By Ryan Ward | June 11, 2008
Do you want a way to turn up the heat for your marketing portfolio? I’ve designed a new WordPress theme that when combined with several readily available plugins allow for you to create a single property website that can make your listing presentation shine and greatly improve your ability to market listings. You can download them here:
Now let’s get to how these sites can help and what you can do to make the most out of them.
First, don’t use the property address for the URL. Use a broader term. The example I will use for this post is for a listing that I have in Sandy Springs. I searched for some terms that might be searched by consumers more frequently than the address. For this home, I decided to go for a search term that included the city and a relevant term – open houses.
OK so my point here is that you need to take a few minutes to pick your domain name because it’s possible that you could reuse the home and get organic search traffic. We do. In the last 30 days, this home has been found through various search terms 71 times. That may not seem like a lot when compared to what you may get for your main website, but, organic results can turbocharge your listing when others are not being shown at all. Below are the instructions from the readme file that comes with the theme. If you download this and have any questions, please use the comments section so others may possibly be helped by any troubel that you have. I will help any way that I can.
Single Property Website Theme – If you don’t read all of this before you start your first one, you are crazy!
***These instructions are very important for you to read so you don’t become frustrated and waste hours!
There are two page templates used in this theme; page.php and page-2.php
page.php (this is the default page) is used for the home page, photo gallery, virtual tour and map page.
page-2.php template is used for the “Property Description” page and the “Email A Friend” pages.
Go to “Settings” then “Permalinks” then select the box that says “Custom Structure”. Enter: /%postname%/ – This will change your URL stucture so that they are more human and search engine friendly
1. Upload your new theme to your themes folder and then select the theme.
2. Create Your pages.
A. Home – Use Default Template
B. Property Description – Use Page-2 Template
C. Photo Gallery – Use Default Template
D. Virtual Tour – Use Default Template
E. Map It – Use Default Template
F. Email A Friend – Use Page-2 Template
3. Go to “Settings”, “Reading” and select “A Static Page”
A. Select “Home” for your front page. Save Changes.
4. Delete the “About” page.
Your Single proeprty website theme should now have all of the pages except the subpages of additional virtual tours that you might want to include.
Upload all of the plugins to the plugins folder for WordPress and activate them. I have altered the style sheets in a few places to make them work better for the single property website. Make sure that you use the versions I am providing for everything to look correct when finished.
The exception will be the iimage panorama folder. This folder will go in the root directory (same place as your wp-content, wp-admin and wp-includes) are located. The iimage-panorama.php file will go into the plugins folder.
Please follow the directions for each plugin for proper usage.
You need to download a program to create your panoramas called Autostitch. Place it anywhere you want on your computer. Download it here: http://www.cs.ubc.ca/~mbrown/autostitch/autostitch.html. This program will take a set of photos that you took and figure out the order and create a panorama automatically. At that point, you will need to go in and crop out the outside edges.
Photos For the Website
The slideshow on the homepage has a set of photos (I wouldn’t recommend more than 15) that are 665 pixels wide by 400 pixels high.
The Photo gallery has photos that are 800 pixels wide by 600 pixels high.
When you set your photos up on you computer, make a “master folder”, a folder labled “slideshow”, a folder labeled “Photos” and a fourth folder labled “Panoramas”
To make it easier, copy the photos from your master folder; for the slideshow into the slideshow folder, your photo gallery folders into that folder and panorama photos into the panorama folder and edit them from there.
The NextGen Gallery will handle all of your photos ecept the panoramas virtual tours). You can find help here, but, I will try a quick tutorial: http://alexrabe.boelinger.com/wordpress-plugins/nextgen-gallery/
Slideshow on homepage:
For NexGen Gallery settings, go to gallery, options, slideshow
1. Change default size to 600 X 400
2. Uncheck shuffle mode
3. Change “duration time” to 3 seconds. Click update. You can play with these settings.
4. Go to “Gallery”. Uncheck “Integrate Slideshow”. Sort options, change to custom order.
Upload your edited “Slideshow photos” in your slideshow folder. Upload the whole folder into the “gallery” folder. You will need to first create a new “gallery” folder in wp-content. In your FTP you will create the new folder named “gallery” and upload the “slideshow” folder there.
Next, upload your photo gallery folder into the newly created “gallery” folder.
At this point, your website should have a prepared folder named gallery and your slideshow folder and photo gallery folder inside.
Go to your home page and add this code:
This piece of code will tell the NextGen Gallery to use a slideshow from gallery ID #1 (this could be different in yours, you need to see what number your gallery slideshow is) with a width of 665 and a height of 400. These are preconfigured to work correctly in the theme.
For your photo gallery, enter:[Gallery not found]
Again, the number 2 will change and correspond to what number your gallery is for the photos.
You can find the number for the gallery by going to “Gallery”, “Manage Gallery and looking at the left side to find the Gallery ID.
Now your files should be loaded and your theme should be installed as well.
There are a couple of things that you will need to do. In the theme, the file “right.php” contains the information you see in the right navigation bar. Edit the information tailored to your listing.The “header.php” file contains a place for name and phone number. Replace it with your information.
The panoramas that you can create for your virtual tour can be a bit more complicated to get to work based on the number of pictures you used and whether the autostitch program recognizes them to create a good panorama. This is your “Virtual tour” photo or photos. It will require some playing around to get them right, but, basically what you need to do is set up a tripod in a room that has even lighting all the way a round and take between 10-20 photos in a circle on the tripod. Once you have the photos, enter them into the autostitch program and let it do the work for you.
From here, I will assume it worked and you have a panorama of your room.
****The WordPress CMS will get confused and mess up the necessary code for your panorama to work right so be sure you are in html mode when working with the panorama.*****
For ease of use, upload your individual panorama pictures to your “galleries folder, but, do not put them in a folder.
The code for your panorama will be this:
<panorama width=”600″ height=”200″ start=”0″ speed=”0.2″ inside=”false” outside=”true” images=”true”>
<img src=”http://www.yourwebsite.com/wp-content/gallery/image.jpg” />
you can adjust the width and height as well as the speed at which the photo is rotating and where on the photo the image starts from “0″ to “360″.
You need to go here for detailed information if you are having problems with the panorama plugin: http://fredfred.net/skriker/index.php/iimage-panorama/
Map Page – This one is easy. Go to google maps and get a google account, http://maps.google.com/maps. Go to “My Maps” and create a map with a marker over the property address. you can do whatever you want in the info pop up window.Then embed that map into your site using the code provided by google.
Email a Friend Plugin
Go to the plugin and configure the plugin with the required SMTP information, etc… follow the directions from the plugin creator. This plugin was very tricky and messed with the theme terribly at first. Feel free to do something different with it, but, it should work ok the way it is.