Two new sites and two new products from FBS: A WordPress plugin and the API that powers it.

Feb 1, 2011  |  Michael Wurzer

Disclaimer: This post promotes a new IDX product from FBS that costs money. If you use our IDX system to develop your site, you should probably read the post. If not, you’ve been warned.

On Monday, FBS released two new sites and two new products for users of our flexmls IDX system. First, we released a WordPress plugin that works with our IDX search. Second, for developers creating sites for agents and brokers using flexmls IDX, we’ve also made available the API (application programming interface) that powers the WordPress plugin, so that you can have ultimate control over the sites you’re developing for your agent and broker customers.

You can check out details about the plugin on this demo and documentation site for the plugin and you can check out details on the API in our new flexmls Developer Center web site.

First, let’s check out the WordPress plugin, which allows you to publish a lot of content to your WordPress blog site that can be indexed by search engines.  For example, you can publish market stats like this:

[market_stats title=”Fargo Home Prices” width=”400″ height=”250″ type=”price” display=”SoldMedianListPrice,SoldMedianSoldPrice” property_type=”A” location=”City=’Fargo’&Fargo”]

In addition to price trend graphs, there are graphs on DOM, inventory, sale/list price ratio, and volume, and you can target the graphs at specific cities or zips or even map overlays you’ve drawn in flexmls Web. These statistics automatically update over time, so you can build neighborhood pages that are continually current.

The plugin also includes a listing slideshow widget you can insert into your blog posts or pages or your sidebar, like this:

[idx_slideshow title=”Fargo New Listings” link=”default” horizontal=”3″ vertical=”1″ source=”location” property_type=”A” location=”City=’Fargo’&Fargo” display=”new”]

The slideshow can be customized to show new listings, recent price changes, open houses and, if your MLS allows, recent sales. I’m hopeful this widget becomes popular, because I think it could lead to agents getting photos in faster and making sure their open house and other information is up to date in the MLS, because the live nature of these widgets makes it pretty clear when new listings don’t have photos yet and open house info isn’t entered.

Another widget you can insert into your sidebar, pages or posts is a targeted search form, like this one for horse lovers:

[idx_search title=”Find Horse Properties” link=”u532nk2c48k” property_type=”A” location_search=”on” buttontext=”Find” std_fields=”list_price,beds,baths,square_footage”]

You can create these forms by pointing the basic form (location, price, bedrooms, etc.) at a saved search IDX link that has more specialized criteria in it like Horse Property or, if your MLS allows, short sale or foreclosures.

You also can add a bunch of links for popular areas or saved searches for 1-click entry points into your IDX search:

[idx_location_links title=”Popular Cities” link=”default” property_type=”A” locations=”City=’Fargo’&Fargo|City=’West Fargo’&West Fargo|City=’Moorhead’&Moorhead|City=’Horace’&Horace|City=’Dilworth’&Dilworth|City=’Harwood’&Harwood|City=’Mapleton’&Mapleton|City=’Casselton’&Casselton”]

As mentioned above, you can combine the various widgets in a lot of ways to create pages for each community in which you specialize. We look forward to seeing what types of pages you create. In that regard, please let us know if you have some pages you’d like us to feature here or on our plugin site.

We’re hoping many agents and brokers find the WordPress plugin useful. We know, however, that not everyone uses WordPress and that many developers will want to help their agent and broker customers create a custom look and feel to their pages integrating flexmls IDX. To meet that need, we’re also making available the API on which we built the plugin so you can do your own thing. You can check out documentation on the API in our new flexmls Developer Center.

Importantly, the API is only for our IDX customers and it does require a $240 additional annual fee (which also includes the the WordPress Plugin; well, technically, the plugin is free, but the API access requires the license fee), but we think the combination of the WordPress plugin and the API will have a lot of value for developers wanting to leverage the flexmls IDX solution without having to re-host or synchronize any data or images. We take care of all of that for you, ensuring the data on your web site is always up to date and accurate directly from the MLS IDX program.

As mentioned above, we’re excited to see what you create with these new tools and we’re excited for the many upgrades we have planned as well.


Special thanks to Jay Thompson and Matt Pellerin (via Max Chirkov) for beta testing the plugin!

18 Responses to “Two new sites and two new products from FBS: A WordPress plugin and the API that powers it.”

  1. To say I’m excited is an understatement! Way to go FBS!

  2. Amazing as always. Innovative products… kudos !!!

  3. Anyway to do a commercial IDX wordpress plugin using a data feed from MNCAR (Minnesota Commercial Association of REALTORS)?

  4. Michael Wurzer says:

    Sorry, Jason, not currently.

  5. As always, FBS is way ahead of the game. Hey Michael, any plans to put up a FEATURED AGENT widget and a rotating agent widget for brokers. We would love to feature our agents through the data available in Flex. Have a wonderful day.

  6. Michael Wurzer says:

    We’ve had a similar suggestion (more focused on listings) from another user as well, so, yes, such a roster idea is in the works. We don’t have a date for release yet, but we’ll keep you posted when we do.

  7. Larry Ficek says:

    It seems like there are a few bugs that need to be worked out. Data fields can not be added to the IDX search widget. The slide show did work correctly, the pics photo text boxes had space issues between them and the user defined search to the slide show was not working. The search showed listings hundreds of listings that had nothing to do with the defined search. I am looking forward to an updated version with these issues resolved.

  8. Michael Wurzer says:

    Larry, the slide show widget should only be used with a quick search IDX link, not a saved search link that already has criteria built into it.

    Regarding the spacing issue you mention, please email our IDX support at idx@flexmls.com and provide more details. I’m guessing there’s a conflict with your theme we can work out pretty easily. They also can provide assistance on setting up the IDX search widget.

  9. Larry Ficek says:

    My mistake on the term I used. The search used in the widget was a quick search IDX link and not a “saved search”.

    Technical support was advised of the spacing issue and the IDX quick search widget.

    I was told that the IDX search widget is limited to the the data fields that show on the widget. The widget is plug and play and apparently not customizable like the quick links that can be used to customize a slide show. If additional fields can be added I would love to know how to do that.

    I have asked that I be updated once the spacing issue and the slide show widget problem are resolved. I think this is a great product idea and really want to start using it.

  10. Michael Wurzer says:

    Yep, the search widget only supports a few standard fields right now; that’s intentional. We’ll be adding more standard fields in the future.

    Our Support team will be in touch on the other issues you’ve mentioned.

  11. Can you recommend a wordpress template that might compliment your plugin? For example this template integrated idxexpress data in the search box at the top right of the page.

  12. The twenty ten (default template) works well. There is some template tweaking needed nothing to heavy but is slightly advanced. The thing about wordpress (IMHO) is unless you have a fully custom template developed, no template is “1 size fits all” and requires a bit of modification to work for a specific user application. We are testing & tweaking a few and I’ll post some of our findings, it may help the cause.

    Great plug-in so far, trying to optimize the SEO has been our focus thus far.

  13. Mark says:

    is there a mapping feature that goes along with the Word Press plug-in..like IDX and DLS Solutions or WolfNet? Thanks

  14. Dan Hicks says:

    How hard will it be to duplicate the plugin with the commercial fields and listings from fmx?

    • Michael Wurzer says:

      Dan, the answer to that really depends on the fields needed. You can give me a call and we can discuss it.

  15. David Moore says:

    I have a couple suggestions for the WordPress plugin. I think that having the map data show on the page results rather than needing to click on a tab to view would be a bit more user friendly. I get feedback (and found myself) that the map data on the tab feels a bit hidden and requires the additional step of clicking the tab. Other wordpress plugins seem to integrate this data in the default screen.

    It would also be great if we could capture url information when we get a new contact. If it is possible to do this it would greatly help in understanding which pages are generating the most leads.

    Thanks for your responsive business culture!

    David