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Nearly every real estate transaction begins with an online search, making your online presence as a real estate professional one of the most vital parts of your business. Where to begin? Whether you already have an established website for your real estate business or are just starting out.

It is easy, affordable, and a no-brainer, according to industry experts who have seen their businesses grow and thrive since making the switch. Here are 10 key benefits they think all real estate professionals should know, in their own words.

Smiling businessman in discussion at workstation in office
Your online presence is an important facet of your personal brand as a real estate professional.(Getty Images)

1. Your domain immediately establishes a voice of authority

REALTORS® are members of the National Association of REALTORS® and adhere to a rigorous code of ethics. This designation immediately signals to homebuyers and sellers that this is an industry expert they can trust. Making that credibility immediately apparent in your online presence is key, who works at boutique brokerage West and Main Homes.

2. It’s easy for your clients to remember the name

Like many in the industry, Josh Jerman of Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers chose to focus his real estate strategy on name recognition. His goal is to market his name as synonymous with Maui real estate.

In one short URL, it’s immediately apparent who he is and what he does, effectively building his personal brand.

Young businessman using digital tablet while working on laptop in business office. Male professional with wireless computer at desk. He is sitting by window in office.
In addition to brand recognition, your domain can help keep you discoverable in search results.(Getty Images)

3. You are harnessing the power of SEO

Before becoming a REALTOR®, Kunkel actually worked as a website developer. “The name of your website factors into SEO, so if you have ‘real estate’ in your URL, that is a very good thing,” she says.

Kunkel opted to secure URLs with the name of her hometown, Cranberry Township, a bedroom community in Pittsburgh. She chose both and to maximize her presence in search results.

4. Clients can find you faster

Kunkel says that since launching her websites, her phone has been ringing “nonstop” with buyers and sellers. “As soon as you type in ‘Cranberry Township real estate’ or ‘Cranberry Township Keller Williams,’ my name pops up,” she says.

She occasionally also gets calls about other town-related concerns, like broken sidewalks in front of homes for sale, but she views this as a positive—proof that her online strategy is working. “They are clearly calling me because they found me on the internet,” she says.

Financial advisor shaking hands with customer
The .realtorTM and .realestate domains can help you network with other real estate professionals.(Getty Images)

5. It can be a fast-track to referrals

The .realtorTM extension can also be an asset when it comes to referrals. Jerman explains, “I’ve noticed that other agents that have the .realtorTM domain have looked to that platform when they need to refer to another agent in a different market. It’s the real estate version of someone going on LinkedIn to connect with others in a similar industry.”

In the last year, he reports that he’s gained four or five referrals this way.

6. It can help you boost your revenue

Real estate is a numbers game: The more people who can find you, the higher your year-end sales numbers.

In Kunkel’s case, she’d had several good years working in the greater Pittsburgh area before deciding she wanted to target her hometown of Cranberry Township. Her narrowed focus would allow her to define her market as well as save money on expenses from driving to neighborhoods further away.

Her new strategy involved revamping her online presence with her and websites. And the results speak for themselves: In the first year of her new sites, she sold $4 million in Cranberry Township alone. “I would say it’s a big success,” she says.

The NAR platform includes widgets that help you easily customize your website.

7. Building on the NAR platform is easy

Your new .realtorTM or .realestate website from NAR includes free hosting as well as a self-service platform to help you build your new website.

“It’s as simple as it gets,” says Jerman, who had previously hired a web developer for 20 hours to build a website for his business. When it came time to build his site, he and his assistant were able to build and customize it themselves in just two hours.

She had previously built websites on another platform, but “quickly switched gears,” she says, when she found NAR’s .realtorTM offering. “This CMS is easy to use and intuitive.”

8. You can make your site feel as custom as you want

The NAR platform includes a host of customization options that allow agents to make their site feel aligned with their personal brand. These include looping videos, photo slideshows, blog templates, and much more.

“The widgets lend themselves to creating a dynamic user experience,” says Guimond. “They add to the diversity of the look and feel of the website.”

She also highlights a favorite feature: free use of a library of images. “They are all high quality—beautiful.”

Portrait of a smiling businesswoman
Using an NAR domain gives you access to support for your website.(Getty Images)

9. You have access to support

NAR’s platform offers a support team that responds quickly to questions about setup as well as requests to customize or alter templated pages.

Jerman shares that when building his site, he reached out to request a “Get in Touch” button for his bio page. The change, he said, was made within hours, and he commends the level of service he received for his request. “They said they’d be happy to make that adjustment and if I needed anything further to let them know.”

10. You can’t beat the price

All NAR members receive their first year of a professional website with a .realtorTM domain for free—including hosting, customization, image library, and tech support. After that, it’s just $39.95 per year.

Kunkel puts this in perspective. “If you’ve spent money on advertising,” she says, “you know how expensive that is.” Whereas a .realtorTM or .realestate domain does the work for you—showing up in search results again and again, and all for an affordable flat fee. She sums it up: “You can’t get advertising for that cheap.”

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