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Geek Build 2012 — Building a Local Real Estate Website from Scratch

Here at Geek Estate, we’re going to undertake a fun iniative in 2012, which will be called “Geek Build 2012” (maybe we’ll do this again next year). What is it? Building a local real estate website/blog (or several) from scratch, with all decisions voted on by the Geek Estate community. And documenting the entire journey here on Geek Estate.

Over the past few years speaking to agents all over the country, I often get asked how to build a local blog that consistently generates leads over time (and hint: it’s not easy nor is it fast). Rather than continue to field those questions one off, why not just build a local real estate blog from scratch — publicly? This is an idea I’ve been brewing in the back of my mind ever since I ran across the Million Dollar Blog Project. And then the comment thread on Daniel Beer’s a Brutally Honest Case Study turned the idea into a real initiative. If you so desire, you can follow along and build a site yourself. Of course, to do it yourself you’ll need the design and development skills (or money for them) — but we’ll get into all that later. First, let’s be clear what we are setting out to accomplish.

The Goal

Build a real estate website from the ground up, sourcing input from the tech-savvy Geek Estate community, with the following goals:

  • Maximize lead generation (signups, blog or IDX)
  • Maximize lead conversion (phone calls, requests for showings, specific property requests, track closings from site long-term)
  • Maximize time on site, page views/visit
  • Minimize bounce rate

How it Will Work

Let me start by saying I don’t want to finalize any details of Geek Build 2012 without the help of the Geek Estate community. There are some amazing talented individuals that follow this blog regularly, and I certainly want your feedback. After all, this project is owned by the entire community — not just me.

I’ve spoken about the Geek Build 2012 project with several individuals, including Daniel Bacon, as a result of the discussion on Daniel Beer’s post — and here’s what we’re thinking makes the most sense:

  • There will be between 2-5 actual local real estate sites built (or rebuilt).
  • Sites will be built on top of WordPress.org.
  • Everything from the branding to the domain name to the title tags to the design to the IDX solution to the calls to action to the the wireframe to the content strategy will be discussed publicly and all decisions will be voted on by the Geek Estate community.
  • There will be a steering committee that will make final decisions after reviewing all the feedback from the community. It will consist of several experienced technologists and at least two active real estate agents/brokers who make their primary living from selling real estate.
  • The development and design will be crowd sourced to the Geek Estate community (a few tech-savvy passionate participants, and who ever else is willing and able to help), and participants will be expected to pick up the cost of design or development that they cannot do themselves (or cannot be shared across all sites).

What We Need

  • Participants – so far, Daniel Bacon is the only confirmed participant who will be building a website. The details regarding what is required of a participant are not totally final — but unless you are able to handle both design and code yourself, there will likely be some cost to participating.
  • Coders/Designers – in a perfect world, we’d have one PHP/CSS person and one designer to volunteer some of their time to help on this project. Whether or not the right person is out there and willing to help? I’m not sure.
  • Steering Committee Members – if you’re interested in serving on the steering committee, shoot me an email with your qualifications and include a note as to why you want to participate. Update 2/7/2012: The steering committee has been announced here

**It’s probably goes without saying, but all participants, volunteers, and steering members will get proper recognition throughout this project – you’ll be in the spotlight

Want to get Involved

Leave a comment here, or email me at drew at esmexecdesigns dot com with the subject “Geek Build 2012”.

Look forward to hearing from you…this is going to be a very fun, collaborative process that we’ll undertake together over the coming weeks and months.

More updates to come soon!

Note from the Editor: View all posts related to Geek Build 2012 here.

**Geek Build logo designed by Dominic Morrocco at M Squared Real Estate.

About Drew Meyers

Founder of Geek Estate Blog / Geek Estate Labs. Zillow Alum. Travel addict & co-founder of Horizon. Social entrepreneurship & microfinance advocate. Fan of Red Hot Chili Peppers and Kiva.

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  • I am very interested on all levels. I am getting back into real estate after a 2 year layoff. I was in the mortgage industry, leaving that to venture out into internet marketing, but now I am feeling that itch to get back to list and sell.

    • My site is using wordpress and google really likes it.  This project seems interesting and will continue to come back for new developments

  • Aaron

    wouldn’t a content management sysetem(CMS) better match your goals?  Using wordpress seems like an unnatural fit.  

    • The SEO benefits of WordPress (when used properly) are unparalleled, but perhaps the best reason to use WordPress is the massive existing user base which makes future work from minor tweaks to larger development much more scalable.

    • google loves wordpress, they know that it will or should be updated on a regular basis. 

    • WordPress IS a content management system

  • I would very much be interested in participating in this.  Let me know what you might need from me in the interim. 

  • Drew, I’m in!  Love it.  I already sent you an email as well.  Hope all is well.

  • Great idea Drew, I will be following along and building my own site for our beautiful all American city, Springboro, Ohio.  Just bought a domain name  and will be ready to roll when you are!! I love Springboro Ohio! and love this idea!!

  • Now this will be worth watching… Let me know if I can help

  • Nice informative blog, thanks for sharing.

  • Tara

    I have a Coding/Technical background, though I left it and entered the Real Estate Marketing role with my family business (Big fan of Online Marketing). This idea sounds great, I’d be willing to share and contribute in any way I can!

  • I’m going to watch this one carefully, sounds interesting.  I hope I get some great ideas.

  • John S.

    Drew, I have a background as a counsultant specializing in information architecture and usability.  I have been an agent now for 7 years and own a small brokerage.  I have taken one site from scratch to page one of Google for some very competitive terms in a large market.  That being said, I’m kicking off another site and may be interested in taking it through this design and testing process.  I just contacted you via your web site with my info…..let’s discuss.

  • Great project Drew, I’m down to participate. I just passed the CA broker exam and am looking to go full steam into real estate. I am planning to set up shop in Redondo Beach. I have built many sites on WordPress and done a fair amount of internet marketing. I’m not good with writing code, but hopefully I can contribute.

  • Sbuster

    I like this idea. How much does it cost. I missed that part. I just got a web page and would like to see if it can be improved. Also could use some help with social networking. My web  site is http://www.sigbustercommercial.com. take a look and see if we can improve it.
    Thanks
    Sig

  • I just see this I will definitely help your for this. But I like you idea

  • Steve Hong

    This is exactly what I need. I’ll follow along and build mine alongside what’s happening here. Unless, of course, you would like to (re)build one of my sites 🙂

  • I would love to participate.

  • This is going to be great!

  • Drew, would love to participate!

  • Vicki Lloyd

    Hi Drew – I would love to participate, or watch.  Always more to learn about WordPress, SEO & web design!

  • I’d love to participate too!  The findings would be priceless.

  • Paul Barrow

    Hi Drew – I would like to participate.

  • Did you ever get a volunteer for php/css? I am currently researching for an Web Real Estate Platform im building for local/small/rental agencies. Found your site in the research and its been very useful. Wouldnt mind helping for further insight into my own projects.

    • Nope, we didn’t. Shoot me an email. drew at esmexecdesigns.com

  • subhash

    Great posting and very informative.

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