Why an Alternative to IDX and WordPress is Needed for Real Estate Websites
There is a prevailing assumption that WordPress and the host of third-party IDX feed plugins is the best way to build real estate websites. I’d like to change that opinion.
Seriously?!!? What year is it? 2014?
First, let’s discuss why WordPress is an issue for Real Estate.
WordPress is a bloated, legacy program that suffers from its own success. It continually gets modified to do more and more things that it wasn’t initially designed to do. This constant expansion makes the security surface area of WordPress enormous. Add in third-party plugins and WordPress truly becomes an overly complex and vulnerable system that is tough to manage, scale and keep secure.
The popularity of WordPress coupled with its vulnerabilities makes it a great target for hackers.
In fact, WordPress is the most hacked CMS system on the market and accounted for 90% of all hacked websites in 2018 according to Sucuri. Source
Much of the security vulnerabilities arise from the third-party plugins. This community of plugins is often celebrated as a reason to use WordPress when in reality it is where much of the problems come from.
Inexperienced developers love the large audience WordPress affords them and they can see it as an opportunity to make money. Realizing the customer base using WordPress will have a hard time vetting the quality of their plugins they focus on aesthetics and not of functionality, stability or security.
It becomes tough to determine which are good WordPress plugins and which are not.
Lastly, keeping all these plugins and themes up to date becomes a difficult task for the average real estate agent or brokerage. The overall cost of even using free plugins can be enormous when the maintenance of the system comes to light.
Basically using WordPress for real estate websites is a fight against the defaults and we haven’t even gotten to showcasing MLS data yet!!
MLS data needs a major change to help real estate out.
For nearly two decades RETS was the gold standard for real estate data transfers.
Created in 1999 to address decentralization in the real estate industry, RETS has conformed real estate data structures and transfers across the 700+ MLS in the United States.
RETS is the reason electronic property listings look pretty much the same everywhere. It’s also the reason technology providers, like Realtyna, are able to service clients across the country.
RETS greatly reduced the coding necessary to connect to an MLS and spawned an entire IDX industry.
HOW RETS WORKS
In practice, RETS allows those with an MLS connection to download the entire listing database to their local servers. Regular updates then synchronize any difference between the local database and the MLS database.
The system works well and has provided the backbone to the real estate technology industry for years. But this local database requirement comes with some tradeoffs.
First, it costs money. Hosting an entire MLS’s worth of listings can require 100 GB or more of disk space. Also, there are security costs for MLSs to have duplicates of their data scattered around the web.
Unfortunately, this search is often contained in an iFrame. You get what you pay for!
Essentially, the iFrame opens a window on your site to the search tool.
There is at least two major drawbacks to using iFrames. They don’t allow you to customize that content, and SEO benefits are mitigated.
RESO Web API Intro
So what is RESO Web API? And what is the difference between RESO Web API and RETS?
Like RETS, RESO Web API is designed to streamline real estate transactions. It provides a methodology for connections to MLS, so agents and brokers can have access to robust property search features.
But RESO Web API also is designed to address the tradeoffs in RETS. Specifically, it aims to limit local hosting to lower costs and increase security.
How RESO Web API Works
RESO Web API is an API, or application programming interface. This technology change allows software to call MLS databases directly.
Consider the example of a client running a property search on your website. Under RETS, that search would query a duplicate database on your servers and return results. Under RESO Web API, the search would query the MLS database on the MLS servers, completely eliminating the need for local hosting.
But this is not the only change with RESO Web API. The new standard also is based on OData, a global technology protocol. This gives developers a familiar platform from which to build and publish new real estate data products. And it should help push the real estate industry deeper into mobile and social applications.
Put simply using a RESO Web API offers way more security, stability and flexibility for showcasing MLS data on a real estate website.
WebriQ Goes Mad Saves The Day!
Waiting on your local MLS may be awhile. With 720 MLS databases out there, it will take a while before the majority of them have converted all their IDX Feeds over to Reso Standards.
WebriQ goes Mad can implement a RESO WEB API for your MLS listings. With this API, your website can control all data coming from the MLS listings you have access to and build a powerful search system to give your visitors an amazing experience as they hunt on your website for their next home.
Brokerages are the biggest benefactors when it comes to making IDX feeds RESO-compliant. It makes it easier for brokers to collect and distribute information from multiple MLSs to their website and mobile apps.
This saves them both time and money; plus, it allows brokers — and their technology partners — to expand into new markets more quickly. Standards really take care of the “heavy lifting” of data transport and brokers reap these rewards almost immediately.
Add in our experience building and deploying custom websites and apps that are wicked fast, extremely stable and secure and it is a game changer to the real estate industry.
WebriQ goes Mad designs and develops websites That Engage, Build Trust, and Work!
All our Mad Services for real estate are centered around 7 key elements that will ensure you a working website throughout the entire lifetime of your real estate business.
- Above-Average Project Management and Customer Service
- Custom made, Mobile First, Clean and User-Friendly Website Design
- Strong Grasp of Computer Codes and Scripts
- Fool-Proof Hosting and Security Service
- Search-Engine Friendly Website
- Unlimited Changes — Never feel nickel and dimed again!
- The best way to showcase MLS data today.
All the above for an affordable fixed monthly price.