So you’ve decided to expand your horizons to the World Wide Web – congratulations! Promoting your business online is one of the best decisions one can make in today’s times – the scope and reach are far greater online than traditional media outlets. The first step in establishing an online identity is choosing the right domain name. Here are five things you must consider before selecting one.
Is the domain name unique?
The trickiest part of choosing a domain name is ensuring that it bears no striking or passing similarity to another domain name, especially a trademarked one. At the same time, you also have to keep the KISS formula in mind for higher recall value – keep it simple/short, stupid. Though you will have great leeway in terms of character limit, it’s best to choose a shorter name because longer domain names tend to be confusing. Also, make sure that there is a distinct connect between the domain name and your business – keep unnecessary wordplay to a minimum. As soon as the visitor sees your domain name in search results or an online advertisement, should you choose to advertise, even before he sees the accompanying text or the metatag, he should get an instant idea as to what your business is all about. Also, ensure your domain name IS your website name.
Does it need to have a prefix in it?
If you want to add a definitive article (the) or add a personal touch to it (my), think again if it’s really necessary. Statistics show that the online audience tend to remember the most important part of your domain name and tend to ignore prefixes, especially “the”. If at all a prefix is required, make sure you promote your business’s domain name ALONG WITH the prefix. For example, if you’re a florist, and your domain name is thebouquet.com, remember to let even your offline audience know that your domain’s called thebouquet.com, and not bouquet.com.
Which suffix is best?
Studies have shown that of all suffixes like .com, .org, .net, .edu, etc., people tend to associate every domain name with .com, even if they’ve visited the site only recently and it was .org. Unless your business is very specific, and also to err on the side of caution, choose .com as your suffix.
Have you arrived at the domain name after careful consultation and consideration?
As with every business, make sure you do your research before you choose a domain name. Speak to your business partners, clients, professional contacts and friends about what they think is the best choice of a domain name for your business. Chances are they might surprise you with facets and aspects of your business that you might yourself have unwittingly neglected. Make sure they are active online, which will broaden the scope of arriving at a suitable domain name for your domain name.
Is it search engine friendly?
This is the most important part of choosing a domain name. A search engine has to be able to “catch” and “highlight” your domain name in its search results. For this, you will have to work with a search engine optimization expert, who will guide you and share his instincts which will go a long way in ensuring that your domain name choice is wise, smart and business savvy. And hence contribute to your online business expansion in a big way.
Good luck with choosing your domain name. Treat it as you would name your baby. Coupled with the points above, you will choose a domain name that will be the envy of your competition.
Social bookmarking is nothing but an online reference of your favorite websites, which can be easily created and accessed from any place. Given the ease with which you can access your favorite websites using this method, it is hardly surprising that there are several social bookmarking websites available.
Given the fact that social bookmarking websites are constantly reinventing themselves, this mode is becoming extremely popular with SEO consultants as well as individual users. One of the primary reasons for the popularity of social bookmarking among SEO consultants is the marked increase in traffic, which is easily visible and verifiable. Following are some of the main reasons why you should make social bookmarking a significant part of your SEO campaign.
Reaching out to a Wider Audience: SEO consultants are always looking for tools that will ensure that their websites reach out to the target audience. Optimization helps in ensuring that your website is noticed and made visible by the search engine robots. However, this does not mean that your target audience will actually visit your website. Social bookmarking is an excellent way to reach out to the millions of people who will actually benefit from your website. In other words, when you publish your website and its content in these social bookmarking websites, you are actually providing access to those millions who are accessing such social bookmarking websites. In other words, you are reaching out to a wider audience, which will definitely improve your inbound traffic.
Creating inbound links: Link building is an age old concept for search engine optimization. It is also a well known fact that if you create inbound links from high quality websites, your rankings will automatically increase. Social bookmarking websites are highly ranked, which means that any link coming from such sites will be considered as a quality link. This becomes all the more important if you can create inbound links from categories that are relevant to your area of business. Creating such links is extremely easy and simple, when done through social bookmarking sites. This automatically increases inbound traffic, which is the ultimate aim of SEO.
Sharing of Content: Social bookmarking websites allow for easy sharing of content between users, irrespective of whether they are individuals or consultants etc. In other words, if you post content related to your sphere of business on any social bookmarking site, the content can be easily accessed and shared by others belonging to that particular sphere of business or even by other users who are just curious to know more. In simple terms, this means that you can actually access a huge audience through content sharing, which would have otherwise been really difficult. Moreover, given that social bookmarking websites are creating newer ways to include specific content under specific categories, it becomes easier to access the right kind of audience required for your area of business, making it truly beneficial.
Social bookmarking websites can be used as a two way forum for information travel. In other words, while your information is shared with others, you can also access information about others. This leads to better business processes all around, which ultimately increases profits. Therefore, if you are looking for creating awareness, want to garner opinion or just need some pieces of information, social bookmarking websites are your best bet.
Quality backlinks perform a crucial role in optimizing search engines and has a great effect on the volume of traffic you generate for your site. Without backlinks pointing at your site, it often becomes difficult to generate daily traffic. Backlinks provide the ability to drive new traffic to your site every day uninterruptedly.
A website is worthless if no one knows about it. It’s like setting up the world’s largest Walmart at an obscure place and not informing anybody. You are unlikely to get much business doing it this way. But if you have backlinks scattered all across the web, it will spread the word about your site. Now, when somebody runs across the backlinks on another website, he or she might click the link and thus be routed to your website.
There are a number of factors that determine your position on a search engine. The higher your rank in search engines, the more people will visit your website. Thus, backlinks are often one of the most important things that search engines look for while rating your site.
The first step towards building quality backlinks is searching for places from where you can obtain these backlinks. A worthy assistant in such a process is a backlink builder. As you enter your choice of keywords, the builder tool generates a list of websites in which you may post a message or an article or merely the backlink of your site. Once you have a list of probable backlink partners, you need to visit each site and place your content comprising the backlinks to your website.
You may wonder why websites that are listed by a backlink builder would provide you with backlinks without any money. Simple. They require content in their sites. When you submit an article or place links to your website, you never get paid. You give them something that they require for free - content. In return, they too give you what you need the most - quality backlinks. It’s a free barter. Remember, trade links only with sites that have page ranks similar to yours or higher. This would stand out in the search engine and enhance your rank. You should also review the backlinks arriving at your site periodically to ensure their authenticity and check the same for broken links.
More the backlinks, better the page. However, in practice, it is rarely so. Obviously, you can not always depend upon the fact that if your content is good, people would link to you. It’s true that if your content is relevant, you might get many quality backlinks, including sites comprising of topics similar to yours. Needless to say, these form the most worthy backlinks, especially if your keywords are contained in your anchor text.
To conclude, there are other effective ways to get backlinks, including chain emails, forum postings or distributing newsletters across the internet. Blogs are also a good way to garner quality backlinks. If the blog is respected, the backlink becomes more valuable. More serious site builders prefer to get listed in search directories. In this method, you are noticed by search engines and probable visitors, besides getting quality backlinks for free.
So, select any one method or a combination of those mentioned above to get quality backlinks for your site or blog.
Create trust and encourage repeat visitors and prospective buyers by utilizing great features on your site that keep interest high. Following are some great ways to do just that - as well as personalizing your website and online presence with great features visitors are sure to love:
- Mobile Ready or Responsive Website - of the 7 billion people on earth, 4.2 billion possess a toothbrush while 6.8 billion have a cell phone. Mobile internet usage has surpassed desktop internet usage. This means more users will be searching for new homes on their smart phones more than ever. Your website should only involve scrolling, not zooming and scrolling. Your site should show mostly text and search and not look like a mini version of your desktop version. Mobile Ready sites load quicker and are optimized for easier reading on a phone screen.
- Walk Score - Include the option for folks to check out the Walk Score of homes they are interested in. Here they can find what's local to walk to (cafes, restaurants, parks, etc) or check their commute time via car, bus or foot.
- CMA form - Allow sellers to fill out a form on your site that emails their information directly to you. This is a great way to get leads from your site.
- Personality, fun & color - show your personality by sharing photos of the fun you are having with clients or friends in local cafes, restaurants or events. Share these on your social media sites as well as on your "About me", Blog or other page on your site. This builds trust with prospects and let's them see you as a real person they can identify with when making one of the largest purchases of their life. Adding online games to your site (soduku anyone?) can also add to the return rates and increase length of time visitors stay on your site.
- Action! - Upload or link videos showcasing your area. Often your local visitors bureau or Chamber will have videos that highlight many great features of your area. Upload video introducing yourself or to display the great features of hard to sell or unique home you have listed. Including video or a slideshow will add movement and interest to otherwise static two-dimensional websites.
- Photos - photo posts on social sites receive 84% more clicks than text and link posts. Include a picture to support your post and keep in mind a picture really can be worth a thousand words! Each article on your website should include a photo so folks can pin and share it.
- Reviews - build trust and credibility on your website with prospects by displaying prior customers testimonials. Feel free to copy and paste them from off your Zillow, Yelp, LinkedIn or other website
- Social Bookmarking - Be sure to include on your pages the option for visitors to tweet, like or share your information. This gives your website information "legs" and can be a great source of free advertising for you.
- Search - the most popular feature visitors want on Real Estate websites is the ability to search for their perfect home. Make sure the search tool is quick and easy to use with basic elements home hunters want and need without being too complicated or too many required fields. "84% of smart phone users take action after performing local searches."
- Social Media links - Allow your visitors to easily find and connect with you on social sites. Be sure the links to Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc open in a NEW window so visitors aren't taken away from your site.
- Tools - such as mortgage calculator and interest rates are great to have featured on your listings and/or search pages.
- Blog - Blogging can help your website in a myriad of ways! Be creative in your blog posts, show your humorous side, share local news and events - be the "go to" website for all things happening in your area!
- Local Resources - show your visitors that you are an expert on your local area. This builds trust and confidence with potential clients and offers visitors information they are seeking prior to moving to your area. Include things like demographics, utility info, movers, storage facilities, things to do, etc.
- Weather - Include a weather widget so out of towners can get an idea of what type of weather to expect when living there or if they are going out house hunting they know how to dress.
- Education - link to education.com or create an article listing schools in your area including both public and private schools and higher education options.
- Subscribe Form - add an email subscribe form to your website and send out monthly or quarterly eblasts using a trusted provider (to ensure you don't get banned from your email provider for SPAM complaints). Keep in touch with former and prospective clients by sharing what's new in town, highlight how the town is growing, new developments/building, what new listings you have and more information readers will find useful.
- Buyer & Seller Tips - who doesn't love great tips? Buying or selling a home is a stressful event! For buyers, it's one of the most important and largest purchases of their lives. Give buyers and sellers the information they need to make the sale or purchase as smooth as possible. Create checklists for moving, staging a home tips and other items that they are looking for.
- Listing Perks - where do you promote your listings? Print? Online? Social Media? List all the places and perks that sellers will get when they list with YOU. List the incentives and your expertise.
- Logos - MLS & Fair Housing Logos as well as your Broker logo or name are essential.
- Your Listings, Office Listings and Visual Tours - keep everything on your website and allow your website to do all the work. This way buyers can read and see everything about a home so they are more prepared once they contact you.
We design and develop great real estate websites!