IDX Blogger adds some special capability to WordPress, most importantly the ability to geolocate the post onto your special maps, the Blog Post map and the Search Listings map. There are different ways that you can have your IDX Blogger setup in order for your clients to interact with your blog content. The pages listed below are all created about
“Blog Posts” Map: The Blog Posts map shows the map of your metro area with all of your geocoded blog posts. Note that this map does not show listings, and does not show blog posts without a location. In order for a blog post to display on this map, it must be geocoded. Click here to see how to geocode your posts.
“Search Listings” Map: This map contains BOTH the listings from the MLS, as well as any blog post that you have geocoded. This is the map that your clients will spend the most time on, and this map is the only location listings will appear. If you feel that having your geocoded blog posts appear both on the Search Listings map, and the Blog Posts map is redundant or confusing, you may hide the blog posts map. Click here to see how to hide a page in IDX Blogger.
“Recent Posts” page: This page does not contain a map, and will display your blog posts in reverse chronological order just like a any other standard blog on the internet. This page displays all of your blog posts, including the posts that have not been geolocated. This is useful if you would like to just show off your blog content without a map interface.
Creating a new blog post in IDX Blogger is quick any easy. You can categorize the post (some special categories even use a special icon on your map), tag the post, and even geocode the post to your map. Follow the instructions below to see how to create a new blog post.
Step 1: From the “Write” menu, select “Post”.
Step 2: Enter the title of your post, as well as the body content of the post. (Click here to see how to add images and media to your post)
Step 3: (Optional) You can tag your post for easy categorization and grouping with similar posts. (Click here to see more information on tags)
Step 4: (Optional) Categorize your post by clicking the checkboxes of the categories that you wish the post to be filed under. (Click here to see more information on Categories)
(Remember, you must use special categories if you want to use the Special Map Icons)
Step 5: (Optional) Enter the address to the location you are blogging about, then click “Map Location”. This will show a preview pin on the mini map representing the location the post will be geocoded to on your IDX map. (Remember, posts without a location will not appear on your map. Click here to learn more about geocoding)
Step 6: Click “Publish” to post immediately to your site. You can click “Save” if you would like to work on this same post later, and publish at a later date.
You can edit, manage, and delete any post in your IDX Blogger system after it is already published. This gives you the opportunity to prune and modify posts to keep them up to date and relevant, fix mistakes that you noticed after publishing, or geocode older posts to benefit from having your blog posts appear with your IDX listings on the map.
Editing a post:
Step 1: From the “Manage” menu, click “Posts”
Step 2: Click the name of the post you wish to edit.
Step 3: Make your changes, then remember to click “Save”.
New special map icons are available for the IDX Blogger system. You can now have different icons for coffee shops, shopping, schools, parks, events, blog posts, happy hour, and restaurants all shown right alongside the listings on your map. Clients visiting your website will be able to browse neighborhood listings while seeing and reading the custom content you have included with that neighborhood. Demonstrate your knowledge of an area to your potential clients by including pictures and information about local schools, parks and other attractions. The difference between a normal blog post and a special icon post on the map is only which category is used.
Why have custom icons? As an agent, you find yourself selling a neighborhood to a family just as much as you have to sell the house. To sell a neighborhood, just blog about it and your map posts will do the talking for you to any website visitor.
How do I get started?:
To use the special mapping icons, you must have specially named Categories added to your system. Any post included in one of these categories will display with a special icon.
Adding the Categories (Do this step once)
Note: You must add these Categories, they do not exist by default. Make sure to keep the exact name or the special icon will not display.
Special Category Names:
- Miscellaneous blog post
- Coffee shop
- Happy hour
Categorizing a post (Do this everytime you want a post to show on your map):
Add a post (from Write > Post) like a normal blog post. (Note: Make sure to geocode the post, only geocoded posts appear on your map.)
When you categorize the post, make sure to use one of the pre-defined special categories listed above.
A blog post calendar widget is available in your IDX Blogger system. The blog post calendar shows a small text based calendar on the side bar of your site. Each day of the month that a blog post was published will appear as a link instead of just as text. This provides your visitors with the ability to take a look at your blog posts based on the day they were created. For instructions on adding the Blog Post Calendar widget to your site click here.
When added, your blog the following calendar will appear. Click the blue links (where they are available), and you will be taken to a list of any blog post published on the selected day.
An archive widget is available in your IDX Blogger system to display a list of months on your right hand toolbar. These months are links to your blog archives for the month listed. This is a quick and easy way for your website visitors to browse your blog posts from the past. Follow the instructions below to add the Archives widget to your site.
Step 1: From the “Design” menu, select “Widgets”.
Step 2: Click the “Add” link next to the “Archives” widget. There are a few options available for this widget including the ability to have it display as a drop down list rather than a series of links. Click here to see more information on adding and removing widgets.
The Archives widget now appears on the right hand side of your IDX Blogger site.
By default a “Blog Posts” page was created along with your IDX Blogger site. This page is a special map that only displays your recent blog posts that have been geocoded. Any blog post without a location is not geocoded, and therefore will not appear on this page. For a page that lists both geocoded and non-geocoded blog posts, you will want to use the “Recent Posts” page, or the “Archives” page. You may hide this page if you do not want it on your site. This page is useful if you would like to show your geocoded posts on a map by themselves (without listings showing as well, for the map with listings use the “Search Listings” page).
The categories that you have defined in your IDX Blogger system for your blog posts can be listed as links in a widget down the side column. This widget shows each category that has blog posts associated with it. When the category link is clicked, the visitor is taken to a page which lists all of the blog posts in that category with the most recent posts first. Click here to see how to add or remove a widget from your IDX Blogger site.
The Recent Blog Posts widget allows you to display your most recent posts down the side column. The default number of posts displayed is 5, but this number is customizable. It is important to note that if you increase the number of posts displayed, your page will become longer to accomodate the new posts. Follow the instructions below to add the Recent Blog Posts widget to your IDX Blogger site.
Step 1: From the “Design” menu, select “Widgets”
Step 2: Add the Recent Blog Posts widget from the “Add” link on the left hand side. You may edit the number of recent posts that the widget displays by clicking “Edit”. Be sure to click “Save Changes” when you are done. Click here to see more information on adding and removing widgets from your IDX Blogger site.
Your Recent Blog posts will now appear down the side column of your IDX Blogger site.
Your “Blogroll” is a widget called “Links” that can appear on the right hand column of your IDX Blogger site. These links should be to other sites that your visitors will find useful, such as other websites that you might have, or the website of a colleague, partner lender, or just a fun link. Many agents choose to place links to the public utilities, local school websites, and other local information. Before you add any links, be sure to add the Links widget to your sidebar. Click here to see how to Add and Remove Widgets.
Adding a Link:
Step 1: From the “Write” menu, click “Link”.
Step 2: Enter the name, and web address for the link. You may also add a description that will appear only when a website visitor hovers their mouse over the link without clicking. Click “Save” when you are finished.
Step 3: Check the Links widget on your site (it is labeled “Blogroll”), it should now include your new link.