We’re happy to announce we have just finished the Local Market Explorer WordPress plugin that creates “city pages” inside the WordPress interface.
While the most important feature of any agent or brokerage Web site is a robust search interface to find homes for sale, one of the questions home buyers — particularly those relocating — are trying to answer prior to looking at listings is “where should I live?” Home buyers spend an immense amount of time researching areas they are interested in living to get a better feel for the area. So, as an agent or broker, having that local information on your own Web site is a huge benefit to being a complete real estate resource for your clients throughout the buying process.
There are a number of great local real estate Web sites built entirely on top of WordPress. For example, Ines Ines Hegedus-Garcia’s Miamism, Heather Elias’ LoCO Musings, and Jim Duncan’s Real Central VA are three that do this. WordPress is a powerful platform that more and more agents and brokers seem to be utilizing by the day. As many of you know, Zillow is big on syndicating our data to other Web sites, so we’re naturally intrigued with anything that can help us with this effort. While widgets are easy to add to sidebars within WordPress, plugins provide added flexibility above and beyond the possibilities of widgets.
There are a couple of WordPress plugins built using the Zillow API, such as the CMA plugin built by Realivent, but this is our first official entry into the WordPress plugin game. We think there is huge value in adding real estate market information, but there’s even more value to bloggers if all the most relevant information consumers are looking at when researching places to live is included in their city pages — so we teamed with a few other companies who have complimentary datasets. The plugin pulls school data from Education.com, local amenity data from Yelp, photos from Flickr, and of course, real estate market statistics and recently sold information from the Zillow API.
Here are the modules currently included in the plugin, along with a sample screen shot for each one.
About (text editable by you) and Flickr Photos:
- You’ll need separate API keys for all the APIs, except for Education.com. The links to the API signup pages are accessible via the settings menu of the plugin.
- The plugin does not support neighborhoods or ZIP codes — yet. We plan to do that in version 2 of the plugin (already in the works).
- The Yelp, Walk Score, Market Activity, and About/Flickr modules can be turned on or off, and we’ll continue to add more flexibility to let you utilize this plugin in a variety of ways with future versions of this plugin.
If you’d like to see an example of the plugin, I’ve installed it on the Geek Estate Blog as a demo. Here are a few sample pages:
Once you install the plugin, how do you actually use the plugin? A couple possibilities:
- Whenever you mention one of your target markets in a blog post, you can link to the city page for that area
- Add links to the city pages to your sidebar. For example, if your target markets are Sammamish, Issaquah, and Redmond — below is sample code for your sidebar:
<p align=”center”><img src=”http://www.yoursite.com/wp-content/plugins/local-market-explorer/images/badges/120lmegraphorange.gif”></p> <ul> <li><a href=”http://www.yoursite.com/local/Sammamish/WA/”>Sammamish</a></li> <li><a href=”http://www.yoursite.com/local/Redmond/WA/”>Redmond</a></li> <li><a href=”http://www.yoursite.com/local/Issaquah/WA/”>Issaquah</a></li> </ul>
You can download the Local Market Explorer plugin here in the WordPress Plugin Directory. If you have questions, please check the FAQs.
The plugin was built by Jonathan Mabe and Andrew Mattie, both of whom have day jobs with Diverse Solutions (a member of the Zillow API program). I have to extend a huge thanks to them for their great work on this plugin.
For the WordPress bloggers out there — what do you think? Do you have any specific requests for the next version of this plugin? Perhaps more market data, a Twitter module, ability to automatically link to your local pages within blog posts, more flexibility to modify the sidebar widget, or a module that brings in data from Wikipedia? Please leave your feedback on this Zillow Advice thread or in the comments field below.