PFK: CMS estate agency web development
WordPress web design with property management system integration for a leading Cumbrian property service
Promoting professional property services onlineThe challenge
Cumbria's leading professional property service, PFK, needed a new responsive website that promoted its professional property services to prospective customers. The new site design had to categorise the company’s estate agency, land agency, planning and development, and survey services into easy-to-navigate sections.
The PFK ethos is to simplify land and property transactions (which can vary enormously) for its customers. In commissioning a site that categorised and presented clear, up-to-date information about the different areas of the business, PFK aimed to make it easier for users to find exactly what they needed. PFK came to us through graphic design agency, Bert to refresh their online presence.
- Collaboration with partner agency to deliver web build
- Custom, user-friendly WordPress CMS
- Engaging user experience
- Multisite functionality to define various services
- Integration with Rezi and Google Maps
A flexible system with integrationsThe solution
The new PFK site needed to be built around a clearly defined user experience, with signposted sections highlighting four different service areas. We built a flexible WordPress content management system (CMS), making it possible for the PFK team to create and update pages as required. Various integrations were incorporated into the solution, giving PFK users up-to-the-minute, accurate property information and supporting PFK agents with the day-to-day business activities of a dynamic property services company.
A robust WordPress CMS system
Easily maintained, flexible solution
We developed a WordPress-based solution to give PFK optimal flexibility. The solution was developed to the latest WordPress standards. Therefore, updates should run without a hitch (Note: regular maintenance by your development team is highly recommended to keep your system secure). In addition, the team created a page builder aspect to the site.
The page builder block-based editing system was fully customised to the needs of the brief and chosen for its ability to make content updates easy for estate agents post-launch and delivers maximum flexibility for the user.
I couldn’t recommend Feel Created more for their responsive and professional service. They are always one phone call away with helpful and friendly advice. Thank you everything you have done for PFK.Hannah Warren, Marketing and Communications, PFK estate Agents, Cumbria
Defined sections to promote different services
A better user experience by design
Our team used a 'multisite' approach to creating different service sections. A multisite is a group of websites with unique branding that is centrally controlled. Content can be unique to each site in the multisite network because each site is equipped with its own CMS. However, to save time and increase accuracy, multisites can mirror content across the whole ecosystem. Mirrored content can be helpful for the duplication of standard regulations, for example.
In this instance, websites for the estate agency, land agency, planning and development, and survey services sections were created. Each site had an independent CMS, login, news section, page control, etc. All were centrally controlled under the PFK site as part of the PFK multisite. Finding the content they need is more straightforward for users when separated into clearly defined sections. In fact, targeted marketing can also be factored in each site. Timed newsletter signup messages to promote lead generation were incorporated into the build.
Integration with property management solutions
Automated search functionality with enhanced loading speeds
The website was designed to integrate with Rezi (previously DezRez) property management software, allowing for up-to-date property listings directly from the central PFK database. Feel Created also took this a step further, creating a custom localised database to store all of the property listings and relevant information. A centralised database gave more control over the search parameters without relying on the standard search functionality offered by the application programming interface (API). Searches were a lot faster as they were not dependent on a response from an external service before the results page was populated.
Advanced location-based property search
Accurate Google map location searches
Google Maps integration allowed site visitors to filter results on various settings, showing all the physical PFK agent property listings. Advanced Google Map integration helps users to locate where each property is on the map. Custom styling was also incorporated into the pop-up info box. For example, a link to the property details and enquiry page.
As part of the custom functionality of the site, we saved a local copy of the property data. The local data allowed the team to develop an advanced search engine with filters providing fast, efficient, relevant property search results. We extended this to integrate directly with the Google Maps API, plotting properties onto a map. Integration of the Google Geocoding API converted property addresses into geographical coordinates for better accuracy. Google Maps integration also enabled the use of custom ‘info boxes’, with helpful popup cards on each property plotted onto a map (meaning a user could quickly view the name and price of a property (as well as an image), to improve the user experience.
Initially, the search made use of geographical radius. Users could search for properties within a specified distance radius of a provided location. The search was done with a standard circle radius calculation (essentially drawing a circle of the required distance from a central point and returning all properties within that zone. After launch, and through discussion with PFK, Feel Created looked to improve this functionality. They did this by plotting more defined geographical areas surrounding a provided location (such as a town name). The improved functionality meant the system could plot an area based on southwesterly and northeasterly extreme points.
Detailed property listing pages
Informing users with current, consistent information
Each property listing page featured the latest Rezi and Google Maps data, including an overview, key details, energy rating, and a map and street view. To create a consistent user experience, our team set parameters to display the same information on each page. Users can quickly become familiar with the page layout, scanning for the information they need to make an informed decision. Where applicable, a video tour of the property was also included in the property particulars.
Each property page lets the user download the full brochure (where available) or arrange a viewing through buttons positioned at the top of the listing. Below the listing information, we created a carousel feature that pulls in alternative suggestions based on set parameters. All elements on the page have been carefully considered for inclusion to deliver an optimal user experience.
Integration with the client's chosen property management system was an essential requirement of the initial brief, as was Google Maps integration to ensure that advanced location-based searches could be carried out. We worked with PFK via Bert to ensure that the website fulfilled the requirements of the original brief, creating a streamlined customer experience. The team utilised a WordPress CMS to deliver a robust build that was easily updatable post-launch by PFK agents and support staff. The website serves as an up-to-date promotional tool for Cumbrian property services. The solution was well received by the PFK team.