic Framework, with an original custom design and a few additional options in the back end. I created a list of available plugins that will add needed functionality to your new real estate web site. And btw, it's been tested on WordPress 2.6 and the brand new 2.7.
Simple Realty Theme Options
- 13 widget-ready areas (lots of flexibility room).
- Custom header image.
- Agent header block - agent's photo, contact name and telephone number - this block can be customized via back-end or completely turned off per your desire.
- Top and sidebar navigation management widget.
- Text widget for blog - new option to show custom text widgets only on blog's main page, single posts and archives (blog related content that shouldn't appear on static pages).
- "No sidebar" template to IFrame a third party IDX solution.
- Custom CSS files for the Great Real Estate plugin to present your property listings, and for the cforms plugin to generate leads.
Simple Realty Theme works in WordPress 2.6 and higher. Also successfully tested in Internet Explorer 6 and 7, Firefox 3, Safari 4, Opera 9 and Google Chrome.
Pricing and Availability
The price is $52 per color variation. The important news - I don't have a single and multiple user licenses. My thinking is that if you bought a product it is up to you where and how you use it - you can use purchased themes on as many [your own] web sites as you need. But, distributing copies to other parties is not permitted, just like music or movies.
WordPress Plugins to Expand Functionality of your Site
This is a list of plugins that I used to cover the most important needs of a small real estate business web site. It includes property listings presentation, lead generation forms and onpage search engine optimization. Note: the following third party plugins are not included into the Simple Realty Theme nor in any way associated with it. You can freely download them from the WordPress.org or via the links I provided.
- Great Real Estate by Roger Theriault (includes Great Real Estate Featured Listing Widget) - this a nice plugin that allows you to add and manage your property listings. This plugin depends on other third party plugins and therefore supports Photo Gallery, Google Maps, Videos, Panoramic Photos and PDF document attachments. Also it allows you to syndicate your listing to major real estate portals like Zillow, Trulia and Google Base.
- NextGEN Gallery by NextGEN DEV-Team (required by the Great Real Estate plugin) - allows to create photo galleries, and, in our case, works with the Great Real Estate plugin as a photo loading mechanism.
- All in One SEO Pack by Michael Torbert - this is one of the most popular WordPress plugins today. If you're not familiar with it - it basically takes care of all your SEO needs as far as managing and optimizing your meta titiles, meta descriptions, keywords and whole bunch of other things.
- cforms by Oliver Seidel - this is a really awesome plugin, and, I should admit, even an excellent web framework like Drupal doesn't have a module as cool as cforms. Don't get me wrong - Drupal is the best ;), but cforms is the real gold for business web sites based on WordPress. Cforms allows you to create very complex (and simple) forms in a very easy-to-use AJAX interface. You name it - it has it all - from hidden and required fields to lead management, file uploads, captcha verification, password fields, and automatic replies. This is one of those plugins you've got to have!
- Simple Sidebar Navigation - for some reason Wordpress navigational menus weren't really well developed, so I wrote this simple plugin to avoid the headache. Simple Sidebar Navigation allows you to create and manage top and side navigation with a click of a mouse. It also supports multiple custom navigation in different sections of your site: i.e. you main content can have one navigation and your blog section can have a completely separate menu.
- Daiko's Text Widget by Rune Fjellheim [REVISED by me] - this is a simple text widget with an ability to use PHP code in it. It's based on the default Wordpress text widget (which is included into WP by default), plus added a few useful features like PHP support and conditional appearance of the widgets in your content. I revised it and added new condition to show widgets on a bundle of pages relevant to blog. This includes: blog main page, single posts and archives.