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Attorney Website Design Blog

Thursday, July 1, 2010

What's in a name? Top Six Factors You Should Consider When Choosing a Domain Name for Your Website

Couples expecting a child often deliberate over the baby name for months. Anxious parents read through baby naming books, consult with family members and consider a wide array of factors including religion, popularity, initials and pronunciation in the decision making process. While choosing a name for your firm's website should not be nearly as painstaking, there are a number of factors you should consider when determining the best domain name. Below you will find the top six factors to consider when selecting your domain name:

  1. Search Engine Optimization Value:  The major search engines do consider your site’s domain name so this should factor into your SEO strategy. Your site is packed with keyword and geographic locations, so too should your domain name. If you are a matrimonial law attorney in Flushing, NY, you might consider selecting a domain name which reflects you main practice area and office location such as www.flushingdivorcelaw.com.
  2. Don’t Make It Too Long:  You want your clients and prospective clients to be able to easily recall your domain name. If the name is too long, it is more likely that users will forget it and have difficulty finding your site.  Also, steer clear of hyphens in your domain name. These are generally seen as less credible and are viewed with greater suspicion by search engines.
  3. Consider the Spelling: Very often firms simply use their principals’ names (in many instances, the firm name) as the domain name for the website.  As we all know, last names can be difficult to spell and many of the most popular ones even have a wide range of spelling variations. If a client hears about you but then is unable to find your firm on the web because they can’t quite figure out the spelling of the domain name, they may give up and turn to another attorney.
  4. Make Sure It Accurately Represents Your Law Firm:  Your domain name is a big part of your branding and as such, it should remain consistent with your firm’s mission and practice areas. Quite simply, your domain name should be a (very brief) description of your firm. Keep in mind that this domain name will be included on business cards, advertisements and in all emails from your firm so you should be proud to show it off!
  5. The Ending Does Matter: Domain names ending in .com are perceived to be more credible than others ending in .net, .biz, .us, etc. If your dream domain name ending in .com is already taken, it’s probably not the best idea to settle for a different ending which is available. Internet users tend to assume that a domain name ends with a .com so they are more likely to try this at first. If the .com name is already taken, there is a good chance they will be taken to a different website (and quite possibly a competitor).
  6. Don’t Go Domain Crazy: We often hear from firms who have purchased 27 domain names and want all of them to point to one main website. If configured incorrectly, multiple domain names all pointing to one site can actually be harmful to your firm’s SEO. When pointing multiple names to one site, search engines see that pages within the several domains actually have duplicate content and refuse to index them.  Worse, search engines may actually index pages from a domain you only meant to have as a supplement and not index your primary domain.  Instead of pointing multiple domains to your server, you should simply redirect the domain names so they all point to one main URL. Using a redirect is preferable because users cannot easily detect the transition from the alternate domain name to the main URL but the search engines definitely take note, recognizing only one site.

If you live in a metropolitan area with many law firms, an available domain with all of these elements may be difficult to find but with a little creativity, you should be able to purchase a great name for your new site. If you have any questions about your firm’s domain name, please feel free to contact us at any time. We are here to brainstorm with you or offer suggestions.

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