When you’re setting up your website for your law firm, you have a big decision to make: the domain name, AKA the address that web users will type in to find you. While you may be tempted to just use your firm’s name as the domain name, that may not be the very best approach to take.
A better and more descriptive domain name may help you boost your search rankings, which can bring more visitors to your site. The benefits of a good domain name could pay dividends when it comes to expanding your reach, so do your research – and perhaps consult with experts in search engine optimization – before you make the decision on what your firm’s domain should be.
What Makes a Good Domain Choice?
When you’re deciding what you want your firm’s domain name to be, following these simple tips can help you pick a great name that will draw potential clients in and be memorable enough for visitors to come back to time and again:
- Consider your long-term plan: A branded domain name contains the name of the firm or the partner(s). If your succession plan is to keep your law firm in your family for generations to come, then it makes perfect sense to include your family name in both the name of your firm and your URL. However, if you envision selling the firm at some point, you may want to consider a non-branded domain. SanDiegoEstatePlanningCenter.com will be more attractive to potential firm buyers than www.ritachaireslaw.com.
- Include relevant keywords: Your first step in picking a name should involve brainstorming the types of words potential clients would type into a search engine when looking for your services. Clients, for example, might search for wills and trusts or estate planning or asset protection. Make a list of at least five words that best describe what your firm does and mix keywords to see which naturally flow the best together. Note, your goal isn’t to stuff every keyword into your domain.
- Use a top-level extension: Most people assume that a professional website is going to end in .com. Even .net sites are considered second-tier by some. Although .law and .legal have been available for years, less than 0.1% of websites use those extensions and those sites tend to get less traffic. If you want to maintain a website at a .org or a .net, buy the .com version as well and redirect users automatically after they type in a .com address. A simple redirect ensures that users who type in yourfirmname.com end up where they should be, even if the site is hosted at yourfirmname.net.
- Ensure the URL is easy to type: You don’t want a long string of letters and numbers that’s hard for visitors to type in. If it’s too difficult for web users to return to your site because they get characters wrong, they’ll probably just move on.
- Avoid misspelling: If a domain name you want is taken, you may decide a creative spelling will get around that problem. This is a bad idea for a number of reasons, including the fact that most web users are going to type in the correctly spelled name and end up on a site that isn’t yours. Flickr had to buy the Flicker domain name because so much of their traffic was ending up at the wrong place. Don’t let this happen to you.
- Keep it short, simple, and memorable: Studies show that shorter and more descriptive URLS have a slight SEO advantage than longer, more complex domains. This factor, like ease of typing, will help to ensure that visitors can get to your site without a problem. Don’t make it hard for your visitors to find you.
All this may seem a little overwhelming, but you don’t have to go it alone. Search engine optimization experts can help you pick the perfect domain name. You want to get it right from the start, so reach out today to get help – not only with choosing your domain, but with the other steps you should be taking to improve your law firm’s online marketing.
Director, Web and Online Marketing Services
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (858) 453-2128
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