Your domain name is essentially the name of your law firm’s website. It’s the “fosterwebmarketing.com” part of our full “https://www.fosterwebmarketing.com” address, and it’s something that plays a big part in telling people who you are online.
In fact, the domain name you choose can have a surprising impact on your website’s search performance, the effectiveness of your online branding, and how likely people are to visit your website.
That’s why it’s so important to choose a good one!
Need a hand finding the right domain name for your law firm’s website? Below, let’s talk about two rules of thumb that will put you on the right path, as well as three things that you should definitely avoid.
Rule 1: Keep Your Law Firm’s Domain Name Simple
The best domain names tend to be short and sweet, so here’s what NOT to do:
- DON’T choose a domain name that is longer than a few words. Longer domain names are hard to remember and a pain to enter on mobile.
- DON’T include words that are too unusual or hard to spell. Potential clients WILL misspell them, and it could unintentionally lead them to a blank page, a broken page, or a competitor’s site.
- DON’T include words that sound like other words. Homophones (like “flare” and “flair”) can be confusing and cause the same issues as above.
- DON’T include hyphens, numbers, or dashes. It’s really best to stick to words and letters, when possible. Other types of characters can look spammy, and they’re similarly tricky to type and remember.
- DON’T choose a domain name that looks or sounds too much like other brand names. This one should be obvious! You don’t want to create any brand confusion. You want something unique and simple that describes YOUR brand.
- DON’T stuff your domain name with keywords. SEO trends change, but your domain name typically sticks with you for years and years. It doesn’t make sense to over-optimize it when that could get you in hot water with Google the next time things change.
Simplicity really is the key to a great domain name. It’s all about that user experience! Short, uncomplicated domain names are more memorable, easier to type, and work well in print materials, too. So, keep it simple and don’t go crazy trying to be creative.
It’s another case where less really is more!
And here’s another way to keep it simple: choose a domain name that ends in “.com” instead of one of the many alternatives. Although they’ve been around for a while, options like “.net” or “.biz” are often ignored or misremembered by potential clients. They’ll type in “.com” anyway—so, don’t fight it!
Just have some backup ideas ready if your first choice isn’t available with a “.com” extension.
Rule 2: Develop Your Law Firm’s Domain Name With Your Brand in Mind
Your domain name should make your business more memorable. So, along with keeping it simple, you should keep it branded.
Your domain name should be as close to your actual brand name or firm name as possible, or it should clearly describe what you do. Otherwise, it gets confusing and makes people wonder if they’re really in the right place.
I’ll also repeat it here in case you missed it above: DON’T over-optimize your domain name.
Trying too hard to use an exact-match keyword (like “atlanta car accident law firm”) in your domain name can sound a little generic to potential clients, and it probably won’t impress Google, either. Plus, it makes it easier to mix up your law firm with a competitor’s firm that has the same idea.
This doesn’t mean you absolutely can’t use keywords in your domain name. Sometimes, it even makes sense! For example, some firm names can be too long or hard to spell, and a keyword-based domain that describes what your firm does might work out better. Think “newportaccidentattorneys.com” versus “mcgillicuddymcgillicuddyandcallihan.com”—the keyword-centric domain is MUCH easier to type, understand, and spell correctly!
However, you DO need to make sure you choose your domain based on how memorable and unique it is and how closely it matches your brand—NOT on any perceived SEO benefit. Clarity, simplicity, and memorability are way more important than anything that Google may or may not want at any given moment.
A Final Word to the Wise: 3 Domain Name Dangers to Watch Out For
If you keep it simple, keep it locked on your brand, and keep a few ideas around for backup, you shouldn’t have any trouble choosing a great domain name for your law firm’s website. However, before you go, I think we should talk about a few ways domain names can go wrong for attorneys.
So, here are some words to the wise:
- Maintain control of your domain name. Your marketing company or web developer shouldn’t hold the registration for your domain name—YOU should. There have been too many cases of unethical companies holding domain names hostage when law firms want to move on or work with someone else. So, make sure you are the owner of your domain, and make sure you know what happens with your domain if you switch providers.
- Watch out for renewal scams. There are also some sketchy people out there that will try to quickly buy up domain names when they expire and then attempt to sell them back to the original owner at much higher prices. The best way to avoid this is to make sure you work with vetted providers and never let your domain registration lapse.
- Do your research on older domains. There are a lot of domains for sale out there, and some of them already have a history with another person or company. If you’re considering purchasing an existing domain, make sure to do your research. Find out when the domain was created, and use tools like the Wayback Machine to see snapshots of the types of pages associated with that domain in the past. Since older domains tend to have a leg up in the search engines, an older domain shouldn’t be immediately rejected. However, you do want to know if that domain name has a bad history of black-hat SEO tactics or objectionable content.
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