Posted by Jennifer Iverson
You’ve made the big leap and decided to branch out and start your own law firm website. Fantastic! So what could be more important than the design of that new website, right?
Many think the first step to establishing an online presence is the design of the website, but selecting the right domain name is just as important–in fact, it is possibly the hardest part of the site development process. If you take into account the difficulty in migrating websites to new URLs and the potential client losses that could happen by doing so – it’s clear that you need to do things correctly right from the start.
“Domain names and websites are Internet real estate.” – Marc Ostrofsky
Choosing your domain name is similar to choosing the name of your law firm, it requires a lot of thought and attention. Your domain name is your online identity; you want to make sure you choose a name that not only suits your legal practice, but is also easy to locate and promote.
The following are valuable tips in helping you choose the perfect domain for your law firm.
Finding a domain name that’s easy to spell is critical to online success. If you pick a commonly misspelled word (judgment, not judgement), or if you use slang (thanx instead of thanks) or words with multiple spellings (ageing vs. aging), it may be harder for your clients to find your site.
If your domain name is long and complicated, you risk the chance of clients misspelling or mistyping it. Keep it short and simple.
Use keywords that describe your legal practice and the services you offer. Make sure to include the keywords people enter when searching for your legal services. It helps improve your search engine ranking (which increases traffic) and just makes more sense to those looking for your legal expertise.
If your law firm is local, consider including your city or state in your domain name to make it easy for local clients to find and remember.
Numbers and hyphens are often misinterpreted — people who hear your website address don’t know if you’re using the number (1) or it’s spelled out (one), if they put an underscore instead of a dash or forget the dash altogether. If you absolutely have to have it in your domain, register the different variants just to be safe.
There are millions of registered domain names out there, so having a domain that’s distinctive and memorable is essential. Once you’ve decided on a name, share it with family and associates to make certain it is logical and appropriate.
Make sure you do your research on the name you’ve selected to make sure it isn’t copyrighted, trademarked or being used by another law firm. A little homework in the beginning could save you a legal headache down the road.
Extensions are suffixes, such as .COM or .NET, at the end of website addresses. These can have specialized uses, so make sure to decide on one that works for your legal practice.
To protect your brand, you should purchase different domain extensions, as well as any incorrectly spelled versions of your domain name. This prevents your competitors from registering other adaptations and guarantees your clients are directed to your website, even if they misspell it.
It is common for domain names to sell quickly, so make sure to register your law firm domain name as soon as possible. If you’re having trouble locating an available name, domain registrars will usually recommend alternative names during your domain search to help you find the perfect fit.
Our award winning marketing team at Firm Evolution welcomes the opportunity to assist you. We provide a wide range of marketing and public relations services in Seattle, Bellevue, Salt Lake City and Madison, Wisconsin. We focus on the needs, goals and differentiating aspects of each law firm client. Our emphasis is on the big picture — leveraging the strengths of the individual attorneys, practice groups and overall firm on all fronts. We work closely with our clients to insure that all components of their marketing program – from press releases and marketing plans, to website and Internet campaigns – provide a strong foundation for maintaining existing clients and developing new ones. Contact Firm Evolution at 206.321.3220 or with our online contact form to learn more about how we can help.