Three general rules to follow when choosing your firm's domain name. By Blair Carroll
While your domain name is just one small part of your online presence, it is a very important one; it’s your address. Unlike a physical address, however, you can choose every part of your domain name, given that it’s not taken. Choosing a good domain name versus a poor domain name can make a huge difference in the amount of traffic that your site receives. When picking a domain name for your criminal defense firm’s website, keep clarity, professionalism, and simplicity in mind. After all, hearing the words in your domain name may be the very first impression that you have on many potential clients.
Here are three tips to picking the best domain name for your firm’s site:
While this might seem obvious, this is actually a highly common mistake that many law firms make when creating their website. You want to make your online presence a memorable one; give people and potential clients too many things to remember and they’ll forget you completely. If your website title differs from your domain name (e.g. Jones Law Firm at www.thebestlawyersever.com), your potential clients are likely to visit the wrong address or get confused and quickly forget about you. On that note, this isn’t to say that your domain and website name have to match your law firm’s name, though many choose to do so for simplicity’s sake. If you come up with a clever criminal defense related domain and website name, feel free to use it; just remember to keep them matching.
There are both advantages and disadvantages to using hyphens. On one hand, it makes search engines happier in that they can more easily understand the keywords in your domain name, and in the case that the non-hyphenated version of your domain name is taken, this allows you to have the domain name you want. On the down side, however, hyphens are easily forgotten. It adds another level of complexity for remembering your domain name for potential clients. Additionally, especially if the non-hyphenated version is already in use, you could be confused for the other law firm’s site with the similar domain name. If you plan to be unique in your own right, this is something to avoid. Another disadvantage is that when someone verbally communicates your URL, it’s hard to pronounce hyphens—if they even remember them at all. They would say “You should visit awesome lawyers dot com they’re great”, which translates to awesomelawyers.com rather than awesome-lawyers.com.
The eternal debate about whether long domain names or short domain names are better will never be resolved. You are allowed up to 67 characters in your domain name, which is quite a bit of room. However, using all 67 or anything close to 67 characters is not recommended, simply for the reason that extensively long domain names are, again, harder to remember. Very long domain names can also be a pain to fit into your website title or type out to others. Longer domain names, however, are more descriptive, and shortening them into acronyms or abbreviations can be confusing and sometimes even harder to remember than full words. Whatever domain name you choose, try to make sure there isn’t any confusing spellings.
Choosing a domain name is exciting and full of opportunities. Do it well, and that’s the first step to creating a website you are sure to be proud of.