Here are a few things to consider if you’re trying to develop ideas for your real estate business. A domain name is like a phone number, and you’ll pick something memorable that you can put on your LinkedIn profile and business card.
When you’re starting a business, a website is something you’ll need at some point. That said, you don’t necessarily need to start with a full-featured website, especially if the website’s purpose is to give visitors an idea of your business instead of being your business. What you are going to need is a domain name.
Though these two things are connected, they are two separate things. A domain name is like a phone number, and you’ll pick something memorable that you can put on your LinkedIn profile and business card. On the other hand, the website is just a collection of files that the domain name points to. In the olden days (think the late-90s up until mid-2000), you needed to usually get a web developer to build a website for you or at least be able to install something like WordPress and then get the website hosted. These days there are several other options. The simplest is to set up a Facebook page and simple point (called “forwarding” too) to your Facebook page so that instead of www.facebook.com/mybiz123, you can give people a much more memorable address like IncredibleRealEstate.com, and it will send them to your Facebook page.
If you’re an agent just starting for real estate, you could use this forwarding (also called “redirecting” sometimes) method to point to your LinkedIn profile or another site.
What Makes a Good Domain?
There are a few general guidelines for picking a good domain name. The idea here is to make the domain name easy to remember and not misspell. Google is good at suggesting fixes to common typos and misspellings, but if you have a similar name to another business, it might steer your customer in their direction.
- Should me a maximum of 3 words. Think “CalgaryRealestate” or “TorontoCondoExperts”
- Avoid hyphens (-), underscores (_) or other punctuation. This makes it harder for people to remember the correct spelling and looks more professional.
- Avoid double letters, same as with punctuation. It makes it harder to remember the proper spelling of the name.
- Check the name for hidden meanings (SpeedOfArt.com is ExpertsExchange.com would be two examples that might get an unwanted giggle)
- Check if you can get the same name for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms you plan to be on. Keep in mind that these platforms have a length limit. A Twitter username cannot be longer than 15 characters. Instagram is limited to 30, while Facebook lets you go as long as 50, probably longer than you’d want.
- Can you register the name on Google Local? As a social media channel, Google Local is another channel. This one is aimed toward local businesses where users can get place recommendations and publish their photos and reviews. This is a good option for helping boost your local presence.
Should You Use the New Top-Level Domains or Stick to dot Com or dot Ca Domains?
In 2011, ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) decided to allow several new top-level domains (TLDs) in addition to the already common domains like .com, .org, .ca, .info, etc. Over 500 new top-level domains are now available, including a number for the real estate industry. Should you use them?
- For now, stick with the established ones, as most people immediately recognize them as legitimate sites. Try and get the .com, or maybe a country-specific TDL like .co.uk, or .ca
- There are some good ones like .forsale, .realestate, .home. Consider buying them at the same time, as they might be useful in the future.
Here are some of the top-level domains available:
Here are some of the top-level domains available:
- .real estate
If you visit a domain register like Hover.com, you can search for a term and see it available.
Don’t Box Yourself In; keep Your Branding Options Open.
- Avoid limiting yourself to a specific geographic area unless you think you’ll never expand beyond that.
- Focus on your name and general real estate terms.
- Consider using action terms in the domain if your prefered choice is already taken.
Another tip is to try using nouns and a real estate term like so:
- [Noun] + Realty or Realty Services, “e.g. Big Block Realty, Fathom Realty.”
- Combining 2 Words, “ListingDoors, StreetEasy, HotPads”
Use Common Search Terms When Deciding on Your Name.
Think of how people might search for your business. For instance, “SoCal” is a common term for southern California that most people have heard of. Others like “the six” are commonly known as a nickname for Toronto, Canada, but keep in mind that some of these names age out. Think older words of Toronto “t-dot” (think the 1980s to early 2000s) or “Hogtown” (back when the Toronto Maple Leafs were winning Stanley Cups) are probably still recognized but aren’t current.
Can You Use “Realtor” in Your Domain Name?
The term ‘REALTOR®’ is a trademark, and you must be an active member in good standing and use it. Also, you must be careful about how you use the term in advertising. For instance, saying you are “the best Realtor in town” is like saying they are the “best member of NAR”, – which doesn’t make sense. See this page for more information.
What Can an SEO Company Do for You?
If you are buying a new name, sometimes it has been registered before and might have been used as a spam domain. An SEO expert can usually check the name’s history and the domain’s “backlink profile.”
Hopefully, this will give you some ideas about how to go about picking a domain name for your real estate company.