Let’s begin with the basics. A domain name is what a person types into their browser to go to a certain website. This is the address that tells the browser “Hey, I want to go to this place, take me to it”. When you hit go your browser whisks you away to the site you wanted to go to.
This address is the domain name. It contains the information needed to tell your browser where to go on the internet. This address can point the browser to any place on the internet you would like. Your own website, a Facebook page, your own agent page, really anywhere you want. If you are pointing to another website then this is called redirecting.
A domain name can be very professional and give your prospective clients and contacts a place to find you, contact you, and see what your about. Today with more and more people searching the internet for information for just a few dollars a year it is not a bad idea to have a domain name.
So how do you go about getting a domain name?
There are many places out there that sell domain names. I could take up the whole page just listing them. While there are many, many places to register a domain name they are all priced reasonably the same. So don’t worry too much on shopping for the greatest deal. Mostly all the domain registrars are within $2-$5 dollars of each other.
I will give you a quick list in no order of the best. These are just the registrars that we have used over the years with no issues.
Once you have picked out a domain name registrar you can then go ahead and search for your very own domain. In real estate we have seen many domain names be the actual name of the agent; janesmith.com, johnsmith.com. Search for what you would like. Try to stay with the .com suffix as .org is primarily for organizations and non-profits and .net is very old school.
Tip: try to keep the domain name as short as possible. You don’t want to have a user typing in 300 characters to visit you!
Once you find your name you are going to need to register the name. You usually have a choice of as low as 1 year to 10 years. THis will be a one time payment until the name needs to be re-registered again. Mostly all the registrars have a renewal period and can be set up automatically.
Once you get to the checkout options most registrars will try to up-sell you services. Skip all these except for one: Privacy Protection.
Privacy Protection removes all your personal information from the WHOIS on your domain name. If you don’t purchase this option, if a WHOIS is run on your domain name all your personal information is displayed. Name, address, phone number, email. The information you used to register a domain name. With Privacy Protection the registrar will use their own information, hiding your personal information. We recommend this.
Once you have purchased your domain name you can now administer where you would like the domain to take a user when they type it into a browser. This is where we want to set up a redirect to where you would like your domain name to go.
Look for a redirect option when you are looking at the settings for the domain name. There you will be able to put in another website address to redirect to. Like mentioned before this can be your profile on a broker site, a Facebook page, YouTube page, even your MLS profile.
Once you put in the redirect there could be a waiting period as this new information is being distributed throughout the world. We have seen it start working within an hour or a day. It takes some time to get the new information all over the internet so don’t get discouraged. If after a day when you try to visit your new domain name and its not working contact the support of the registrar. They should be able to help out.