If you’re a web developer who is new to building real estate websites with IDX integration, this article is for you!
iHomefinder offers two types of accounts for IDX integration with websites – one option is made for WordPress websites and includes a WordPress plugin called Optima Express. The other option is for non-WordPress websites, such as Wix, Squarespace, and custom websites. This option is called Optima IDX. Both achieve the same end goal but use different technologies for the website platforms. We’ll compare these options so you understand the differences and then introduce some other account features that will help prepare you for a successful real estate website project using iHomefinder IDX.
WordPress IDX Integration
With our Optima Express plugin for WordPress, IDX content is added to a WordPress website using a combination of the following:
- Prebuilt IDX pages – just add links! Your website branding will automatically appear on your IDX pages.
- WordPress Widgets
- Embedded IDX content on pages and posts using Shortcodes
All IDX pages reside directly on the client’s domain and IDX content is optimized for search engine indexing.
Wix, Squarespace, and Custom Website IDX Integration
On non-WordPress websites, you’ll use Optima IDX to add IDX content using a combination of the following:
- Prebuilt IDX pages that you will link to or frame into your pages with iframes
There are 2 possible approaches for these sites and the specific platform will determine which approach is appropriate.
1) HTML branding
In this approach, you will upload your website header and footer HTML to your IDX account. Our system will apply this HTML to the IDX pages provided with the account. The IDX pages then appear as though they are on the same website since the website header and footer is present on the IDX pages.
When using this method, you can optionally request that your IDX pages reside on your website domain with a subdomain of your choice, such as idx.(your domain).com. This is often requested when clients wish to receive the SEO benefit from search engines indexing the IDX content.
This approach uses iframes to embed the provided IDX pages into pages you build on your site. Instead of adding links to the provided IDX pages, you will add links to the pages you build that contain the framed IDX pages.
Custom IDX Content
It’s generally a standard practice on real estate websites to provide listings organized by communities and any additional search criteria an agent or broker may wish to focus on, such as waterfront homes, horse properties, price ranges, and more.
Agents and brokers will often refer to these as saved searches or hot sheets. iHomefinder calls these “Markets” within our IDX accounts. You can create as many of these as you need in the IDX Control Panel provided with your account. Once created, these each have a unique URL that you can link to.
You can also embed this content in your own pages in a variety of ways. The methods for doing this are different for WordPress vs. non-WordPress websites. Step-by-step guides for creating Markets and adding them to your site can be found in the Setup and Quick Start guides provided above.
Customizing Listing Details
Agents and brokers enter their listings with photos and listing details in their MLS database which is external to iHomefinder. We receive the listing data via the IDX data feed that we receive from the MLS. Sometimes, agents or brokers may want to override the information that’s provided in the listing details when it appears on their website through the IDX data feed. We make this possible so the changes they make to the property details in their iHomefinder account will display on their website but the property details are unchanged in the MLS data.
Customizing the search experience
You will often want to customize the default center point and zoom when a property search map appears. You can easily do this in iHomefinder accounts so the map search experience is focused exactly where the agent or broker would like. This is also helps the map perform faster since a closer zoom setting will load fewer listings, so the map search experience feels fast and responsive.
You can also create multiple instances of map searches, each with their own default center point and zoom level. This is very handy when offering different search maps for different communities that are highlighted on a website.
Some agents and brokers may wish to exclude certain property types or price ranges from the search results on their website. This is also easily done so the search experience is focused on the property types and price ranges desired by the agent or broker.
Streamlining Setup for Accounts
If you find yourself doing a lot of website projects for real estate agents and brokers, consider joining our Reseller Partner Program which provides accounts at our wholesale pricing. You also get access to APIs and automation tools that save you time with your account setup and administration for your clients. If you’re looking to scale your website services for real estate professionals, visit our Partner Program page to learn more and get in touch!