What’s Important When You Choose A Domain Name For Your Business?

April 21st, 2016

ComentURLsKeri in Wichita asks for advertising advice:

I’m ready to build a new domain name for my real estate photography. I have KeriPhotography.com
But I need a new name that represents the real estate. I have wichitarealestatephotography.com reserved but not sure I like it.

Any suggestions?

This is a great question! Here are several aspects to consider:

  1. Ideally, you want to think about what the search string your potential clients will be using in google to find a real estate photographer. Yes, they will probably be using the search string “Wichita real estate photographer” or “Wichita real estate photography”. I’ve found that over the years with struggling to get top google ranking (for the PFRE blog) for the search strings “real estate photography” and “real estate photographer” it does help to have the search string in your domain name. So there are definitely Google ranking benefits to using wichitarealestatephotography.com.
  2. Besides having your search string in your domain name you also need to register your business with Google so your business will show up on Google map searches. This also really improves your ranking in Google searches for real estate photographers in your town. Here’s a PFRE post that has more details.
  3. Your domain name is very much at the center of your brand. I believe there is some marketing benefit to having what your company does in the name of your company but it’s not an overwhelming advantage. It certainly makes sense to have your name in your brand.
  4. How likely are you to move out of Wichita? If likely don’t have Wichita in the name.
  5. How likely are you to sell your business? If likely don’t have your name in your business name.
I believe that #2 above is more important to your Google ranking and you can do #2 with either name.
Anyone else have any advice?
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15 Responses to “What’s Important When You Choose A Domain Name For Your Business?”

  • Your Google ranking has *close* to zero to do with your domain. Okay, I’ll grant you that the ‘right’ domain doesn’t hurt. And good luck with that (probably not).

    I’ve put many sites at the top of page 1 Google in the last 5 years and could put a site about photography with the domain ‘girlsunderwearforsaleinkansas.com’ on the front page in Alaska when someone searches ‘real estate photographers in Nome’. Guaranteed… SEO is about waaaaay more things than this post could fit, but a domain name doesn’t even hit the top half of that list.

    For a domain name you might consider people instead of search engines. Shorter is ALWAYS better. Forget dot nets and the like (and dashes [-] are completely taboo). What can people read remember and spell? Relevance (except to a person’s memory) means almost nothing.

  • Since I am not contemplating selling my business or growing it where having my name as the domain might be a liability, I’ve used my name. If you are working out of your home, you may not want to show up in listings on Google Maps/Earth. I’m not keen in advertising that I have a load of photography equipment at my house. When I had a manufacturing company, I was tempted to put a sign on the door advertising Porta-Potty services rather than the professional audio equipment that we made. I never did that, but there was only a small plaque on the door with the corporate name and not the brand name that we made.

  • Go ahead and use Witchatarealestatephotography.com and just point it to the domain that you settle on. With any luck, you will have several domain listings high in the searches pointing to your pages. If you work in several genres, make a different site for each instead of one site that advertises all of them. You can always provide links, but a specialized site dedicated to RE will make you look like more of an expert in RE photography.

  • As Ken said: Use both.
    Find every possible domain that your clients may search for, but you only need one actual site. Just put a redirect into the index.html file for all the other domains.

    Don’t believe anyone who guarantees “first page” in Google. I am far, far from an expert in SEO, but even I can guarantee first-page results in a Google search – if I get to do the search.

    From my experience, content and good links mean more for SEO than anything else. If you can write articles and get other websites to link to them, you are silver. If you want to be gold, pay Google $$ and be a “sponsored site”. Sponsored sites always show up at the top of search pages.

  • I registered my domain name in late 2014 and earlier this year I rank number one for the term ‘real estate photography’ in my market. My domain name is ‘devoredesign.com’. Domain name does have an impact, but there are other SEO strategies that have far more weight. Like Stephen said, content ultimately is what Google likes.

    Incidentally, I own a great domain name with significant SEO potential, ‘realestate.photography’, and I was going to transition to {cityname}.realestate.photography, but because my SEO efforts on DeVoreDesign.com worked out so well, I’m not sure what to do with this other domain name.

  • I agree with Dave. The domain name has little effect on your search engine ranking. It is more important that it be clear and memorable. If you publicize “Witchatarealestatephotography.com” be sure to capitalize the words like so: WitchataRealEstatePhotography.com so that people can parse the words correctly. Especially since the words “Witch” and “Chat” “Ale State” can pop out for some reading that name. I first read: “Witch at a real state photography”

    I suggest short names that are easy to remember and type correctly. How about WhichataREPhotos.com ? Or WhichataHomePhotos.com ?

    As an example of misinterpreted names:
    Experts Exchange has expertsexchange.com
    Therapist Finder has therapistfinder.com

    I’ll bet you can guess the domain names for these businesses:
    Pen Island
    Who Represents

  • The person who taught me web design told me, make the domain name short.
    More important submit on a nearly daily bases short articles, preferable with some pictures.
    That means work on your posts.
    Make also your own email(s) with your own domain name and do not use @gmail or @yahoo, and so on.
    Do name branding, also on your business cards.

  • Ok… here is my input… #1 do not put your name in your domain if you want to sell your business. #2 Short is ok but most users will never type it in, they will copy and paste or click a link. #3 Use your Google Business Placemark, Google Business Page, personal Google Page and Youtube channel. First post an article on your blog page of your web page add images and video…. Then share the link on all your social channels. Remember to put your contact and a link back to your web page on EVERY SOCIAL POST!!! Now if you are going to put a video embedded in your blog post, host it on Youtube (remember your contact info in your Youtube description) then embed it in your blog post, then post it on all your social channels and add a couple of photos (3-5 with descriptions and your contact info). Google wants and is looking for current information about your industry… Make yourself “the expert in your field for current Info in your field. This site PFRE might like you to share or republish there site posts! (a sentence or two about how much you like an article then a link to it!) Posts that are not just about your work but the real estate industry in general… I.E how to get your home ready for a shoot…

    Brad D. Barnson
    Google Street | Trusted Photographer
    Real Estate Photographer

  • Unfortunately, there is so much ignorance regarding SEO out there. There’s several good comments here.

    As someone who has read 10s of books on SEO, and watched hours of videos, SEO is far more complex and intricate then people assume. It’s not just about keywords and certainly keywords in your domain have marginal relevance to moving up in the SERP.

    The reason for the ignorance out there is that SEO is a discipline that spans multiple industries including marketing, network engineering, web development (programming) and web design (user experience). That’s IT, marketing and design! It is super complex and requires a wealth of knowledge.

    But there are many basic things that can be done to increase your ranking without that broad knowledge. Keywords in your domain can help but this needs to be measured against the effectiveness of your overall business branding strategy (brand awareness?) and user experience (is the domain string too long to type and remember?).

    Far more important then the domain name is your authority within your niche; getting back-links to your site and building great useful content is number one key to SEO success. Many other factors count, including keywords in the domain name but their weight is minimal.

  • The question is, can a person doing a good job and maintained his own website. Does he/she has enough time left over to do the business? How much time does a person need to maintain his website and work on the SEO?

  • Pretty off topic but seems like we’re headed there… SEO tactics and success depend to a huge extent on the competition. Real estate photographers aren’t a big group (relative to many other businesses) so their SEO is really NOT that mysterious… it just takes takes an effective plan and consistent effort.

    But then things get waaaaay more difficult: The art and science of CONVERSION. I’ve put several businesses at the top of Google page 1 (organic) and had absolutely nothing happen. Zero. Zip.

    Heading up search is far from a guarantee you’ll get any business. Conversion is the Holy Grail. And it’s tough.

    Content importance to BOTS- Myth
    Domain name importance to search (no humans!) – Myth

    Best method of getting business – Toe to Toe contact, and ‘Who did your photos’ conversation.

  • I’d prefer to spend my time seeking out clients face to face than becoming proficient at SEO and hoping the people I want to do business with just happen to find me on the web. I suspect most of the people I want to shoot for will not be searching the net for a photographer. Not that I’d advise people to do it my way, but thought it worth mentioning a different perspective.

  • @Dave Spencer – Best method of getting business – Toe to Toe contact, and ‘Who did your photos’ conversation.

    I agree. I happened to be a Realtor too. Real Estate Boards organize always all kind of presentation from Title Reps, Lenders, Home Inspectors, Lawyers and so on. I often was allowed to speak about 5 to 6 minutes during a break to the attendance and intro myself and hand out my business cards.

  • A big one that people forget about is AGE. The older the domain, the higher it will rank, regardless of the words in the actual domain name.

    If you search “real estate video tours”, my website has been in the top 5 on Google – solid for a decade… pretty much anywhere in the world. It’s most often #1 (after paid listings). Not locally, but globally. And it’s mostly because I was one of the first in the country to do real estate video, and have had a website dedicated to that for 11 years.

    Age matters. A lot. So if you don’t have a website, the longer you wait, the more it will hurt!

    Also, if you’re checking Google, be sure to log OUT of YOUR account when searching. Their algorythms are set up so that if you’re logged in, sites you visit frequently rank higher… and clearly your own site is one of those. To get a true gage at how you rank to average joes out there, be sure to log out of your Google account before searching.

  • may be is short domain , and easy to spell

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