This no-nonsense, step-by-step guide will show you how to add a WordPress blog to an existing real estate website. It covers the installation process, WordPress themes and plugins, and more.
Note: Most of this tutorial applies to real estate professionals who have an existing website that’s not powered by WordPress and want to add a blog as an extension to that site. If you’re planning to use WordPress to power your entire real estate website, skip ahead to this section.
Adding a WordPress Blog to a Real Estate Website
There are basically two ways to add WordPress onto an existing site. I’ve summarized both options below, but I would highly recommend using the second option:
Option 1: Manual / Self Installation
- Involves uploading WordPress files to your server via FTP.
- Requires creating a MySQL database and editing the “wp-config.php” file.
- Provides full control over the installation process.
- Ideal for users with some technical knowledge and specific preferences.
Option 2: Hosting Company Installation
- The web hosting company handles the entire WordPress installation.
- Simplifies the process for those who prefer a hands-off approach.
- May be included as a service with hosting packages or offered for an additional fee.
- Suitable for users who want a hassle-free setup but have limited technical skills.
Most real estate professionals who want to add a WordPress blog to their existing real estate websites should use option #2. The first option requires some knowledge of HTML / website coding, so it’s best left to experienced developers.
The hosting company option, on the other hand, can be completed in a matter of minutes. These days, most major hosting companies offer some kind of “auto-installer” to help their customers install WordPress.
The auto-installer process usually work like this:
- Log in to your web hosting control panel.
- Locate the WordPress auto-installer.
- Click on the “Install WordPress” button.
- Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the installation.
Here’s an even easier method. Contact your website hosting company and ask them to do the WordPress installation for you. I’m sure they’ll be happy to help.
Here’s a script to get you started:
“I want to install the WordPress blogging program as an extension of my existing real estate website, [www.yourwebsitehere.com]. I’d like to install it into a subdirectory called ‘blog,’ so that it can be found at [www.yourwebsitehere.com/blog/]. Can you assist me with this?”
Choosing a Subdirectory for Your Blog
Whether you handle the installation for yourself, or better yet, have your hosting company do it, you need to understand the concept of subdirectories. This applies to anyone who is adding a WordPress blog onto a pre-existing real estate website.
Your hosting company will ask where you want to install WordPress. But what they’re really asking is: What would you like to name the subdirectory (or subfolder) where the WordPress files will be installed?
A subdirectory is basically a folder within a folder. For instance, if you have a website located at www.example.com, you could create a “blog” subdirectory to house all of your WordPress files. Once WordPress is installed into the new subdirectory, it will become an extension of the website.
People would be able to find the blog by visiting www.example.com/blog. By extension, an article published onto the blog would have a URL like this: www.example.com/blog/the-title-of-my-article/.
The name of the subdirectory will show up in the URL / website address for all of your blog posts. So keep that in mind when deciding what to call it. For example, if I give my WordPress subdirectory the name “articles” and publish a home price update article, it would look something like this:
You can give your WordPress subdirectory any name you want. My advice is to take your time and get it right the first time. It’s not something you can easily change.
Here are some naming ideas for a real estate blog subdirectory: articles, insights, updates, newsroom, advice, market, trends, etc.
Hosting Multiple Blogs on the Same Site
You could also create multiple WordPress blogs on an existing real estate website. Of course, you’ll have more “stuff” to manage, including multiple logins, passwords, security measures, etc. But it can be done. To do this, you would simply repeat the process outlined above.
For example, a real estate company might want to create one WordPress installation to contain their property listings, and a second WordPress install for their market reports and articles. In this kind of “multi-blog” scenario, the subdirectories and URLs might look like this:
As you can see, this requires some planning and forethought. Adding a WordPress blog to an existing real estate website is fairly simple, especially if your hosting company handles it for you. But renaming a subdirectory is a lot more complicated. It requires some coding and database changes.
The best-case scenario: take your time, think it through, and nail it the first time.
Installing and Customizing Your Theme
Once you have your WordPress blog installed on your real estate website, you’ll want to customize the blog’s appearance so that it matches the main website. At a minimum, you want to carry over the basic branding elements (color and logo) to make the whole site consistent for visitors.
In some case, there might be a specific reason for making the main website and the blog look different. If you’re using the blog to create a real estate magazine or news site, for instance, it might need to have its own logo and branding. But in most cases, the basic design elements should remain consistent sitewide.
To accomplish this, you’ll need to install and customize a “theme” for your new blog.
A WordPress theme is a collection of files that determine the appearance and functionality of a WordPress website. Themes control the layout, design, typography, and color scheme of a website, as well as some of its features.
The good news is, you can install a theme at the click of a button—literally. After that, you can customize certain aspects of the theme such as the color scheme and logo. You can do all of this with no coding experience whatsoever.
Some WordPress themes are designed specifically for real estate blogs and websites. Others are more generic in nature and can be used for any type of business, including real estate.
Many WordPress themes are free, but the best ones typically charge a one-time licensing fee somewhere between $49 and $99. You can get a highly sophisticated theme within this price range.
WordPress themes simplify the design process so that anyone can make basic changes to their website. You don’t have to write any code or hire a designer. (Though you might need some professional help for more advanced changes and customization.)
The installation and customization process can vary slightly from one theme to the next. But for most of them, the basic steps are as follows:
Installing a WordPress theme
- Log in to your WordPress dashboard.
- Go to Appearance > Themes.
- Click on Add New.
- Browse the WordPress theme directory or upload a theme from your computer.
- Click on Install.
- Once the theme is installed, click on Activate.
Customizing a WordPress theme
- Go to Appearance > Customize.
- You will see a live preview of your website on the right side of the screen.
- On the left side of the screen, you will see a list of customization options.
- Click on an option to customize it.
- Make your changes and click on Publish.
You can also customize your WordPress theme by editing the theme files directly. But I wouldn’t recommend this unless you are familiar with CSS and PHP.
Where to Find Real Estate WordPress Themes
When it comes to choosing a WordPress theme for your new blog, you have a dizzying array of options. You’ll find thousands of free options in the WordPress theme directory. You can also shop for a theme through a marketplace like Themeforest.net, my personal favorite.
On Themeforest.net, you can sort the products by category to find themes that are designed specifically for real estate websites. But you could also choose a general “business” or “corporate” theme and modify it as needed to serve as your real estate blog.
When shopping for a WordPress theme, don’t get hung up on the colors or graphics shown in the demo version. You can easily change all of those elements once you add the WordPress blog to your real estate website. Instead, focus on the theme’s overall layout, organization and functionality. Those are the most important elements.
Adding Essential Plugins
So, you’ve added a WordPress blog to your existing real estate website. You’ve chosen a theme, installed it, and customized it with your company logo and color scheme.
Now, it’s time to add some plugins.
A “plugin” is a piece of software that can be added to a WordPress-powered real estate website to extend its functionality or add new features. Plugins are created by third-party developers.
You’ll find thousands of free plugins in the official WordPress plugin directory. You can also purchase premium plugins, some of which provide highly sophisticated functionality.
Let’s say you want to integrate your email newsletter and your real estate blog, making it easier for people to subscribe. You could install a plugin like “Mailchimp for WordPress” to display professional-looking signup forms across your site.
Here are some plugins you might want to add to your new real estate blog:
Property Listings Plugin
This is the most important plugin for a real estate website. It allows you to list and manage your properties and display them on your site in a professional, user-friendly way.
Popular options include: Realtyna WPL, Easy Property Listings, Essential Real Estate
Contact Form Plugin
This plugin gives your website visitors an easy way to contact you, without having to email you directly. A well-designed contact form can help you generate leads through your real estate website.
Popular options include: Contact Form 7, WPForms, Ninja Forms
These invaluable plugins help protect you from hackers and other threats that can disrupt your real estate website. They also give you some extra peace of mind.
Popular options include: Wordfence Security, Sucuri Security, iThemes Security
SEO plugins can help you make your content more visible to search engines, resulting in more traffic to your site over time. But they’re no substitute for an effective content strategy. Use them to enhance your publishing efforts, rather than relying on them.
Popular options include: Yoast SEO, Rank Math, All in One SEO Pack
Virtual Tour Plugin
Virtual tours have been shown to improve website visitor retention and increase lead generation. These plugins simplify the process, allowing you to create and display virtual property tours of your real estate WordPress website.
Popular options include: WP VR, 360 Panorama, VR Tour Creator
Next Step: Start Blogging!
Once you’ve added a WordPress blog to your real estate website, you’re ready to start blogging. By publishing quality content on a regular basis, you can attract home buyers and sellers to your website and make them more inclined to contact you.
And we have some tutorials on that subject as well.
Brandon Cornett is a mortgage content marketing expert with 17 years of experience. He also created the Home Buying Institute, one of the nation's leading informational websites for home buyers.