Zillow Announces WordPress-Powered Sites for Real Estate Agents

This week Zillow launched what is soon to be one of the largest implementations of WordPress on the web. The Zillow blog already runs on WordPress and they will now be offering easy-to-use, WordPress-powered websites for real estate agents.

The cornerstone features of the new Premier Agent Websites include a free domain name, striking designs, and built-in IDX MLS search. The sites are offered at just $10/month and marketed towards busy real estate agents who have little time left over in the day to maintain a solid web presence as a base for customer relationships. This is a brilliant move on Zillow’s part, as these affordable websites are a product that will appeal to tens of thousands of agents. Current Zillow Premier Agent subscribers will receive a website for free.

Premier Agent Websites feature:

  • MLS property search through IDX
  • City/community/school pages
  • Personalized blog
  • Ability to display video
  • Ability to add custom pages and menus with dropdowns
  • 19 widgets and 7 widget-ready areas to put them in, including mortgage calculator, reviews, search by affordability and more
  • Home page slideshow for branding and/or featured listings
  • Optimized for SEO
  • Integrated with the Zillow CRM

Check out a few theme examples at ZillowPress.com:

Currently you can’t add any custom plugins as that would be a security nightmare and most agents don’t want to learn about using them anyway. However, the Zillow team is taking requests for additional features and will more than likely implement those that have the strongest mass appeal. Though the sites aren’t as customizable as hosting your own WordPress site, a huge selling point is that you own your own data and can export it at any time.

Zillow’s move to add WordPress-powered sites is another great example of a company using WordPress infrastructure to provide enterprise-class business sites and services. Zillow had 32 million unique users visiting their websites and mobile applications in April 2012 and this massive WordPress-powered network is bound to increase that number. The use of open source software is definitely on the rise and WordPress publishing integrated with Zillow’s powerhouse real estate marketplace seems like a recipe for success.

Comments (26)

    • Hey Dustin – Brad from Zillow here. The WordPress powered IDX sites are SEO friendly just like any WordPress powered blog. However, one key ingredient to the success of these sites and SEO is great quality content and a strategic online plan. We also provide that type of free training and support.

      • Brad,

        Glad to hear you’re offering training. I think that’s what bugs me site builders. They do not explain the reality of what a website does. Simply having one is not worth squat. With out SEO, quality content and continuous blogging, your site won’t do much. If you guys are promoting this reality and helping agents learn how.. then you rock! Congrats on taking the high road and not just selling them cheap useless websites.

      • Brad, I agree that SEO is a lot of work on the owners part but WordPress has great SEO potential and even basic SEO is being ignored that should be automated and usually is on most free WordPress themes.

        To name a few..

        The example sites completely lack META tags, and title tags on images.
        The calculators are iframed from Zillow and provide no real traction for the search engines.
        The Mortgage Rates sidebar link links to Zillow rather than the agents preferred lender or an internal page about local lenders.
        Page titles are rather than the preferred tags.

        I understand this is a new service so it has some things to iron out but you think some things like these may have been some decent requirements for a version 1.0.

  1. The raw function potential on the back end is enormous. Zillow has more real estate information, coupled with the tool bag and future additions, to absorb a major share of agent web sites. $10 a month? Chump change.

  2. I’m not thrilled with yet another site builder.. However.. at least they are using WordPress and should be able to incorporate good SEO options. I’d rather see WordPress than some BS outdated asp template with even less SEO ability. Of course.. these won’t do much for the agents unless they plan on working the site. That will be the real challenge. It will just be a bunch of half assed agent sites with little to know content unless they learn to blog and do SEO.

  3. Awesome! Now the Real Estate community can get excellent, robust websites for a very reasonable price. I’m a WordPress, MailChimp email and social media trainer I think by business will go up! People need to know how to work their sites don’t they?

  4. Is anyone in this discussion using this service?

    Are there any restrictions on plugins?

    Can custom themes be used and last but certainly not least is remote publishing enabled to allow for desktop updating clients such as Live Writer?

        • @Marketing DIY – Sure, I’d be happy to. There are some simple details as well as intermediate and advanced details. Stuff like SEO, IDX, WordPress Power, blogging content, strategies etc. I’ve created some free online training sessions where I’ll cover all the above, answer any and all questions, and provide detailed instructions, samples, and tutorials on anything and everything you’d ever want or need to know about these websites. All the information and links to register are available at zillow academy dot com. I also posted a Q&A forum above in response to Brant Powell’s comment.

  5. Wow, now every agent in the country can work for Zillow! You get to pay Zillow $10 a month for the privilege of sending all your clients to Zillow.com. Then other agents pay Zillow even more money to advertise to your clients. Then Zillow will send them to listing pages where selling agents paid Zillow to post their listings. What a deal! Maybe Zillow will give agents a discount when they all go out of business (or get cut out of it) and have to sell their own homes on Zillow. LOL

    • Hey Paul – Brad from Zillow here, just want to let you know that with all due respect, you have not researched any of your comment or claims above. This is not at all or even close to how the Premier Agent Websites work. If you’re interested in knowing the facts -vs- your speculations, I’m offering a free webinar today at 1pm PDT, and I hope you’ll join us so you can get, know, and understand the truth and the facts about these sites. Thanks :)

      • Sorry, I was felling a little pessimistic yesterday. ;-) This looks like a good deal for agents that just don’t have anything else. But there is a battle for eyeballs going on and the mere presence of the link at the bottom back to Zillow.com on thousands of these sites will ensure that search engines will always rank Zillow higher than competing agent sites in any market. These broker sites look good and have nice features, just not quite as nice or fully featured as the main Zillow site. The availability of this low cost option will also cut into the ability of other IDX providers to compete and will no doubt reduce their ability to keep costs low and add new features for agents that host their own sites. I’m not saying Zillow is the Darth Vader of real estate, but I’d be willing to bet that the hot shot marketing VP who proposed this idea had those side effects listed as benefits to Zillow on his PowerPoint the the CEO. We can admire and respect Zillow’s clever business moves while maintaining a cautious skepticism about the long term benefits to individual agents in one of the few businesses where individual agents still exist.

        • No worries Paul, apology accepted. These sites might not be best suited for the tech savvy computer guru agents that want to develop custom CSS formats, edit .php files, and manipulate custom HTML codes, but they are great for agents that want WordPress powered IDX fortified, SEO ready combo website/blogs. Also, have you seen them on a mobile device? :-)

          I looked for you in the webinar yesterday so I could share and answer ALL your questions and address ALL your concerns. I also would have pointed out that the link at the bottom to Zillow is optional and can be turned on or off with a simple single check mark in a box. I do hope to see you in some of the future FREE training sessions so that we can continue this conversation and so I can give you any help or assistance you may need.

          Have a great weekend and an awesome Father’s Day!

  6. This is actually a great initiative. Most agencies and companies spend hundreds and thousands developing systems to list and showcase properties. WordPress is great with search engines and already has tonnes of great features and plugins within its community. The integrations will be great. It will be interesting to see a working version.

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