More Changes for the Local Market Explorer WP Plug-in
We created the Local Market Explorer WP Plug-in as a way to help real estate professionals quickly and easily produce professional data-driven sites within the WordPress environment (which seems to be gaining popularity by the day).
As I write this, there have been 1,655 downloads since it was released in August. This shows there is huge appetite for this type of data within the WordPress environment. Last night, we pushed Version 2.1 of Local Market Explorer live and there are three changes worth mentioning here, including one new feature and two admin items.
I’ll cover the new feature first since I know people always like “shiny new objects.” We’ve heard from agents that they’d like to use their Local Market Explorer (LME) pages to drive buyers into their IDX search interface for the region the buyer is researching. We’ve taken this suggestion into consideration for version 2.1 and added the ability for blog admins to enter a URL as an additional option from their LME settings page — meaning a “Search for Homes in [Enter Region Here]” can be added to any target market page. All you have to do is fill in the “IDX link” for your target markets via the Local Market Explorer admin settings. Here is how the new setting looks in the admin interface (from Kris Berg’s San Diego Home Blog):
Kris used the new module to add a link to her Scripps Ranch IDX search from her Scripps Ranch page. Here is a screen shot (note the IDX link module can be placed in between any two modules on the page):
Now, onto the topic of the administrative items — you know, the stuff behind the scenes no one wants to talk about, but is crucial to making everything work.
We’ve fixed a number of bugs since releasing the Local Market Explorer in August and version 2 in November, but it’s been an ad hoc process in terms of hearing about bugs from the community. We think we now have a better solution to track bug fixes and improvements for LME via a new User Voice forum. If you’d like to contribute a feature suggestion, need to document a bug, or want to vote on what features are the next to be added to the Local Market Explorer, please use the User Voice forum set up specifically for that purpose.
Thus far, the development costs for this plug-in have been covered by Zillow and Education.com. However, we’re moving to a donation-supported development cycle and letting the Local Market Explorer community drive the direction of the plug-in; therefore, to help fund the development, you can now donate via PayPal from the Local Market Explorer overview page, from within your admin interface (for those with the LME plugin installed on your blog), or by clicking this link. The donations will go towards the development time required to implement the improvements and fixes coming from the User Voice forum that have the greatest number of votes. That said, we of course will continue to try to fix any bugs that come up and Zillow and Education.com still reserve the right to put money toward improving this plug-in.
If you have any feedback on the changes mentioned above, please leave them in the comments.