Tech@Work: Expand Your Domain

Targeted URLs turn your site into a selling tool.

September 1, 2003

Because signs remain one of the most effective marketing tools in the real estate professional’s arsenal—69 percent of buyers relied in part on yard signs in their search and 16 percent first found the home they purchased because of a yard sign, according to the 2003 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers—sign riders that include your URL are a terrific way to promote your Web site. However, if you want to differentiate yourself, you need to do more than just include “Offered on the Internet” on your yard signs.

Think how much more compelling it would be to Internet-savvy customers if your sign reads: For a virtual tour, visit www.123RiverStreet.YourDomain.com. What could be more appealing and easy than a Web page devoted to the specific house buyers like? You or your Web designer can accomplish this marketing coup by creating third-level domains at your Web site for each of your listings. Then, using custom sign riders that display the third-level address, you can capture buyers at the moment they spot an interesting property and point them to more information online.

A third-level domain name is actually a subsection of your principal Web site (YourDomain.com) that’s dedicated to a special purpose. Unlike your main domain name, which you obtain from a domain registrar, third-level domain names can be created by your Internet service provider. Not all ISPs offer this option, however. Prices may vary, but at InternetCrusade we charge $15 for third-level domains.

At your third-level domain, you or your Web designer can post specific information about 123 River St. so prospects don’t have to waste time searching your entire site for the particular house they want to see. Consider adding links to comparable properties on each third-level page so that prospects won’t just look and leave if they don’t like the first property. And don’t forget to include a link that will take visitors back to your home page.

Third-level domains help you market yourself, because your domain name is always a part of the URL. In addition, third-level sites are useful in monitoring the source of your Web traffic. If you use only the third-level Web address on your signs, for example, you can easily see how many leads you generate from this marketing source.

Squeeze more marketing mileage from your sold listings, too. Create another third-level domain name, such as www.SOLD.YourDomain.com, to post on custom sign riders at properties you’ve recently sold. Potential buyers or curious neighbors won’t be able to resist learning what the property sold for. Again, display listing information about comparable properties on the “sold” page to give buyers who’ve missed out on this home other options.

Remember, unless you regularly promote your Web presence and use techniques such as third-level domain pages to differentiate yourself with buyers, your Web site holds no more marketing value than a billboard on a highway going nowhere.

1-2-3 domains

Today, Shakespeare might ask, What’s in a domain? He’d find a “deep” answer.

  • First-level Large subsets of the Internet, such as .com, .edu, or .gov.
  • Second-level Site URLs, such as MyCompany.com.
  • Third-level Subsets of your site, such as 123RiverStreet.MyCompany.com

If the third-level concept seems confusing, think of it as a postal address: 123RiverStreet is the street address, YourDomain is the city, and .com is the state. As with the mail, without all three, it’s much more difficult for a visitor to find you or specific information on your site.

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