What’s In a Name?
Learning how to choose a domain name is just the beginning of marketing an attorney website. However, this first step is extremely important in setting the foundation of your visibility online.
Everyone would agree that some domains are inherently better than others. For example, smith-jones-williams-law-firm-orlando.net just does not have the benefit that sjwlaw.com, orlandolaw.com, or sjw.com has. Here are some of the key things to keep in mind when searching for a great law firm domain name:
- Credibility – Your domain name should exude trust to your clients. It is easy to see which domain names of the above examples would convey the most trust to potential clients.
- Professionalism – The bar is set much higher for a law firm than for a plumber or some other types of company website. It is amazing to see that people can get a first impression of you and your firm before they even visit your site. How is this? The first impression for many potential clients starts not at seeing your website for the first time but at seeing your domain name for the first time.
- Authority – Authority is different than credibility in that I am using this term to define authority over a certain category online. If you are a Tampa bankruptcy attorney and you own the domain name TampaBankruptcyLaw.com then guess who is going to be perceived as the immediate authority on the topic “Tampa bankruptcy law” when a searcher types “Tampa bankruptcy law” into Google? That’s right, you will be perceived as the authority based solely off of the power of your domain name. This is why some law firms undertake the smart strategy of purchasing these type of generic keyword domain names and then either building their site on them or working with their SEO professional to 301 redirect them to their existing law firm domain (redirects can be a smart strategy with a generic keyword domain because many of these types of domain names have what is called direct navigation traffic or type in traffic).
- Keyword Rich – While having a domain name that is an exact match to a popular keyword that gets searched in Google is great (i.e. FloridaAttorney.com is an exact match to the keyword phrase “Florida Attorney”) having a domain name that contains at least part of the target keyword phrase your website is targeting can go a long way as well (i.e. if your last name is Jones and your area of specialty is bankruptcy law then JonesBankruptcyLaw.com could be a great domain name choice).
- Memorable – Sometimes the curse of law firm domain names is that there are so many named partners. When choosing your domain name plan to make the name as short and as memorable as possible. Bonus: Plan for the future and be careful about whose name you include in the domain name. If a named partner leaves then it can at times certainly be much easier to file the appropriate business paperwork to change the name of the firm domain than even changing the law firm domain because of all of the time and marketing effort that has previously already been put into the existing domain name.
- Age – Like wine, a good domain name becomes more valuable with age. This is the case because there are only a limited number of domain names, each domain name is unique (and therefore has inherent value), and Google and other search engines base their rankings in part on the age of a domain name where older equals more trusted.
- .com/No Dashes – If you stick with a domain name that ends in .com and does not contain any dashes then you will be far ahead of the game. The .com is still by far the most trusted domain name extension and is definitely worth the extra time and effort it may take you to find a great .com domain name. Dashless domain names are also much more respected than domain names with dashes and are much easier for clients and potential clients to remember when navigating directly to your website.
Some action items that you could begin to discuss with your SEO professional is how your current domain name stacks up to some of these criteria. If you have a very new site then you may even want to ask your SEO professional if a 301 redirect to a new domain name is the best option (this is only if you have a truly horrible domain name already). Maybe you have a very strong authoritative domain name already and you want to see how a generic keyword domain name like some of those mentioned above could fit into your overall online marketing strategy.
While it is generally true that you only want to have one main website, it can make sense to have more than one domain name and then forward all of the secondary domain names to your primary domain name. This ensures that if people type in any of the secondary domain names, they will be automatically forwarded to your main domain name. This type of strategy is a solid defensive move when you register common misspellings of your domain name and then redirect them to your primary domain. It can also be a strong offensive move when you register quality generic keyword domain names that people tend to type in on their own and then redirect those to your primary domain name as well.
Hopefully this law firm domain name guide was a help to you. Take action to find some great domain names and then work with your SEO professional to boost your search engine rankings and start increasing your online visibility today!
About the Author
Joel Ohman of DomainSuperstar.com runs a website with tools for finding great domain names. His goal is to make it easy for anyone to find awesome domain names for business, personal, or investment use.