Even though we type them into our browsers every day, we rarely think about domain names – until the time comes to choose one for your website.
In order to convey a professional image to your clients and potential customers you need to have your own domain name for your email address and your website. A domain like www.aol.com/~johnsmith/index.htm conveys a very poor message to your potential clients about your ability to market yourself. Can you imagine asking people to remember that address for later?
But why stop at just one domain? Additional domain names can also be setup to point to specific pages within your website. This is called URL forwarding, and it’s an incredibly powerful strategy for improving and tracking your advertising.
Here are the major benefits to setting up multiple real estate domain names:
1. Catch people who make typing errors
If your name is commonly misspelled, you can register common misspellings of your name. In Craig’s case, www.CraigProcter.com (misspelled with an “e”) caught a significant number of new leads every month.
2. Track your offline ads
Say you promote your website in three different flyers. If you’re using the same domain name in all three ads, you have no way of knowing which of your website visitors is arriving from which source. For online ad links you can attach tracking codes to identify different sources, but these aren’t handy to use in print. For your “offline” advertising, use multiple real estate domain names in different ads, then check your visitor stats to see which ads are working best. This strategy also saves you from having to set up three separate landing pages for similar ads.
3. Communicate your USP for an extra marketing boost
A domain like CraigProctorSite.com identifies your personal brand and allows people to find you, but it doesn’t necessarily tell them what you’re about. A second domain expressing your USP is much more useful for attracting new leads who don’t know you. You can also add a service area to make it even more targeted, e.g. YorkRegionHomeInfo.com. A USP domain also positions your site as a “consumer information” service, which avoids raising an advertising flag to potential leads who don’t want to be called by an agent.
(NOTE: Even if your USP domain name attracts such people, a Branded website with your photo, company logo and other information will scare people off just as quickly. Having a second Unbranded website will help you capture a much larger number of new leads.)
4. Point people directly at targeted landing pages
To get the best lead response you need to get your specific USP message in front of people as fast as possible. Your branded domain name will land people on your home page, where they’ll have to hunt around to find the info they’re looking for. A USP domain can be linked to a specific targeted landing page on your site, getting them to the info faster and smoothing their path to conversion.
Additional Tips for Choosing Effective Real Estate Domain Names
- Select a domain name that is easy to remember, spell and convey verbally. Simpler is nearly always better.
- “.com” addresses are still the most popular, and where possible you should choose one. However, it can be tricky to find them. You may also wish to consider other extensions such as “.info”, “.net”, “.org”, “.biz” or “.ca” (if you live in Canada). “.realtor” is another new extension, but avoid using it for USP domains since it’s an advertising flag.
- Shorter is better – such names are easier to remember and reduce typing effort and mistakes.
- Domain names are NOT case sensitive, but use mixed case when you display them so they’re easier to read (e.g. HomesForSale.com rather than homesforsale.com).
Here are just a few of the dozens of domain names Craig used: HomeBuyerMistakes.com, BankDistressSales.com, VipBuyerProgram.com, BuyHomesZeroDown.com, SellWithNoAgent.com. Any of these could be extended by including your city or state name in the domain name (e.g. ChicagoZeroDownHomes.com, AZHomeBuyerMistakes.com).
It can be tricky finding an available name, but stick with it and you’ll be surprised at what you can come up with. A great domain name could even become your new marketing tagline!