I took over development or The Neil Company in about 2005 or 2006. Since then I’ve done 3 total redesigns. Franchises like this are a challenge because you have to take the client’s wishes for design and make it work within the legal constraints of the marketing guidelines of the parent company.
Along with all the normal IDX stuff, Neil Company also wanted to be able to add/edit/delete broker bios from their website on their own. As time went on, it morphed from a very basic name, phone, email and bio to social networking icons, a property list along with the bio info, multiple contact numbers and so on.
I have also integrated a custom WordPress blog to help them with their search engine ranking. Neil posts a helpful real estate related article a couple times a week and, voila, they’re ranked much higher in Google.
The latest iteration of their site includes some pretty cool features like accordion menus, Google maps showing other similar listings within a certain distance of the listing you’re looking at, mortgage and tax information on each listing and integration of a special C-21 lead router deal that lets them track email leads from their website and print ads.
All in all a pretty cool site for a very cool client.
** UPDATE **
Neil Company has had a custom WordPress blog as part of their site for quite a while now, but it was a little bit like a red-headed step child. Didn’t look like the rest of the family (site) and always kind of bugged me. Well, last week they contacted me about adding a second blog to the site for commercial investing articles. I took the opportunity to create a child theme for a WordPress framework. What that means is that I created a theme that looks identical to their website, then, since it’s a child theme, was able to copy it to their original blog (Neil’s Blog) so now both blogs look exactly like the rest of the website and everything is pretty again. I’ll be able to sleep at night now.
This is the blog. Just in case you want to see it. Oh, shoot. The photo above is actually one design ago. The current site looks just like this. Trust me. :)