In continuing the series on how to build your own real estate website, this week I am going to show you how to add an MLS feed to your website. Before I get into that though let’s look at the pros and cons of adding MLS to your website.
- You will have your own branded MLS on your website.
- You can direct your clients to search the MLS on your site which gives your more visibility with your clients.
- The ability to increase your SEO with custom city/area search pages.
- The potential to generate leads from your own website when prospects sign up for saved searches.
- There is usually a setup fee and a monthly fee to add MLS to your site.
- People are using apps or third party sites to search for homes now so it might not be worth it to add it to your site.
People ask me all the time if they should add MLS to their website. My answer is it depends. I think for MLS to be effective on your website you have to really advertise it. If you just put it on there hoping that people will find your website and you will get leads, you will be disappointed. People these days are using the third party sites and apps like Realtor.com, Truila and Zillow to search for homes. Then add in the fact that each brokerage has MLS and you have a lot of competition for your website. If you want to add MLS to your site it has to be strongly promoted.
If you make the decision to move forward and add IDX to your website I recommend going with IDX Broker. I have used several different IDX systems on real estate websites and IDX Broker looks the best and is the easiest to use. To sign up for their services, go here: www.idxbroker.com
How to Install IDX Broker
For this tutorial I am going to show you how to install IDX Broker on your WordPress website. Before you install it you must sign up with IDX Broker. They will walk you through their set up instructions for your specific MLS.
1. Install IDX Broker Plugin
The first thing you will want to do is install the IDX Broker plugin on your WordPress site. If you have questions about how to install the plugin please use my post about how to install WordPress plugins as a guide. Go to the search field and enter the search term IDXBroker.
2. Generate API Key
Next you will need to generate an API code to use the plugin on WordPress. Login to your dashboard on the IDXBroker.com page. In the navigation menu there is a link called API Control. Click on that link.
Then click New Key. This will generate a strange combination of letters, numbers and characters. Copy and paste this key.
3. Enter the API Key
The IDXBroker plugin will install under Settings in the left side navigation menu. Click on it to enter the API Key. Go to the Settings tab, enter you API key in the box and click Save. You are now ready to add MLS functions to your website!
Add MLS Search Pages
Now you can add in MLS search pages like a basic search, advanced search, zip code search and more. To do this you will need to login to your dashboard at IDX Broker and grab the links.
1. Locate the Links
Go back to the dashboard on IDX Broker and select the Designs button at the top of the page. Then click the Pages link in the navigation menu.
2. Get the Links
On the links page you will see links that have been generated by the IDX Broker team. Locate the link you want to use and click Link. A box will pop open with the link you will need to add to your website. Highlight the link and copy it.
3. Add the Page in WordPress
Now technically you won’t be creating a new page in WordPress for any page links. You will take the page link and create a menu item on your navigation menu. Go to Appearance–>Menus. Then click on Links. In the box with labeled URL enter in your link that you copied in step two. Then in the box labeled Link Text enter in the menu name like “Basic Search, Advanced Search, etc.” Then click Add to Menu. You can then drag the item where you want on the navigation menu. Finally click Save Menu at the bottom of the page.
You may also want to add widgets like a search or featured properties to your sidebars. To do this go to Appearance–>Widgets. Scroll down and find the widgets with the prefix IDX. These are the IDX widgets you can add to your website. To do that click on the widget you want to add and select which sidebar you want to add it too. Some themes have multiple sidebar options. Then click Add Widget.
You are all set to start marketing an MLS search on your website! By adding a simple MLS search you have the opportunity to generate leads from your website. The key is to market this feature on your website as much as you can! If you have questions about how to add more MLS pages or features to your website please reach out to me!