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By Peyman Aleagha

RISMEDIA, June 11, 2008-Did you know that your entire Internet marketing strategy and the effectiveness of it, hinges, at least in part, on your domain name choice? To some Realtors, choosing a domain name for their website is a somewhat arbitrary choice. But the reality is that making an intelligent domain name choice is much more important than you might think. At the very least, it can impact how easy it is to find your website and how well you place in search engine rankings.

aleagha_peyman.JPGWhen you’re making the domain name choice for your real estate website, consider the following:

1. Your domain is a “brand.” And it brands you. That means that the name you choose needs to be allied and consistent with any other terms and marks you use elsewhere. It makes little sense to go to “www.widgethomesales.com” and have the first page read “Janet Smith Real Estate.” Either make your domain “www.janetsmithrealestate.com” or change the page title. As a brand, it also means that you need to invest value in your domain name just like you would any product or service. You wouldn’t pick a brand name casually, so don’t be casually with your domain name.

2. Make it relevant. You’re in the real estate business and your domain name should make that obvious. Simply using “www.bethmiller.com” doesn’t do it. Instead use something like “www.bethmillerrealestate.com” or “www.bethmillerhomes.com” or “www.bethmillerhomesales.com.”

3. Long or short? Technically, domains can be as long as 67 characters. The rule of thumb is: either short or long but make it clear. Chances are most catchy short names are already used or parked so you’re going to end up having a longer name. Many people argue that long names are actually easier to remember. Whatever your domain name length, it is a good idea to avoid abbreviations. Using “www.bmre.com” is not a good moniker for “Beth Miller Real Estate” – instead just use “www.bethmillerrealestate.com.”

4. Quirks? Don’t add hyphens or articles like “the” or “a” unless you intend to invest heavily in building a brand around them to avoid confusion and cement the quirk into the minds of your prospective clients. The rule is simple-keep it simple. Don’t use “www.beth-miller-home-sales.com” when “www.bethmillerhomesales.com” is available. Likewise, don’t use “www.thebethmillerbrokers.com” for a business named “Beth Miller Brokers” just because someone in Arizona has already taken the name you want. Try “www.bethmillerbrokers.biz” instead.

5. .com or what? And then there’s the question of the “TLD” (top level domain). Every business wants the .com but, in reality, .net or some of the newer extensions (e.g. .biz or .info) may do just as well. If you can get the .com, go for it, but you may want to reserve the .biz and .info extensions also. If you can’t get the .com – make sure you understand who has it. If they are a direct competitor, you may want to look at a completely different name. Lastly, avoid making a domain name choice in another country simply because it is the name you want. It doesn’t make sense to reserve “www.bethmillerbrokers.co.uk” when you’re located in Denver, Colorado. Only use a foreign extension if you truly have an international dimension to your business.

Getting a good domain name does take patience and persistence. But, as the old adage goes-if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right. The right domain name will pay you dividends for years to come.

For more information, visit http://www.realtysoft.com.

Peyman Aleagha is the founder and President of http://www.RealtySoft.com. RealtySoft provides Web-based marketing solutions including agent and broker websites, IDX, contact management, listing management, and syndication to real estate professionals.

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