Everyone wants a great domain. It’s probably one of the most important steps in building your online presence the right way. But like many things in life, the most valuable things are the most difficult to acquire or find. Landing a great domain name through your own search using tools like GoDaddy and Network Solutions is like trying to find a needle in a hay stack, with both of your hands tied behind your back. There are many factors to consider:
1. Is it short?
2. Is it easy to remember?
3. Does it contain keywords?
4. Does it relate to your branding and specialty?
5. Are the .com, .net, and .org variations of the name all available?
6. Are common misspellings and variations of the name all available?
Unfortunately, unless you have a niche real estate business, and work in a rural area, it’s likely that most of the domain name ideas you will come up with will fall short in regards to one or more of these factors. Learning a bit more about these factors will help you weigh the value of your different domain name ideas against each other, and hopefully assist you in making your final selection.
Is It Short?
The fewer characters your domain name contains, the easier it will tend to be to remember, and the fewer number of characters you will have to spell out to people over the phone, type in through text messages, and so on. So a short domain can have utility in a couple of ways. If at all possible, we recommend keeping your real estate domain name under 15 characters. Under 10 would be even better!
Is It Easy To Remember?
Selecting a domain that is easy to remember can be a daunting task. You are going to want to include it on all of your marketing materials. Whether it is a post card you send out with your newest listing, or an email blast that you send out to a list of prospects, it is always to your advantage to maximize the possibility of people remembering your site name when they are exposed to it. One way to test out if a name is easy to remember is to tell a few people about your new domain name in person. Then ask them a half hour later if they can write down your domain name on a piece of paper for you. Chances are if they can’t remember it a mere half hour later, your potential clients certainly won’t remember your new domain a couple days later when they’re ready to move on something.
Does It Contain Keywords?
Domains that contain relevant real estate keywords can help you rank naturally for real estate related terms on the search engines. One thing you might want to try is using Google’s Keyword Tool to see what the most searched-for real estate related keywords are in your market and see if those keyword phrases are available domain names. For example, you might be surprised to find that yourtownhomes.com or yourtownrealestate.com is an available name. Those highly popular variations are not only easy to remember, but they are also the most likely to deliver you traffic if you can achieve a high natural ranking for those phrases… which having the exact match domain name can help you achieve!
Does It Relate To Your Branding And Specialty?
These two related factors can help with making your name memorable and relevant to your business. If you can’t find a domain name that contains great keywords, it may be preferable to instead pick a domain name that closely mirrors that of your real estate business entity, your personal branding, or a very specific real estate niche that you might prefer to work in. In this case, you might be able to choose a much shorter domain name than if you were to try and find a good one that contains highly competitive keywords for your market. And that, of course, has its advantages.
Are All Important Domain Extensions Available?
Since the internet can be a cutthroat arena when it comes to domains, you must protect yourself against domain name speculators, who will buy up countless numbers of domains simply for the purposes of reselling them. If you don’t have control over all of the main extensions, including .com, .net, and .org, then there’s a good chance that once your online presence starts to really build up steam, your online branding could be impeded upon by one or multiple competing businesses who have purchased different variations of your domain name. The last thing you ever want is for one of these sites to surpass yours on the search engines and then find your prospects confused about which site is yours. You might even lose prospects to your competition if that happens. That’s why it’s critical that all the main variations of whatever domain you want for your business are available. You should lock down all variations you can for as long as you lock down your primary domain (.com). You can forward these other variations to your primary.
Are Common Misspellings And Variations All Available?
For similar reasons as the previous factor suggests, you don’t want people who are looking for your business in the search engine results to confuse your site for another site. That’s why it’s important that you consider any variations of your domain name that might be common, as well as the most common misspellings. For example, if your domain was yourtownhomes.com, you will want to secure yourtownhome.com, yourtownhomesforsale.com, and if yourtown is commonly misspelled ‘yortown,’ you’ll also want yortownhomes.com. Think this might be getting expensive? It won’t be nearly as expensive as losing business to your competition because they have purchased a popular variation of your domain name… trust us!
Putting It All Together… Example Domains Broken Down
To close, let’s go through a couple of domain name concepts and pick them apart.
Take this domain name idea as our first example: ezhomessearchindallas.com
What does it have working for it?
A. Keyword relevance to real estate in Dallas.
B. That’s about it!
What’s wrong with it? Where do we begin?
A. The domain is very long (21 characters!).
B. The domain contains too many words, uses an awkward phrase structure, and therefore will not be easy for anyone to remember off the top of their head.
C. A user might try plugging in the domain how it sounds, easyhomessearchindallas.com.
D. Notice how the domain contains a plural keyword? If you don’t have the variation ezhomesearchindallas.com a client could be lost.
So considering the negatives and positives, this domain probably wouldn’t help take your real estate business to the next level online.
Here’s another idea: jebtsmithrealty.com
What works for it?
A. It contains the Realtor name.
B. It contains keyword relevance to real estate.
C. It is relatively short (15 characters).
What is less desirable about it?
A. It has enough components to it that it would be tough for many people to remember. For example, people could mistake it for the variation without the middle initial, or think it’s ‘realestate’ instead of ‘realty’, etc.
B. There’s nothing geo-specific in the name. That can definitely help if you are trying to target a specific community’s real estate market.
This one is a little better than the first example, but you’d probably want to keep looking.
Own Your Personal Branding (Bonus Tip #1!)
No matter what domain you choose for your business, it’s still important to own your personal branding online. Part of that entails owning the exact match of your first and last name, and then forwarding that to your main website if you don’t want to set up a personally branded site with that domain. It’s just part of good business practice to make sure that no one else owns the most highly relevant domain to your name if at all possible. This helps allows you to drive home how your name is presented online, while protecting your name against competitors or others who might try to benefit from your success.
Consider Buying An Existing Domain Or Website (Bonus Tip #2!)
If you’ve exhausted yourself finding a good domain, or work a market that is heavily saturated (and therefore most of the good domain names are gone), then consider buying a domain name that is already valuable to the search engines. Take a look at the top 30 real estate domain names for your area based on keyword relevance and average traffic (using Google’s keyword tools), and then see which of those domains are taken. If all are taken, which of them have existing websites? Do any of them appear to be very old? Not updated? If you find one that appears old, it might be a good target to talk to the owner of the site and offer them a buyout. Paying $1500 for an old Miami real estate website could be the best investment you’ve ever made because aged domains are preferred by the search engines, and there’s no better thing to do than start off your new website with a domain that is already trusted as a real estate website by Google and the other search powers.