You come up with a clever name for your vacation rental property and immediately jump online to buy the website domain name. But wait – someone already has! With over 100 million “.com” domains already registered, it’s tough to find a good one that hasn’t been taken already.
Don’t despair – there are plenty more out there, some that may even perform better than your original choice. Put on your creative hat and start exploring, but be sure to consider these tips first:
Think like a potential renter. Think about the keywords and phrases a potential renter might search for when trying to find your property. Including popular keywords directly into your domain is a strong factor in search engine optimization (SEO) and will contribute toward higher organic search rankings (the placement you don’t pay for).
Describe your property. This could include descriptors for the area, like the city or region name, or your property itself, like beach view, lake house, or ski rental. Here are a couple of good examples:
Go for .com. While it may be tempting to buy the “.net”, “.co”, or “.me” version of your perfect domain, think twice. I can count on one hand the number of websites I remember with a domain ending in anything other than “.com.” Ideally, you consider purchasing these options to supplement your primary “.com” domain.
Search for variations. Do a Google search and check out who already owns the other versions of your domain name, as some people will not get it right the first time. We wouldn’t want any potential blunders – like a competing vacation rental or adult-only content.
Make it easy to say and spell. Imagine meeting someone on a plane and you get to chatting. “Oh, that’s great you have a vacation rental in [insert city here]. My wife and I were just thinking about taking a trip there.” To which you respond: “Great, check out my website at miami dash pool dash house the number four rent .com.”
Avoid hyphens and numbers. See point above.
Minimize domain confusion. There may be unavoidable issues with spelling and pluralization, so minimize confusion by purchasing alternate domains and redirecting them to your main site using a 301 permanent re-direct. You don’t want the visitor landing on another website just because they forgot to add an “s” to the end of your domain. But, don’t go overboard here – there’s no need to purchase every variation, only ones that will alleviate confusion in the long run.
Keep it short and sweet. You may be wondering how this is possible given all the guidelines we’ve just covered, but it’s time to get out your thesaurus and get creative. You want to be descriptive while considering each additional word is something else that needs to be remembered and spelled correctly.
Make it work for you. As with any advice, adjust it to your specific situation. If you know everyone searches for “Lake Superior” when looking for homes in your area, it might make sense in your situation to get a “.net” domain if you can’t find a .”com” with those keywords in it to improve your search ranking. If your property is in Little Cottonwood Creek Valley, UT, you might not be able to keep it short. You can enlist friends and family to help you find the right balance. They’ll love the bragging rights when they help you find the perfect domain for your vacation rental website.
photo credit: Lucas Costi