If you’re a real estate agent, and you don’t already have your own website, the first thing you need to do is to choose a domain name. Your domain needs to be something about you, something about your niche, and something about the kind of homes you sell or the kind of clients you serve. Here are a few quick tips about how to choose the best real estate domain name for your website.
KNOW YOUR PURPOSE
Domain names only play a major role in search engine optimization (SEO). If you are buying a domain name for a lead generation landing page like Home Value Leads and not for a website, SEO isn’t going to be a factor since you will be driving traffic to these sites using Pay Per Click advertising and other means. With landing pages, short and to the point is best and the rest of the rules don’t really apply.
DON’T USE YOUR NAME
Many real estate agents (myself included) make the mistake of using their own name as their domain when they first start out. DON’T DO THAT. When it comes to being indexed in the search engines, the domain name is one of the big factors in how your website ranks. All things being equal, if I am doing a search for Dallas Real Estate, what do you think is going to come out on top? DallasRealEstate.com or BrianRayl.com? Of course content plays a huge part in ranking, but you might as well give yourself every advantage possible when it comes to search engine rankings. Of course, I ALWAYS suggest that you buy your own name as a domain, but don’t use that as your primary website. You can always redirect that domain to your primary domain.
START SMALL AND GET BIGGER – NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND
It is also best to NOT go big. If you want to get the best quality searches and buyer or home seller prospects, it is best to go LOCAL. By local, I don’t mean the big city. By local, I mean pick a specific neighborhood or area that you would like to specialize in, or even a particular niche. Even if you were able to buy DallasRealEstate.com, you are going to go up against the big aggregators like Trulia, Zillow, and Realtor.com. They spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions of dollars, each year on search engine optimization because traffic is their business. Your marketing budget probably is not that big. Go for areas or neighborhoods. Get specific and you will rank much, much higher in searches.
Do Your Research
If you don’t know about it already, Google has a Keyword tool that will become an invaluable resource. Use this to discover how people search, what they are searching for, and what words they use. Do you want to use “Real Estate” “Homes” or “Homes For Sale” with your particular area? Do people search with the city/state or just the city? If they use the state, is it the abbreviation or the full name? Google’s Keyword Tool will help you decide what terms work best in your area.
YOU MUST HAVE A .COM DOMAIN
You will notice that in all of my examples, I have used .com domains. The .com domain is far superior to any other domain out there. It is the domain that everyone associates with the internet. Many times, even if they have the domain name right in front of them such as on a flyer or your business card, people will just look at the domain itself and ignore the end part because they automatically assume that it is a .com. Unless you can get a very powerful domain name with another extension, you absolutely HAVE to go with .com.
KISS – Keep It Short and Simple
It may be difficult to find a good domain name, but don’t get carried away. You need something that is short, simple, and easily remembered. Don’t get a domain name like “www.TheBestDallasRealEstateAgentEver.com” or “www.NewYorkDowntownMillionDollarHighRiseCondos.com”. They are too long, they will never be remembered, and they won’t rank well in the searches. Use something short and simple like “MStreetHomes.com” or “PrestonHollowRealEstate.com”.
Remember The Laws
You cannot have the words REALTOR or MLS in your domain name, with a few exceptions. These are against NAR and most local board policies. You also cannot have a trademarked name in your domain like Keller Williams.
Don’t Pay A Fortune For A Domain Name
The unfortunate truth is that most of the best domain names are going to be taken already. You could attempt to buy domains on the secondary market, but that is going to be expensive. The best real estate domains are going to run at least $10,000 and could be upwards of $100,000. Just get creative. Search for real estate in other areas and see what kind of creative ideas others have come up with. If you can find a good domain that has yet to be registered, you can buy it from a website like GoDaddy for less than $13.
Domain names can be a very important part of your online lead generation strategy. Don’t rush to pick a name. Think about it, sleep on it, and be creative.