Like most agents or brokers who run their own websites, I’m always looking around to see what’s the latest and greatest in terms of website design, IDX, and related real estate tech tools. A couple of months ago I stumbled onto a broker’s website that had a very impressive IDX solution that I hadn’t seen before.
The first thing that grabbed me was the wide-screen map search. I’m a big believer in utilizing all available screen real estate (no pun intended), and this IDX search does that. I hate feeling “cramped” in a small map search, or on a small listing detail page. And if maps are not your thing, you can also display listings in list or grid format, which also utilize the full width of your screen. If it’s still not big enough for you, click “Full Screen” and you utilize the entire height of your screen, too. This provides what I think is a very immersive search experience for the visitor, devoid of superfluous menus or other distractions.
The search parameters can be refined by a panel on the left side of the map, with sliders for major filters, such as price, beds/baths and square footage.
When you do select a listing, you’ll notice that the listing detail pages are fully indexable, with search-engine-friendly URLs, title tags, H1 tags and meta descriptions. I found the listing detail pages to be clean and uncluttered with clear, highly-visible calls-to-action. There are IDX providers who offer map search products, and companies that offer indexable IDX products, but I haven’t seen many (if any) who integrate the two as seamlessly as these guys do.
Oh, I guess I should mention who “these guys” are. They’re a company called Onjax. I contacted them and received a demo from Brian LoPresto, managing partner, to learn more.
Another thing I think their system does well is lead capture. I’ve always hated the, well, “forceful” nature of forced registration. The way most IDX providers do it is throw up a dialogue box which renders the whole search useless unless the visitor registers. If the visitor isn’t ready to register yet, they just leave (or provide bogus info), since there’s nothing left they can do. Onjax uses a more elegant approach.
After a certain number of full listing detail views (chosen by you), the visitor is instead shown a limited detail view of any listing they attempt to view. The visitor is teased with partial details and thumbnails of available photos. If they want to see full details (including large photos), they’ll have to register. If they’re not ready to register, they can continue to use the search functions and view limited details. I think this will prevent visitors from bouncing from your site, instead keeping them engaged with the search where they will most likely eventually register.
The whole site, content pages and IDX search, is mobile-friendly. So, if you have a community or neighborhood page that includes informational text copy as well as embedded listings, visitors on mobile devices have access to the same content that desktop visitors see. This is far superior to IDX providers who redirect visitors to a search option that’s devoid of content and hosted on a different domain than your site. This is crucial for mobile SEO, which is too big of a market segment to ignore.
But Onjax is more than a website and IDX platform. It also includes a back-end CRM system. The CRM is still somewhat under development, so at this point it probably doesn’t do as much as some stand-alone CRM systems, but I’d say it does more than CRM systems that are bundled with most website/IDX solutions. It includes tools for lead distributions for teams and brokerages, and lead incubation once an agent has taken ownership of that lead. More features are coming down the pike, such as customizable action plans, which will make it more of a complete CRM product.
Another great selling point for brokerages is the fact that you can offer each of your agents their own site on the same platform. At the broker’s choice, they can opt to let each of their agents use their own domains, or use a subdomain of the broker’s.
You may be asking what it takes to add Onjax to your site. Well, you can’t really. It’s not a plugin or an iframed add-on. Instead, Onjax is a proprietary platform that includes the website CMS itself, IDX search and CRM. So, if you want to be your own webmaster, this might not be for you. Instead, it would compete more with complete packages like REW, RealGeeks, Myrsol, etc. Basically it’s for those want to spend their time doing real estate, rather than tweaking their own sites.
I have no connection with Onjax, and I’m not currently a customer, but I do find their system intriguing. My difficulty is my WordPress addiction. I’m constantly tweaking my site, and I like the freedom to do it on my own. Want a new look? Just get a new theme. Want a new feature? Just install a new plugin. I’d have a hard time giving that up. However, there is something to be said for letting tech folks handle your site, so real estate professionals can concertate on real estate (and on maintaining some semblance of a personal life). What do you think?