By David Conroy, MAR IT Manager
Your website has its own domain name and you’ve chosen a web host, so now how do you create content on the site and have it look professional?
Using a Content Management System
A Content Management System (CMS) is a software package for creating and managing your web content. It allows you to easily add content, change design, add/manage user accounts, and much more. When choosing a CMS, it is recommended that you ask yourself the following questions. Does the CMS:
•install quickly and easily?
•have free templates that are easy to maintain and configure?
•have an easy-to-use administration interface?
•have well-developed extensions for further personalization?
For beginners, Wordpress.org’s CMS would be most suitable simply for its famous “Five Minute Install,” ease of customization, and helpful user community. Additional popular content management systems, as well as some other useful (and free) resources, are listed below.
Make It Look Professional
With the right CMS installed, you can easily create a professional-looking website. Wordpress alone has over a thousand different themes that can be applied to your site with just a few clicks. In addition to personalized themes, many of the CMSs have extensions and plug-ins that can give your site a more personalized look while at the same time adding extra functionality. Also, there are plugins specifically built for Realtors® to help display and manage information about their listings.
Finding Content to Post
There are numerous sites where you can download free information to post on your website. When you are determining content for your site, choose useful, timely information that will aid consumers in the purchase or sale of a home. Experts in the field post blogs, newsletters, and statistical reports to which you can subscribe to receive regular information. Here are just a few sites that have great content to consider:
A great place to start your research is at marealtor.com. New content is uploaded on a daily basis for use by our members. With frequent webinars and podcasts, state and national housing numbers, and the latest on all legislation that would be of interest to Realtors®, marealtor.com is a priceless source of information.
Marealtor.com’s Housing and Research Data section hosts homebuyer and seller survey reports, property tax information, and trends. Its Government Affairs section has detailed information for members and consumers on the
Homebuyer Tax Credit, including a downloadable brochure that can be posted to your site. And the Consumer Resources section houses information for both buyers and sellers in preparing their home to sell.
HouseLogic is the National Association of Realtors® new consumer website. The goal of this site is to help Realtor® members establish a relationship with consumers and extend the Realtor® brand beyond real estate transactions to the full lifecycle of homeownership.
If you visit HouseLogic’s Realtor® Content Resource page, you can find prepackaged content available only to members that you can use for your website and other marketing campaigns like direct or electronic mail. Examples of content you will find on this page are tips on replacing old windows with energy-efficient models, and top five contractor scams and how to avoid them.
Another tool that is perfect for beginner website creators is RSS. RSS is just an acronym for Really Simple Syndication. One of its main uses is to allow users to receive timely updates and headlines from their favorite websites all in one place. However, another great use of RSS feeds for a web designer is to use them to automatically keep their sites up-to-date and filled with fresh and relevant content.
For example, if you were to add NAR’s Research Headline feed (included) to your website, it would automatically update your site with their content every time they posted a new story. Organizing your website utilizing these RSS feeds is a solid way to ensure that there is always something new for your users to see each time they visit your page. I’ve included some examples of useful feeds that could be used by any Real Estate website, including the latest from NAR’s Realtor® Magazine, the New York Times, and Wall Street Journal Real Estate News.
Look for Part Three of this series in the next issue of Bay State REALTOR. To view Part One click here. Part three will discuss how to market your website/blog and how social media can help you.
CONTENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS
Latest From Realtor® Magazine:
NyTimes Real Estate News: