Some people say it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert.
How much time do you have?
Honestly, I respect the DIY mentality. Personally, I’m a “I’ll change my own damn oil” kind of guy. Except when it cuts into business time and I need it done now. Of course, I don’t need an oil changing “expert” to change my oil.
Ultimately, I highly recommend you have a professional company build your real estate website. I used to offer real estate websites through my services, but a high quality site would cost you thousands of dollars and I can’t compete with the cost and quality of Agent Evolution. They make beautiful, functional websites for only $399 or completely manage and host them for $99/month after a $299 setup fee. I just can’t compete with their value from the web building standpoint. Website building was always a means to an end with me and I’m happy to get it off my plate so I can stick with what I really do best, which is inbound marketing.
So if you’re bootstrapping your own Real Estate brand, or you still just want to get down and dirty, here are some of the DIY tools I recommend. I have used all of these myself at one point or another and still use any of these tools or services that I can’t handle by myself. Some of these recommendations do have affiliate links. By using them I will receive a commission on any sales, but the cost will be the same.
WordPress.com is a great place for individual agents wanting to build their personal brand for free. While there are premium options, a basic blog from WordPress.com will allow you to begin creating content for free which can later be transferred to your own website. Spend the 20 bucks per year on your own domain just so that audience and search engine credibility you’ve been building up can be transferred when you grow and get to writing about real estate. While it does have severe limitations from a business perspective, it’s great for the person just getting started and you should be up and running within 10 minutes.
WordPress.org is an open-source content management system that will enable you to build completely customized and dynamic websites at a fraction of the cost of proprietary content management systems. You will have complete ownership of the site, but you will need to have your own hosting and domain. The management of WordPress.org is almost the same as WordPress.com, only there are no restrictions. If you need a developer to dig into the code and make a change, there’s no issue here. There are no legal restrictions with business uses, copyrights, anything else that WordPress.com restricts you from doing.
My general recommendation for a hosting provider is A2 Hosting. They have cheap beginner packages that suit the needs of most websites and can easily be scaled up as your site grows. I’ve tried the other big name, like “big blue animal” and “the hot race car chick” companies and I will never go back. A2’s customer support is incredibly fast and professional and they have additional tools that make your site safer and faster than many other servers. There are some other really great hosting companies out there, but I haven’t found one that provides better service and performance at their low costs.
I’ve already recommended Agent Evolution to build your site, and I’ll recommend them again for your theme. They simply have the best IDX integration and designs on the market. For me to build out their IDX integration would cost thousands of dollars. As a division of IDX Broker, they are truly connected to the heart of internet real estate. The volume of websites they build allows them to build a quality product reusing their own tools in a way no one else can right now. You’ll need to get the Equity Framework and then a child theme of your choice, which together will run you about $100 upfront and $50/year. Of course there are other WordPress themes out there, but none that I’ve found that will smoothly integrate with IDX tools without hiring a developer who will cost more than having Agent Evolution build the site for you.