How to Get a Free Real Estate Website that Captures Leads
In today’s real estate investing world, it is becoming more and more crucial to have a strong internet presence. And… in order to succeed online today, you need to have a functional and informative website as well as all of the most popular social media components in place.
You might think that all of these things would be expensive and hard to manage but you can literally get a powerful real estate website for free. Not only can you get a free real estate website, but you can set it up so that your entire online blogging and social media presence is managed from your site… and even automate a lot of your everyday mundane social media tasks like tweeting and posting updates on Facebook.
All this can be done with free stuff that anyone can download and use. If you set it all up correctly, your real estate site can compete with some of the major sites out there. In this series of articles, I am going to give you a run down of the basic set up process for setting up a powerful website that you can easily control and manage yourself. In this article I will explain how to get your actual website up and running for free using a system called WordPress and some simple add-ons.
First you have to have a domain name. This is your web address… like “YourSiteName.com”. I suggest buying domain names from a place like godaddy or anotehr service like it that is mainly just for buying and managing domain names. This way you have full ownership and control over your domain name. Once you buy your new domain name (also known as a URL or a web address or a “dot com”), you have to point it to a web host.
Choosing your web host is really the biggest decision after what the name of the site is. You don’t want to have to move it later. There are all sorts of free web hosting services out there and since this article is all about the free site setup I will tell you that… but, I do recommend actually buying a web hosting account from JensBeattyMedia.com simply so you can call us and ask us for help. It is $7.77 a month and it is the only thing I will mention in this article that actually costs anything.
If you want to find a free host elsewhere, just Google “free web hosting” and you will find a ton of them. Most of the time there are limitations or other weird stipulations to justify them being free. Some don’t guarantee “up-time” etc… but they are free. That is why I recommend actually paying for hosting. It is also one of the only things I actually charge for so please forgive the plug .
So, after your domain is pointing to your new server, you will want to install WordPress onto it. If you don’t know what WordPress is, it is a free piece of web software that allows you to edit and manage your web site’s content. It allows you to edit and add pages very easily without knowing HTML. It is super easy to use and it allows you to make changes to your site’s content yourself. Adding a page to your site using WordPress is almost as easy as sending an email or posting on Facebook.
So WordPress allows you to edit the text and pages on the site, but you can also install cool add-ons, like “themes” or “skins” and “plug-ins”. I will explain all of these things a bit more as I cover the next few steps. If you set all these pieces up the right way, you can create a powerful real estate website for free.
Once WordPress is set up, you can install “WordPress themes” to make your site’s look and layout different. There are tons of free WordPress themes out there and there are a few WordPress themes for real estate and real estate investors out there. For this setup… we will be using Leadtheme, the best free real estate WordPress theme of course. Download the Leadtheme WordPress theme for free and activate it on your new WordPress site. Leadtheme has a bunch of items that other themes don’t that make it great for a real estate web site. It allows you to edit your Facebook fan page and capture leads from Facebook as well as show your property listings on your real estate website and Facebook fan page. You can read about all of Leadtheme’s features here.
Once Leadtheme is installed and activated, you will install a free “WordPress plugin” called cForms. This will allow you to add forms to your site to collect information from your users… AKA “leads”. People will be able to visit your real estate website or Facebook fan page and fill out a form to send you their contact info if they are interested in your product or service. This is the one of the main reasons you have a website. A website is to not only to be read like a brochure, but it is also there to get you leads!
After you install the cForms plugin, you can import a set of pre-written forms that you can download from Leadtheme.com. All of the basic real estate website forms are in the Leadtheme form pack. You just follow the instructions for upload and it creates 9 real estate website forms with one click.
So now your real estate web site looks cool and you are ready to receive incoming leads… but you have no pages written on the site. Just download the Leadtheme content pack for real estate investors and it will build all of the basic pages needed for most real estate investor websites automatically. It will automatically pull in all of the forms you just created with the Leadtheme form pack and you will have a fully functional website with all the main pages that make up a real estate investor site. All of the pages and forms are all easily editable using WordPress so you can change all of the text to be more specific to your business.
That is basically all there is to it to set up a free real estate web site. Of course there is a level of technical know how needed, but if you need help you can ask questions in the Leadtheme.com forums or you can hire my company, Jens Beatty Media Productions, to set the whole thing up for next to nothing.
If you follow this series of articles I will explain how to take this basic WordPress web site setup and super charge it to compete with major sites just using FREE stuff from all over the internet! I will teach you how to manage your Facebook page, automatically send updates to Twitter, how to manage your on site SEO and how to set your site up for success.
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