Photo Credit: emily_grace
I personally find the individual domains for specific properties to be silly (i.e. you list 123 Main Street, so you register 123mainstreet(dot)com and create what essentially amounts to a brochure online). The new domain isn’t going to have immediate new exposure in the search engines. You could have just as easily done a featured spot on your main website, or placed a subpage behind your main site i.e. .
I was going to comment on Jennifer’s comment, but as I’m prone to do, the words fell out of my head in massive quantities and I realized, “this should be a post”….
Single property web sites — a web site dedicated to one single listing — are all the rage. The idea being of course that you build a pretty web site extolling the virtues of the home. It’s so irresistible that buyers will flock to the listing, waving checks, fighting for the right to own this fine estate. Sellers love them. But are they effective?
Jennifer correctly points out that the new domain (which is almost always www.PropertyAddress.com) will not get immediate exposure to search engines. Bill mentions that it can get expensive, essentially buying “throw away” domain names. Hosting individual sites can also add up.
A Potential Solution
We build single-property web sites for most of our listings (more accurately, we use WordPress and build a “blogsite”). Here’s what we do to minimize the issues both Jennifer and Bill raise.
Domain names: Rather than go with the traditional 123MainSt.com URL, we purchase a more “generic” domain name. Subdivision and/or location names work well. For example, www.AvianoListing.com, www.TatumAndShea.com, and www.LeisureWorldProperty.com.
These names likely mean nothing to anyone outside the Phoenix area. But they certainly mean something to people in Phoenix — the most likely buyers for Phoenix listings.
The domains have good keywords in them. Think no one in Phoenix looking for a home in Leisure World (a large Master Planned community) Google’s “Leisure World Property”? Think again. And that particular listing blogsite comes up #1 and #2 in Google for that very search term.
In addition to keyword richness, these domains are re-usable. 123MainSt.com only works for one property. There are hundreds of homes in Leisure World and Aviano. Tatum & Shea is a major intersection in Phoenix with many homes in the area. We can keep these URLs and simply change out the text and photos when the next listing comes around. Meanwhile, the domain is aging. And like fine wine, Google likes aged domain names.
Hosting: True, hosting at a place like Godaddy is only $4/month. But if you have 20 listings, that swiftly turns into $80/month. There are hosting companies out there that will allow you to host numerous domains on the same plan. I use MediaTemple, and can host up to 100 domains for $20/month. BlueHost is another that allows multiple domains. There are others. You shouldn’t be buying hosting for individual sites.
Search Engine Exposure: It is not easy to get a new domain indexed in Google. Rarely will anyone in the outside world link to a single property site.
But you can.
Write a blog post announcing your single property site (example).
Post the listing photos to Flickr. Put them in a Flickr Set and include the URL to the single property site (example).
Make an interactive Google map with a link to the site (example).
Link to it from your static website.
Heck, stick it in a presentation and upload that presentation to SlideShare.net (example). I didn’t include this site in my presentation on blogging just for the link. But less than an hour after uploading the presentation to SlideShare, Google picked up the link that was inside the presentation.
If your blog has just reasonable “authority” with Google, they will rapidly index your single property site. Even in blogs with lesser authority, adding these links that you can control will help get a brand new domain quickly indexed.
Does it Work?
To be perfectly honest, I can not directly contribute a sale to a single property web site. But exposure of any listing is critical. The Internet never closes. It is the single best way to expose a listing to the maximum number of potential buyers and investors.