The following is a step by step process I took while reviewing the Realia theme for real estate by aviators
To see how this site ranks compared to the other WordPress themes I’ve reviewed click here.
Appearance & Design
This theme is no doubt very close to the previous review I did on it’s successor theme Realocation (also designed by aviators). The similarities in many ways are close, except there are a few things you get with Realocation that is close but not quite the same with Realia.
How does the site look?
What I like:
I like the overall performance benefits that comes with Realia. This is due to their use of a twig templates, based off of the PHP symphony platform.
Wait what’s Twig you ask? Twig is a caching system that allows for the storing of pages in file form to help drastically reduce the load placed on the server. Since the server doesn’t have to individual create the pages for each user that requests to visit the site, it results in a much faster overall performance time for the end user.
What I don’t like:
This theme does not have a price slider like the Realocation theme does when you are using the map view with a vertical filter.
Also the another major difference, is that unlike Realocation the theme does not have a great way to edit and create custom templates and search functions (no hydraforms)
Areas for concern:
Twig is a well known developer templating system, but not every WordPress or PHP developer is familiar with it. This might cost you more money or time to get the hang of twig should you have some heavy editing or custom functions in mind for your site.
Is it responsive (mobile/tablet friendly)?
Yes, the site does very well on both tablets and mobile devices. It’s also consistent with the main desktop versions overall look.
Devices I tested it on: Google Nexus 5, Blackberry Q10, Samsung Galaxy Tab 7
How easy is it to customize the design?
It’s fairly easy in many areas. The options provided with the built in widgets are powerful and have several features that allow for you to make your site unique and different from other themes out there. However, the header options don’t allow for much flexibility if you are looking to change the overall appearance.
Review plugins, included functionality, and premium add-ons.
What I really like:
- Ajax filterable map listings with clustering and custom icons.
- Their use of sublocations allow for you to create a hierarchy of cities, neighbourhoods and areas.
- WordPress Multi Language plugin is a nice touch for any Realtor who is trying to create a site for an area that has other spoken languages.
Does the site integrate with Google Maps?
(Same as Realocation)
Yes, but it doesn’t have any built in options to interact with Google Street View. Also it has clustering which is nice but it’s problematic for when you are listing more than one listing at the same building (apartments etc.) On the plus side though, it does allow you change the display of the map (select from 6 different options)
Does the site allow user subscriptions?
Yes, they’ve got a pretty nice system that allows for users to subscribe (paid and non paid), but they do not have any social sign up options available like WP Estate theme.
Does it work well with RETS/IDX ?
So-so, I wasn’t able to get listings from a RETS or IDX feed to work with the mapping features without some additional work (outside developer needed for most).
Is the site easy to use for the end user?
- Yes and quite well. The layout is attractive, the filtering of properties is great, and nicely put together.
- 96% rating by Google page-speed insights for mobile user experience! not too shabby…
Note that for these sites, the developer is more focused on presenting really high quality HD content, than they are for the performance, some of these scores will drastically improve when put on your own website with properly optimized images. Also your hosting environment and server capabilities will largely impact how your site performs. This review is only testing how the basic themes perform side by side on the Theme Forest servers.
How fast does the site load?
Based off of a reports I ran on GTmetrix and Pingdom, the sites hosted demo on Theme Forest returned these results.
4.82 seconds — GTMetrix Page Load Time (from Vancouver, using Google Chrome)
74% C — YSlow Grade
77% B — Google Page Speed
If there is a mobile site, has it been optimized for tablets and phones?
Mobile Google PageSpeed Insights Score: 48/100
Does the site do well across all major browsers?
Yes, verified it works well with
- Internet Explorer 9,10 & 11
- Google Chrome
- Mozilla Firefox
Does it work well with popular WordPress SEO and Performance Plugins?
Yes, I personally haven’t run into any hiccups
- WordPress SEO by Yoast
- W3 Total Cache — this configured properly and combined with a solid hosting environment will fix most of the issues I listed above in the performance section.
Does the site do well with Search Engines (sitemaps, on page structure, etc.) ?
- This theme does not come packaged with an HTML sitemap (usually something that’s good to include for your users + some kudos points from Google
- You can install WordPress SEO by Yoast which will build an automated Google friendly sitemap, to make sure you’re indexing properly.
Ease of Use
How easy is it for a real estate agent to manage and update the site?
Yes, It does a nice job. This site is great for teams of real estate agents that want an easy way to show joint listings, or if you are looking for a site that will specify all listings by brokerage, the backend meta fields available for your posts will allow you to do this nicely.
Is it well documented? Video tutorials, provided instructions, and in theme support?
No video tutorials, but the overall theme documentation and the support provided by aviators on the forum is both fast and excellent. Since this theme has a lot of buyers on themeforest, I recommend you take a look through the comment section, there is lots of great advice and step by step details on how some users chose to uniquely customize their site.