For the layperson…
An IDX is the Internet Data Exchange, and is how MLS listings end up on a website. Also known as Broker Reciprocity, IDX encompasses the policies, rules, and software that allow listings from the MLS database to be displayed publicly. Anytime you see properties on a website that came from an MLS, it was made possible through IDX.
In most cases when you visit a real estate website and initiate a search for a home for sale, the IDX facilitates the search and delivers search results drawn from the MLS. If you have ever seen the way MLS data is served up to the consumer versus an IDX, you will appreciate any real estate website that uses a quality IDX.
Some of my favorite IDX’s out there are from Diverse Solutions and IDX Broker. These IDX’s serve up the MLS data in an easy to understand format conducive to conversions. Conversions of course, is the primary reason to have a real estate website in the first place. Drive traffic to your website, invite them in for a search above the fold, deliver quality search results and use lead generation tools like forced registration to gather active leads.
The majority of your first time site visitors just want to search for a house and are not interested in photo’s with your dog or your mortgage calculator. So yes, have an accessible quality IDX is a must with any real estate website.
My primary reason for writing this article stems from recent social media chatter when comparing companies that design real estate websites. Many agents do not understand the difference between a service provider and and a website development company.
For instance, people will ask the question how does Virtual Results compare to IDX providers? VR is a web development and marketing company. We have been building real estate web sites for the past 9 years. We have containers(sites) that SEO well through our custom hybrid WordPress platforms along with our blogging and marketing support. We are not an IDX company but we can integrate any other IDX’s like Diverse Solutions, Displet, Boomtown, and IDX Broker Platinum within our sites. The majority of our clients come to us because while they may like a particular IDX, they hate the containers provided by the IDX companies and find we are the best solution in having a quality IDX and a website that rocks.
IDX companies are service providers. Lead generation companies like Boomtown, Market Leader, Top Producer and Tiger Leads have great real estate marketing services, and are also real estate marketing service providers, but in my opinion the containers(websites) holding this marketing technology was an afterthought.
You have to have a clean coded website designed for the majority that want to search for a house. You need this to be your foundation. Have calls to action(CTA’s) on the page. Use a WordPress platform. Choose a web design company that also specializes in real estate marketing like Virtual Results.
Virtual Results can implement any IDX and third-party marketing services. Enough Said.