The address people use to access your real estate website – your domain – is going to become central to your marketing message.
This means the decision you make when you purchase a domain is going to be a decision you’ll have to live with for a while. Does that mean it’s the most important marketing decision you’ll need to make for your business?
Not even close.
Even if you secure the “best” web domain for your real estate website, you have only micro-optimized your online marketing. A solid domain will not in itself rank you higher on Google or earn you more leads. A great domain will help your brand, but a bad domain isn’t going to be the end of it.
Fine-tune your real estate business with my official recommendations for forging the perfect REALTOR® domain name.
Keep it short and sweet: Aim to keep your domain under 20 characters. That’s not exactly a science, as much as it is a general rule. www.RealtyNinja.com is 11 characters; www.realestatepemberton.com is 19 characters. Try to strip away as much as you don’t need – the simpler the better.
Make your own name secondary: While most Canadian REALTORS® currently have a website that is just theirname.com, this is not necessarily your ideal primary domain. Purchase your name as well and forward it to your primary. Not only does your name not necessarily have any meaning to potential visitors, it also can be mistyped easily!
Own the common misspellings: If there is a chance for potential visitors to easily misspell your domain and arrive at the wrong site, be sure to also own the most common typos associated with your domain. If your primary domain is www.ezrealestate.com, you should also own www.easyrealestate.com. If your domain is www.your604realty.com, also own www.youre604realty.com.
Be unique and memorable: One of my favourite domains is www.printprint.ca. When I first found out about printprint.ca, it was the web domain for a local Vancouver business called Ultra X-Press Printing – their brand name had nothing to do with their domain, apart from the fact that they printed things. They took the root word that pretty much sums up their industry, “Print”, repeated it, and stuck a .ca at the end of it. So simple it’s genius. (Since then, the firm has rebranded as PrintPrint.ca.)
Think about your social media:Are the social media accounts corresponding to your domain name available? If your web domain is going to be www.604condoboss.com, make sure Facebook.com/604condoboss and @604condoboss on Twitter are available. Or at least some close variation, such as @the604condoboss.
Be descriptive and local: While www.emilysmith.com could also be the domain of your personal website, www.luxhomesvancity.com seems more directly appropriate... if you’re selling luxury houses in Vancouver. One RealtyNinja client has a number of community blogs with a real estate section. One of their blogs is called www.lynnvalleylife.com, where they report on different aspects of life in the small North Van sub-community. Match your domain with the content on your site – search engines like it and so do human beings.
Get the both the .com and the .ca domains: If a domain isn’t available in .com, the first reaction is to go for the .ca and call it a day. This decision is going to frustrate your future visitors and clients, when they keep going to the .com version by mistake. Put an end to this right off the bat by purchasing a domain that is available in both .com and .ca.
Follow the rules: You are not legally allowed to include the words REALTOR® or MLS® in your domain name, and unless you’ve received permission from your brokerage you may not include that either. For instance, www.jimtherealtor.com is no-no. Be smart and follow the rules.
Give it the car test: If you yelled your domain to someone on the sidewalk out of a moving car, would they understand and instantly recall what you said? If they could not whip out their smartphone and load your website after that, then your domain is likely too complicated.
If you’re really stuck, you can always see if your phone number is available. I remember a time when the #1 ranked Vancouver real estate website was www.6717000.com. It might not be the best domain, but it does provide a pretty clear call to action. If they can make it to #1, so can you.
As I said before, your domain is not the most important marketing decision you’re going to make for your business. Great real estate agent websites have been named after their owners before. There are no hard and fast rules here, only guidelines to help your brand get on stronger footing.
If you have any questions or would like to run some domain ideas by me, I would be glad to chat. Feel free to contact me via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Until next time, ninjas [-_-]~~