Best Real Estate Website Builder: Placester vs Zillow vs WebsiteBox
EXCERPT: Looking to get an inexpensive and professional real estate website? In this guide I review three of the top real estate website builder options in the industry, all of which allow you to get a professional looking site up and running in 60 minutes or less. After comparing their features, costs, ease-of-use, and customer support, there was one clear winner.
Before we dive into the details on this topic, we suggest you check out Zillow Premier Agent, our #1 recommendation for generating qualified real estate leads. Click here to learn more.
Best Real Estate Website Builder: Zillow Websites
There are three big reasons why we consider Zillow Websites the best real estate website builder for small businesses: it has all the features most real estate businesses would need, is extremely easy to set up, and costs only $10/month. It’s free for Zillow Premier Agents, which is an even better deal.
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Zillow Websites vs Placester vs WebsiteBox Comparison Table
Full website for little-to-no cost
Loaded with tools for lead capture & more
Custom website for a one-time fee
Price (Subject to Change)
$99 one time fee
No (but can cancel anytime)
No (30 day money back guarantee)
Ease of Use
Live chat, email, and self-help forums
Phone (M-F 9-5 EST), email, and customer support portal
Phone and email. Priority phone support costs $99 extra.
Have to connect a domain from a third-party (We recommend GoDaddy.)
Connect a domain or get one for $15/year through Website Box
Quality of Site
Size of MLS Network
Lead Capture Features
Capture leads using forms and manage leads
Capture leads passively or actively on every page, export contacts to 3rd party
Capture leads using various forms and manage leads using integrated CRM
Basic email marketing and contact management
Send emails automatically (unlimited emails), email templates, and more
Send emails automatically and email templates
(posts listings to other real estate sites)
Yahoo Real Estate
Syndication to 14 other sites, including Zillow, Oodle, Trulia, and Yahoo Real Estate
Mobile and SEO Friendliness
Additional one-time $99 fee
Does not integrate with specific third-party providers
Does integration with some providers: Contact support about your specific integration
Only integrates with the apps developed by WebsiteBox themselves
Why We Consider Zillow Websites the Best Real Estate Website Builder
The main reason I recommend Zillow’s real estate website builder is its value. It has solid features, is simple to setup, looks professional, and is free for Zillow Premier Agents ($10/month otherwise). There are no other real estate website builders I have tested that provide the same level of value for the price.
When it comes to features, Zillow has got you covered. You can capture leads on any page, include specific MLS listings wherever you want, and even add calculators, area walk scores, and much more anywhere on your site.
The real estate website builder is a cinch to use. Zillow’s agent sites are built on a WordPress.com platform, which is already pre-configured with all the important pages and widget options (calculators, maps, walk scores, etc). You just choose your template, edit want you want on each page, integrate your MLS, and you are good to go.
Considering you are only paying $10/month, Zillow’s agent sites look very professional.
There are two main cons with Zillow. First, although it is more customizable than Placester, it is not as customizable as some other options, like WebsiteBox. You can edit information, site colors, fonts, and the overall look and feel of your page layout. But, you cannot just drag-and-drop widgets to anywhere on the page. The other con, is that Zillow’s customer support is not the best. Their phone support is nonexistent and their email and live chat can be hit or miss.
In-Depth Review: Zillow vs. Placester vs. WebsiteBox
Zillow and Website Box are very close on pricing, with Zillow having the slight edge. Placester is definitely the most expensive, but also has the most features and highest site quality.
Placester has a variety of plans, ranging from $10/month to $300/month. When talking with Placester representatives, they explained that the $10/month option was really more like an online business card than anything. Your info is on the web and it looks good, but you have very little functionality. If you are interested in Placester, our recommendation is to start out with the $75/month plan. With that, you get most of Placester’s features without having to pay over $100/month.
WebsiteBox base price is a one-time fee of $99. However, there are lots of add-on options that can raise your cost pretty quick, because they are $99/add-on. For example, if you want to blog on your site, that is a one-time $99 upcharge. Or, if you want forced lead capture, that’s $99. A custom domain name is not included, so you’ll have to get one through a third party provider or purchase one through Website Box for $15/year.
Placester definitely has the edge when it comes to overall features, but of course you are paying more as well. WebsiteBox comes in second with Zillow following close behind. The key question is not which provider has the most features, but which has all the features the average small business realtor or agent would need?
Zillow Websites has all the key features you will need for your site.
There are three main things your real estate site needs:
- To integrate with your MLS/IDX provider – This will allow you to automatically feature your listings on your site, which is key. Zillow has a solid MLS/IDX integrator that allows you to include IDX specific searches on your site and also feature individual IDX listings you want to sell.
- A good way to capture leads – Zillow allows you to do that with lead capture forms you can put on any page, which are then automatically added to your contact list. This list can be exported to a provider like Mailchimp, our #1 rated email marketing software provider, where you can then send up to 10,000 emails/month for free.
- Features that will highlight the areas and locations you are selling in – Zillow does a great job with this. As soon as you pick a specific location (via Zipcode) to focus on, a community page is automatically added for that ZIP code. This page automatically populates pictures of the neighborhood, the walk score, school data, market statistics, IDX listings, and more. You can also take any of these widgets off the page and arrange them in whatever order you like on the page.
There are a variety of other widgets you can add onto any page as well, including mortgage calculators, listing slideshows, community event board, open house board, recent blog post list, zillow reviews, recent twitter posts, and more.
In other words, Zillow has all the key features you need without having so many that you are overwhelmed, making it the perfect option for agents looking for a starter site that can grow with their business.
Placester has all the features already discussed and then some, probably more than the average agent would need. It allows you to capture leads either actively or passively. Then, those leads get routed into a lead management system that allows you to assign tasks, write notes, and basically track leads through a pipeline. Placester also includes automated email marketing with its $75/month plan. If you upgrade to their $125/month plan, you also get a map based search function, individual IDX listing pages, and advanced lead capture. If you decide to go all out and get their $300/month plan, you also get automated advertising and $500-$1500 in free advertising credit.
WebsiteBox has a solid feature set as well. They include most of the features that Zillow does, including some extras like an email marketing system that allows you to send up to 1,000 emails to clients. WebsiteBox also includes a basic Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system in its package. However, some other basic features which Zillow has, like blogging, are an additional $99 one-time fee on WebsiteBox.
If you want additional features, you can get them as long as you are willing to pay. You can get an SEO app, to help your site rank better on Google and other similar search engines. There are other add-ons such as forced lead capture, mobile notifications, QR code creator/integrator, a prints app, and more.
Continue Reading for the rest of the review…