Periodically, we complete enough improvements and feature upgrades on our CORE products/framework (CMS, IDX, lead manager) that we release a new version.
In such cases, our clients have the option of keeping their existing technology. We still support our older versions. However, there are some compelling reasons why clients opt to upgrade:
We've tried to make these upgrades cost-effective, because it's also in our own interest to have our best technologies being promoted on our clients' sites.
The current Real Estate Webmasters platform is referred to as "4.2". The 4.x platform in general (released in summer of 2011) represents massive improvements in the lead management system in particular, as well as an improved CMS, and also includes a mobile version of the integrated IDX (if IDX is ordered). The IDX is largely unchanged since 3.x. As of December 2012, all new site installations employ the "4.2" technology, which includes more updates to the lead management system..
If your site is pre-4.0 (installed before June2011), an upgrade requires that we install a completely new site for you (we can't simply "patch" the site, or install only the lead management software, for example). Then we transfer your content and leads to the new site, and re-create any customizations you want to keep from the old site.
However, if you are already on the 4.0 platform (if your site was installed in June of 2011 or later), the 4.2 upgrade is possible with a mere patch. But any customizations you have requested us to implement in your backend since the site was installed, will make the patch more complicated, which means that the 4.2 upgrade will take more time and money.
Note: The info below refers only to our "integrated" IDX product, not our iframed idx.
In the spring of 2010 we released version 3.0 of our IDX, and in the autumn we released version 3.1 (info on the differences, here). Version 3.1 is currently our standard IDX product, installed by default anytime an IDX is ordered. This holds true even with our 2011/12 releases of the 4.x platforms; the newest platform still uses the 3.1 version of the IDX (more or less).
Note that we cannot install an IDX 3.x on a legacy version of a REW template or LEC (if you bought a template before July 2010, or an LEC before September 2010, then your site is not an updated version unless you've paid us to update it). See below.
Because the latest IDX and CRM must be placed on a current template or LEC, you may need to upgrade your website to use them. (If you are ordering a new site, you do not need to worry about this, as every new site we install is on our most recent platform.)
To "upgrade" your website from a pre-4.0 platform, we must in fact replace the site, as the updated version rests on a new and improved framework. This is not a big issue in most cases, but if you have applied a lot of costly customizations to your site over the years, then these will need to be re-applied to the new install, unless you don't need them anymore (or they may have been obsolesced by the new features).
Estimate to upgrade a template site with IDX to 4.0 standard:
To be estimated on a case-by-case basis.
If your LEC2008 (LEC2), LEC3, or LEC2009 (LEC4) was installed before October 2010, you cannot install the newest IDX without "upgrading" the LEC. This actually requires a re-installation of the LEC, as well as a transfer of your content (see "caveats" below) from the old site to the new one (including your blog content, snippets, images, CMS listings, leads, and even your leads' saved searches). Most of this is billed by the hour.
However, if you have applied a lot of customizations to your LEC, then these will need to be re-applied to the new install, unless you don't need them anymore (or they may have been obsolesced by the new features). Real Estate Webmasters offers a discounted rate for re-implementation of custom work already applied to a site on the same domain, unless otherwise indicated.
Estimate to upgrade a "legacy" LEC website to 4.0 standard:
To be estimated on a case-by-case basis.
When we upgrade your site and transfer its contents, there are some issues which may arise. It's important that you know what you are getting into.
Template/LEC replacement: Although we talk of "replacing" your original template or LEC, the new site will not be the same as the old one. If we are replacing a template #6, for example, that means we are installing our newest version of template 6, which is not identical to older versions of that template. You should carefully review the current demo version of the site you are getting installed, before you decide to upgrade.
What's included in the replacement: When we install the new site, the "deliverables" are the same as if you were ordering the site for the first time (aside from the transferred items described below). As with any standard REW template or LEC install, there are only a small number of (branding) updates we will make to the site without a custom project.
"Transfer" of customizations: This can be included in the standard upgrade, as long as the upgrade is billed by the hour (as upgrades to the 4.0 platform are). In many cases, it is possible to take advantage of the code having already been written (so that the re-creation is more cost-effective), but that is not always the case. Either way, no customizations will be re-created unless you specifically request them. You are advised to create a list of the customizations you want to keep, and to have the list estimated and included in the upgrade project.
Content transfer: This is a simple transfer of database content. It does not mean that we will make sure that the new site's content (as it appears on the frontend) is a copy of your original site. For example, the new site may use a snippet to control the navigation, whereas the old site may have had the navigation hard-coded. In such a case, the new site will need to have the snippet edited to recreate the form of the original site. This is not included in the project unless specifically requested (and paid for).
Another example of something which may not transfer perfectly, is the way your body content appears. The styles for headings, tables, images, etc., may not be exactly the same in the new site's CSS markup. It is up to you, the client, to go through the content after the transfer and to identify anything which may need to be edited to create the effect you want. In most cases, especially if the HTML code of your page is "clean", there will be nothing to update.
Who/When?: The content transfer will be done by the assigned programmer, at a time agreed-upon with you (to avoid overlap). Once this is done, you should avoid making any more developments on the live site, as those changes will not be carried over to the development site before it launches (they will be overwritten when the dev site goes live). The content transfer is only done once. Blogs are an exception - we can transfer those again during site-live if you wish.
IDX snippets transfer: We will transfer your IDX snippets, but you will need to check that they are still functioning as expected (showing the right properties). The good news is that they are easily created/edited in the new IDX builder, and our Support team will help to answer your questions if you are stumped.
Who/When?: This will be done along with the content transfer (see above).
Leads transfer: We'll also transfer all of your leads and their saved searches. (If you are coming from CMS 1, only the leads will transfer.) However, this can be extremely tricky if there are customizations to your saved searches functionality, so you are encouraged to notify your team about any concerns you have about the transfer of the saved searches.
Who/When?: This is done on the day that you decide to take the upgraded site live (if it were done sooner, any leads captured in the meantime would be lost upon site-live).
Locked snippets: There may be a few snippets which you could edit the code of, on your old site, and which you can no longer edit on the new site (this was changed for security reasons). If you think this might be an issue, be sure to ask about it before you decide to upgrade.
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