How To: Building a Real Estate Website – Part 3

Scott Costello All 5 Comments

WordPress Features Breakdown

Part 3 of How To:  Build a Real Estate Website will focus on WordPress 2.8 and it’s features.  I will run down what all the areas are and give you some tips along the way.  I will also outline some useful plugins that willl help you get started.

First things first, if you didn’t follow the last step in Part 2 please go to your site’s admin panel by browsing to

Http://www.<your domain>.com/wp-admin

There you will be asked to provide an email address plus your site’s title.  After that it will supply you with the site’s Admin name and an auto generated password that you will use to log into your Admin Panel.

Assuming you have done the above, browse to…

Http://www.<your domain>.com/wp-admin

…and enter in your Admin Name and Password.  Once you log in you will be asked if you would like to change your password.  I highly recommend you do so as the auto generated passwords are like this ‘@c*A48)yL&EV’ and if you try and remember that you WILL pop a blood vessel in your brain.

Dashboard
The dashboard is pretty much the summary area of your site.  It gives you a quick glance at number of posts, pages, categories and comments.  You’ll also be able to post a quick message, see recent post/page drafts and other various items.  Now to be honest I really only use the Dashboard for comment Approvals, and clearing out spam.  Otherwise I go directly to the area I want.

Posts
Posts refer to blog type content. If you were to continually provide updates to your site, like current market news or conditions you would probably want to use a post. I use posts for almost everything on my blog site, from the articles to product reviews to my blog posts.  I just prefer the way wordpress handles posts over pages because it allows me to display an easy list of articles, blog posts or what ever.

Add New Post: Expand the Posts section by clicking on the “Posts”.  Now you will see 4 subitems (Edit, Add New, Post Tags, Categories). Click “Add New” and you will see the new post page.  Here you can add a title, post content, Post tags and categories (along the right hand side) and any excerpts.  At this time don’t worry about the “Send Trackbacks” and “Custom Fields” section.

Tags: There are two ways to organize posts, tags and categories.  I’ll handle tags first.  Tags are used to describe the information in a post/page.  If you are familiar with building web pages it is the meta data and can help the post be found during browsing or searching.  For example if I would place the following tags about this article…

Wholesaling Real Estate (I want to attract wholesalers to this article)
Marketing (creating a squeeze page or company website is purely for marketing purposes)
Wordpress
HowTo
Beginners (this would be very attractive to newbie investors)
website
Webpage

..even though the article might not be about marketing or wholesaling, I want to attract people looking for those topics so I want tag them.  If you’ve ever seen a Tag cloud on a website/blog what you are seeing is just all the tags the author has used.  The more the tag has been used the larger the text size will be.  (wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tag_(metadata))

Categories: Categories on the other hand are more for organization.  For example, this article is a post that I placed in two categories.  The first being “Articles” and then into a subcategory called “Marketing”.  When you create a category and place a post into it you will notice it will appear as a sub menu for “Articles” on your home page.  Also since I place “Marketing” as a subcategory to “Articles”, you will see it as a sub menu of “Articles” (run your mouse over articles and see).

Media

This is where you store any pictures, audios or even videos.  Sure you can just link to other media hosted on other websites, but that is not always reliable and you never know when they will take them down.  I cool feature is if you upload an image to your library it will automatically create a thumbnail (150×150)  and a smaller size (300×200) image for you to use in your website.  It comes in handy when you want a preview of your article.

Links

This is where you store your links to other sites, articles or anything external links.  I don’t use these for much except for creating a blogroll or for a link page.  If I ever find a good use for them I will update this article and post an update.

Pages

Pages are good for static content such as About Pages, Contact me and Seller and buyer Squeeze pages.

Comments

To administrate your user’s comments you go here.  You can Add a new comment, Approve/Unapprove existing comments, Edit, Mark as Spam, even reply to comments in this section.  If you are only using your website as a squeeze page you will probably not use this section much.

Appearance

This is the nuts and bolts of wordpress.  You will select and modify your themes here.  This section is split up into Themes, Widgets, Editor, Add New Themes and Custom Header.

Themes: The two themes that they give you are pretty lame and you’ll probably want to hunt for new themes using the “Add New Theme” option.  This is an awesome new feature in wordpress 2.8 that allows you to search and add themes directly through the wordpress admin console.  In the past you’d have to find them yourself and upload the theme using an FTP client and then activate the theme manually.

For my squeeze pages I used one created by http://wp-saleslettertheme.com.  If I remember correctly i bought them for $17 bucks.  Here is the site I used them for Http://www.scottybuys.com

Widgets: The right side of the website has 2 columns that are full of items like Tag Clouds, Latest Posts, Recent Comments, Blogroll, Categories, Archives, and many other widgets that are supplied to you or you can download.  To get new widgets you’ll have to find a plugin that contains a widget.  After installing the plugin you will see a new widget appear in this section.  This is a very useful area but when creating a squeeze page you would probably want to get rid of these side columns.  The reason behind this is that when creating a squeeze page you want to give the user as few exit points as possible.  An exit point is a link to another page, site or something to take the users attention off of the page’s purpose.  It’s not easy to get rid of the columns in a wordpress blog though.  If you don’t select any widgets to fill the space wordpress will automatically place default widgets there.  The template from http://wp-saleslettertheme.com solves this problem, but you can also solve it yourself by modifying the php pages.  Not an easy thing to do if you are not confident in your programing skills.

Editor: You edit your theme’s php and css files here.  This section should only be used if you are an advance user or just like to mess around.  Be warned that you can easily mess up your entire site if you place invalid code into a file.  Make sure you back everything up before modifying the php or css files.

Add New Themes: WordPress offers this incredible tool to find and install new themes.  You can search by keyword, take a look at the Featured themes or browse the newest ones.  You can also filter the search results by Color, Number of Columns, width and subject.  You should not have any problems locating a theme of your liking.  As an added bonus these themes are all free!

Custom Header: When you install and use new themes they will provide you with a settings/setup type interface.  The default theme gives you the ability to customize the heading while some others will give you many more options.  I can’t possibly explain what all the other themes provide so you’ll just have to experiment.

Plugins

The plugins section is possibly the most dynamic part of wordpress.  You can pretty much find a plugin for anything you think of.  For a webpage it is very important to be able to track your visitors and other statistics such as page views, link clicks and bounce rate (rate at which a visitor will exit a website on the same page they entered).   Go to the Add New link under plugins and then click the Popular option.  You will find what you need here, I will outline a few of my favorite plugins…

All in One SEO PackSEO means Search Engine Optimization.  Wiki describes SEO “as an Internet marketing strategy, SEO considers how search engines work and what people search for. Optimizing a website primarily involves editing its content and HTML coding to both increase its relevance to specific keywords and to remove barriers to the indexing activities of search engines.”  The All in One SEO Pack will help you do this.

Google XML SitemapsSitemaps are important because it allows google and other search engines to easily navigate your site so it can determine what information you are presenting to your audiance.  This plugin provides one click sitemap creation.

Contact Form 7Creating a squeeze page will require your visitors to enter in information that you will record.  Contact Form 7 gives you a simple interface to create these forms and also setup an email that will be sent to you.  Great Tool!

Google Analytics for WordPressOne of the best ways to keep track of your sites statistics is by using Google Analytics.  It’s a free service offered by google that will track pretty much every statistic related to websites and visitors.  This plugin makes it a snap to setup your website for Google Analytics.

Those are, what I believe to be, the essentials for a website.   There may be others, but start out with these and then expand once you get comfortable with wordpress and how it works.  Once you have installed a plugin, you must Activate it before it will work.   Also another great feature of WordPress is that it will notify you when one of your plugins has an update and then all you have to do is click “Update”.  Easy!

Users

Unless you are setting up a membership type site, you won’t be using the Users.  It’s pretty self explanitory so I won’t go into details

Tools

I haven’t used these yet, so I can’t really explain them to well.

Settings

The settings section will contain options to help you fine toon your site.

General: Change things like Blog Title, Tagline (sub heading),  WordPress address (URL), Blog address, E-mail address you want notifications to be sent.  You can also make your site a membership site by checking the option “Anyone can register”.   Other options are for Date and Time settings.  You will most likely leave most of these as is except for the Title, Tagline and blog address if you have one.  I have my blog address as http://www.mysite.com/blog

Writing: Leave all these settings alone.  The only one you may want to change is the default Post Category from Uncategorized to some category that you’ve created.

Reading: This section deals with how your posts and pages will be displayed.  You can set the number of entries shown per page; display a summary or the full text; what your front page will show.  I kept this section set to the default

Discussion: Leave these as is, it deals with how comments are handled

Media: When up upload a picture this section is where you set the picture sizes for the Thumbnail, Medium size and large size representations of the image.  Feel free to modify these to your liking, I left them at the default.

Privacy: Only option here is to let search engines see your blog and index the posts.  Leave this option selected as you want the search engines to see your blog/site

Permalinks: By default WordPress uses web URLs which have question marks and lots of numbers in them, however WordPress offers you the ability to create a custom URL structure for your permalinks and archives. This can improve the aesthetics, usability, and forward-compatibility of your links.  I like to use the Month and name option as it makes it easy to read.

Miscellaneous: Leave these as is.

That’s it!  Hopefully this help clear some items up.  It is really straight forward and shouldn’t take you more then an hour to really figure out what is going on.  Play around with it and if you have any questions feel free to post a comment and ask me.

For more information and directions on wordpress go to Getting Started with WordPress

-Scott Costello

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Scott Costello

Scott is a part time wholesaler, but full time real estate investing addict! As his family grows and his free time shrinks,He has been slowing building his wholesaling business over the past 7 years in between life events.Drive, dedication and never giving up are his strengths.
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Comments 5

  1. Scott, thanks for putting this together. It helped me a lot in creating my site but now for the life of me I cannot figure out how to make my WP site a static one with a blog. I want the home page to be static and then have a blog on a separate page. So that “mydomain.com” is my static homepage and then “mydomain.com/blog” is where the blog posts are at. WP automatically puts all the blog posts on the home page and is driving me nuts!

  2. Luis,

    I'll have to look into it a bit more but here is what I do know. You can create a static home page by going into the “reading” link under “settings”. There you can change the front page to be a static page that you pick.

    To change the address of your blog, you can go to the “general” link under “settings” and you'll see there that you can change the address of your blog to be different from your front page address. I have mine at something like 'http://strugglinginvestor.com/blog. I think that should work for you, it's been awhile since I've setup mine, but let me know if the above doesn't work and I'll look into it more.

  3. Scott, thanks for the prompt reply.

    I figured it out, your answer is right it's just the option to make a the front page static was not showing up when I first installed it (I swear!). Anyway, I found a template that works pretty well but now I cannot figure out how to get rid of the dual “Home” page tabs on the navbar, any suggestions would be appreciated: lensproperties.com

  4. Hiya! Quick question that’s totally off topic. Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly? My website looks weird when viewing from my apple iphone. I’m
    trying to find a template or plugin that might be able to correct this issue.
    If you have any suggestions, please share. Thank you!

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