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Best of 2013: Introducing WebsiteBox

December 31 2014

Here it is--our top article of the year. For the first time ever, the number one spot goes to a product review. That reflects just how curious agents were to learn about WebsiteBox's unique pricing strategy after the company captured attention at Inman NY last year. Learn more in our overview below. See article #2 here.

WebsiteBoxThere are a plethora of real estate website solutions on the market today that are easy to set up. Tech companies have realized that most agents aren't technically minded, and that even those who are simply don't have the time to design and build a site.

While this is great for agents (we don't have to tell you that a website is a necessity, do we?), narrowing down which vendor to use can be overwhelming. As one of the newest challengers in this increasingly crowded arena, WebsiteBox has differentiated themselves in a way that's hard to ignore--by appealing to agents' wallets.

Their hook is powerful--for a one-time fee of $99, agents get a website, integrated IDX search, a CRM, hosting, and more--for life. Seem too good to be true? That's exactly what our readers have been wondering. Ever since WebsiteBox debuted at Inman in January, we've been fielding phone calls from RE Technology members who want to know, well, what we know.

The truth is, we didn't know much until recently. We knew that WebsiteBox had created a tremendous buzz in a very short period of time, but we hadn't yet peeked under the hood to see how everything worked. Thankfully, CEO Peyman Aleagha gave us a tour of WebsiteBox and answered all of our questions. Now, we can answer all of yours!

The Big Question

Before we dive in, we'd first like to address what's on everyone's mind--is this for real? The skepticism is understandable. Too many companies draw consumers in with one price, only to tack on extra fees (we're looking at you, airlines). People are accustomed to looking for a catch.

But there really isn't one with WebsiteBox. Ninety-nine dollars will truly get you a multi-page website that's yours for life. There are add-ons available, however, but none of these are required for a fully functional website. Instead, the extras--including a Craigslist app, extra email accounts, and a blogging app--are meant to enhance your core $99 site.

WebsiteBox's pricing methodology is a big factor in why they're able to charge only $99 per site. Unlike other companies, they base their prices on actual market costs, not on what they believe the market will bear. "Website hosting is cheaper than ever," Peyman told us during the demo. "But real estate agents are getting gouged. We were amazed to see how much more agents pay for the same technology compared to other industries."

What Do You Get for $99?

So what's included in that $99 fee? Here's a quick rundown:

  • One website (with responsive, mobile-friendly layouts)
  • Hosting with no storage or bandwidth caps
  • Branded email account
  • IDX search
  • SEO optimized content customized to your area
  • Listing syndication
  • CRM
  • Calendar and appointment management
  • Drip campaigns
  • Support via chat and email
  • Google Analytics
  • Online document management

We'd like to note that domain names cost extra (e.g., yourname.com). You'll have to either use a domain name you already own, or register your domain via a service like GoDaddy or NetworkSolutions. WebsiteBox can also register a domain name for you for $15 per year.

Getting Started

Getting up and running with WebsiteBox is quick and non-intimidating. It's a simple, seven step process that practically holds your hand the whole way through. Users begin by selecting their design template, adding a domain (see our note above), creating a branded email account, and selecting their MLS and office ID to automatically pull their listings from their MLS.

webbox signup design

webbox signup domain

Next, agents are prompted to select a website type. WebsiteBox offers six options: residential, commercial, rentals and property management, condominium, single property, and neighborhood for a community focused site.

From there, agents finish up by adding a personal photo and logo, and optional add-ons.


Design

Once the sign-up process is complete, agents can access their new control panel (see below). On the right, you have shortcuts to all the major functions of your WebsiteBox account (which they call Apps). In a bid to be your go-to access point for the web, WebsiteBox also lets you add shortcuts to other sites and services you access frequently (e.g., Google, DocuSign and, ahem, RE Technology). The left side of the screen acts as your dashboard, displaying new leads, emails, upcoming tasks and more.

webbox cpanel

While you will have already chosen your website's basic design during the sign-up process, from the "My Websites" tab, you'll be able to further customize the look of your site. You can change the overall color scheme here, as well as images. Choose from WebsiteBox's library of over 500 stock images, or upload your own.

You can change the content of your website here, too. It will have already been filled in with content customized to your area, but you can personalize it further with, say, an agent bio or more in-depth information about the areas you serve.

The CRM and Beyond

WebsiteBox offers more than just websites, most notably the integrated CRM. I'll be honest, I was expecting a pared down contact management system that was tacked on just to "add value," but what WebsiteBox offers is surprisingly robust.

It lets you do the basics like importing from a .CSV file--and even social media--but what really impressed me was the analytical capability and capacity for allowing agents to interact with their clients. Users can not only monitor their visitors' search habits (neighborhood, price range), they can also use that data to suggest--through the CRM's interface--properties they think a contact might like.

webbox crm profile

In addition, agents can set up drip campaigns to keep in touch with prospects who are not quite ready to buy.

webbox crm drip

Beyond the CRM, WebsiteBox also offers a calendar, task list, online document management, website traffic analytics, and more.

Extra Tools

As mentioned previously, WebsiteBox does offer an ever-growing handful of add-ons to jazz up your website presence. Those extras include a blogging app, branded email accounts in packets of five, extra email marketing credits, and premium telephone support (live chat and email support are already included in the initial $99 fee).

In our opinion, the Craigslist app offers the most bang for your buck. It enables agents to create a visually appealing Craigslist flyer with a few clicks. WebsiteBox will import your listing's info and photos from data you already use on your site. Then, just copy and paste it to Craigslist.

The final add-on is, of course, more websites. You can add on any of the six types of website that WebsiteBox offers, though we find single property websites to be the most useful add-on. Single property websites are a great tool to leverage in your listing presentations and are great for boosting your main site's SEO. We also think a neighborhood site could potentially be a great marketing tool, depending on how you leverage it. It's an opportunity to really let your local expertise shine.

Wrapping Up

WebsiteBox is robust in ways that, we admit, surprised us. Is $99 dollars a good deal? Well, that's for each individual agent to decide. However, Peyman did let us in on a few integrations that WebsiteBox has planned for the future, so we surmise that the value and ease-of-use of this product can only increase as time goes on.

What are your thoughts on WebsiteBox's value? Did we answer all of your questions? We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.

Next Steps

Other articles of interest: Top Producer IDX | Birdview IDX