The following is a step by step process I took while reviewing the WP Estate theme for real estate by annapx
Review: WP Estate Theme
Appearance & Design
How does the site look?
What I like:
I like the variety and color of icons used for the different property types displayed on the map. I also like the color overlays of different property types (New/Hot Offer, Open House) On the properties listing page, I really like the simplicity of how the listings are displayed, and I like the use and placement of their property filter.
I really like the ability to change the header of the site uniquely for each page. You can choose to select a custom image that you can upload, you can choose the site to display a slider of posts, or one of images that you create. Or you can choose to leave the slider displaying a dynamic map of Google Maps.
Some of the lighter colors used such as the light teal with white text isn’t the easiest on the eyes. I’m also not too fond of the lightened green that used throughout the footer area. These area’s I feel need more contrast to better display text. This is also the case with the use of the social icons both on the top left and bottom right of the page, the choice of such a light display on a white background doesn’t do it for me.
I’m not really a fan of the side bar overall, also their included widgets are a little too plain and simple for more liking.
Areas for concern:
The actual size of the logo area in the top right of the screen is rather small. This is not a bad thing necessarily, because you don’t want your logo to take away from the overall content (the important part on your site), however it may cause a problem for some real estate agents who’s logo won’t work well within that sizing area.
The site is not optimized for high resolution and Retina Display devices (not a huge deal though, but other themes do offer this). However there is a free plugin that you can use that will take care of this issue. See WP Retina 2x for more info.
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?
This is really the most important aspect of choosing a real estate theme, you may or may not like certain areas of the site and how the developer chose to display it. But if it’s simple things just like changing the color or font on a certain widget or section, WP Estate theme does a pretty good job on making it easy for you to make the change.
Review plugins, included functionality, and premium add-ons.
This site really takes the cake on overall feature integration!
What I really like:
- compatibility with Facebook, Twitter and Google and Yahoo login capability
- Use of Google Street View Directly on the top header of each property, you even can change the camera angle directly from the back-end!
- Use of Revolution Slider is fantastic, especially with the ability to automatically create slides based off individual post and properties
- The advanced search widget has a nice set of options and is easily customizable, even to the point where you can define new search categories that usually you’d need a developer for
Does the site integrate with Google Maps?
Yes, and it’s outstanding, the combination of user based geo location, property clustering with unique icons and colours is fantastic. It also will allow you automatically grab a geocode by typing in the address from the back-end.
Does the site allow user subscriptions?
Yes, and like i already said, it makes it even easier for users to subscribe by allowing for them to sign in using popular social networking platforms.
Does it work well with RETS/IDX ?
Yes, and this uniquely works well in that it allows to display listings from an RETS or IDX service directly into the mapping application, and there’s even an option to specify a different color and icon for listings pulled from these resources.
Is the site easy to use for the end user?
Yes, I think it does a nice job and is obvious that the developer put a lot of thought into making a lot of the user search and filtering features very simple and straight forward. This is pretty impressive, given the fact that the searching and filtering programs are both highly customizable by the end user, and they utilize AJAX which means that the filtering happens instantly as the user selects the options; well-done.
— 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.
- 19.62 seconds — GTMetrix Page Load Time (from Vancouver, using Google Chrome)
- 7.77 seconds — Pingdom Page Load Time (from New York )
- 69% D — YSlow Grade
- 84% B — Google Page Speed
if there is a mobile site, has it been optimized for tablets and phones?
Mobile Google PageSpeed Insights Score:
- Page Speed 47/100
- User Experience 62/100
This is probably the themes lowest point, if you plan on purchasing this theme, I recommend you look at trying to improve the mobile performance and user experience to improve the overall integrity of your sites online presence.
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
The best I’ve seen so far. It’s pretty self explanatory to utilize most of the custom features this site boasts.
You’ll have to do some extra steps to getting your twitter and Facebook login widgets to work properly. They require you to log in to the social network developer sites and create you own unique application. The developer of this theme does not provide any documentation I’ve seen to help get that sorted out, but a quick Google search will quickly get you to the proper documentation to set this up properly.
The biggest nuisance I’ve come across so far is getting it to work the more advanced features of the slider to work appropriately. Although in fairness, to the developer this is not so much their area of fault, but rather Revolution Sliders not so hot documentation.
Is it well documented? Video tutorials, well documented, and in theme support?
Yes they do a fairly good job. The video tutorials are nice for first time and beginner WordPress users. However I do feel that the core theme documentation is a little to brief and misses certain functionality definitions entirely. Additionally some of their documentation links are broken on their development site.