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Your CRE Site – WordPress & Themes

 

Clouds part. Angels sing. WordPress cometh . . .

I have been asked several times over the last few weeks about the setup of my site and how someone else could do it. So let me take a few minutes to let you know what I did and how you can do it for yourself.

 

Step 1 – Choose a Name

The first step for me was choosing the name of my site. Even before I started deciding whether to use WordPress.com, WordPress.org, Blogger, Google Sites, or any one of a half dozen other website platforms, I needed to decide what to call the site. I chose AtlantaPropertyJournal.com because it was easy to remember, broad enough to cover anything that interested CRE pros, and, most importantly, available for purchase. I will take you through the specifics of domain names and hosting elsewhere, but for now I just want you to know that I chose the name of my site before I ever considered a platform.

A Good Place to Start

 

Step 2 – Choose a host

Maybe I should have done more research into blogging platforms before this step, but I wanted to make sure I had a place to buy my domain name and host all of the security and warranty stuff. I happened to choose Bluehost for mine (they have been great), but I could just as easily gone with 1-and-1 or iPage or any of about 1000 other hosts. Almost all of them integrate well with a WordPress blog.

My Saving Grace

 

Step 3 – Install WordPress

The nice thing about Bluehost is that they have a control panel with software called “SimpleScripts” that allows you to customize and install things into your site. I simply ran the WordPress simple script and Bluehost installed it for me. I was then given a login page and asked to create a WordPress account. That took about 30 seconds. Once I confirmed my account through email, I was up and running with my new and secure WordPress Site.

So easy, a realtor could do it!

 

Step 4 – Customize

This is by far the most difficult and time-consuming part of the process. I created the site in about 15 minutes. I have been customizing it for more than a year. WordPress comes with a default “theme” and some goodies, but I wanted to make mine look customized. There have been volumes written about how to customize WordPress sites and I would recommend this one as one of my favorites. But, for the scope of this post, let me just talk about themes.

WordPress' Default Free Theme Last Year

A theme is basically just a way to tweak the appearance of your site. You can change the color scheme, site layout, text display, fonts, and pretty much anything else that has to do with the appearance of your site. This is extremely important because, as CRE pros know, layout and aesthetics matter. If the site is too “busy” or sloppy or confusing, no one is going to hang around and discover your brilliance. So you want to find a theme that fits your content, is nice to look at, stays simple, and displays your content well. In fact, that could be a good little checklist for you.

When looking at a theme for your WordPress CRE site ask yourself:

1) Does this site fit my content? Pink bunnies don’t jive with retail leasing trends. Make sure it is professional.

2) Is it nice to look at? Pretty straight forward. People don’t like looking at ugly stuff and if it caught your eye it will catches someone else’s.

3) Is it simple? If you throw too much on there, people will get distracted and the thrust of your content will be lost. I am guilty of this from time to time, so don’t think I’m preaching.

4) Does it display your content well? Since the content is the most important part of your site, make sure that it is well-displayed. Don’t let it be dominated by headers, links, or photographers. People will come to your site and stay there based on your content. Make it pop.

 

You can tear your hair out over how many columns to have, where to display your RSS feeds, and a dozen other minor tweaks. But if you get the theme right, you will have a step on the competition.

Where do you find themes? Great question.

As I get into customizing your site, I will explain more. For now, just know that there are literally thousands of themes to choose from. Some are free and some cost $20- $50. A good place to start is WordPress.org’s Free Theme Directory. There are 1500 free themes here for you to compare and answer the questions above.

My favorite paid themes (or “Premium” themes) are on ThemeForest.com and WooThemes.com. Both have thousands of great themes that make your site look more professional and improve its performance. If I had to recommend one premium theme, I would point you toward the Standard Theme by 8bit.io. I know the head of 8bit. He is a stud and so is his product. Check it out.

So that’s my quick and dirty WordPress and themes intro for all of you who are looking to build your own CRE site. I will follow up with a series of more in-depth discussions on customizing and optimizing WordPress and its themes. For now, hit me up in the comments!

– Duke

  1. John Saddington
    John SaddingtonMay 21, 2012

    thanks for the link love!

    • ATLPropJournal
      ATLPropJournalMay 22, 2012

       Thanks for making a killer product worth recommending!

  2. geekfori
    geekforiMay 22, 2012

    Standard is the only theme out there for WordPress! I honestly mean that. I don’t see myself ever going away from it.

    • ATLPropJournal
      ATLPropJournalMay 22, 2012

       I’ve only used it a few times, but it seems like there are fewer bugs than any other theme I have used and it just seems more intuitive for beginners.

      • geekfori
        geekforiMay 22, 2012

        I would agree totally, and as a advanced user the core is so sound it is worth every penny. I recommend this to all of my clients needing new facelifts.

        • ATLPropJournal
          ATLPropJournalMay 22, 2012

          Thanks for the feedback! Let me know you’re Twitter and you’ll have another follower by the end of the day!
           

          • Geekfori
            GeekforiMay 22, 2012

            I am @matthewfsnider:twitter  or @geekfori:twitter 

            • ATLPropJournal
              ATLPropJournalMay 22, 2012

                . . . followed.

              Best!

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