Adding MLS Search to your WordPress Website
In this article, I am going to go over a few easy steps for adding an MLS search to your WordPress (or any) website .
Step 1 — Choosing the Technology
The first step to take is to decide which IDX technology to choose. The term IDX is the short form for Internet Data Exchange and refers to the process of transferring property listings from an MLS database to your website. So, choosing the right technology is extremely important since it can affect other parts of your site. There are three primary methods for adding listings. The first is IDX framing technology, which is cheap but limits your website’s search engine visibility, saps your SEO and makes it more difficult to make changes because the results are being pulled in from your providers server. The second is there are some IDX providers that mirror the MLS database and give you a plugin or module to display the results on your website. The newest of the three methods is using RETS if your MLS supports this then you can pull the results in and display them in any format you want. Which technology you choose to use normally depends on what resources you have available. If you have a full time developer you might choose RETS, but if you’re a small shop and just want a way for your clients to see and browse your listings then an IFRAME might be for you!
Step 2 — Choosing the Provider
Once you have chosen the right technology, it is time to start looking into IDX providers. Below are the two largest and most reliable IDX brokers at the time of this writing. The both offer the second version of the technology where you are given a plugin or module and the results are displayed on your website. Feel free to drop you favorite in the comments and tell me why they are better!
IDX broker is probably the largest provider out there. They have agent plans from $50-$80 dollars with large packages available
Pricing for IDX Broker
iHomefinder offers similar options to IDX broker, their lowest tier does not have quite as many features, but as your progress to the more expensive options many people prefer it.
Our Optima Express WordPress plugin is used for WordPress sites or blogs. This adds the IDX pages and other IDX features directly on the client’s domain. No framing is used, and a subdomain is not required.
Shortcode and widgets can also be used to add various features throughout the clients own WordPress pages and posts. For example, our Eureka map search can be added to any page or post using shortcode, and each instance can be set up with a different default location and zoom level. Likewise, saved searches (we call them Markets) created by an agent or their developer can be directly embedded on their WordPress custom pages or posts this way.
Directly embedding the IDX content provides great SEO benefit since custom pages can be optimized however a client wants to support an SEO strategy. The IDX content that’s directly on those pages will be indexed by search engines (our IDX content is optimized for search engines to index).
Websites Not Using WordPress
For websites not using WordPress, there are 2 choices:
- HTML wrapper integration — this method allows developers to apply an HTML wrapper to the IDX pages. They can apply a universal wrapper or apply page-specific wrappers if needed. A wrapper would include their website page content that surrounds our IDX content (such as branding and navigation elements).
- The provided IDX pages in this case can reside on a subdomain of the client’s website, so their domain gets the SEO benefit of search engines indexing the IDX content. This is free configuration option clients can request. If this is not requested, the IDX pages reside on a domain we host.
- Framing — this method uses iframes to embed our IDX page content on the clients website pages
https://homeyrealtors.com/homes-for-sale-search/ — Standard Search $49.95/month
https://3creeksrealestate.com/homes-for-sale-search/ — Premium Search $84.95/month
https://homebeaconrealty.com/property-search/ — Premium Search $84.95/month
Pricing for iHomefinder
Step 3 — Installing a Plugin
Once you have purchased the package from your IDX provider, the company will provide you with the correct and instructions to install on your website. This is usually as simple as installing the plugin and placing short codes on the pages where you want the results to appear.
Place this short code anywhere and you will get a search box.
Example Shortcode: [idx-omnibar styles=”1" extra=”0" min_price=”0" ]
Or you could use another to actually display a page of results. These short codes are configurable with different parameters depending on how you want them to display.
Example Shortcode: [impress_city_links mls=”a187" city_list=”a187" use_columns=”1" number_columns=”4" styles=”1" show_count=”1" new_window=”0" ]
Example parameters to get different behaviors:
• city_list=”(string)” — id number of city list, defaults to combinedActiveMLS
• mls=”(string)” — idxID (MLS ID), defaults to demo a000
• use_columns=”(bool)” — defaults to true if omitted
• number_columns=”(int)” — 2 to 4, defaults to 4
Step 4 — Connecting to RETS/Create iFrame
If you are using a provider that has an iframe, then all you will have to do is copy and paste the iframe code into the page you want to display your results. It should look something like that.
<iframe src=”YOUR LANDING PAGE URL HERE” style=”width: 100vw; height:100vh; position: fixed; top: 0; left:0; z-index: 500;”></iframe>
If you are using the newer system called RETS (Real Estate Transaction Standard), you will need to connect a plugin to MLS RETS database or have a developer parse the information and display the results. Not all MSL providers support RETS but if they do, they will just login credentials which are then used to import listings to your website. Contact your MLS and they can put you in touch with someone that can answer this question.
Step 5 — Configuring Your Feed
When using iframing, there is not much need or room for configuration because everything is preset on their end. If you need any changes made, you will have to contact your provider. If you are using the plugin or RETS where the results are displayed on your site then you can completely configure the feed. This can be done by mapping the fields and property types you want to display in your listings and applying CSS.
Step 6 — Adding Widgets
Finally, you can add custom widgets to your website in order to make the UX better. A good example of a widget to be applied to listings includes add favorite or featured property functions to a side bar. Widgets also allow you to configure your agents or search bar from the widget panel. This helps give a touch of personalization.
And that is how you add MLS search to your WordPress website working in the real estate industry! If you need any help or just have any questions feel free to reach out to me.