If you are searching for a good domain name for your real estate business, give it some thought before you take the plunge. With millions of websites in the world, you need every advantage you can get. Here are a few things to think about when choosing a domain name.

1. Your name is great but maybe not for real estate

Though you should own the URL for your name, that shouldn’t be the primary way people find your site. With annual domain name registration costs running under $10, you should register your name and use it for your blog or point it to your site, Existing clients might be able to remember your name but it’s unlikely that anyone else will know the name of an agent they have never met. More realistically, the prospect will be searching for property in a particular area, e.g. Mendocino Homes, Mendocino Properties or Mendocino Real Estate.

2. Short URL’s are better than long ones

“Joeisthebestrealestateagent.com” may seem like a good idea to Joe, but it’s a lot to remember and type for your customers. Shorter is better, even if it can’t say exactly what you want. The only exception to this rule might be if the name of your city is long. Shorter names tend to be easier to remember and easier to spell. Think of all of the websites you can remember, how complicated are their names?

3. Make it easy to spell

Does it pass the phone test? Call a friend on the phone and tell them the name of your website. Do they get it without you having to spell it? How difficult is it for them to navigate to your site during the conversation? Try it and find out. Also, be careful of double letters like www.carterrealestate.com, this domain uses a double r. The two r’s look a bit strange without capitalization. If you must have a domain with double letters, consider buying both spellings and any common misspellings.

4. Local is really important

Real estate search is a local experience. People look for homes in places. Try to incorporate your city name or area into your domain name. This is also good for SEO. With a name highly related to the content of your site, you’ll fare better with search engines and real estate shoppers. The words “Rentals”, “Properties”, “Condos” , “Waterfront”, “Real Estate”, “Commercial” or “Homes” can be easily combined with the areas you target, creating a domain name that is both descriptive and contains the highly important keywords.

5. Dot-Com extensions are better

When someone is surfing the web and they know the website’s name, they will try .com to start. The shortage of dot-com domains has led to the creation of dozens of other extensions. .net, .org, .us, .biz, .tv, .ly etc… Most people remember the web as being about dot-com. Remember the dot-com bust. No one talks about the dot-net bust. Businesses usually register with a non dot-com name because the dot-com is already taken. But be careful, or all of your hard work advertising and promoting a non dot-com site could end up driving traffic to the owner of the dot-com you didn’t register.

6. Avoid hyphenated domain names

There may be some incremental advantage in your search engine results with a hyphenated URL, like neveda-condo-sales.com. But on the whole, get the non hyphenated domain name first, then the hyphenated one to help with SEO. The name without hyphens is easier for users, so it should be the main domain on your servers. Point the dashed domain for the search engines.

7. Try to be descriptive

A good real estate site name will describe exactly what the site is about. In most cases it’s important for a person to be able to get some sort of sense what the website is about just by reading the domain name. There are lots of very successful businesses that contradict this advise, but you probably don’t have the luxury or the budget required to build a brand like twitter, amazon or apple.