Many never thought the digital world of clicks and pixels could have a massive impact on the brick and mortar, firm handshake world of real estate. But now we go online before we go to a realtor, and there are many different real-estate players and portals to choose from.
Making your mark in this crowded market can obviously be tricky, especially as not everyone needs to achieve or do the same thing.
Perhaps you have a portfolio of properties for sale as an independent broker or newly licensed real estate agent, and you are out to find your first clients? You want to differentiate yourself from the traditional high-street real estate agent. Your online presence will help you develop your unique selling point, whether it is your attention to historical detail or your connection to excellent relocation services.
Or, if you are lucky, you bought your place before prices went into the stratosphere, and you can afford to keep it when your family needs a bigger home or your job takes you to another city. From being an owner-occupier you go to being a landlord. How will you list your property? What kind of development do you want to bring to the neighborhood? What kinds of people do you want to attract?
In housing markets, real-estate listing portals have become near monopolists. It’s the network effect: the largest sites grow larger because that’s where everybody is. But it also means that you still have to find ways of standing out from the crowd. Securing a solid domain name for your website and email address is one of the first steps down that road.
If you want a corporate or professional identity that reassures clients as well as potential partners. And you also want it to be dynamic and updated with fresh content from your social feeds and useful articles from local experts, then setting up a WordPress site when you buy your domain might be just the right solution for you.
But first, you will have to figure out how to pick a name.
Your domain is like your company name: a tag everybody will see and come to associate with your company online. That’s why you want something that reflects your values and dreams. You will also want a name that is memorable and confidence-inspiring. That’s why a big part of choosing the right domain name is the domain extension — that’s the end part of your domain name, like .COM or .NET. These are mostly Top-Level Domains (TLDs), but there are other types, such as Country-Code TLD (ccTLDs) — but we don’t need to go into specifics here.
The original, and still most popular, TLDs are the ones you probably already know — and perhaps covet, such as .COM, .ORG, .NET. While pleasing to the eye, they are awfully crowded. You might find that many of the spots you were thinking of are taken. Newer TLDs were introduced in the 2000s, such as .INFO, .BIZ, .PRO, and .NAME.
All these newer TLDs were shunned at first. People didn’t trust them, search engines didn’t show them, and technical routing problems did occur. Most of those worries are now thankfully obsolete. So the message here is that there’s a lot more choice available than you might think, and we’ll go into details around your real-estate options later in this article.
To help you in your search for a domain name, we at Namecheap offer a fun toy that we enjoyed developing: a domain name generator. There are other versions out there.
You give them a few hints to start with, and they will generate names. Some of the suggestions will be terrible. But some will give you an idea for another combination of keywords.
The results will improve and lead you to think of a new term that spices your name up just right, and: Boom, it’s available! Yay!
No generator can come up with a domain name that’s better than what you can think up. But a session with a generator is a fun way to brainstorm.
Search engines used to put a big premium on the semantic relevance of a domain name. turtlebaybookclub.org had an advantage over turbaybkcl.org (even though it was longer) because the words making up the name communicated what the site was about.
However, it is also true that longer names have drawbacks. The longer the domain name, the more awkward it will look in print, and the harder it will be to say without hesitating. Podcast or video hosts will stumble through it. People won’t be able to write it down very easily. If ever they have to enter the URL by hand, the chances of a mistype go up with length.
Sadly, most good short domains are taken. Some you can buy for a lot of money on the secondary market. But there are still a lot of possibilities in the 10 to 15-letter range. With a bit of creativity, you can come up with fun names that combine memorable characteristics of your identity, your neighborhood, your listings, or your town. Think laterally and mash it up a bit!
Most of the domain names you’ll consider will be made of two words or more. Look at them when they are written together without spaces. Look at them when they are written in all lowercase.
Does the articulation between the words tend to disappear when the letters are run together? Do other words suddenly appear? If your uncle Antony was thinking of registering UncleAntony.com, he should know that it could also read as UncleanTony.com.
For a sanity test, show your domain to other people you trust. People who haven’t heard you iterate through possible names so that their point of view is still neutral. See if they catch something embarrassing.
The major search and social media companies do look at TLDs and change their rankings in one case: if a person is searching for something specific to a city or a country, or if they are in that city or country looking for something that’s typically local, then there is a priority to results with that country’s or even that city’s TLD.
The assumption behind the ranking boost is that these sites are geared toward that local market. This would also be the assumption if they encountered a domain name in the local script. This has been possible since the internationalization of domain names in the 2000s. If you are trying to attract Japanese, Chinese, or Arabic customers, here are resources to help you navigate those waters:
If geographical differentiation is at the top of your list, Namecheap is there to help you find the Country-Code TLD of your dreams.
Namecheap is a great place to keep up on the latest new generic TLDs aimed at connecting property professionals with potential new customers. The vast choice of options is eye-opening.
Within our domain search in “Beast Mode,”, you can filter by the following real-estate TLDs: .APARTMENTS, .CASA, .CONDOS, .CONSTRUCTION, .COUNTRY, .ESTATE, .FORSALE, .HAUS, .HOUSE, .IMMO, .IMMOBILIEN, .LAND, .LEASE, .MAISON, .MORTGAGE, .PLACE, .PROPERTIES, .REALTY, .RENT, .RENTALS, and .VILLA.
The amount of virtual real estate available across these zones will allow you to choose an extension that really fits your niche.
Some of the new specific domains are sponsored by private registries hoping that their extensions will be the new super-premium spaces of the TLD world. And they price them accordingly. If you are not interested in hanging your shingle in such an expensive part of town, there are many other tiers of domain pricing.
In order to keep pace with the growing demand for secure communications and strong authentication, make sure you get an SSL certificate for your domain. That way your visitors know you are who you claim to be and the traffic can be encrypted against man-in-the-middle attacks. Browsers often display scary warnings on sites without valid SSL certificates.
At Namecheap, we also support DNSSEC, an extra layer of protection at the infrastructure level, and 2-Factor Authentication to guard against malicious players using weaknesses in the protocols and in the humans interacting with them to hijack the traffic to your domains.
While there are plenty of website builders out there, the sweet spot in terms of ease of use, control, reliability, and low cost is occupied by WordPress, the open-source content management system. Namecheap’s EasyWP plans make a fully customizable and fast WP site accessible to everyone.
WordPress’s intuitive interface and powerful features make it easy to create content and merge your external social feeds. For sole agents and brokers, there are plugins to easily display professional-looking listings or to seamlessly connect into the big national listing services. You can also manage viewings, bookings, or reservations in a widget on your site or even run the entire bookings and payment infrastructure yourself.
When you buy a domain from a major registrar, it is usually advantageous to sign up for hosting right there. Most of the time they have extra discounts when you bundle web and email services with the domain name.
Having all of them in the same place minimizes the risk of frustration with incorrect DNS configurations. The hosting provider will take care of all the technical settings under the hood.
Make sure your hosting company gets good performance ratings on independent review sites. You will want to look at latency, which is the time it takes for your response to start, and speed, which is how long your page takes to load once it has started.
Namecheap has servers in Europe and the United States, meaning that you can keep your content close to your prospective clients on both continents. We also have uptime guarantees of 99.9% on our Virtual Private Server hosting packages and of 99.99% on EasyWP.
Yes, it is still possible to challenge the supremacy of the listing mega-sites. Depending on your circumstances, you might find an angle in:
Niche sites can prosper by addressing the particular needs of a specific clientele in a precisely circumscribed market. Antiques-lovers looking for that vintage feel in London. Swiss surfers seeking a stylish retreat along Portugal’s Silver Coast. With a nicely-designed site combining quality local offerings and thoughtful content production, a well-targeted niche site can entice people to bypass the regular sites and apps.
Around the world, local jurisdictions have tried many approaches to rein in an out-of-control expansion in internet-mediated short-term rentals. Many European cities are mandating new minimum legal standards for landlords. Often the latter have to form a legal entity, with a corporate email and a website accessible to all. While there, why not take the time to choose a name that really pops in public spaces both online and offline?
The backlash against abusive behavior by the behemoths is also fueling some soul-searching and creativity on the side of landlords and agents. The big sites are imposing unwanted extra paid services on people listing their properties under punishment of disappearing into the depths of their rankings. The resistance is organized through clever software solutions, secure worldwide payment processors, and well-targeted PR.
The time to build on these trends is now, with a dynamic site and a good domain name. Start your search with Namecheap.
From choosing a great name to registering it, here’s how to tell the world who you are.