Choosing a Domain Name is the biggest SEO decision you will make – and you can’t afford to mess it up. Your domain name plays a enormous part in your Online Marketing Strategy.
First, to avoid any confusion, your site domain name is generally the name and extension following “www.” in a Web address. For example, in the URL www.mywebsite.com the domain name is “mywebsite.com”.
I have had so many Agents come to me to either redesign, optimize, or create their websites, and many of them are using or want to use their name for a domain name.
Let me explain why this is a very bad idea.
A name plays a prominent role when people discover, remember, think about, talk about, search for, or navigate to a website. It establishes a theme for the branding of a website before people even visit it for the first time.
Domain name strategy should be the foundation for building your online brand. A good domain strategy should factor in these fundamentals:
- Concise – shorter is better (under 12 characters if possible)
- Easy to Pronounce and Spell
- Not similar to another Domain
- No Trademark Violations
- Passes Phone Test – grasp spelling and wording quickly
You can’t have a website without a web address. When people open a web browser, they need an address to type that will lead them to your site. The most important part of this address is the domain name.
Even your email address should be one that contains your domain name...not @gmail, or @cox.net, or @yahoo.com. Your email address is distributed to people daily, many times:
- The "From" field on all emails you send
- Your signature at the bottom of your email messages
- Your E-newsletters
- Your Contact Me page on the website
- Your Social Media profiles
- Your business card
- Your Email campaigns and autoresponders
- Your Listing Flyers
- Your Just Sold Post Cards
- Your YouTube Video
- Your Power Point Listing presentation
Your domain name will represent a big part of who you are on the web, and a custom name will help build your brand. It will serve as the very first touch point between you and your customers.
Buyers and Sellers will be looking for specific real estate services when searching the web. If they are looking for a Realtor in Northeast Scottsdale, the search engines will turn up a list of Realtors who have Northeast Scottsdale in their domain name. Buyers and Sellers will not be looking for John A. Smith, Realtor Extraordinaire!
If you choose your domain name well, Buyers and Sellers will be able to find you and your services a lot easier! Keep your domain name and your company name consistent. Ideally, if you tell me your company name, I should be able to figure out your web address by simply adding ".com".
Be aware of how you’re going to tell people about your website.
If you’re going to be telling people verbally you want something pronounceable that is spelled phonetically, that doesn’t have hyphens or too many abbreviations.
Even if you find something that looks great, make sure you know what it sounds like, that it’s intelligible, and that you don’t have to explain it 10 times over to people.
Can you tell someone how to get to your website, without resorting to spelling words out or explaining what abbreviations mean?
In summary, the one big thing to remember here is that domain name optimization is only one facet of your SEO strategy. It won’t get you to the top of Google’s rankings on its own, but getting your name right from the start can save you a lot of time and energy in the long run.
So choose wisely.