Geek Build 2012 IDX Review #2 – Real Geeks

My interaction with IDX solutions has been an ongoing process for almost 20 years as a Real Estate company owner and as a Web Designer/SEO expert.  To clarify up front, I am not employed by Real Geeks nor by any other IDX company. I was an active Broker in Charge of my own Real Estate firm on the coast of North Carolina for 16 years. My firm acted as an Exclusive Buyer’s Agency, and therefore we had no listings, no inventory and no way to get in front of potential clients except the internet, print and word of mouth. I wasn’t a believer in print, especially without listings, so I turned to the internet. I had my first website built for a company I was with, and then in 2001 I launched my own real estate firm, Coastal Carolina Properties in Wilmington, NC. I used several different IDX solutions over the years, including a custom built one, Real Estate Webmasters and one more I can’t remember the name of.

In 2009 I made the decision to move to Hawaii where I launched a web design firm, One Wave Designs. Shortly after I changed my IDX solution to Real Geeks, mostly because I thought they had the best platform for SEO.  It made all of the difference. My traffic went from 10,000-12,000 visitors a month to over 40,000 visitors a month. And today we average 65,000 – 70,000visitors a month on that site. We also went from 140-150 leads a month at the time to today, where we average 1200-1400 leads a month. Please bear in mind that Wilmington has a population of under 100,000 in the city, and less than 300,000 in the entire metro area. I’m proud to say that the site generated over $20 million in closed sales in 2011, solely off of internet generated leads.

Although my web design firm builds many types of websites (real estate and non real estate), we also are contacted regularly by real estate companies and agents for help with their websites.   We currently maintaining 13 total active Real Estate websites for various companies and agents all over the United States, including Florida, New Mexico, South Carolina, California, Texas and a few other states. All of them use the Real Geeks solution, and since using it, none have made a change back to a different IDX solution. I, myself, have no intention of switching any time soon, if ever. And here’s some of the main (but not all) of the reasons I believe why…..

Pros of Real Geeks

  • SEO Friendly. There’s so many ways to utilize the types of pages and property features to be SEO friendly as well as many simple options to control pages and indexing properties and blogs.
  •  Simplicity – The sites run fast and are not bulky with extras that in reality most buyers and seller don’t use. Real Geeks was designed and built by Jeff Manson, a successful real estate broker and SEO Expert. I believe he built it knowing what buyers and sellers really want from a real estate site, and nothing more.
  • Reasonably priced. Their start-up fee and monthly hosting costs are very competitive.
  • Lead Management System – Although there are more robust systems out there, the Real Geeks LMS has enough options to cover just about anything. The reality is that most agents don’t use most of the features on any LMS, they tend to just buy into what they think will work best, but then never use it. The LMS in Real Geeks has more than enough options, but is simple enough not to lose you.
  • Lead Capture is simple and painless, not too intrusive or bulky.
  • Easy control of indexing options of pages and properties.
  • Fast support with issues if they arise.
  • Fast servers. I’ve never, not once, had a slow load time with their sites.

No, Real Geeks isn’t perfect. There are some flaws in it, but most are minimal and certainly not enough to get me to switch.

Flaws With Real Geeks

  • Minimal design choices. While they do offer several design choices, they are all very similar. This probably doesn’t pose a huge problem until you get several of them within the same area, and then it’s a noticeable issue.
  • Difficult to add in some of the extras when you do need them. Although I, personally don’t like them, because we manage over a dozen of them, some clients like to bulk up their sites with added “Modules” and such. Real Geeks limits your ability to add these mini-programs. I believe they do it to help keep their servers running a fast and smooth as  possible, but for someone who has programming abilities, I’d like to be able to add some simple things at times, like custom style 4sheets.
  • Their sign-up form doesn’t allow the potential client to indicate if they’re working with an agent already. This can sometimes cause an issue when a client is already working with an agent, but the LMS automatically sends the lead to another agent.
  • Lack of different menu options like drop downs.

All in all, I am very satisfied with the Real Geeks solution. For me, it’s the actual leads and SEO positioning that matter the most. I can say that when put into the proper hands, Real Geeks websites are normally in the top 3 of any area of real estate they are being used in. I recently launched a real estate site here in Honolulu, Aloha Hawaii Homes. Prior to switching to Real Geeks they had about 10 leads a month, we’re now averaging that every day, and that’s only 2 months into it.

Note from the Editor: Not sure what Geek Build 2012 is? It’s building a few real estate websites from scratch publicly with the help of the Geek Estate Community and overseen by an experienced steering committeeRead more about Geek Build 2012 here, or view all posts related to Geek Build 2012 here.

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

About Paul Coffman

Been building sites and SEO since 2004. The beautiful islands of Hawaii inspire our designs every day. President of One Wave Designs & Coastal Carolina Properties. Head of Marketing & Technology at Honolulu Real Estate.

This entry was posted in Cities, content marketing, Conversion, CRM, Featured, Geek Build 2012, General, IDX, Keyword Advertising, Lead Acquisition, Marketing, MLS, MLS Technology, Mobile, Search, SEO, Single Property, Websites and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.
  • Thanks for taking the time to post this. I have come to favor this solution over the past 2 weeks of research because of the SEO, simplicity in design, and ability to generate custom pages for areas, cities, and zips. It has a clean feel to it and the usability is very natural. I can tell what I’m supposed to do and what I’m supposed to click on to get the search to work the way I want it to. – I’m signed up for property updates from a Dallas agent on Real Geeks and it always includes 2 great links. New Listings. Price Changes.

    I share the same concern about the design choices and am weighing the merit of this point carefully. Jeff clearly built this solution to be fast and easy to use. He reminds us that the site is for the client, and not for the company/agent to show off with. Yes, you will likely have a very similar site to someone else in your area if you choose this solution and this is something that I need to explore further. There has to be room for some design customization outside of the search-specific parts of this product that won’t slow it down.

    Jeff demo’d the LMS for me last week, as I was particularly interested in this as a broker. At first glance, it looks easy to use and there are several ways to manage client interaction and agent productivity. You can add notes and reminders about clients and can schedule various email campaigns depending on your purpose and your individual customer preference. I also liked the ‘use as client’ feature , something that I could see using to help them better understand how to use the product to get relevant home search results and emails.

    • Jeffrey

      I am reviewing the alternatives for a new RE web site focused on PPC traffic. This is about 2 years since the latest comment, any current thoughts/changes about this? I have been looking at Kunversion as well, they seem to not have been on the short list, not sure if they are that new? thanks

  • Hey Paul, nice review!  I am really happy with my site and all the help Jeff and you have provided.  I think a lot of real estate agents tend to get caught up in all of the bells and whistles that are in the glossy presentations for web sites.  The problem is they can also slow down the speed a page loads and really don’t add much to conversions.  Folks come looking for homes and the Real Geeks solution delivers on that.  More stuff on a page sometimes just means more complicated and doesn’t mean more conversions.  The layouts of the Real Geeks solution is clean, loads fast and give the end user what they want.  What else could you want?

    • Paul Coffman

      Thanks John, I’m super happy you’re website has been a success for you. We are grateful for the business!

  • Paul Coffman, small world man. You showed my wife and I a few places when we were considering a move to Wilmington. I just found an email from you from October 2006. Obviously we landed in St Pete/Clearwater.

    Thanks for this review, it’s quite convincing. I haven’t spent a great deal of time with Real Geeks yet but I have noticed that it is lightning quick, even the maps. I like that a lot. I’ll be looking at it some more.

  • support

    Paul what was the IDX you were on just before converting to Real Geeks when you were producing 140-150 leads per month?

  • Paul, can you tell us how many transactions you closed in 2011 to make up that $20M in sales? Thanks!

  • Thanks for the kind words Paul! I would not consider myself an SEO expert, but I do try to stay up on what is going on in the SEO world. Our solution was designed to get out of the way so they can rank well and have a great user experience

    Google and the other search engines want their users to have the best experience, results and what they are looking for when they search for something. That is why they are putting more weight on site speed, bounce rate and user engagement plus user signals.

  • Pingback: American Dream Realty Real Geeks IDX Search Website Update()

  • Leilani

    Hi Paul. I am curious if you also paid for their Real Leads marketing service, or was your $20m in sales generated by the website strictly off using the integrated IDX system? Thanks!!

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