Your domain name (eg. CraigProctor.com) identifies your website. You will often see it proceeded by "www.", "http://", or both. (NOTE: The terms “domain name”, “website address”, or "URL" are often used interchangeably.)
Don’t underestimate the value of a good domain name. 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. (Some Internet service providers offer free websites to their customers, with resulting “sub-domain” names like www.aol.com/~johnsmith/index.htm. Don’t even consider these – sub-domains convey a very poor message to your potential clients — “This guy can’t even afford his own domain name, how is he going to effectively market my house?”)
Domain names are registered on a first-come first-serve basis. There are well over 10 million domain names registered worldwide. With over 10,000 new domains registered every day you’ll likely have to make several choices before you find an available domain name.
Choosing Your Domain Name
- Select a domain name that is easy to remember, spell and convey verbally. Simpler is nearly always better.
- In most cases, you’ll want to use the ".com" extension for your domain name (eg. CraigProctor.com). Domain names are hard enough to remember without forcing people to remember a different extension. However, with the introduction of the numerous other top level extensions, this is no longer a necessity. Depending on availability you also wish to consider ".info", ".net", ".org", ".biz" or ".ca" (if you live in Canada).
- Domain names can be up to 63 characters in length, including the ".com", but in most cases you’ll want to limit your domain names to about 20 characters.
- Domain names are NOT case sensitive. However, when you display your domain name, using mixed case will usually make your domain name easier to read (i.e. HomesForSale.com vs. homesforsale.com).
Don’t stop at a single domain name!
Selecting a good domain name is an important first step in setting up your website. But if you stop at registering a single domain name, you’re really missing out on some tremendous marketing and lead generation opportunities. Domain names are inexpensive ($12.95/year) and can be a tremendous marketing asset.
Register your Name(s) and Company Name:
The first domain names that you should try to get are some permutation of your name (and your partner’s) and your company name (eg. www.CraigProctor.com). If you want your clients to be able to quickly find your website when they think of you, the best domain name is your name. They will remember your name much more easily than they will remember your phone number, your company name or some cutesy marketing slogan.
If your name is difficult to spell, consider using initials. If you don’t register your name, at some point you are bound to lose out on some easy referral business.
Better yet, register all the common permutations of ways that people might attempt to find you. These extra domain names can all be setup to point at the same website. This is called domain name parking.
If your name is commonly misspelled, you should also register and park common misspellings of your name. In Craig’s case, www.CraigProcter.com (misspelled with an "e") was registered. Every month, a significant number of new clients find Craig through this misspelled domain name.
Your "named" website address should be used in all contact with your existing client base and your referral network (letterhead, business cards, referral requests to past clients, etc.). In this way, you are reinforcing your name and making yourself easy to find.
Register Several “Consumer Info” Domain Names for Your Most Commonly Used Campaigns
The problem with domain names that contain some permutation of your name is that they raise an advertising flag when you are doing lead generation advertising. Adding this type of domain name to an editorial-style or classified ad will only serve to scare away many potential clients who do not wish to be called by an agent.
For this reason, you should register at least one additional “consumer information” domain name to use in all your lead generation advertising (For example, www.FreeHomeInfo.com or www.FreeTorontoHomeInfo.com). The more this domain name looks like it points to an independent consumer organization with nothing to sell, the better.
These domain names reinforce the message of the ad and make the source of the information appear more independent. Think about it… Where would you expect to get more reliable information on foreclosure properties in Toronto – www.TorontoForeclosures.com or www.JohnSmith.com? If you left your contact information on both of these sites, which one would be more likely to lead to an agent pestering you?
Additional domain names can also be setup to point to specific pages within your website. This is called URL forwarding, and it is an incredibly powerful strategy for improving and tracking your advertising. URL forwards show up as "entrance pages" in your website statistics which allow you to gauge how effective your advertising is. URL forwards can also be setup with your SuccessWebsite to allow you to track exactly which domain names and ads are generating leads.
Here are just a few of the dozens of domain names Craig uses: HomeBuyerMistakes.com, BankDistressSales.com, VipBuyerProgram.com, BuyHomesZeroDown.com, and SellWithNoAgent.com. These are used in conjunction with his various classified and editorial style ads and allow him to track the exact response to each of his ads. Domain names like this are surprisingly easy to find, particularly if you include your city or state name in the domain name (i.e. ChicagoZeroDownHomes.com).
Using Your Domain Names Correctly
While a lot has been said about selecting a good domain name (easy to remember and easy to convey), very little information is available on how to actually use domain names in your advertising. The proper use of domain names can not only noticeably increase the response rate to your advertising, but it can also allow you to track the effectiveness of this advertising and significantly reduce your costs.
One of the biggest mistakes that I see agents make is the way that they use their website domain name in their advertising. Most people think that just by plastering their web site address all over the map, that they will automatically generate lots of visitors. Let me say this very strongly… IT JUST ISN’T TRUE! This mistake can be extremely costly! And, you will never know how many people have just passed you by.
Almost nobody will visit your web site just because they see your domain name. Domain names have become so common in advertising these days, that on their own, they don’t generate any interest in your clients. Get this point straight… Every time you mention your website address, you MUST include a tagline that provides a strong and compelling reason for someone to visit your site.
I often refer to this as “The Golden Rule of Website Promotion”: Without a good tagline to entice visitors to your site, you can be sure that they will NOT visit. Whether you are promoting your site on your business card, letterhead, listing signs, billboards, editorial-style ads, classified ads, t-shirts, your car, or anything else, providing a compelling reason to visit your site is essential!
Proven Taglines (great Classified Ads):
Learn how to sell your home fast and for top dollar. Visit www.TorontoHomeInfo.com
Beat other buyers to HOT, NEW Listings. Join our FREE VIP Buyer Program at www.TorontoNewListings.com
For a FREE, Over-the-Net Home Evaluation, visit www.TorontoFreeHomeEval.com
Find out what the house down the street sold for. Visit www.TorontoHomePrices.com
Learn how to sell your home without an agent. Visit www.TorontoForSaleByOwner.com
Distress Sales – Bank Foreclosures. FREE list of Bank-owned properties. Visit www.TorontoForeclosures.com
Buy A Home With No Money Down. FREE list of Zero-Down homes. Visit www.TorontoZeroDownHomes.com
Perfect Starter Home. 3 bedroom, 2 bath, quiet street. Visit www.TorontoPerfectStarter.com
One of the best tests for a good tagline is to ask yourself the following question: Would it make a good direct response classified ad? In order to answer this question, you really need to answer two questions: Is there a compelling reason for a reader to contact you? Is there a call-to-action? All of the above examples make excellent classified ads.
You’ll notice in the examples above that I have used different domain names for each of the ads. Each domain name can be “URL forwarded” to point to a specific page within your website. Using one of the examples above, www.TorontoFreeHomeEval.com could be set to redirect to the over-the-net home evaluation page on your Success Website.
By using a unique domain name for each ad that you run, URL forwarding allows you to track the effectiveness of each individual ad. The page that the domain name is forwarded to will show up in Top Referring URL’s section in your Success Website’s statistical reports.
Using Your “Consumer Info” Domain Names In Your Editorial-Style Ads
If you run editorial-style ads, you should include your website address as well as your hotline phone number. All of the research that I have seen, including my own testing, has shown that by providing alternate mechanisms for people to contact you, you will increase the response rate to your ad.
I recommend using a phrase similar to the following in your editorial style ads:
Order your FREE report today by visiting www.FreeAreaHomeInfo.com. Or to hear a brief recorded message about how to order this report, call 1-800-000-0000 and enter ID#1234. Both the website and phone number are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
When you include your domain name in your editorial-style ads, make sure that you are using one of your “consumer information” domain names. Remember, the goal of your editorial ads is to get people to identify and pre-qualify themselves. To do this editorial-style ads attempt to fly under peoples’ advertising radar by appearing more like a newspaper article than an ad. A domain name that contains your name or company name is a sure-fire advertising flag and it will decrease your response rate.
If you have a good direct response website (like the Success Website), you should place the website address before the hotline number. There are several reasons for this:
1. Your website has the opportunity to present many more compelling benefits to your prospect. If your hotline script isn’t of interest to a particular caller they will hang-up and be lost. If the specific page on the website isn’t of interest to them, there are still many other pages on the website that might.
2. There is no per minute usage charge on your website as there is with your hotline.
3. Leads generated by your website are automatically emailed to you. There is no need to listen to and transcribe your messages saving you both time and money.
Finding and Registering Domain Names
If you’re not already doing this, you should be using multiple domain names.
You can find and register domain names inexpensively by clicking here (or by visiting http://domains.SuccessWebsite.com). Domains registered here will automatically be setup on our Success Website servers. If you register your domains with other services, you may face delays in transferring your domain name to your Success Website. Once you’ve got your new names, simply contact us and we’ll arrange to “park” your new domains against your home page or discuss the benefits of URL forwarding them to a specific page within your site.
If you need some help finding a great name, you can also contact our knowledgeable SuccessWebsite.com Marketing Experts.