If you don’t already have a real estate website, one of the first things you’ll have to do in order to build a top-ranking site is choose a domain name. Sounds easy enough, right? Well, when it comes down to it, choosing the right domain name for a website may be a bit more difficult than you might first expect.
The first problem you will likely stumble upon is making sure the domain name you want is actually available. Of course most of the generic real estate domain names are already taken and used by other companies, so narrowing down a list of factors you’d like to incorporate in your real-estate-related domain will definitely make the domain selection process much easier and faster.
First, what real estate market are you serving? If you are a real estate agent working in a large market like Miami or Chicago, incorporating the city name in your domain may be a bit more challenging than in smaller markets. Obviously larger markets have many, many more real estate agents with already existing websites, and the chances of these sites already having a domain name you may want are a lot greater. But on the flip-slide, if you live in a much smaller, less competitive real estate market, such as Greenville, Indiana for example, the likelihood of multiple real estate websites with a quality domain name isn’t nearly as high.
Next, you’ll want to make the decision of whether or not to include keywords in your domain. Often times, real estate professionals choose to use their name (johnsmith.com) as the domain name for their business website, which is something that has always been puzzling to me. The purpose of a real estate website is to generate traffic and increase sales leads. So naturally, the higher your site ranks in a Google search, the more traffic you will see and the more leads your site will produce. As mentioned above, having your market or city name in the domain name is a great keyword strategy when deciding how to build your real estate site, but other main real estate keywords such as condos, homes, real estate, or realty will also go a long way in getting your site to rank well organically.
The final dilemma you may encounter when choosing a web domain is whether or not to buy all your domain’s main extensions. Once you’ve spent all the time it took to finally come up with the perfect real estate domain, the next immediate question is should you buy XYZRealEstate.COM, XYZRealEstate.NET, XYZRealEstate.ORG, and so-on. Say you only purchase the .com extension and are trying to save money by not worrying about someone trying to cheat their way to the top and copying your website concept.
Can someone start a similar website with a different extension and intentionally mislead homebuyers into thinking their website is your website? Absolutely they can; an even worse, what if their site, still with a different extension than yours, starts to rank even better during a primary search-engine result? In my experience, this doesn’t happen as often as one may think; and anyone sinking to this level is typically not savvy enough to overtake your website by generating more traffic and sales leads. But buying multiple extensions, even if it’s only the main .com, .net, and .org extensions, is something you should consider, especially when in a larger market with a high number of real estate agents looking to gain an edge.
Starting a real estate website should be fun and exciting. So when choosing a domain, keep it simple and ask yourself if the domain you’re considering is something you would easily remember or have no trouble typing out in the address bar. If the answer is “yes”, then I think you’ve made the right choice towards building a terrific new real estate site.
Joe Heath is a graduate of Indiana University and possesses a Graduate Certificate in Real Estate Development from Drexel University. After working in the market research sector and authoring published Market Snapshots for Hanley Wood Market Intelligence, Joe now works as a Web Marketing Specialist and co-owns Real Estate Web Creation with his partner, Ted Guarnero, a 25+ year real estate veteran.