Choosing a domain name is an important decision when setting up your website. The domain you choose has far-reaching implications extending from your visibility in search results to your use of the domain in offline advertising and marketing.
Unlike in the offline, brick-and-mortar world, websites don’t offer any visual cues about what exactly they are until you visit the site. All domains have the exact same format (http://subdomain.rootdomain.tld for example http://www.attorneysync.com). Because of this, it’s important that you choose a name that helps identify you as a law firm and better yet, one that can help a client understand your practice.
All things being equal, it is my belief that you should use a keyword rich domain if you have the option. For example, if you are a bankruptcy lawyer in Montana named John Doe, I would recommend securing Montanabankruptcylawyer.com over JohnDoe.com. This helps not only with search visibility, but it also provides cues to the site visitor about what your site is about. Montanabankruptcylawyer.com provides much more information than JohnDoe.com. While there are reports about Google dialing down the effectiveness of a keyword rich domain in search results, there is still value for the user and I believe it will always play some role in the search algorithm even if that role is “dialed down.”
Using our example above, a lawyer might choose to use their name John Doe instead. In this instance, I believe you are better off adding “law” or some legal modifier to help identify your website as legally related. In other words, JohnDoeLaw.com is more advisable than simply JohnDoe.com.
All The Best Domains Are Taken
I understand that the legal space online is brutally competitive and many of the best domain names have already been secured. This means that in order to secure a keyword rich domain you will have to get more creative. For instance, in our example above there is a good chance that MontanaBankruptcyLawyer.com or your local, geographic permutation for this name is already taken. You can try adding a suffix such as “group”, “blog”, or “info” to your desired domain name and check it’s availability. You will simply need to get more creative than just checking on the availability of an exact match domain and calling it a day.
That being said, here are a few things to avoid when choosing your more creative domain:
Avoid uncommon top-level-domains – A top-level-domain is the extension that proceeds the domain name you choose (.com or .net are top-level-domains). Avoid registering TLD’s such as .info, .cc, .ws, and .name as they are indicators of spam.
Avoid domain names longer than 15 characters – Names that get too long appear spammy and are difficult to type into the address bar. The following is a real website domain name for a law firm http://nursinghomenegligencemalpracticeaccidentsabusephiladelphiapa.com. Needless to say it is too long and filled with too many keywords to be an effective domain.
Beware of permutations – In the book Search Engine Optimization Secrets the author gives a good example of this. the owners of ExpertsExchange.com built a brand and large website before they realized that the name could be misinterpreted as ExpertSexChange.com.
Finally, when you are researching possible names to use, I recommend using a domain search engine such as domize to make your life easier.